Ideas for Creating Yearly Family Traditions

Things to do for your family tradition

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Holiday Traditions– Holiday traditions can be for just one of the major holidays or something you come up with for each of the major holidays. For example getting to open one present on Christmas Eve, or Reading the Night before Christmas on Christmas Eve, making your own costumes together for Halloween or visiting cemeteries to do tombstone rubbings with crayons and paper. Perhaps you can create a special Thanksgiving Day tradition? Sometimes the simplest of traditions can be the most memorable.

Create your own HolidaySit down with everyone and create your own family holiday. It should be something that says who you are as a family and what you are about. It can be a funny one, elegant, meaningful, whatever works for your family and what would excite you to have a holiday for. Come up with a name for it, the month and day it will be held, types of food, decorations and a little statement of what it is about. It can be celebrated just amongst your family or you can send out invitations, inviting extended family, friends or neighbors if you choose.

Family ReunionIf your family does not already have a family reunion, why not start one? Figure out a park or place it can be held and start inviting all those cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, great aunts and uncles. It is a great way to bring a family closer together and keeping in touch with what is happening with extended family members. Try to include something fun for the smaller children such as perhaps a piƱata or other types of games.
Vacation- of course nothing could be more looked forward to than a yearly family vacation! Try to include other family member’s desires on places they would like to go when considering that year’s destination. Perhaps it could rotate each year on who can choose the destination.

Family Historical Story Night– once a year why not hand down an oral tradition to the family? Tell stories of relatives and the history of your family. It is a great way to pass down what great great aunt Mabel was like and the times she lived in and keeps the history alive. Oral story telling traditions use to be an important part of many cultures.

Role Exchange DayTrying wearing the shoes of other family members once a year. On this day try role playing where other members take on the tasks and personalities of other members. It may help bring a lot of insight on how others view the other members or gain a deeper respect for another member.

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Inspire to Dream- Pick a day once a year where you do nothing but go window shopping as a family for members dreams. If someone wants a new car, go to several dealerships just to look and test drive cars. If someone wants a horse, visit some horse farms, if you are in the market for a new house; attend a couple of open houses for houses you could not afford! Keeping strong visualizations in your head of the dreams you want, help keep those dreams alive. Find out at least one thing from each member of something they want more than anything then try to visit a place for window shopping for that item! Let everyone know ahead of time you are just looking with open minds but not agreeing to buy anything.

Seasonal Traditions– This could be a trip to a cider mill or apple orchard in the fall, botanical gardens in the spring, a summer barbecue or a special sledding spot for the first good snowfall. It could be a craft to celebrate any of the first days of the season. Be creative here!

Photo by Alex

 

Finding out about your Family History

Researching Family History – Not as Easy as it Sounds

Getting Back to Your Roots

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Let’s face it, who wouldn’t be tempted to find out that you are related to some famous historical figure? Many people beginning the quest of researching family history may well start off with this romantic notion, but unfortunately this rarely turns out to be the case. The best way to begin the search is fairly obvious – get talking to older members of your family! Grandparents or other elderly relatives can be a fantastic source of information, even if their advancing years make their recollections a little fuzzy. Once you have established basic dates and locations then it is off to the local government office which holds records of days gone by.

 

Now, this is were the fun begins, you must be prepared to spend a lot of time and a little money waiting for the relevant paperwork like birth and death certificates, which will give you exact details to begin from. Next stop would be your main library to research census records for the dates you require. This will provide addresses and occupations of your extended family and you would be amazed to find that the majority of families lived within a one mile radius of each other, changed days from now! There are many dedicated websites on the Internet which can help you with your search from here. Most will charge a fee but from personal experience I think this is invaluable. They guide through step by step on how to collate and use your available information and point you in the right path to achieving the desired results.Your chance of claiming success is all down to how much information you have and how you use it, again this is where the websites come into action, they will have a collection of data that could indeed advance your search immensely.

 


How far you can trace back is somewhat down to luck, as depending on how well public records have been maintained is a key factor. Some people will have a greater success than others, depending on the motivation behind the initial search. It is a hard slog with many obstacles on the way, and a person starting this search off one Saturday because they are bored and think it might be a laugh will more than likely give up before midway. Those on the other hand who are driven by the desire to really know where they came from, most likely will fare better as they will have the inclination to overcome the difficulties and letdowns that occur along the way. To those of you who do manage to go the whole way I salute you, because for me it has proven too difficult and time consuming for the moment, but who knows what the future may hold in terms of my personal search.

Photos by Erika Hopkins Photography