Why Traditions are Important
You probably have some traditions that you enjoy, especially during the holidays, but have you ever stopped to explore why those traditions are important?
If you’re like me, you have some holiday traditions that are special to you. For me, I like to set up a Christmas village in our living room, and to make it even more special, we hide a lamb in our Christmas village that people can look for and hide when they find it, to symbolize finding Christ in Christmas.
Traditions are important because they convey a message of values and often connection.
Traditions help give people a sense of purpose, belonging, and fulfillment and enjoyment.
Also, when your teen is not longer a teen, and living away from your home, your traditions will help them want to return to your home, these traditions will help them feel excitement and joy when they visit, and they might even be traditions that they carry on with their own families in the future.
Traditions Create Connection
Ultimately, traditions are a fun opportunity to create connection and joy.
I want to share 3 simple ways that you can create holiday traditions with your teen that will build connection and love. This will help you see Christmas and the holidays as an opportunity to connect with your teen and share powerful values with them.
If you’re not careful, you could accidentally push your teen away with your traditions, especially if you try to force your traditions on your teen. But, if you follow these simple steps, you’ll create family traditions that you and your teen can look forward to for years to come.
#1 Make it Fun!
Seriously, this one should be a no brainer, right!?!
But, how many times are we as parents guilty of sucking the fun out of things? This is one area where you definitely don’t want to be a kill joy.
I don’t know why we think that everything needs to be boring. One of the things that some of my teachers would tell me when I was a principal was, “School’s not supposed to be fun.”
I say, Bah humbug to that. School SHOULD be fun, and so should enjoy your holiday traditions.
If you want to create some new holiday traditions with your teen, make sure their fun.
If you want to create memories that will have your no-longer-teens telling their spouse, “But, we have to go to my parents this year because I LOVE this tradition!” your traditions need to be fun.
For this, find ways to celebrate things that you and your teen enjoy doing.
Find ways to celebrate growth and accomplishment.
One of my mottos is, “How can we make this a party with a purpose?” Apply that to some of your holiday traditions. Ask your teen things like, “How can we make this fun?” They’ll help you.
#2 Keep It Simple
Sometimes I have the best of intentions, and I want to do something, and I think it’s going to be so much fun, and I want to invite all of these people, and I want it to be perfect, and I want to incorporate so many things, and before long what started as a simple idea has exploded into a full scale production.
If you want to create and impactful holiday tradition with your teen, keep it simple.
Don’t make it so complicated, or expensive, or exhausting that you’ll never want to do it again.
Make it simple enough that your teen wants to do it with you. Make it simple enough that you want to do it with your teen.
Some of the best holiday traditions are simple because they were made for children, and the children enjoyed them enough to remember them and pass them along as adults.
We used to have my dad bring two of his fancy horses, Norwegian Fjords, to my house, then hitch them up to a wagon, then go caroling through my neighborhood. It was super fun. The only problem is that it is not simple, and as my kids have become busy teenagers, that tradition has fallen by the wayside. Don’t let your traditions fall into the same trap.
#3 Let Your Teen Lead
I’m on this kick of empowering teens. If you want to create an awesome holiday tradition with your teen, that you will both remember fondly for years to come, let your teen lead. This will empower your teen. This will increase their buy in and the likelihood that they will enjoy the new tradition.
EMPOWER YOUR TEEN.
You could ask your teen, “What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?” or “What holiday traditions would you like to start in our home?” Bottom line is, let your teen lead. Let them have the experience of creating something.
One year when I was a teacher, I tasked my students with coming up with some form of service to give back to the community. They couldn’t agree on one service project, so we combined 2 into one. It was a food/coat drive. We gathered hundreds of pounds of food for our community. We collected tons of coats. We collaborated with various departments in the tribe to make sure that the food and coats made it to families that needed it, and my students lead the whole thing.
And, at the end of the school year, when I asked, “What was the most meaningful thing that you learned this year?”, all of my students said it was the service project.
BONUS #1 Make it Meaningful
If the tradition that you create has a deeper meaning, and if it’s meaningful to both you and your teen, it will have a deeper impact on your lives.
BONUS #2 Traditions Ideas From Me and Others
- Build a Christmas village
- Go Christmas caroling
- Make cookies and deliver them to elderly neighbors
- Do a fancy Christmas dinner and invite your teen to bring a date
- Do secret Santa Activities
- Play boardgames
- Cook food together
- Do a holiday scavenger hunt
- Do an act of service
- Family service project.
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