One of the most important aspects of family life are establishing regular traditions and celebrating holidays. Holidays can often be stressful chaotic times within our lives, and the little fun things have a tendency to get lost. Regardless of the holidays you choose to celebrate or the traditions you decide to have, it is important to have this sense of regularity and togetherness. This gives the family something to look forward to with anticipation and creates memories that will last a lifetime. Here are some of our tips that you may choose to establish in your home.
- For Valentine's Day, have each family member decorate a valentine sack. Each family member can put little gifts inside one another's bag and on Valentine's Day you get to open your bag. Have a special family dinner. You and your spouse might opt for a more romantic night the weekend following the holiday – if you are fortunate, get a babysitter.
- For President's Day choose a few presents and put together a list of fun facts about them. Choose new President's each year. Have a Presidential themed dinner, choosing foods or deserts that were a chosen President's favorite.
- For St. Patrick's Day put up some fun decorations and have a green themed meal.
- For Easter, color and decorate eggs together. Have a big meal with extended family, and have a huge egg hunt for all the kids. You can put money, candy, or small trinkets in plastic eggs or use a wax crayon or marker to write on hardboiled decorated eggs for prizes. You can have a contest for that gets the most eggs, etc.
- Celebrate Arbor Day and plant a tree. If you do not have a yard, plant a houseplant. It will be fun to watch it grow over the years.
- Celebrate Earth Day by supporting a cause of interest. You may choose to adopt a wild animal, switch to environmentally friendly cleaning products, visit a health food store, or recycling center.
- In May, celebrate Cinco De Mayo by learning how to cook a Mexican meal together as a family. You can even make fun mocktails the kids will enjoy.
- Memorial Day is the time to pay tribute to our ancestors who have given their lives for the freedoms we hold dear today. You can celebrate this often overlooked holiday by visiting a cemetery and decorating graves with flowers or flags. You can fly a United States flag (it is recommended only at half-staff until noon). Attend parades, firework displays, or memorial shows in your area or visit memorials.
- Celebrate the beginning of summer in June. Choose the longest night of the year to have a festive cook out, visit a local swimming pool, or the beach. Begin stargazing in your backyard. You can check out books and discover the constellations and learn more about space exploration.
- For the Fourth of July go see a community fireworks display.
- Go to your local State or county fair each year.
- Labor Day is set aside each year to honor the American worker. Make this a family day and enjoy togetherness. It also symbolizes the waning days of summer. Spend it with your family going to a local swimming pool or lake, go camping, or just hang out in your backyard. Making homemade ice cream in an old fashioned ice cream machine is a fun tradition kids will love.
- Plan Halloween costumes weeks in advance. Halloween is a fun holiday to decorate your home. Have older kids help you set up a haunted graveyard in your front yard to greet trick or treaters. Make candied apples or popcorn balls together. Visit a pumpkin patch. Go on a hay ride at a local farm.
- During Thanksgiving, involve kids. This can be a boring holiday for many kids, but it is an often overlooked and under celebrated holiday. Make a time within your meal to go around and each say say a few things that you are thankful for. Let kids help prepare the foods. Visit or host family and friends. Volunteer to help a less competent person or charity during this time. Adopt a family and give special gifts or the goods to make a dinner.
- For Christmastime, make homemade candy / cookies together. Make your own Christmas cards and send them to family and friends. Visit community events such as zoo lights, community centers and recreation departments often sponsor fun events. Go for a sleigh ride. Have fun thinking of gift ideas to give each family member. Decorate your tree together. Do a Christmas village, and try to buy a new piece each year. Go around and look at light displays. Decorate your own home. Make cider, eggnog, or hot chocolate.
- For the first snow, make it a family tradition to go sledding. When you are finished have some homemade hot cholcolate – the packaged stuff you get from the grocery store is never as good. Have a nice pot of chili or homemade soup cooking in your crock-pot and make fresh bread in the bread maker.