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Passing Down Family Holiday Traditions

Updated: Oct 7, 2022

Holiday traditions can be a lifelong source of inspiration and joy. Family traditions are great connectors between generations. Over the course of a lifetime, as we lose loved ones to death, memories are stirred when we pull out treasured decorations, read celebratory or spiritual stories together, sing, or cook favorite family dishes.

As we go into the winter holiday season this year, let’s think about how we can purposefully draw attention to traditions and share them with our grandchildren. How do we celebrate the spiritual significance of a holiday? Why do we always put the Christmas tree up on the day after Thanksgiving or the night before Christmas? Why do we always have a certain dish for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or New Years Day? Who started the tradition? When? Think through your holiday traditions and make plans to impress on young hearts the significance of certain holiday activities.

Passing Down Holiday Traditions

How can we draw attention to traditions? One of the easiest ways is to tell stories while doing holiday activities. The stories don’t have to be long and detailed. Starting with, “When I was little…” is a great way to capture attention and share bits of family history and tradition. If you’re cooking, have the grandchildren join in and tell them about holidays past and meals shared with the generations gone before them. If there’s a special recipe, write it out for each child and share it in a holiday card.

It’s so easy to get busy and do holiday activities without an explanation of why they’re important to our family’s history or our celebration of a holiday. A little extra time and thought can add enthusiasm, excitement, and deeper meaning to our holiday experience. Take time now, early in the month, to plan ways to share traditions. Consider each grandchild’s particular interests and find ways for them to participate in a tradition that will be meaningful to them. Who knows? A grandchild may be so impressed that 50 years from now they are sharing with their children and grandchildren. We move and influence the future by being thoughtful now!

What are your favorite family holiday traditions?

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