Rituals and traditions provide us with a connection to our families.   While the holidays aren’t the only opportunities to create family traditions, they do offer a unique opportunity to creating lasting, positive memories. 

Think about memories from your own holidays as a child:  Did you visit grandparents?  Were certain foods always made at the holidays?  Did you and your siblings play special games?   These memories of special interactions are likely to be stronger than memories of any particular gift that you received.

Giving your children memories and traditions that they can carry with them throughout their lives is greater than any toy or gadget that you could buy for them.   You can carry on traditions from your own childhood or develop new ones–   the foundations for family relationships can be anything that builds relationships, creates lasting memories or provides meaningful experiences.   Here are some ideas:

 Building Family Relationships

  • Bake together – Spending time in the kitchen allows for plenty of relaxing time to hang out and talk together
  • Decorate together – Decorating indoors and outside gets everyone in the mood for the upcoming holidays
  • Holiday crafts – There is no shortage of holiday crafts to do together, even for those of us who don’t remotely resemble Martha Stewart
  • Reading special holiday books together before bed is a cozy way to bond

 Create Fun Memories

  • Attend a special holiday event – Seeing the Nutcracker or going to a holiday tree lighting ceremony, you can pick new events every year or keep going back to a family favorite.
  • Host a holiday party – A kid-friendly Hanukkah open house or a tree trimming party is a way for friends and family to spend time together
  • Sledding or ice skating is a great way to have fun and be healthy as a family

 Provide Meaningful Experiences

  • Volunteer– Serve a Thanksgiving meal at a shelter or start a canned food drive to help kids become grateful for what they have while also helping those less fortunate
  • Bring cookies to a nursing home or fire station to help your kids understand that some people may be alone or have to work through the holiday
  • Honor your cultural heritage – Provide opportunities for your kids to understand their roots to feel connected to something bigger than themselves

 Whenever couples come together, they blend the traditions from the past.  Holidays provide an opportunity to meld multiple traditions and create new ones.  Allow your kids to have a voice in picking their favorite traditions and help create new ones that will grow into fond memories.


Kids feel secure and grounded when they understand their past and have a history full of fun and meaningful memories.  There is no “perfect” holiday tradition, rather it is an opportunity for unique rituals that allow your family to bond and feel the spirit of the holidays.