During this Christmas season, family rituals take on more importance than ever. December is a month to share in community, to celebrate Christian values and virtues; and strengthen loving bonds with the people who matter the most to us.
One way I like to describe family rituals is as the traditions that make us who we are and for which we are grateful. Many rituals originate from our great-grandparents and grandparents; as well as the festivities of our own country and cultures or those of our ancestors.
How can I strengthen family rituals? Which are the most popular or positive ones? Is it time to change old traditions? We have a lot to talk about regarding this topic.
What are family rituals?
Family rituals or rites are nothing more than traditions that are inherited in the family. These are based on the beliefs that family members have, and most commonly, are passed down from generation to generation. As a parent, if you associate a certain ritual with positive memories and good times, you will be more likely to continue them with your children.
As a family leader, you are able to create new rituals; and design new strategies to both entertain and educate your children.
I like that family members take advantage of their own traditions to implement healthy, loving, and beneficial habits for everyone. Even if no one understands them outside the family, it is still a gesture that is associated with the image of family togetherness.
Some of the most common family rituals
The world is full of so many perspectives and ways of looking at life that you may be surprised to learn that so many families perform the same rituals, just with a different face.
For example, using affectionate nicknames or code words that only you, in the family, understand, greetings with hand games in different forms, or Scripture reading sessions. You can also join in by preparing a special meal together on birthdays or going on vacation to a place that is important to you at a certain time of the year.
All of these activities can have so many variations in the frequency, timing, and ways in which they are done; that they become common, but also unique for each family.
There can be many other kinds of family traditions; such as volunteering in your community during the summer vacations, taking photographs in the same pose on a certain date; picking fruits and vegetables in the garden, having board game sessions once a week, etc.
Creativity has no limits, and as you have seen, each of these activities is meaningful, healthy, and will create precious family moments.
The important thing is that family rituals bring good values to your children and other family members. No one wants a ritual that makes them feel uncomfortable or uninterested. They are supposed to foster security, a sense of belonging, and self-identity.
Some of the best Christmas family rituals
For us Christians, Christmas is a time full of family rituals everywhere you look. Each year we celebrate Jesus Christ’s coming into the world; and it is a date generally abundant in symbolism and new opportunities.
Therefore, it is time to reinforce our traditions as followers of God, faithful to His Word.
Which Christmas family rituals correspond to these purposes?
- Attending Christmas services as a family.
- Studying verses that speak of the birth of Jesus.
- Preparing food baskets for members who are in need in your community.
- Writing letters full of good feelings and wishes for loved ones who will be far away.
- Watching the family’s favorite Christmas movies.
- Preparing your family’s traditional Christmas dishes.
- Assembling the Christmas tree together, each choosing a part of the decoration that year.
How do I create my own rituals?
There aren’t many rules when it comes to creating your own family rituals; so I want to give you some useful tips on how to make them a reality:
- Try to get everyone to like it: Sometimes, children will find it difficult to embrace these traditions because they do not understand the meaning behind them. But even if the first few times are difficult, as a parent, you should think about activities you know they will appreciate in the long run. Think about everyone in your family before considering a new ritual.
- Do them frequently: Unless it is, for example, a Christmas ritual, you should repeat these traditions frequently so that they become a habit. Also, when it comes to Christmas rituals, do not even think about only doing them every other year, consistency is the key.
- Make it fun: The best age to introduce family rituals is in childhood because it will be part of their memories from very tender moments. However, do not complicate things when creating new rituals. The basic principle is that they are fun. But above all, you should be able to learn something new every time they are performed.
How do I know if I should change a family ritual?
Your children will grow up, and as the years go by, you will notice that some family rituals are not as easy to perform as they were younger. Maybe your teenage son finds that special greeting you and him had a little too much to do it in public anymore; or your teenage daughter gets tired of watching the same movies every year.
Maybe they want to spend more time with their friends on vacations, or maybe, because of a change in your job, you, as a parent, will need to work on weekends. These are changes that life brings.
Is this the end of family rituals? No. It is not, because we must strive for new schedules that suit everyone and modify the activities that are no longer welcome. For example, if the greeting is too flashy for your son, you can simply modify it to be more modest. Or you can look together with your daughter for new Christmas movies that she might like.
I know it will make you nostalgic when a consensus is reached to completely modify some of the rituals; but it is inevitable and very necessary to follow the basic principle of them, which is that everyone should feel at home, grateful for the blessing of having the family they have.
Do you not know how to deal with family traditions without getting into conflicts? You can get professional help by calling 407 618 0212.