Chicken pie instead of the traditional turkey for Thanksgiving. Black forest birthday cake every year. Saturday family dinner out. Ice cream on Sunday afternoons. Those were the answers of friends when asked, “What’s your family tradition?” I have a confession: when asked the same question, sadly, I came up with nothing.

Not a thing.

My little family of four, is relatively new. We’ve been married just nearly six years and our sons are three and a half and 15 months old. Most couples go into a relationship carrying traditions from their respective families – be it decorating the Christmas tree a week before the actual date; opening presents the night before; collecting personal ornaments, each with a story; celebrating birthdays with an experience and no cake; pizza night every Friday and game night every Saturday.

We came into our marriage empty handed, as far as traditions went. Our families were not big on celebrating occasions, especially birthdays and anniversaries, so we ended up being the same. I do however, feel that family traditions are important.

Why are traditions important?
Traditions help create memories. Traditions help impart our life values to our children. Traditions help give children a sense of identity. Traditions help create a sense of belonging. Traditions offer a sense of security.

I believe we have a wonderful opportunity to create new traditions with our children.

Fun times ahead
Fun game nights every Friday. Swimming every Saturday with Papa. Home cooked weekend breakfasts of eggs and French toast. Hot chocolate on Sunday nights, to ease the children into a new school week. Library trips every week to pick a new book out. Nightly ritual of story time and bedtime cuddles.

Sitting at the table every night as a family for dinner and exchanging our daily stories. Baking cookies every end of the month together, just the boys and I, purely because we can. Hiking as a family every so often. Scrapbooking every birthday to remember the year that passed. Annual trips to a beach to build sandcastles and laze in the sun.

I want my children to grow up with fond memories of doing things with their parents, be it on special occasions, or just something we did as a family. I want them to grow up with a strong sense of who they are, who their parents are, what we believe in. I want my sons to grow up with joy, and the desire to carry on these family traditions, and pass them on to their own families when the time comes.

Most of all, I want my children to know that their parents love them, and did their best to create a home that was safe, sound, joyful and wondrous.

Do you have family traditions? How do you feel about them and what are they?

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Alison Lee DrGreene.com contributor

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