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Creating Family Traditions: Kidoinfo Readers Share Ideas for all Seasons

At every family meal, we go around the table and each person says what he or she is thankful for. – Mark

We love to play short round robin games of either Boggle or Bananagrams at the end of the day. It’s a family event. We are all in our pajamas, sitting atop the parents’ bed with either of those games. – Josefina

This is one of my favorites from the Kidoinfo archives. (First posted 12/30/11.)  Please share your favorite family traditions in the comments.


At every family meal, we go around the table and each person says what he or she is thankful for. – Mark

We love to play short round robin games of either Boggle or Bananagrams at the end of the day.  It’s a family event.  We are all in our pajamas, sitting atop the parents’ bed with either of those games.  – Josefina

Our family has a basket that we keep full of books in the living room.  Whenever a holiday is approaching, we go to the basement to find the kids’ books we’ve accumulated about that particular holiday, be it Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day or Christmas, and we bring them up and put them in the book basket.  Reading them together gets us all excited for the approaching holiday, and because they only come out once a year, they are extra special.  – Lori


My wife and I have two kids, aged five and eight. We have a few nice traditions emerging around birthdays. We found it impossible to have birthday parties without getting gifts, so rather than saying “no gifts” we got specific. “Bring a photo of yourself” worked well, “bring a photo of an animal” too, and “no bigger than a grapefruit.” The past few years we have asked for pet food and toys to bring to Providence Animal Rescue League. Our pets have all come from shelters so there is a nice connection for our kids. The REAL tradition becomes loading it all into the car and bringing it down to the shelter. We then hang around, pet some kitties, distribute the toys, and when the staff is not too busy they lavish attention on us. Turns into a nice afternoon. – Geoff

After blowing out the candles on the birthday cake, the birthday person gets “buttered”.  A few family members put butter on the person’s nose as good luck.  It helps them slide through the next year.  Sometimes it gets carried away with the birthday person’s face getting quite a greasing! – Amy

Our favorite family tradition is going hiking on New Year’s Day.  This is a great way to confirm the importance of exercise in our lives and spending our free time outdoors and together as a family. – Veronica

My favorite family tradition is one from when I was growing up. Every Valentine’s Day (and whenever my parents went away overnight) my mother would use Hershey kisses to make a big “I” and then a giant heart and a “U” on the kitchen table. We used to slowly take kisses out and move the rest around to keep the design for as long as possible. I can’t wait to start this for my kids. – Heather

We have an annual tradition of a neighborhood Halloween Party and parade. It’s a great family and neighborhood tradition we all love it b/c we all love socializing with our neighbors while watching the kids play and have fun. – Cheryl

One of our favorite family traditions is carving the pumpkins on Halloween, toasting the seeds, and boiling the pumpkin meat to have some fresh pumpkin for pumpkin pies, breads and muffins. Yummmm!!!!!!!!! – Joan

Every November we create a tree from craft paper on our hall wall and each day a family member adds a leaf for something we are grateful for.  This way before the crazy holiday days we have grounded ourselves in gratitude. – Sunny

We have many traditions! Our favorite holiday tradition is threefold, we always donate and bring to a needy family a complete turkey dinner (with pie);  we always see a holiday show (The Nutcracker, a children’s performance, anything really) and we always whip our cream for our holiday pies!  One year we made whipped butter when we were talking instead of paying attention to the whipping cream. – Stacey

Our favorite tradition is that we make my grandmother’s Portuguese stuffing every Thanksgiving.  This is a family favorite and everyone gets involved from tearing the bread (for the little kids) up to the actual cooking (performed by Grandpa). – Meribah Dean

Our favorite family tradition at Thanksgiving is to gather for a special breakfast of Apple Cottage Cheese Pancakes in the morning, made by my husband. It is one of the only things he makes, but we are always SO excited for this breakfast. Then the pie baking begins! – Barbi

Every year the day after Thanksgiving we take off to New Hampshire with our son to ride the Polar Express from North Conway.  He loves the magical ride where all kids are in pajamas heading into the mountain to reach their final destination, The North Pole. -Amy Sullivan

Every year during the weekend of Thanksgiving, we head over to Meme & Papa’s house for “Grandies PJ Night”. Activities include decorating their Christmas Tree, good food and drinks and a matching set of PJs for all the grandkids or “grandies”. We start snapping pictures and sooner or later my mom has her Christmas card photo! I think the tradition originally started because my parent’s wanted help decorating the tree. Now, the grandkids (ages 3-9) look forward to this fun night and subsequent family gatherings when all of the cousins “just happen” to have on their matching PJs!  – Bethany

My favorite tradition is baking holiday cookies.  I still have the kitchen island that I made cookies on with my mother and sisters as a little girl.  It is such a joy to share the island, the memories, and the cookie recipes with my kids now. – Valerie

Our favorite holiday tradition is our daily “Christmas Magic” Christmas countdown (Similar to the idea of an advent calendar.)  And to answer the question why we celebrate this holiday in our house, we say: “We celebrate Christmas magic because this is a magical time of year…We describe how, at its best, it is a time of extra excitement, celebration, generosity and kindness that, in itself, is magic.  It is a time that people connect with their spiritual beliefs and enjoy the abundance that comes from both giving and receiving.  And it is also a time to be especially compassionate to those who do not have people in their lives with whom they can share celebrations this time of year.” – Marta

The Christmas Imp, a little man with a red peaked cap made out of pipe cleaners who my husband and I hide in a new location in our house every day December  1-24. The idea is that he’s there to observe the kids and report to Santa if they’ve been good. The kids love to find him. On Christmas Eve, he’s in the Christmas tree and on Christmas Day he’s gone, presumably having left with Santa. This is a tradition that’s been in my husband’s family for three generations, and each nuclear family makes their own Imp. – Esther & Daniel

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