Starting your own family tradition

Nov 18, 2010 at 9:38 a.m. ET

It’s tough to watch your kids grow up. As time passes and things change, you probably find yourself longing for the “good ole’ days” and wondering if you have done enough to make memories your children can cherish for a lifetime. Family traditions are a great way to bring everyone together, to make memories that last and to make sure your children have something constant in this ever-changing world.

Start your own

Although the term "family tradition" tends to evoke thoughts of time-honored traditions passed down through generations, there's no rule saying you can't start your own. Every family tradition had to start somewhere, right? Family traditions don't have to take a lot of effort. Create your own traditions through simple, everyday tasks, like Sunday dinner with the whole crew, or reading the morning paper together.

Get everyone involved

Create traditions the whole family enjoys. Does your family have a favorite sports team? Make it your tradition to go watch their opening game each year. Do you have a favorite television show? Always watch it together. Any activity you all enjoy can easily become a family tradition.

One mom, Kristina James, has made baking a tradition her family enjoys. "It is so much fun to watch my boys enjoy baking as much as I do. As we bake, both of them open up and talk about everything," said James. "This is one tradition that keeps our family tightly bonded!"

Make the holidays special

One of the most popular times for family traditions is throughout the holiday season. During this special time of year, families are together more than ever, creating the perfect scene for family traditions. Children are on long vacations from school, distant relatives return home to visit, and yearly gatherings make sure everyone is in the same place – at least for a little while. Your holiday tradition can be very involved, like creating your own Christmas cards or baking pies for Thanksgiving. They can also be as simple as the place you gather – for some families, it's just not New Years Day if you don't end up gathered around grandma's table.

Remember where you came from

Some traditions really do stand the test of time. These traditions keep families connected to ancestors and teach children about where they came from. Melissa Hunziker, whose husband's family hails from New Mexico, says her favorite family tradition involves making tamales during the Christmas season. "Every December, the entire family joins together and makes hundreds of tamales - everyone helps, even the littlest hands," she said. "Not only is it a glimpse into my husband's childhood…it is the one time of year the entire family works together on one specific task."

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