As the holidays approach, time seems to fly by even faster than it normally does. Even though there’s a lot going on, we try to carve out time for family and the special traditions we have every year. Kacie from elementsofellis.com put together some great questions for the panel of Let’s Be Honest Mama’s to answer regarding family traditions. I hope you all enjoy!
What do family traditions mean to you? Why are they important to you?
I have always loved traditions because they remind me of sweet memories with the ones we love most. We had some special ones growing up that I still treasure and want to continue doing with my kids, and others that are new to just our immediate family. I certainly love creating and making them, but I also try to remember that the “tradition” isn’t as important as the people you experience them with.
A lot changed after we got married when it came to holiday traditions because you have two families to share time with and you want to make memories and traditions as a family unit of your own. As much as they are important to me, I try to remember not to create to much pressure surrounding them so that it’s more about time with family than doing it a certain day or way.
What are some of your holiday family traditions?
One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is Cracker Barrel. For as long as I can remember, we have always had Thanksgiving dinner there with my parents. They serve all the fixings and we don’t have to clean or cook. We always make sure to treat those working extra well, and most of them don’t have to work the entire day so they can still be with their families. I think I love this tradition based on the pure nostalgia of it, and the fact it taught me as a female, mother and wife, it’s not about all the things I “do or cook” for my family. It’s more about creating an atmosphere that a family can enjoy each other in.
One of my other favorite traditions is Christmas morning. When Ian and I first got married, we both decided that no matter what, we would be spending the morning in our own home with us and our children. I make overnight french toast, we brew coffee the slow way and we open gifts, enjoying the morning together. It’s nothing fancy, but very special to us.
As I was writing this, I asked Ian what a few of his favorites are and he said wood-burning fires inside and drinking hot cocoa beside it, eating Chinese food (or sometimes Thai) on Christmas Eve and picking out a real tree. I have to agree with all of his too! I guess we have a lot of different traditions, so I was having a hard time thinking of them all…
Family traditions don’t just have to be holiday based… What are your daily/weekly family traditions?
I know I have talked about it a lot on here, but regular and scheduled family time. Between work, church and other obligations, it can be easy for weeks to fill up and us not eat dinner or have time as a family unit. Because of this, we schedule family date nights where we do something just us. Sometimes it’s pizza and a movie or something more extravagant like the fair or a day trip somewhere.
The important part is that it’s time just us. Ian and I also schedule regular date nights. This is something we saw our parents do growing up and it became very important for us as we got married. Your marriage is healthier when you prioritize it above other things. While it can be hard when you have little ones, that’s why you have to make time for it. Set aside the money for a babysitter if you have to. It is well worth it in the long run.
Share your tips for creating strong family traditions. (Examples: Communication, Scheduled family time, etc.)
I don’t know that I have any great tips, except to make it a priority. If you don’t, it wont happen. That’s why we aim to make family time a priority or everything else creeps in without you even realizing it. This is especially true as your kids get older and there are more activities, sports etc.
We’re still clocking in at under a decade of marriage, so with what little time we’ve had together, regular date nights and family time together have been our saving grace in many tough seasons. We’re typically ruthless in our priorities because if things aren’t heathy at home, they won’t be anywhere else.
Tell us something positive you have seen come out of making an effort to have family traditions/family time?
I think the biggest thing are the memories. We have some of our most sacred memories from the time we carve out and do things together. I think it also creates something for you to look forward to every year and teaches your children about the importance of making time for family. It also helps us grow closer to one another. You naturally are going to build stronger relationships by making time for them and doing things you enjoy together, similar to dating. As a family unit, you can help build those relationships by creating traditions and special times together.
I’d love to hear some of the impact traditions have had on your family or what some of your favorites are. And be sure to check out all the other mamas and their answers below.