In my post 6 Great Family Traditions, I stated that having loved family traditions growing up, it made me look forward to getting to start traditions with my own husband and kids. And while a fair amount of traditions can start accidentally, they are by and large an intentional thing.
Being a planner that also loves to be creative this has of course tickled my imagination. The opportunity to lay the foundation for family traditions is now! Our kids are young enough that if some traditions are started now they will literally be traditions that have just always been for them.
Oh the ideas! My mind gets so excited when I think of how to celebrate holidays in fun and inventive ways. The mental groceries lists abound as I ponder the special meals and treats that could be made. If I’m completely honest though, the list of traditions options I like is very long. So long in fact that it just isn’t possible to actually do them all.
Because of this I have come up with 4 guidelines when considering adding a tradition to our family’s list. These guidelines keep me in check and they insure that I do not go overboard …most of the time.
If you are perhaps wanting to begin some traditions of your own, maybe these guidelines will help you as well.
Is the tradition realistic?
First question I ask myself is ‘Is the tradition realistic?’ Which is basically a fancy way of asking will we actually do it. For my family it isn’t realistic to put any sort of travel into our family holiday traditions. However, it is realistic to do Christmas cards and letters for those that wish to stay in touch.
Thinking about time, energy, and money involved I have to seriously consider whether the traditions I think would be fun are realistic for our family both now and in the future.
Will everyone enjoy it?
This year we did a trial run birthday tradition with balloons. The balloons were numbered and hung as part of the birthday decoration. Each balloon had a birthday related activity in it for us to enjoy as a family.
One of my main reasons for giving this tradition a try was because it can be easily tailored to fit each individual person on his or her birthday. It can also be something that is adjusted as kids get older.
Our son turned two, so his five balloons listed things like eating breakfast, opening his gifts, eating cake, etc. It was special and out of the ordinary while being age appropriate. As our kids grow the notes can become more detailed and tailored to each birthday person while still keeping the same tradition.
Is it sustainable?
For as long as I can remember I have gotten a home-cooked birthday meal and dessert. The entire meal was my choice of food and the dessert was of my picking. It was looked forward to as a kid and still to this day I love this part of my birthday.
This tradition is sustainable because eating is a given. Aside from a few out of the ordinary ingredients, most homemade meals are not a strain on the budget. This tradition is simple, easy and sustainable as the years go on.
Is there room to adjust?
This one is perhaps the hardest one for me right now because I want to have a plethora of traditions already. Things we already love and look forward to. But part of the fun of traditions is the building of and adding in of new ones as the years go by.
So not packing our family’s calendar and holidays with traditions within the first five years of our little family being established is a good thing. It’s also good for me to keep in mind that it might take some trial runs to find traditions that we even want to keep.
Since the purpose of a tradition is to repeat it, these four guidelines help keep me on the right track when considering potential traditions for our family. – Realistically, will we actually do the tradition I am thinking of? Will everyone in our family enjoy the tradition in question? Is it sustainable going into the future? Is there room for it?
Do you have any guidelines you tend to go by when thinking of traditions for your family? Or maybe looking back you know of some things you might have adjusted about traditions? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!