It’s that time of the year again – retailers have been bombarding us with images of Christmas trees, Santa Clauses and brightly wrapped gifts for months now and in little over a week families all over the world will come together to experience the joy (and often chaos) of a traditional family Christmas celebration.
It’s tempting to want to just call it all off, to roll your eyes at the idea of those annoying family members and to complain about the whole thing just being a money-making racket. But family traditions play a very important role in children’s development. They tell a story about the family and contribute to a child’s self-esteem and identity by helping him understand where his family come from, what is important to them and how they choose to celebrate these important things. They remind us, not only of the things that have shapes our family as a whole but also of the things that have shaped us from birth.
Family traditions can provide a sense of confidence by helping children understand that they are part of something much bigger than themselves and they can help create closer bonds between family members. Family traditions might help to connect different generations and so bridge the generation gap. Most importantly, they provide a short reprieve from the hectic, stressful rhythm of our everyday lives and allow us to focus our time and attention on the things that matter most in life: the ones we love.
Family traditions and rituals are important in reinforcing family values, for instance helping out at a soup kitchen on Christmas Eve reinforces the value of helping others and reading a bed-time story at night might reinforce the value placed on literacy and education.
So whether you are Secular or Religious, Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist take some time out of your busy schedule to plan a few family traditions of your own for your family and in so doing help create memories that will last a lifetime.
Here are some tips on how to create family traditions of your own.