grandparents making family memories

Creating Family Memories and Building Traditions

In the age of social media, you likely feel connected to your friends and family more than ever before. Daily Facebook updates, Instagram pictures of every meal, smartphone footage of every family gathering posted to YouTube, and so much more. And it’s true: these are all family memories floating by on your timeline.

Yet you likely feel something fleeting about it all. The sheer amount of content, shared among a sea of ads. As wonderful as these services are, they often lack the intimacy of more creative or traditional ways to make family memories that stay with you for the rest of your life.

Why Making Family Memories Is Important

Traditions bring families closer together and help stabilize relationships. A simple tradition like, say, heading out to an orchard to pick apples with your extended family, might come across as arbitrary. But what would that day look like each year without that tradition? What would your long-term relationships look like with the people you mostly only see on that day? How many fun and memorable stories would simply never occur without that silly little trip?

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Traditions keep families in each other’s orbit. It gives you all the chance to make memories together and to get to know each other better.

Bolster or Revive Existing Traditions

Old family traditions are a great hook to get people involved. They tie to the history of your family, connecting to people’s imaginations in a way something brand new might not.

Dig into your family lore. Ask older relatives about the origins of your family’s traditions. Maybe it’s something simple, like baking cookies at Christmas. The simple time spent together, making something everybody wants to enjoy is the hook.

Or maybe there’s a deeper hook, like a family that makes ribbon candy every holiday season because a great-grandfather was a professional confectioner; that’s your hook to fire up the imaginations of your family.

Building New Traditions

Don’t worry if your family doesn’t have any long-standing traditions. Make your own! As long as you continue developing and coming back to your tradition, it will quickly become a part of family lore.

Pick a simple, fun activity to attract as many family members as possible. Find a recipe that your family loves, that is also collaborative and labor-intensive. Play an accessible board game that allows everyone to participate. Go on a short trip to somewhere everybody can afford, like a park or a museum for a day. Bolster or create traditions that bring you closer with your family, creating closer ties to everybody you love and fostering new, potentially unexpected relationships with people you currently aren’t as close to.