Making Memories of Us

Two people and a dog walking on the beach

Every Halloween I make chili in the crockpot. After school and work, we would have dinner before we went trick-or-treating.

One October after my son had left for college, I mentioned the possibility of not making chili on Halloween. Upon hearing that, my daughter (tearfully) insisted I keep the tradition. It was then I realized the importance of traditions.

Traditions are the foundation of a family because it is through them that memories are made. Memories made through tradition are the kind that sustain us through hard times… the kind that our children’s children will continue long after we’re gone… the kind that connect us to our family’s identity and culture.

In fact, “Psychologist Marshall Duke found that children who have intimate knowledge of their family’s history are typically more well-adjusted and confident than children who don’t. They have higher levels of self-esteem, fewer behavioral problems, and better family functioning.” ~ How Important is Thanksgiving Soup to a Child’s Wellbeing?

Perhaps the most important thing about traditions is that they provide rhythm. When people are ill what they miss most is the simple everyday rituals and traditions.

“Families are not perfect, and there is no ‘perfect family tradition.’ To create a ritual in your family, just bring a little creativity, a great story and a lot of love to the table. You can start with something as simple as soup.” ~ How Important is Thanksgiving Soup?

Many of my family’s traditions started when our kids were really young, while some of them we created along the way.

These are some of my favorite family traditions and rituals:

  • Crockpot chili on Halloween
  • The naming of 3 things we love (whenever someone is grumpy)
  • Home-cooked Sunday brunch
  • Holding hands during the prayer at mealtime
  • Summer afternoons at Sea World and the San Diego Zoo
  • Making enchiladas on Christmas Eve
  • Watching /The Polar Express/ on Christmas Eve while eating popcorn and drinking hot chocolate
  • Hiding our nativity baby Jesus until his “birth” on Christmas Day
  • Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day
  • Storytime before bed

Our favorite tradition, hands down, is our annual Christmas Day walk on the beach. While we watch the waves roll in and out, we reflect on our blessings and try to capture the moments before they’re gone like the tide. Our dog, Sugar, especially likes this tradition.

As the holiday season approaches, remember the importance of traditions because before you know it the moments will become memories.

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