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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

December 4, 2015 - 9:11am -- Anonymous

Dear Readers,

As I look at my calendar, there are three weeks before Christmas.  With the mild temperatures, it’s just hard to believe the year is almost over and the holidays are approaching quickly!  What are you looking forward to the most? 

Have you ever really thought about what your family traditions are?  Tonight at dinner ask your children or those you are with, “what is it that you really look forward to during the upcoming holidays?”  In short, those may be the traditions that are unique to your family.  Those things that we answer with “we always……” are the things that are important to your children.

Why do we need traditions and rituals?   In an article written by Denise Witmer, she suggests the following five reasons to observe family traditions:

 1. Family traditions create good feelings and special moments to remember.

 2. Family traditions give every member of the family a stronger sense of belonging.

 3. Family traditions help youth with his/her identity.

 4. Family traditions help parents impart the family’s values to their children.

 5. Family traditions offer youth a sense of security.

Families who build on traditions or create new celebrations and routines increase their enjoyment of life together and capacity for coping with unexpected challenges.  Maybe your traditions for the holidays have been taking a drive to look at the lights, ringing the bells, giving to others or going caroling with your favorite group.   As you recognize the traditions and rituals in your family, take time to also recognize the strength you gain from them. They make your family unique and provide understanding, continuity, closeness and appreciation for one another.

Dr. Susan Coady of The Ohio State University (    suggests the following:

  • Traditions start easily - when you have children and you do something more than once, you’re going to do it again, because children come to expect it.
  • There are no limits to what a tradition can be - many tend to revolve around the holidays, but everyday routines are often your family traditions, too.  It may be a tradition when there is disappointment when it doesn’t happen.
  • Traditions are family specific.  Everyone celebrates holidays differently.
  • Traditions can change with your family needs.  Let go of some and make new ones as children grow and change.

Start today, by realizing the daily things you do that make your family special and the way you choose to celebrate holidays are your traditions. Realize that those "little things" done together are really memories in the making, part of your past, present and future.