The key to a happy and strong family are meaningful family traditions. This is the ultimate list of over 101 family ritual ideas to create a happy home.
My grandmother made homemade donuts for my mom as a child. My mother made them for us, and now we are 3rd and 4th generation “spudnut” makers who look forward to this annual Fall tradition! And you better believe we take this same photo each year!
This favorite family tradition is not about the donuts (ok maybe it is slightly because who can resist hot and fresh glazed donuts that melt in your mouth?) This tradition strengthens our family (both past and present), sparks joy, and gives us the opportunity to serve others.
Each batch of donuts makes 100 and we usually triple it….giving us donuts galore to share with neighbors and friends who we open our home to.
However, it’s not so much what the tradition is that is the most important, but that your family has traditions.
Why do traditions matter?
- Why Traditions Matter
- Daily Family Traditions
- Weekly Family Traditions
- Monthly Family Rituals
- Yearly Family Tradition Ideas
- Birthday Memory Makers
- Random Holiday Traditions
- New Years Traditions
- Valentine’s Day Traditions
- St. Patrick’s Day Traditions
- Easter Traditions
- Summer Rituals
- 4th of July Traditions
- Back to School Traditions
- Halloween Traditions
- Thanksgiving Traditions
- Christmas Traditions
- Take Inventory Of Your Traditions
Why Traditions Matter
Family traditions are a foundation for a strong family. Do traditions matter? Yes!
Saul Levine, an M.D., Professor Emeritus in Psychiatry at the University of California at San Diego, reminds us of the benefits of traditions.
Traditions help us feel a sense of identity a belonging. They connect us to past and future generations. They offer comfort and security and help us create memories with those we love.
Traditions give everyone something to look forward to. In an ever-changing world, traditions can create some stability and excitement to life.
Just remember: family traditions can change and evolve over the years.
Family connection is the key to traditions. The tradition, whether big or small, doesn’t matter so much as the feelings and connections they are creating by keeping a certain tradition.
Take time to regularly reevaluate your family traditions to see if they are still working or if it is time for a change. (See the end of the post for ideas on how to evaluate your own traditions.)
So now that you’re ready to start or add rituals to your family life, here are over 100 tradition ideas!
Daily Family Traditions
- Eat dinner as a family.
- Say a family prayer at the end of each day.
- Say a family cheer.
- Share highs and lows at the dinner table.
- Do the dishes together.
- Read a bedtime story together.
- Have the same meal on the same day each week.
- Have “snack and chat” time after school to hear about your children’s days.
- Use these conversation starters to get to know each other better at meal times.
Weekly Family Traditions
- Plan a special family activity for each weekend.
- Have a family movie night each Friday.
- Turn on some fun music and have a cleaning party together.
- Get outside to enjoy a leisurely walk in nature.
- Eat pizza every Friday night.
- Have weekly game nights.
- Do a weekly date night with your spouse even if its an at-home date ideas.
Monthly Family Rituals
- Go on a one-on-one parent/child date. It can be simple.
- Choose a few random monthly holidays to celebrate each month. (Like National Pancake Day or Talk Like a Pirate Day!)
- Review family goals to see how you’re doing.
Yearly Family Tradition Ideas
- Take a family trip.
- Get a family picture taken.
- Print off a photo book to relive your favorite memories.
- Take a camping trip.
- Celebrate Grandma and Grandpa’s birthdays by looking at photos or making one of their recipes.
- Celebrate the birthday of your family on your anniversary.
Birthday Memory Makers
- Do a Birthday Interview to see how their answers change from year to year.
- Let the birthday person eat meals on a Special Plate.
- Put out your shoes for a visit from the Birthday Fairy.
- Have each person in the family say why they love the birthday person at the dinner table.
- Hang up photos throughout the years.
- Celebrate half birthdays with half of a cake or dessert.
- Decorate the bedroom door with streamers and put up a Happy Birthday banner.
Random Holiday Traditions
- Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day by talking about your dreams.
- Make Groundhog pancakes on Groundhog Day.
- Celebrate Pi Day on March 14th (aka 3.14) and eat pie!
- Visit cemeteries on Memorial Day and learn stories of your ancestors.
- Drink hot cocoa on the first snow fall.
New Years Traditions
- Make a family goal binder and set goals together.
- Let kids stay up as late as they want on New Year’s Eve.
- Countdown to the new year with DIY Countdown Bags and family activities.
- Watch family videos from the year.
- Bang pots and pans at midnight.
- Do a family-friendly New Year’s toast with Martinelli’s non-alcoholic drinks.
- Make delicious New Year’s Eve appetizers.
- Instead of giving Christmas gifts, deliver New Years gifts to neighbors and friends. Give them a fun treat or some “dough” for the new year.
Valentine’s Day Traditions
- Eat easy chocolate fondue together.
- Do the 14 Days of Love Challenge.
- Take at-home Valentine’s pictures with your loves!
- Fill up the Love Jar before Valentine’s Day.
- Heart attack your kid’s doors on the eve of Valentine’s Day. Write notes about why you love them.
- Make it a family celebration and do things you love together.
- Give everyone a new book at dinner.
St. Patrick’s Day Traditions
- Make the day extra lucky by eating Lucky Charms for breakfast.
- Wear green to avoid getting pinched!
- Hide chocolate coins around the house for kids to find from the leprechaun.
- Dye the milk green.
- Leave mini footprints on the toilet seat and sink and dye the toilet water green.
- Eat a green dinner.
- Make Green Mean Machines.
- Do a color-coded Easter egg hunt (no tears and fun for ALL ages!)
- Dye Easter eggs together.
- Decorate Easter egg people.
- Make Resurrection rolls as a family to learn about the Easter story.
- Celebrate each day of Holy Week with daily signs and devotionals.
- Have your own Last Supper on the floor by eating foods from Christ’s time.
- Take an Easter picnic on Saturday.
- Celebrate the first day of summer by eating ice cream for dinner.
- Make a summer bucket list and see how much fun you can have.
- Watch a movie in the backyard.
- Learn something new.
- Go camping as a family.
- Make s’mores over a campfire.
4th of July Traditions
- Host a 4th of July Bike parade and breakfast with neighbors.
- Run a race together.
- Cuddle up together as you watch fireworks.
- Have a BBQ with all your favorite BBQ recipes.
Back to School Traditions
- Have a Back-to School Backwards dinner. Dress backwards and eat dessert first.
- Do a back to school fashion show to see everyone’s new clothes.
- Come up with a family theme or scripture verse to memorize and focus on throughout the school year.
- Take each child on a back to school date to pick out a new outfit and get lunch or a special treat.
- Leave a first day of school backpack surprise.
- Cook dinner in a pumpkin.
- Visit a pumpkin patch to pick out pumpkins to carve or decorate.
- Take a hayride or visit a cornmaze.
- Decorate beds with Halloween pillowcases. (Here’s a 15-minute pillowcase tutorial.)
- Do themed Family Halloween costumes.
- Read Halloween books together.
- Spend an evening making homemade donuts together.
- Boo! your neighbors.
- Have a Thanksgiving Eve pie night so you can enjoy all the pies before you are too full after the big dinner.
- Watch It’s A Wonderful Life on Thanksgiving night.
- Make pies together.
- Do a Turkey trot or race together.
- Have your own Turkey bowl football game.
- Have a Thanksgiving feast with all the best Thanksgiving recipes.
- Read “If You Want To Be Happy” and give something away.
- Decorate the beds with holiday pillowcases. (Here’s a 15-minute pillowcase tutorial.)
- Have a family sleepover by the Christmas tree.
- Wrap up all your favorite Christmas books and open one each night in Decemebr to read by the Christmas tree.
- Celebrate Advent Sundays.
- Decorate Gingerbread Graham Cracker houses.
- Celebrate St. Nicholas Day on December 6th by putting out your shoes the night before and waking up to find goodies.
- Do a Sub 4 Santa or do the sweet and simple 12 days of Christmas for someone who could use some extra cheer.
- Have a kid’s Christmas tree with all the homemade ornaments.
- Get a new ornament each year.
- Do the White Stocking tradition.
- Make a Christmas trap.
- Watch Christmas movies together.
- Cut down your own Christmas tree and have a decorating party.
- Open new pajamas on Christmas Eve.
- Play Christmas hand bell songs to the elderly.
- Hide a Christmas pickle ornament.
- Act out the nativity.
- Have a candlelight Christmas Eve dinner.
Take Inventory Of Your Traditions
Now that you have plenty of new tradition ideas, gather your family to talk about your family rituals.
You could ask the following questions to help you decide what you can keep or change to make more meaningful memories with your family.
- What new traditions would you like to start?
- What traditions do not bring you joy?
- What are some of your favorite traditions?
- What traditions bring us the most stress? Are these worth keeping?
As you decide what traditions to keep, try to keep some that are simple, strengthen relationships, serve others and spark joy.
Here’s to a happy home with great family memories!