Whether you’re an established family with many years under your belt and family members of all ages or a brand-spankin’ new family just welcoming your first child, traditions play a fun role in forging family bonds. And it really doesn’t matter how late in life you are … a tradition can be started today!

Don’t know where to start? The holidays are a great motivator. So consider these options:

  • Think back on your young life. Was there something during the holidays that you especially looked forward to? Maybe you got to sleep in mom and dad’s room on Christmas Eve; or you were the one who got to light the first candle each night of Hanukah. It could be as simple as your Christmas picture with Santa or as involved as presenting the 12 Days of Christmas for a neighbor in need. Didn’t have a family strong in traditions? Ask your spouse or a friend about theirs.
  • Use social media as an idea source. Take a look at Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and even blogs. Everyone tends to post the very best of their lives, so it’s a veritable gold mine of ideas. Consider the ages of your children as you begin to implement new traditions. Also consider your availability as well as your ability. A tradition should be fun for mom and dad too – and if you wear yourself thin, it won’t be fun.
  • Start small and make it memorable. A tradition doesn’t have to be grand to have a big impact. Taking your child to give a gently loved stuffed animal to another child in a shelter costs nothing, but teaches volumes. Doing it together and making it a big moment can become a much-cherished tradition.
  • Talk about the new tradition before you do it. Try it out, and then talk about it after you do it. Of course, taking pictures makes it easier to relive the event. Remind your child(ren) how it felt to participate. Maybe it was a game of Frisbee on Christmas Eve morning and your child got some good laughs. Maybe it was visiting the children’s hospital and bringing candy canes and homemade cards. Whatever tradition you start, relive it many times before the next year rolls around.
  • Make it positive. Whether it’s the special breakfast or an event you participate in – throw stress out the window and make sure you enjoy it as much as you hope your child will. Traditions are only good if they’re positive.

Have fun this holiday season as you use traditions to help strengthen the bonds in your family!