Think back to when you were a kid. Did your family have any traditions? Was there something that you did together predictably and regularly as a family? Something that you looked forward to eagerly or think back on fondly? What were your family traditions?
One of the traditions that my family observed was Friday night pizza and bad movies. My mom would cook up a few pizzas (pepperoni, olive, and mushrooms), and we'd watch whatever bad movie was showing. There was a series on the USA channel called "Up All Night" that would play terrible shows like Revenge of the Toxic Avenger and Nuke 'Em High. We'd camp out in the living room and eat pizza and watch bad TV until late into the night.
It wasn't something that we did to create a tradition, but it became one anyway.
When I first began thinking about family traditions, I didn't even consider Friday Night Pizza to be one. At the time, I thought that traditions required ceremonies and ritual, perhaps some robes and chanting or a speech. I had it in my head that there was a pattern to follow.
I've since come to think of it much more fluidly and I've found that it's actually really simple to start a family tradition. Maintaining a tradition is another matter, but starting one is pretty straight forward.
The simple definition that I've come to understand regarding family tradition is contained in the question I asked in the first paragraph: it's something that you do together predictably and regularly with your family.
To be predictable, there has to be some kind of recurring schedule that your tradition follows. It could be nightly, weekly, monthly, yearly or any thing in between. Sticking with the schedule is important so that your family can plan around and look forward to the tradition. If everyone knows that Tuesday is board game night, then they'll know to check in before planning something over the top of it.
Following the schedule takes work and effort, but you should also stay flexible. As your kids grow up, they'll start getting engaged in other activities at school or on their sports team or at church and these will compete for the same time as your traditions. Make sure that you're balancing "the way it's always been" with trying new things.
Talking theoretically about family traditions is great, but let's try actually putting some action to the talk. Below is a list of some of the traditions that have developed in my family: