More Than Just Thanksgiving: Traditions to Try Throughout the Year
Everyone loves traditions. From Thanksgiving dinner to Christmas shopping, there’s something delightfully reassuring about knowing what’s coming. Another nice thing about traditions is getting to put your own spin on them, such as going with unique pearl engagement rings rather than more typical diamonds. While buying gifts is an important part of most holidays, Thanksgiving is special in that the gift is primarily one of time. As important as the big events are, most of life is comprised of ordinary moments. But this doesn’t mean regular days aren’t worth celebrating. Showing gratitude and sharing the love with family and friends creates such a great feeling, you want to experience it more than just on major holidays. Simple rituals strengthen family bonds and create lasting memories for kids and adults alike. Read on to discover new traditions to try throughout the year.
For a quick and easy way to share the love, pull the fam in for a hug. Hugs are simple yet powerful. Even a brief squeeze releases soothing hormones, making everyone who is part of the circle feel less stressed for hours afterward. What a great way to start your family’s day.
Singing unites people in a unique and fundamental way. Singing is also scientifically proven to offer benefits to the mind, body, and spirit. It relieves stress, boost immunity and develops a sense of connectedness. Your family can sing a wakeup song, belt out a tune on the way to school, share a melody after dinner, or croon a lullaby before bed. Singing is a relaxing and comforting way to bond with your family.
While there’s no rule against having a Thanksgiving-style meal any day of the year, you also shouldn’t feel pressure to spend hours in the kitchen. Turkey burgers, a salad and microwave-baked apples will do the trick. If a daily homemade meal together is too much, declare Friday night Pizza Night, or make Sunday Brunch a weekly tradition. What matters is attitude. Create some rules to get the mood right: the whole family must come to the table at the same time. No devices. Say a prayer or take turns sharing one thing you’re each grateful for. Once in a while, add onto the family dinner with a board game session, a dance party, or by taking turns reading a story aloud.
Another great way to boost health and attachment is an after-dinner family walk. Fresh air and gentle movement help you digest your dinner and the day’s events. You’ll likely sleep better and you may even drop a few pounds. One variation on the daily walk is the full moon walk. Even if your family’s schedule is chock-full, you can find the time once a month to get together and experience the beauty and mystery of a full moon.
Generosity and giving to others are values many families want to instill in their children. Make it a family affair by scheduling a monthly day of service that everyone can join in. Contact a local homeless shelter, get involved with an organization, or simply help out an elderly neighbor with their yard work. Performing acts of kindness together will teach your kids more about philanthropy than any lecture or check-writing will do.
When trying out a new tradition, it can be tempting to go whole hog. Instead, take it slow. See how the family dinner goes, then try a game night separately. Tweak as needed. With a little effort, your clan can create its own cultural legacy, and a lifetime of cherished memories.