Family rituals and traditions are wonderful, and it is a special joy to celebrate a holiday or carry on a bedtime ritual just as our parents and grandparents did. But the fact is, our lives are very different now, and we need to invent new traditions for today’s families.

Family ritual is pretty much anything families do together deliberately, as long as it’s juiced up with some flourish that lifts it above humdrum routine. Repeated words or actions, special food or music, or a heightened sense of attention can provide the juice. Ritual is not just for special occasions but also for every day, every meal, every bath, and every bedtime story. In ritual, little is big: Although dress-up holidays with lavish feasts are fun, it’s the everyday traditions that determine how we experience our families and demonstrate hands-on love to our children. Intuitively, we know this is good, and consciously pass down beloved traditions from our own childhoods. Through rituals and traditions you are building the bond of your joined identity. Comfort and security are two of the most important benefits of early ritual, and these are not just things we need as babies. Next to rituals of celebration, which include birthdays and holidays, the biggest category is probably rituals that help children handle transitions. Bedtime rituals, for one, are all about helping infants and children switch gears from activity and togetherness to stillness and solitude. Rituals need to be conscious because they also pass on our values. That’s why many families add rituals of philanthropy to their holiday festivities and don’t just focus on gift-giving. Rituals can be designed to teach practical skills, like families where the kids take turns making Sunday dinner (even if they start off serving peanut butter sandwiches). The special power of ritual is that it can slow time and heighten our senses, and by doing so, we can intensify and deepen our family ties.

Check out this blog-post by church member Lauren Farley about the Joys & Sorrows ritual that her family practices at home Gratitude & Grace – Family Ritual at Home

BOOKS FOR CREATING FAMILY RITUALS

The Book of New Family Traditions

By Meg Fox

Life isn’t like it used to be and we need to create new traditions for today’s families. Meg Cox guides you through the simple steps that help families fully cherish all those special moments and milestones and help heal the wounds of trauma and loss, and strengthen that indomitable spirit within a family. The Book of New family Traditions will help your family create traditions that lead to everlasting memories. 

How to Bury a Goldfish: And Other Ceremonies and Celebrations for Everyday Life

Filled with ways to instill mindfulness and grace into the passages of everyday life, How to Bury a Goldfish offers more than 100 new traditions and rituals to commemorate and honor special moments and milestones. Drawing on cherished memories of moments enjoyed with family and friends, Virginia Lang and Louise Nayer share a wealth of creative ceremonies that can be adapted to fit any lifestyle. Through the art of simple ritual and ceremony, How to Bury a Goldfish remind readers to slow down, sit in silence, and savor the essence of their daily lives.