Tavia's point in the movie (or play, if you’re old school like that) remains: traditions are an important part of being a family. They create opportunities for the best stories, provide chances for togetherness (that may or may not draw groans from the children, depending on their ages), and generally provide some kind of teaching moment, making them ridiculously important. But how does something go from being an accidental family event to a full on tradition?

I’ll take traditions for $200, Alex!

The definition of tradition (when typed into the Google search bar at least) is: the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way. So basically, anything that you pass to your children, which they may pass to theirs, can become a tradition. It may be that you open one present on Christmas Eve, or call Wednesday nights Spaghetti Tuesday, or give your sons their father’s first name as a middle name. All of those are valid traditions that someone started in your family that you choose to continue into the next generation. But that also means that, one night, someone decided that was the brilliant thing to do, so why can’t you?

On Holiday

Holidays are probably the easiest times to base traditions around. I’m not just talking about the major holidays (usually the ones found on the Christian calendar, at least in my area), but the little forgotten ones as well. You can decide that on National Peanut Butter Day (November 28th), every meal must include peanut butter, or that on Patriot Day (September 11th), you’ll wear a yellow ribbon. These traditions are the easiest to create because the day already has some kind of significance attached to it and are therefore more easily remembered.

‘Tis the Season

Another easy way to create traditions is to base them on the season. You know the weather of your area pretty well (unless you just moved across the country), so you’ll know what kind of traditions are availab. It may be that the first winter snow you’ll go for a midnight horseback ride (thank you Stepmom), or on the first day of summer, you’ll go buy ice cream from a real ice cream truck.

We are fam-i-ly!

The last way to create a memorable tradition is to base it off something that has significance to your family. Do you know the date your ancestors immigrated into the country? Every year, celebrate with the traditional food from your homeland. Or you could commemorate something sillier, like remembering the day Great Aunt Edna left the sprinklers and drowned the flower bed while she went to buy a garish bouquet of flowers for the dining room table. Or something.


Deciding which traditions to pass on is entirely up to you. Create new ones, revive old ones, or continue the ones you’ve known all your life. Then, when you’re old and rocking grandchildren who ask why those flowers are always on the table, you can tell them the story about Great Aunt Edna and smile.

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