Truth be told, my family didn’t have traditions when I was growing up and I was looking forward to start some with my own family. So, I started asking friends about their traditions, and I also scoured the Internet to come up with the best family tradition ideas you can start in 2023. Because new year, new beginnings, right?
But let’s first clarify what actually a family tradition is.
What Is a Family Tradition?
A family tradition is a pattern of behavior that reflects and reinforces a family’s values, attitudes, or beliefs. Family traditions are typically passed down from parent to child, and help to keep family values alive. They can also be a way to connect family members and reaffirm their identity.
Why Are Family Traditions Important?
While it may be apparent to some people, for others the significance of family traditions is something unfamiliar. Studies have found that Americans spend less than 40 minutes a day of quality time with their families during weekdays. Luckily this time increases over the weekend and here’s what proponents of these family customs say the greatest benefits are:
1.Source of Identity
Family traditions are important because they provide a source of identity. They help to keep family history and values alive, provide a sense of security for children, pass on cultural heritage, and help family members feel connected.
2. Family Cohesiveness
By doing things together family members promote family cohesiveness. This can increase a child’s self-esteem and the excitement of celebrations. Nurturing traditions provides security, belonging, respect, and cherished memories.
3. Family Values
Family traditions can help to reinforce family values and connect members of the family. Traditions can be a fun way to focus on what works best for your family and build relationships.
4. Comfort and Security
Comfort and security are vital for a person’s well-being and particularly for children. Household traditions help kids feel secure and better able to deal with life outside of the family.
5. Lasting Memories
There’s a saying that children don’t remember the expensive clothes and toys you bought them when they were little. What they remember is how you made them feel and how much time you spent with them. And this is what family traditions are meant for. Spending more time with your family and creating lasting memories. By involving everyone in the tradition and making it a regular occurrence, household traditions can become even more memorable.
What Are Some Ideas for Starting a Family Tradition?
Below I gathered and explained 30+ family tradition ideas to start in 2022 or early in 2023.
1. Deliver Homemade Treats to Friends and Neighbors on Holidays
One great way to spread holiday cheer is by delivering homemade treats to friends and family members. Baking cookies is a fun activity that the whole family can enjoy, and it’s a nice gesture to show your loved ones that you’re thinking of them. If you’re not sure what kind of cookies to make, there are plenty of great recipes online or in cookbooks. You can check out this list of 100 cookie recipes by Taste of Home. I bet you’re going to find at least one you’ll love.
If you have relatives who live far away, consider sending them homemade treats or writing them heartfelt letters wishing them happy holidays.
2. Host a Cookie Exchange
You could also host a cookie exchange, where everyone brings a different type of cookie to share. This activity is particularly fun for children as they can compete who will get the largest number of different cookies. In addition, this event is a great chance for mothers to exchange recipes.
3. Cook a Holiday Meal Together
Another idea is to cook a holiday meal together as a family. Not only it is a great way to bond and create lasting memories, cooking can be a fun activity for the whole family. It’s also a great way to teach kids about food and nutrition. You can take each item on the recipe list and read the food label together, then calculate how much nutritional value your homemade cookies will have.
4. Ask Daily Questions at a Certain Meal
I have this tradition with my family and I think it’s a really good practice for our children to practice talking about their feelings. Moreover, by doing this they get to see things from a new perspective and realize what their likes and dislikes are. Knowing such things teaches children to set boundaries. First as kids then as adults. For example, me and my husband started asking our kids 3 questions at the diner:
- What’s the 1 thing you learned today
- What’s the one thing you liked about today
- What’s the one this you didn’t like about today
A pro tip I heard from an audio book I listened to about parenting: “Ask your kids what they failed at every day as well, which makes them understand that failing is a part of succeeding.”
5. Attend a Community Tree Lighting Ceremony
This tradition is possible only in towns that have a community tree lighting ceremony. This ceremony instills a holiday spirit into the town and makes everyone feel enthusiastic. You could take your loved ones out for hot chocolate before or after the ceremony.
If your town doesn’t have this tradition, you can decorate your own Christmas tree at home with your family. And again – have hot chocolate.
6. Get Matching PJs and Watch a Movie Together
If you have small children, another fun activity is to get matching PJs and take a photo together. Children love dressing up as their parents so they are bound to enjoy this. A family tradition of matching PJs and watching can be fun and easy to establish.
First, choose a movie that everyone will enjoy. Next, have everyone’s favorite treats on hand (but be mindful of the popcorn because it is not suitable for little children.) Finally, watch the movie together and enjoy each other’s company. Special drinks or snacks can help to make the experience even more memorable.
7. Have a Board Game Night
Another thoughtful idea is to give each child their own board game or puzzle as a gift, then you can play together as a family.
8. Create a Family Time Capsule
A family time capsule is a document or collection of documents that represent the history and culture of a family. The goal of creating a time capsule is to preserve the history and culture of a family for future generations. Creating a time capsule can be a great tradition to start with your daughter and a fun and rewarding experience for the whole family.
9. Read Bedtime Stories
This is probably the best and the MOST useful one. Did you know that the SINGLE most accurate way to see if a child is going to succeed in school and academically is if they’d been reading books regularly with their parents?
For little ones, recite nursery rhymes before bed. As your kids get older, have them read chapters of a novel together and read some of the story too. Sharing bedtime stories with children helps to improve their reading skills and promote motor skills and social development. It is also beneficial for children to develop a bond with their parents through bedtime stories. Our 6 year old is now reading books to his 3 year old sister, so I promise it gets easier with time, hang in there! It can be fun too.
In addition, you can also visit the library together as it is a great place to find books that everyone in the family will enjoy. It’s also a quiet place to relax and spend some time.
10. Spend Saturday Mornings in Bed
Lazy Saturday mornings are a great time to spend with your family and if you are willing to risk you can even consider to have breakfast in bed. You can have coffee, tea, or milk with cookies. Pancakes or bacon and eggs are a great way to start the weekend. You can also talk about a certain topic or just cuddle.
11. Have the Same Family Meal One Time Every Week
This is something I saw a lot on various shows and in movies and always wanted to do, but it just doesn’t stick all the time. Having a weekly family meal can create a great tradition that everyone looks forward to. A weekly family meal can be a great way to break the routine and connect with each other. Having the same meal every week can be comforting and reduce stress. I, for example, now keep a frozen pizza in the fridge all the time and try to make Friday dinners more fun with a pizza for kids.
12. Make Holiday Ornaments Together Every Year
Making holiday ornaments with the family is a great way to create lasting memories and traditions. There are many different ways to make ornaments, so there is sure to be something that everyone can enjoy. Some ideas for making holiday ornaments include painting pre-made ornaments, making salt-dough ornaments, and dyeing Easter eggs. These traditions can be adapted or created from scratch by the family.
We’ve been making clay ornaments and it was a LOT of fun for my son who loves imagining and engineer stuff.
13. Camping in Your Backyard
Our favorite! Camping is a great way to get away from electronics and have fun. You can do this by picking a date every year and go camping!
- Set up a tent in your backyard
- Make s’mores over a fire
- Tell ghost stories
- Sleep under the stars
P.S. It doesn’t have to be an actual sleeping.
14. On Birthdays, Present Your Child With Two Envelopes
It’s easy to get caught up in the commercialism of birthdays, with all the focus on presents and cake. But there are lots of ways to celebrate a birthday that don’t cost any money at all. One great way to do this is to start a family tradition of birthday envelopes.
On your child’s birthday, give them two envelopes. One envelope should be labeled “spend” and the other should be labeled “save.” Explain to your child that they can spend the money in the “spend” envelope however they want, but any money they put in the “save” envelope will need to stay there until they turn 18. This is a great way to encourage your child to think about their actions and how they can responsibly use that power.
You can also put a little bit of money in each envelope yourself as a bonus. This is a great way to start a tradition of birthday presents that will continue into adulthood. Your child will always have something from you on their birthday, even if you’re not able to be there with them in person.
15. Conduct Birthday Interviews Every Year for Each Family Member
My friend is a videographer and she’s been offering this as a service. Absolutely great memories. I wish we lived in the same city so that I could buy such a session for my kids. I’m hoping some day I can do it myself. But here’s how it goes:
1. On the birthday of a family member, sit down with them and ask them questions about their life. Record their answers to keep as a cherished memory.
2. Ask them questions about their childhood, what they liked to do for fun, any funny stories, etc. These questions can help you get to know your children better.
16. Leave Love Notes to Your Kids
I’m yet to do this! It’s easy to show your kids how much you care by leaving love notes for them. Start in February by leaving heart-shaped notes on their doors while they’re sleeping. The notes will show them that you’re thinking of them and that you care about them.
You can also use social media to talk to your kids about changing holiday traditions. Share your thoughts and feelings about the new traditions on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Be respectful and understanding when talking to your kids about the changes.
17. Invent a Secret Handshake
To create a secret handshake for your family, start by choosing a simple and meaningful gesture. Boys can especially benefit from a handshake or fist bump to communicate emotions without words. This gesture is especially helpful for boys who are shy or don’t like to speak up. Once you have chosen the gesture, practice it with other family members until everyone knows it well. You can then use the secret handshake to identify family members and mark special occasions.
18. Go Shopping for Children and Families in Need
Giving back to those less fortunate is a great way to show your appreciation for what you have. It can be a fun and rewarding family tradition to take part in. You can donate to local charities or leave gifts at shopping centers for children to choose from. This is a great way to teach your kids about giving back and getting them involved in your community.
19. Take a Daily or Weekly Family Walk
A family tradition of walking can be a great way to get fit and spend time together. Morning or evening walks are easy, and kids can participate as they get older. Taking walks as a family tradition can be beneficial for both parents and children as they are a great way to get some exercise and fresh air while spending time with your loved ones. Exercising together is another great way to promote healthy habits in the whole family.
20. Start a Happiness Jar
A happiness jar is a family tradition where members write down special memories and put them in a jar. The jar is a way to preserve memories and help everyone document happy moments. Starting a happiness jar family tradition can help to re-center your thoughts and celebrate the joy of others.
To start a happiness jar family tradition, fill up your happiness jar every day with something small, like a smile or a kind word. Keep track of what you put in your happiness jar, and see how it affects your overall mood and relationship with your family.
21. Plan a Monthly Mommy/Daddy Date With Each Child
This one is part of the family traditions for every month. It’s also probably the most rewarding for both me and my husband. Where previously we’d spend time together as one crazy loud family, we find inner peace when we spend time with each of our kids separately, which helps minimize sibling rivalry.
Planning a monthly Mommy/Daddy date is a great way to bond with your children. You can choose to do something simple like going out for ice cream or breakfast, or you can choose a fun kids activity. Either way, spending time with your child is the most important part. You can also use this time to talk to them about anything that’s going on in their life.
22. Choose a Community Service Project
A community service project can be a great way to start a family tradition. It is important to choose a project that will appeal to all members of the family and that will allow for plenty of time away from the celebrations.
23. Host Family Meetings
In order to have a successful family meeting, it is important to have a clear agenda and set expectations. It is also important to be transparent and open with one another. Try to find common ground and discuss issues in a constructive way. A family meeting tradition can help to improve communication within the family. A weekly meeting can help to resolve any issues and plan for the week ahead. Have a family meeting at least once a week. It doesn’t have to be complicated, just 5 minutes is enough.
24. Take First Day of School Photos
To take a first day of school photo, have your child stand in front of a blank wall or solid background. If you want to include props in the photo, choose some that are simple and not too distracting. Have your child dress in their new school clothes and smile for the camera!
After you take the photo, you can print it out and hang it on the refrigerator or frame it and put it on display. You can also add it to a scrapbook or album so you can look back on it years from now.
Tip: order t-shirts when your kids are finishing school on Etsy, and have them wear it every year.
25. Pick a Family Tradition Restaurant
One custom from the pool of family traditions for every month is going to the same restaurant every Saturday night or perhaps once a month. This will become a relaxing and enjoyable way to spend time together as a family. Another idea is to find a restaurant that you only go to on special occasions. This will make those occasions even more memorable.
26. Do Yard Work Together
Doing yard work together can be a fun family tradition. It can help reduce the stress of spring cleaning and provide an opportunity to bond with family members. There are many other ways to get involved with your community, but yard work is a great way to start.
27. Cleaning Room and House Together
My kids actually get excited about it! Cleaning your house is a great way to get the family involved. Housewarming Day is a great opportunity to get the family together and work on cleaning or repairs. Making it fun will make the cleaning process more enjoyable for everyone involved.
28. Take Annual Family Photos
It’s easy to take annual family photos and make it a tradition. Simply choose an occasion to take photos of the same thing every year, such as a birthday party. As the kids get older, you can see how much they’ve grown in each photo.
Some examples of how to take annual family photos are First Day of School, Christmas Eve photos with matching pajamas, Christmas Day photos in festive outfits, and birthday photos, holding a balloon for each year.
And a lot of local places encourage that as well – take for example a pumpkin patch that had this great sign encouraging to make annual memories at their farm.
29. Enjoy a Special Family Vacation Spot
When planning a family vacation, it is important to consider the interests of all members of the family. It may be helpful to create a list of potential destinations and then narrow it down based on what activities are available, the climate, and the cost. Once you have chosen a destination, book your accommodations and flights well in advance to get the best deal.
o make your family vacation a tradition, try to visit the same spot each year or alternate between a few favorite locations. This will help create lasting memories for your family and give everyone something to look forward to.
30. Host Game Nights
Game nights are a great way for families to reconnect and have fun. There are many different types of games that can be played, so find one that your whole family will enjoy (just beware of the weird ones). Keep track of who wins each game, or rotate who gets to pick the game each week. This will make game night a fun and meaningful tradition for your family.
31. Pass Down Family History Stories
I regret that all my grandparents passed away way too soon, before I was a teenager. So I don’t remember and didn’t take time to ask questions about their lives and understand better my family heritage.
When it comes to passing down values and traditions, shared family history stories are a great way to go. You can ensure your kids will remember you by passing down your stories in the form of books. Plus, this way they can share the stories with future generations.
32. Saturday Is for Kids Cook Night
Sounds great in theory, this is a bit too early for my kids right now (ages 6 and 3), but some time, once we get an outdoor covered kitchen where I can just clean it out with a water hose (joking!) we’ll do it.
Making Saturday night a kids cook night tradition is a great way to get the family together and have some fun. To make this tradition, simply choose a food type that your family loves to eat and have the kids take charge of cooking it. One night each week, let the kids choose what they want to cook and have them prepare it. While they cook, supervise and help them to create a safe environment. This will encourage the kids to spend more time cooking and less time watching TV.
33. Have a Show and Tell Night
You can do this tradition as many times a year as you’d like. To do this activity you have to gather your whole family and each member has to pick and bring one item that is significant to them. Then each one of you takes turn and explain why the item is so significant. This helps family members learn the things that other family members hold dear and of course, pay extra attention when handling them.
How Can You Make Sure Your Family Tradition Is Successful?
Choosing a family tradition shouldn’t be taken lightly. As it is something that you’ll be doing every year, and hopefully many years to come, it’s best to invest your time and choose something that will be enjoyed by every family member. So, here’s what to pay attention to:
1. Choose a Family Tradition That Is Important to You
Your family tradition should be something that is important to you and your family. Pick a few examples of traditions that you like and that resonate with you, then try them out with your family. See how they go! Just remember that every family member is important and should be given an opportunity to participate in family tradition.
2. Talk to Your Family About Why This Tradition Is Important to You
It’s important to talk to your family about traditions and why they’re important. You can establish traditions with your family by discussing how much you care about them. Keep traditions simple, if possible. Traditions can help make family relationships more special and help build self-esteem and relationships that last a lifetime.
3. Check if the Tradition Is Feasible for Your Family
When choosing, always check that the tradition is feasible, enjoyable, and meshes well with your family’s values and lifestyle. New feasible traditions can help build a stronger connection between you and your loved ones.
4. Put Together a Plan for How You Will Implement the Tradition
My suggestion is to:
- Keep it simple – traditions should be something that can be easily continued without too much effort.
- Involve everyone in creating the tradition – this will make it more special and meaningful for everyone involved.
- Use popular traditions as inspiration – there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, but feel free to put your own spin on things.
- If a tradition isn’t working, don’t be afraid to scrap it and try something else – the important thing is that your family enjoys it.
5. Follow Through With the Tradition
It is important to follow through with family traditions because they are a great way to remember where you came from and to pass on your values and skills. Small traditions that are easy to follow are better than elaborate, stressful traditions. The excitement and love associated with traditions is stronger when the focus is on smaller moments rather than large ones.
Some family traditions already exist within your family without you even being aware. Just think about it and I’m sure that you’ll find 2-3 things that you regularly do with your family and that can easily turn into your unique family traditions.
6. Evaluate the Tradition and Make Changes As Needed
It’s important to evaluate your family tradition to ensure its success. A tradition can help your kids cope with change and grief, and it’s best to pass on traditions by making them happen regularly. Your tradition can also help children learn about their heritage, values, and skills.
With the holiday season around the corner, we can start thinking of new family tradition ideas to start. There are many fun and exciting activities that you can do together with your loved ones to create lasting memories. Some tradition ideas include cooking a meal together, watching a movie, giving everyone new pajamas, attending a holiday concert or performance, getting a new piece of holiday decor each year, making an Easter egg hunt, and leaving clues around the house for a scavenger hunt.
1. What are family traditions?
Family traditions are special outings, activities, or celebrations that families do together on a regular basis. They can be simple or elaborate, but the important thing is that they are meaningful to the family and help to create a sense of togetherness. Family traditions around the world are inherited through parents or ancestry, and therefore reflect the history of that ancestry.
2. What are some examples of family traditions?
Family traditions can be as small as a traditional recipe or saying started by a grandfather, or as large as celebrating Christmas every year. They can involve anything from annual camping trips to winter holiday parties.
Some examples of unique family traditions include going on annual vacations, celebrating birthdays with special meals or cakes, taking turns telling stories around the campfire, or watching favorite movies together. Family rituals like lighting candles before dinner or saying grace can also become regular traditions.
Whatever the tradition may be, it should be something that everyone in the family looks forward to and enjoys doing together.
3. What are the benefits of starting a family tradition?
On the whole, family traditions around the world
- Help build strong bonds between family members by providing shared experiences
- Pass down important values to children
- Create a sense of security and belonging for kids, as well as give them insight into their heritage or culture
- Are generally enjoyable and add excitement to family life
- Nurture a child’s self-esteem by providing them with a sense of importance within the family unit
- Increase the connection between each member, deepening the overall sense of community within the household
- Help shape your child’s identity
- Add excitement and fun to your family life
4. How do you create a family tradition?
You can easily set up your own tradition by
- Teaching your children about your heritage
- Choose traditions that are enjoyable for everyone involved. This will ensure that everyone enjoys the experience and looks forward to participating in future traditions.
- Use tradition as a way to teach your children about your values, and skills. This is a valuable opportunity to instill important life lessons in your children while also creating lasting memories together.
5. What are some holiday traditions?
Easter is a holiday that is all about receiving, and one fun tradition is the Easter basket scavenger hunt. This is where children go around looking for Easter baskets that are filled with goodies. another popular tradition is dyeing Easter eggs. This is a fun way to keep the tradition going year-round.
Christmas is a holiday that is all about giving, and one popular tradition is gift giving. Families exchange gifts with each other and share food together. Another popular tradition associated with Christmas is decorating homes and Christmas trees.
Halloween is a popular time to visit old cemeteries and have ghost stories told. One tradition is to tell your kids to pick X number of pieces of candy they get to keep and then to place the rest of their candy outside. Another tradition is to have a “wizard” come and swap the kids’ candy for a gift during the night. The Jack O’Lanterns are typically disposed of after Halloween, but some people bury their carved pumpkins instead in what they call their Pumpkin Graveyard.
6. What are some birthday traditions?
There are many different birthday traditions around the world. Some families have traditions for celebrating birthdays, such as cake and presents. Another tradition is to make a new privilege/new responsibility card for the birthday person. There are many other unique birthday traditions out there!
In Canada, it’s common to grease someone’s nose on their birthday. Families in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, celebrate birthdays by hanging a paper chain with 12 links. Celebrating birthdays in this way helps to make each birthday special and memorable. Some families celebrate birthdays with interviews or a special plate. This tradition can be started with any piece of tableware, as long as it is special to your family.
Some families choose not to have a cake at their birthday party and instead have a Compliment Bowl where everyone can write down what they appreciate about the person celebrating their birthday.
7. What is a special family tradition?
A special family tradition can be any tradition that is special for you and your family. It can be birthday, holiday, or any celebration for that matter.
8. What are family traditions for kids?
Some fun family traditions for kids are decorating the Christmas tree, baking cookies together, make DIY ornaments, Easter scavenger hunt, and so many more.
9. How can I keep my family traditions going?
It can be daunting to create and maintain unique family traditions, but it is worth it if they are important to the family. Keep traditions simple by focusing on what is important to the family and avoiding expensive or involved activities. Create simple traditions that are more likely to be repeated and carried on. Be open to trying new family tradition ideas and then scrapping them if they don’t work.