Traditions and Activities
Traditions and family activities are some of the things that bind a family together. Shared common experiences, especially those that are out of the ordinary, or regularly repeated, help to forge a sense of family identity.
You may not consider some things to be traditions that actually are. Often we think of holidays when we think of traditions, but they can also apply to Sundays, Weekends, birthdays, observances of certain ages (privileges granted due to age, etc), or summer activities.
Our girls get to have their ears pierced at age 11. The boys cannot have a pocket knife until they are 10.
Birthdays in our home are accompanied by a cake (with sugar!!!), topped with sugar-free cream cheese frosting. But this is only something that is “traditional” for our younger children because we did not start that until the older kids were almost on their own.
We buy bikes for our kids, but they pay to maintain them.
We don't give allowances. We do let our kids work for money.
In my husband's family, Christmas gifts were opened Christmas Eve. In my home they were opened Christmas Day. We open them Christmas Morning with the kids, unless Christmas is on a Sunday.
All these things are just ways that we do things. They help the kids know what to expect. Most of them we have reasons for, and we teach the kids the reasons. Coming of age events are especially looked forward to.
There are also activities that we enjoy as a family that are peculiar to our family. We love to go skating, we like tubing on the river, we enjoy camping when we can, and we like finding clean movies.
The activities help to give us common memories, and they set the stage for good memories to occur.
What you do is not so important as that you have traditions that make certain times feel special. However you do it, if it makes sense to you to do it in a certain way, then teaching your children not just that you do it this way, but why, can make it even more special.
The kind of activities your family chooses are not the key issue either, but those activities which encourage you to shut out the world and focus just on each other will be the more successful ones.
We found that if we went camping, we enjoyed it most if we went for about three to five days. If we just went for one night, then we spent all our time setting up and breaking camp, and did not have time to adjust to the time out of doors. To really have fun, we had to stay a while. My husband's limit was three days (about that point he just really wants a REAL shower!), I enjoyed five better.
So when people start talking about their elaborate traditions in their family, don't feel bad if yours are simpler. Because either way, they become something unique to your family, and they hold a magic of their own..