Every Friday, no matter how hectic or stressful the week has been, my husband and I have a ritual to celebrate the weekend’s start. We crack open a bottle of wine, play music, and roll up our sleeves in the kitchen. I make dough for the pizza crust, and my husband chops, sautees, and grates the toppings.
In the spring and summer, we open the kitchen door that leads to our balcony, where we have a view of the bay, the kids playing in the courtyard, and the evening breeze. The sauce I made in bulk has thawed, and because we work together, dinner takes 30 minutes max to prepare.
Our four-year-old daughter enjoys topping the rolled out dough with sauce, cheese, and veggies, and the baby plays with the Leap Frog fridge phonics. While the pizza bakes, we whip up a simple salad. Our background symphony is anything from Jack Johnson, to Sufjan Stevens, to Coldplay, to Mozart, to Ella Fitzgerald, to The Shins.
We then sit down to eat, either at the dining table, or on the balcony. We often end with a simple dessert and coffee, and when the kids go down, my husband and I break out a board game.
It’s a great start to the weekend.
The importance of family rituals
This little tradition of ours isn’t complex or costly, and it takes no advanced planning (except for the pizza sauce, which I’d make anyway, for dinner). But it’s something we all look forward to, and it’s become a little something that says “home” to us.
Kids love traditions and family rituals, because it fosters a sense of belonging and security. They also thrive on routine, so rituals only add to that need.
Adults who work outside the home benefit from a simple family ritual to look forward to on the ride home. And adults who work inside the home can anticipate that ritual as something to mark the end of a work day. I know I do.
Don’t wait for a holiday
Sure, those Labor Day barbecues or Thanksgiving backyard football games are great. But don’t wait for those holidays on the calendar to create a family ritual. Make traditions part of your family culture, and celebrate them often.
Photo by Rosana Prada
A few tips for creating that tradition of yours:
• Keep it simple. That way you’ll do it regularly.
• Keep it inexpensive. That way, you’ll look forward to it, instead of letting financial anxiety build up.
• Include the whole family. If your husband doesn’t enjoy cooking, make it a popcorn-and-movie tradition. Or if your kids are too young to enjoy Trivial Pursuit, make it a weekly walk to the park.
• Do it regularly. Monthly is great; weekly is even better. By definition, a ritual is done often.
• Make it fun. I say either make it relaxing, or make it active. Veg with Netflix, or hike the nearby trails. You do you.
• Make it true down time. Turn off phones and laptops, and don’t talk business.
Chances are, you might have some sort of family tradition accidentally. And if not, there’s a bourgeoning one within your troops—you only need to make a concrete plan. Do something fun as a family over the next few days, and who knows… maybe you’ll start doing it each weekend.
Have you ever thought those boring family activities you do throughout the year were created by your parents to drive you crazy? Well I thought so until I did some research on it. In my family we have many family traditions, as you may call them. My favorite tradition is going and finding a Christmas tree every year. Everyone has family traditions, some may be simple like relaxing for 15 minutes after work, or as big as a family party every summer. Janet Dengels article “Now more important than ever” talks about how every family has a tradition or two.
Janet Dengel wrote “Ask any adult what they remember about childhood and they’ll recall an event that centered on family traditions or rituals.” I may not be an adult but I remember many of my family traditions, even the ones that no longer take place. According to the article there are many reasons that family traditions are important, but the two most important benefits family traditions are the enhancement of a child’s self-esteem and the hidden source of family strength behind every ritual or tradition.
Preschool aged children, when involved in these rituals feel as they are a part of the family. Children are looking for acceptance in their family, involving them in these family rituals proves to them they are a big part of the family. Even children in single-parent homes need to be involved in traditions or rituals. Involving children in traditions enhances a child’s self-worth by making them feel important to the family. The hidden source of family strength behind ever ritual can help keep families from fighting and creates a bond between members. Family traditions help pull families back together, even if they are upset with each other.
Family traditions are huge in my home. We have many traditions, still to this day we celebrate together. Family traditions and rituals have made a great impact on my life and the way I want my children to be raised. Every year me and my family go and find a Christmas tree for our living room. We go every year about two weeks before Christmas and find the perfect tree. For the past thirteen years it is been me, my mom, my dad, my brother, and my sister. Now we have had an expansion in our family. The past two years we have been involving my nephew and my sister’s fiancé in our family tradition. This family traditions has been going on since my parents were little kids. Both my mother and my father went with their families to find a tree each year and decided they were going to continue the traditions with us. Everyone’s traditions are different and unique to the family. I know I will forever continue this tradition with my family.
Without this tradition, I would not feel the same way about Christmas. I grew up knowing I was part of something great in my family. I gained so much self -confidence because I took part in working to find out perfect tree every year. Each family creates their own traditions and rituals, including the children. My family tradition is something I will be continuing and passing onto my children. My family is as close as ever when it comes to family traditions. Finding a Christmas tree with my family is a family tradition that has been most important to me.