Why Family Traditions Matter

by Melissa

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Do family traditions matter? 

Christmas 2009 was fast approaching. Having been married just over a year, I was thinking back to all of the Christmas traditions my family kept.

Decembers included: making candy countdown chains , giving the 12 Days of Christmas to someone who needed it, writing and burning a letter to Santa Claus, moving Mary and Joseph one step closer to Bethlehem each day on our Nativity Advent, having a fancy Christmas Eve candlelight dinner, going to Temple Square, and making beignets on Christmas morning, to just name a few.

Since my husband and I were in the midst of creating our own family culture, I thought that having a place to jot down all of my family traditions down would be a good place to start. Whether we continued keeping all of the traditions from my childhood or not, I wanted to remember all of those holiday traditions that meant so much to me as a child. 

The beginning of something inspiring…

So on December 1st, I create So Festive!, a place to inspire others with simple celebration ideas.  I wanted to show you that you could celebrate simply and cheaply–my mom did it with 7 children on a teacher’s salary!

I wasn’t looking to create the next big blog. But the content I shared quickly became popular worldwide. 

Simple is better….

That’s when I realized that what I was sharing was something others craved. In this day of Pinterest perfection, it’s easy to get caught up thinking that we have to spend tons of money or two months of our life to plan a meaningful birthday party. 

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I go all out, too. But I’ve learned that usually the simpler, the better. 

Kids want time and attention…and rarely care about fancy favors or table decor.  Celebrations are all about the memories and feelings they create. 

Looking back…

It may seem that we had more Christmas traditions that would probably ever seem possible to keep up.  But those holiday traditions were incorporated into our daily living and they seemed to be a way of life rather than just another thing on our to-do list. (Because don’t we all have enough on our to-do-lists?)

I wish I could ask my mom how she did it all. But I can’t. She passed away from cancer when I was 15–exactly another reason I wanted to record as much as I could before I forgot.

12 Days

^Pictured: Giving the 12 Days of Christmas-one of our family’s favorite traditions

The key ingredients of family traditions… 

I bet my mom would tell me (and you!) that the best traditions that she kept up were: 

  • strengthened our family
  • created memories
  • were simple
  • and spread joy to others.

The best traditions brought happiness instead of hassle and smiles instead of stress.  They were activities that we asked for again and again. And we actually had fun doing them!  

That is what traditions are all about. 

Does it matter what the traditions are? 

I don’t think it’s the tradition that matters so much (although banging pots and pans on New Years Eve is pretty darn fun) as what the tradition means.

Ask yourself:

  • Is there purpose behind what we are doing?
  • Are we doing it because we “should” or do we really want to do it?
  • Have we made this traditional personal to us (for the stage of life we are in?)


^Yes, we still bang pots and pans. We are those loud neighbors on New Years Eve 🙂

Traditions connect generations…

Many traditions we still keep up with my young family may seem silly for my husband, but I just can’t seem to let them go because of the connection I feel to my mother while we are doing that. And I love that my children are learning more about her along the way. 

Since she can’t be here to celebrate holidays or birthdays with us, traditions provide the way to stay connected to her and who she was. They create excitement for life and I don’t know about you, but you can never have too much excitement in life.

So yes, traditions matter. If you choose them wisely, they will strengthen your family and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Simple holiday traditions….

Take a look at some of the most popular family traditions we’ve shared over the years:

The Best Family Traditions 


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