Family traditions in the festive season

Parenting tips by Claire HalseyThis time of years seems positively filled with celebrations and gift giving. With Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year there are many opportunities for families to get together to share their beliefs, spend quality time together and to create strong memories and family traditions.

Alongside the religious significance of this time of year, research suggests that a sense of belonging, building up positive memories and bringing people together are important functions of festivities.

How do you create a festive atmosphere in your home? Try these ideas to build on your family traditions:

Top Tip 1
Down memory lane
First of all think about memories from your own childhood, perhaps you remember traditional stories being read around this time, the excitement of leaving out mince pies for Santa and a carrot for Rudolph or of special foods and prayers to mark religious days.

These are important as they link the generations of your family and build the bonds between new and older members.

You may like to talk with grandparents about traditions and practices you have forgotten, stories of celebrations of yesteryears can bring back loving memories and give you ideas of different ways to increase the family atmosphere.

Christmas Cracker

Top Tip 2
Create new traditions
You could also think about new ways to celebrate, perhaps you’ll start a tradition of making things together, like creating your own Christmas crackers, or preparing special food for Hanukah together, playing games and sharing jokes. If you are in a stepfamily this is an ideal opportunity to decide how you will celebrate and try a blend of traditions from different sides of the family.

Top Tip 3
Eating together
Sharing food is a common tradition this time of year, it shows care for each other, as well as having religious importance in some cases. Involve everyone in your family in cooking, setting the table or making decorations this can help keep children busy and give you quality time together.

Top Tip 4
Joy of giving
The festive season is also a time to think of others outside the family. In the run up to the holidays encourage children to have a toy clear out and donate unwanted items to the school fair or local charity shop. Choose your cards from the charity selection, or donate a gift to children who are needy. This gives you an opportunity to teach your children about the joy of giving as well as receiving.

Top Tip 5
Where do your traditions come from
Lastly is can be fun to find out where some of our traditions come from, check out fascinating facts books at the library or on the internet to find out why is Santa dressed in red and white, what meaning do our decorations have or practices like bringing in coal at new year? Children can have fun sharing the results of these fact-finding missions.

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