Family Tradition Magic – Three Steps to Yours


Family Tradition Magic

The holidays always remind me of tradition magic. They’re right in my face: pumpkin carving, annual gingerbread house construction, egg dying and A Christmas Story viewing. Most families have holiday traditions, regardless of your celebration. Yet, traditions occur all year long – things that ground your family in trusted rituals that provide a foundation of comfort and security.

We are all connected to a bigger story in our families.Traditions remind you about this history. Certainly, your parents will probably tell your children tales about you that you would rather them not know! There is a power in a child hearing the stories that connect them to a bigger family, and your family tradition magic is often the centerpiece.

What are Traditions

A tradition is defined as “the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way.” (Thanks Google!) They are essentially ritualistic behaviors that nurture us and our relationships. Traditional celebrations in holidays have been around throughout history. While my father dressing as Santa and having some child sidekick as a reindeer every Christmas Eve is decades old, our family certainly did not establish the process of traditions!

Traditions are BIG in my family. They are built upon a mosaic of the new from adult experiences and the old from my childhood. The pieces of our family story are glued together into sacred memories and patterns. Thus, they provide a foundation of understanding and security for all involved. And frankly, they are a forewarning to anyone new about just how wacky my family is!

Why Tradition Magic Matter

As I’ve gotten older and created a family life on my own, traditions became a touchstone for knowing myself and what matters to me.

For me, this tradition magic is a recreated act or moment that reminds us of the importance of family. It keeps us in touch with our personal history and grounds us in positive elements of our past. I feel deep connection with these defined special moments of life, and they anchored me at times within the unpredictability of ordinary life.

If I smell any type of deep-fried dough laced with cinnamon or anise, I immediately transport to thoughts of a month of baking our Italian Christmas sweets. This ritual transcended through generations of women and now lives in my kitchen. A birthday means a homemade cake and some embarrassing display of family celebration no matter what.

The cool thing about traditions is that they develop over time, and some you might not even realize are traditions until you look back. And a couple years of roasting pumpkin seeds transformed into the kickoff to fall for one of my sons. Apparently, he looks forward to it immensely. I had no idea until, as tween, I heard him discussing the magic of pumpkin seeds with his friends. Who knew!

Traditions develop a core sense of belonging in a family unit and often slow down the hurried pace of everyday life.  Our house is grounded in the regular ritual of eating dinner together, regardless of schedule insanity. This is the foundation of our communication. Every friend or girlfriend who has entered our home quickly learns that eating at the kitchen table involves them too!

Evolving Traditions into Adulthood

See, family tradition magic doesn’t need to be formal, nor cost money. It only requires  something meaningful to your family and a little creativity. You can create family traditions for just about any time of year and weave them into just daily life.

While setting out to create your own traditions, keeping it personal is key. Here are some things to consider:

Define YOUR special moments and how you want to mark them.

The question of what moments are special to me and how I want to celebrate these moments guides my desire to create meaningful traditions, both during holidays and on seemingly ordinary days.

Find tradition magic that reflect who you are.

Probably the most beautiful thing about fashioning your own traditions is that they can reflect the person you are and the things you’re passionate about. As your own family evolves, I guarantee that traditions will reveal themselves!

Allow yourself to let traditions go.

Not everything needs to pass on to each generation! I let go some painstakingly time-consuming Christmas cookies as well as my mom’s month-long fruitcake creation. My own substitutions have become staples in their place. Find things which support your life and your family’s own character without the guilt of needing to do everything from years past.

I wish you all the joy and memories that your old and new traditions offer; in that is the magic.

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Hi All, I’m Rebecca! I’ve worked in marketing strategy in the healthcare and wellness industry since college and my MBA for 20+ years (yikes!!). I’m blessed to have combined my geeky professional self with my passions: awareness of and mental health supports for disenfranchised populations and communities. I volunteer in educating the greater community about the real experiences of those in (and out of) recovery from the disease of addiction. I was so honored to give a TED talk in 2019 about removing stigma and shame by simply shifting the language we use, as this is near and dear me. Yet, at the end of the day, my family is everything in my world. I live with my husband Mike and two teenage sons in Lee, along with a crazy cattle dog (Maggie), cat (Leia), fish, 100 snails and soon to be chickens. While a Jersey shore girl at heart, living in MA and NH since the late 90s has fully converted me to a New England sports fan and avid skier, hiker and kayaker. I guess I’m a perfectly imperfect, harmonious, and happy runner, who cares deeply for humans, and Mother Nature. Follow me on Instagram @mommabear5786 to see what life in a house of boys, recovery, loud music, a bit of attitude, and nature looks like!