The spirit of Thanksgiving is about showing gratitude and coming together as one. We’ve also got Christmas just around the corner, which is another holiday steeped in traditions. And it got me thinking. If, like me, you’d love to adopt more family traditions, right now might just be the perfect time of year to start a brand-new family tradition.
If my heart had its way, we’d be having a different one every night of the week. But my brain’s a lot more realistic. I know my family and me – we have great intentions but we’re also free-spirited and spontaneous (Lee Lee especially ha!). I wouldn’t say we’re rule breakers, but we’re almost certainly boundary pushers. We’re the type of people who usually break from tradition, not follow it. It’s why I made the switch from journalist to creator and blogger all those years ago.
Why Family Traditions are So Important
But, traditions are beneficial too. They anchor us in place and make sure we don’t drift too far from our true selves and where we came from. It’s a great way to stay connected, no matter what is going on in the world, and I love carving out specific time for family traditions. And, thankfully, I love the ones we’ve been able to build on in our home. In fact, we’ve nurtured and watched them grow over time. Now, they’re so important to my family and me – our biggest one probably being family movie night.
Family Movie Night: One of my Favorite Family Traditions
We’ve been doing this for so long now that I couldn’t tell you the very first movie we watched together. I don’t know if it was Indiana Jones, or Rocky or any other film. But what I do know is that we absolutely love this family time we get to spend together!
We do it every week, but we’re flexible. Sometimes we’ll have plans, and we have to start a little later. Other times there’s a football game we’re watching together on Friday, so we move it to Saturday. But the five of us know that no matter how crazy the world gets, we’ll always have a few hours where it’s just us, chilling on the couch together, eating popcorn and enjoying a movie together.
Movie Night is also an inclusive tradition. We have a very strict “Chief Film Selector” rotation policy. We’ll take it in turns as to who gets to pick this week’s blockbuster, no cutsies, and no complaining about their pick! We’ve got this fantastic, vintage popcorn machine. So, we’ll each grab a bowl and settle in for our favorite night of the week. My family loves it.
And what’s great about this tradition is that it’s still got plenty of room to grow. If we ever get bored of popcorn, maybe we could have a “Snack Maker” role each week who could provide treats. As the kids get older, Movie Night could grow into a whole event.
Other Family Tradition Ideas for You and Your Family
Family traditions are so powerful and will bring your house closer together. Movie night is a great starting point, but here are a few other ideas that have worked for my family and me in the past:
1) Reading Advent Calendar
We’ve done this with books a few times. Go to the library and check out lots of short stories. Wrap them all in wrapping paper. Then, each new day you open one new book from your pile. It’s a great way to encourage younger kids to start reading and a great opportunity to find new books to fall in love with!
In fact, you don’t even have to go to the library at all. Raid your bookshelf for books that haven’t been flicked through for a while and add those stories to your pile.
2) Jar of Thanks
This is a great family tradition you can start at Thanksgiving, but it could also be a great one for anytime of year! Here’s how it works: Have your family write down something good that happened recently or something that they’re thankful for. It can be anything from something that made them happy or put a smile on their face to a fun experience they absolutely loved doing. Put those notes in a jar and open it up the following year or whenever you or a family member feels a little down for a lovely reminder about the good things in life.
3) Do the Simple Stuff
Recently, we’ve been doing more and more together as the kids grow in this COVID-19 world. We’ve started exercising together in our gym at home and we’re also reading books together every night. I’m starting to fall a little in love with this last practice. Check out my blog for some great book recommendations to read with your kids.
I wouldn’t call it a tradition just yet as it’s relatively unorganized and spontaneous, but who knows, maybe it could topple movie night as my family’s number one!
What are your favorite family traditions?