Family traditions will soon disappear if we allow the family stories to die with our generation. I was watching a commercial where it shows this woman reminiscing over baking with her mom early one Christmas morning because she wake up so early. Her mother taught her to make a breakfast strudel. While she’s remembering this her own little boy comes toddling into the kitchen, so she takes him into the kitchen to relive her childhood memory. This is how traditions begin.
The problem is we stop sharing how our traditions started. We rarely have times when we sit around the table or in front of the fire and remember when . . .
In my family we have these discussions over ice cream and cake or popcorn and hot chocolate. Everyone has a different version of the time we had barbecue instead of turkey for Thanksgiving, or when my boys (now grown men with children of their own) saw their first snow when we went to Ohio for Christmas. We also have an abundance of family ghost stories that we share with each new generation. This is also a great time to drag out the family picture albums. These times of sharing are multi-generational; including the great grands, grands, parents, children, everyone.
Baking cookies is a great time to share. Cookouts is another great time to share. Why do you make the sauce the way you do? Why is there a children’s table? Why is there an extra plate on the table at Christmas? Why are there rocking chairs under the big tree? Family stories about our traditions paint a picture of who we are as a family. These fond memories allow us to appreciate every generations contribution to our family. These times of sharing will also allow others to add to the traditions, adapting them to modern times. Traditions won’t die; they will grow and be carried into the next generation attached to a new and growing story.
Family traditions are tied to family stories and we shouldn’t let them die. Do you remember a story that has caused you to do a particular thing a particular way in your family? Sit down and share it with your children and their children the next time you are all together. You may be surprised at how much interest and fun it will produce in the life of your family.