The Benefits of Holiday Traditions

The Benefits of Holiday Traditions

Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa or another holiday this time of year, one thing is for certain: You (hopefully) have fond memories of the traditions that your family followed when you were young.

There are several ways in which celebrating your family’s own unique traditions are beneficial to you and your children. First, holidays typically mean the coming together of family and friends with the intention of sharing loving, joyful feelings and rituals.

“The holidays are a great time to help your child connect to elders in the family,” says Regina Barros-Rivera, Associate Executive Director of North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center. “If your child has a hobby or activity that they can enjoy with their grandparents, they can create long-lasting memories.”

Cooking was the activity that bonded Barros-Rivera’s son to his grandmother, and the joy born of those early experiences has lasted throughout many years. “He’s 26 today and loves to join the family in preparing special holiday meals. His memories of my mother are forever special, and the moments for her were priceless.”

Another great way to build connections with significant others in the family is through storytelling. “That’s a wonderful way of giving rooted, positive foundations for present and future relationships,” says Barros-Rivera. Consider videotaping these conversations so you can hold onto them when the storyteller is no longer with you.

Although your family may have many holiday traditions in place, here are five ideas for creating new special memories that will carry over for generations:

  1. Ask your family how they can help others during the holiday season. That might be sending cards to soldiers, working in a soup kitchen or gathering warm coats for those in need. Creating a tradition of giving may be the most important lesson you impart to your children.
  2. Far away from family during the holidays? Why not open your house to others who may be solo during this season and host a potluck? No one should be alone during this time of celebration.
  3. Find out how other cultures all around the world celebrate the season. You might even want to add one of their rituals to your own.
  4. One of the nicest things about the holidays are the sometimes elaborate displays put up by your neighbors. Take a walk or a drive (bring the hot cocoa along) and take in the beauty that comes only during this time of year.
  5. Does Grandma have enough mittens to last a lifetime? Instead of giving tons of gifts, consider donating to your family member’s favorite charity. It just might be their very favorite gift of the season!