Make Memories With Family Traditions.

Family traditions are great, they help build a sense of belonging, can reinforce family values and best of all they make fantastic memories. Traditions don’t have to be fancy or expensive to be memorable. These are the things that childhood memories are made of! Here are some of our favourites, from simple ideas that you can do all year long, to extra special traditions for certain times of the year.
Many people start the New Year with resolutions for the year ahead and it is the perfect time to start some new family traditions.
# 1. Family walk - Find somewhere you like to walk in your area and make it your family walk – once a week or one a month – take a picnic or some sweeties to share and come rain or come shine, go and have fun in the sun or splashing in the puddles!
#2. Special breakfast day - Make a breakfast tradition once a week (it’s Sunday morning in our house) where you all sit as a family for breakfast. Make is special! Maybe you could promise yourselves bacon and eggs or pancakes? Get the children to help!
#3. A jar of memories - This is a popular tradition circulating Facebook at the moment. Keep a jar and some post-it notes handy and whenever something good happens, write it down and stick it in the jar. Open the jar on New Year’s Eve and remember all the great times you have had that year.
#4.  Make Friday and / or Saturday nights special - It could be a popcorn and movie night, or pizza and games night. My best friend remembers Saturday nights as a child, all round the television, with a bottle of pop – the only day in the week they were allowed it! Another friend has a movie tradition where they dance in the credits. Everyone makes a circle and they take it in turns to dance in the middle. They have even been known to do this in the cinema when it’s quiet!

Have a Hot Chocolate Buffet. Fill the slow cooker with hot chocolate and have squirty cream, marshmallows, sprinkles and biscuits.

Keep an eye out for changes in the seasons. Why not have a picnic supper in the woods when the first bluebells appear, or mark the Summer solstice with a hike up a big hill to watch the sunrise or set?
#5. Family Photos: recording growth and change - Photos can play part of your family traditions, or even become a tradition themselves. Lots of people take a first day back at school photo in the same place each year. You could add to this by giving your children a sign to hold up that says what year they are going into, or their hopes and dreams for the year ahead. One friend takes a picture with a chalkboard, which includes things such as “What I want to be when I grow up” which is a lovely idea. Or how about a similar thing for holidays? If you often visit the same holiday park, beach, or attraction, take a photo in the same spot each time. Don’t forget to have Mum and Dad in some photos too, it’s fun to see how they change as well. Another fun way to see how kids grow is to take photos in an oversized shirt. See how they grow into it over the years! Keep a height chart somewhere in your house. My Father in Law still has heights written on the door under the stairs. We love comparing our children’s heights to their Dad’s at the same age!
#6. Choose a Family Festival to look forward to each year - Some are pricey but our favourite is the brilliant Hay Festival. You can choose what you go to see and you are only charged for the events you choose to attend. Prices start at around £4 per person per event. There is a full range of events for children of all ages. Our children start asking in January if it’s nearly time for Hay!
#7. Make a Summer Fun Chart - lot what you’re going to do over the holiday! Write down fixed dates such as booked holidays and then make a list of things on post-it notes (such as swimming, picnic, visiting friends) which can be moved to the best day depending on mood, weather etc. We usually manage to get through most of our plans before the summer ends. Summer is a great time for outdoor traditions. How about camping in the back garden? Last year we slept on the trampoline with sleeping bags and blankets and looked up at stars.

The last day of the Summer holidays could be marked in a special way, with a picnic, a trip or by baking a cake.
#7. Make a family time capsule - Include a video, or sound recording, some special toys or other items, notes about hobbies, likes and dislikes, friends and family. Bury or hide the capsule and open it 10 years later! Just don’t forget where you put it…
#8. Go Foraging -  Note the change in seasons – go blackberry picking then make your own pie with them! Hunt for Sloes and make your own sloe gin for Christmas! Conker collecting is another fun autumn activity that you could build into a tradition. You could use them for a grand tournament, or search the internet for some great conker craft ideas.
#9. Plan Traditions for Easter and Christmas - We always decorate an Easter tree (twigs from the garden held with sand in a decorative pot) with homemade decorations. We have the same group of friends over on Good Friday for lunch – we all know it’s in the diary and we never miss it! There’s even an early Easter egg hunt in the garden! This is also a very good time of year for a Spring clear out. You could all agree to donate something to charity – the children can give some toys or books.
Christmas is such a great time for making traditions. We always bought a new decoration for the tree with my Mum every year (she didn’t even like Christmas much, but we always had great fun!). You might like to take a drive around your area looking for the best Christmas lights. This could be turned into a treasure hunt with a bit of forward planning – who can find a Santa, a Star, a Christmas Tree etc.? One friend of mine leaves herself a message in the box of decorations, to be packed away and discovered the following year. Instead of a traditional advent calendar, visit a charity shop and pick up a selection of books make a book advent calendar. Wrap them up and open and read one each night in December. You might start a special book of Christmas memories to put under your tree. When something fun happens, write it in your book. Christmas Eve is perfect for tradition. How many people do you know who have new PJs on Christmas Eve? From sprinkling reindeer food on the lawn, to leaving a treat for Father Christmas, there are many ways to make the day special. We always have a takeaway on Christmas Eve, watch a Christmas movie, and read The Night Before Christmas just before bed.

#10.  Make your very own Family Tradition - This might be something you say to each other at bedtime, when you say goodbye, a secret hug, a special kiss or a handshake. We have a group “muggle”  (family cuddle!) before bed.

Whatever you do, have fun making some family traditions this year!