The importance of family rituals

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by Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

Every Friday, no matter how hectic or stressful the week has been, my husband and I have a ritual to celebrate the weekend’s start. We crack open a bottle of wine, plug in the iPod to its speakers, and roll up our sleeves in the kitchen. I make dough for the pizza crust, and my husband chops, sautees, and grates the toppings.

In the spring and summer, we open the kitchen door that leads to our balcony, where we have a view of the bay, the kids playing in the courtyard, and the evening breeze. The sauce I made in bulk has thawed, and because we work together, dinner takes 30 minutes max to prepare.

Our four-year-old daughter enjoys topping the rolled out dough with sauce, cheese, and veggies, and the baby plays with the Leap Frog fridge phonics. While the pizza bakes, we whip up a simple salad. Our background symphony is anything from Jack Johnson, to Sufjan Stevens, to Coldplay, to Mozart, to Ella Fitzgerald, to The Shins.

We then sit down to eat, either at the dining table, or on the balcony. Oftentimes, we end with a simple dessert and coffee, and when the kids go down, my husband and I break out a board game.

It’s a great start to the weekend.

The importance of family rituals

This little tradition of ours isn’t complex or costly, and it takes no advanced planning (except for the pizza sauce, which I’d make anyway, for dinner). But it’s something we all look forward to, and it’s become a little something that says “home” to us.

Kids love traditions and family rituals, because it fosters a sense of belonging and security. They also thrive on routine, so rituals only add to that need.

Adults who work outside the home can really benefit from a simple family tradition to look forward to on the ride home. And adults who work inside the home can anticipate that ritual as something to mark the end of a work day. I know I do.

Don’t wait for a holiday

Sure, those Labor Day barbecues or Thanksgiving backyard football games are great. But don’t wait for those holidays on the calendar to create a family ritual. Make traditions part of your family culture, and celebrate them often. Make it part of your family’s mission statement.

popcorn
Photo by Rosana Prada

Here are a few tips for creating that tradition of yours:

• Keep it simple. That way you’ll do it regularly.

• Keep it inexpensive. That way, you’ll look forward to it, instead of letting financial anxiety build up.

• Include the whole family. If your husband doesn’t enjoy cooking, make it a popcorn-and-movie tradition. Or if your kids are too young to enjoy Trivial Pursuit, make it a weekly walk to the park.

Do it regularly. Monthly is great; weekly is even better. By definition, a ritual is done often.

Make it fun. I say either make it relaxing, or make it active. Veg with a Netflix rental, or hike the nearby trails.

• Make it true down time. Turn off the cell phones and laptops, and don’t talk business.

Chances are, you already have some sort of family tradition. And if not, there’s a bourgeoning one within your troops, and you only need to make a concrete plan. Do something fun as a family over the next few days, and who knows – maybe you’ll start doing it each weekend.

What simple family ritual does your clan enjoy?

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Comments

  1. What a great and inspiring idea. Thanks for bringing this to mind and reminding me of its importance for rhythm and security and fun.

    I can’t say we do any ritual over a long stretch of time. We tend to do something for a while and then drop the ritual to pick up another. One that is consistent, though is Saturday mornings. I cook a special breakfast, my husband and I have time together before the kiddos wake up, and then we have a special meal together.

    Sundays are important to us, too. Not tons of ritual, but definitely a day set aside. I wrote about it just a few weeks ago: http://burningbushes.org/?p=518

    Nicole´s last blog post…Celebrate Easter-Make Disciples

  2. Fridays are pizza night in our house too – whether we make it ourselves or order in, it’s just a special something that we look forward to. Friday happens to be my husband’s day off, so it’s always a bit of a slower day for us, which is nice.

    we also have an annual tradition – my husband is the lead pastor of a church, and as such the annual meeting and the weeks leading up to it are usually pretty stressful! the meeting is never really a contentious time, but it’s always a little nervewracking. our tradition: our family goes to Starbucks after the meeting and celebrates another great year of ministry by toasting with caramel macchiatos for hubby and i, and vanilla milk for our 4 year old :)

    Krista´s last blog post…getting back into the groove

  3. we make homemade pizza on friday night too. i am learning, each day, how important the little family rituals, as you call them, are

    Emily@remodelingthislife´s last blog post…Link Love: March Top Referrers

  4. Your intro was beautifully written. I felt like I was in the room with you!

    We’re a young family like yours. Our daughter is almost 3. It’s been wonderful to begin creating our own family traditions. We have “Spaghetti Sunday.” :)

    Nicki at Domestic Cents´s last blog post…Easter Projects Update – The Dress

  5. Love this! Our main ritual involves good friends who live nearby. They walk over in the evening, about once a week, and bring their dog (who obligingly cleans up the mess under the table from dinner with little ones…). We pop popcorn, open a bottle of wine, and play a boardgame (always Settlers of Catan!).

    After a few months of doing this, it really did take on the nature of a ritual – I’m always surprised by how comforted I am by doing the same familiar things each time. I’d really love to establish more rituals, especially ones that involve our kids, as well.

  6. we do “Pizza/Family Night” every Friday, too. Throughout the summer, I will exchange the pizza for hot dogs b/c I don’t want to use the oven. I’d like to come up w/a healthier alternative, but it’s hot dogs for now b/c everyone will eat it w/out a fight. And, I’d love to do veggies on my pizza, too, but again…with the intention of making it an enjoyable family tradition, I’m not wanting to fight over dinner w/ my kids, so I leave the veggies off for this one night. We have all come to really look forward to that time every week.

    Briana´s last blog post…March

    • I use a simple recipe for my sauce, and alter as needed.

      1 large can of crushed tomatoes
      1 can of tomato paste
      Handful of minced onion
      Olive oil
      Oregano
      Garlic powder
      Salt and pepper to taste

      Saute onion in olive oil until onions are clear. Add tomatoes and paste. Add oregano, garlic powder, s&p to taste. I also like to add in balsamic reduction to deepen the flavor. I let this simmer on a low heat for as long as possible.

      Optional: balsamic reduction, basil, red pepper flakes, red wine, sundried tomatoes, pesto, etc…

      This recipe makes enough for three 16″ pizzas – divide the leftover and freeze it for the following weeks pizza. It will also keep for about a week in the fridge if tightly covered – we use it for English muffin pizza lunches.

  7. Tsh…thanks for this post! I find family night even MORE invaluable when we are in transition because it gives us all a sense that we are ok as long as we are together.
    Also, I’d love to have your pizza sauce recipe if you have time to send it! I’m always looking for good scratch recipes and that’s one I haven’t found yet!

    Shilo´s last blog post…Yearnings – A Prelude

    • So far, this has been my favorite sauce recipe. But last week, we tried laying out slices of cheese, then slices of tomatoes (in lieu of sauce), followed by ingredients, a la Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Oh. My. WORD was it good. :) We’re doing it again tonight.

  8. Every Friday afternoon I have the morning “off” to write and read, and recharge. Then when I come home, I always bring bagels to the kids for lunch, which has become our special Friday tradition.

    They look forward to it, and I’m always relaxed and ready to join back in after a little “quiet” time.

    Jamie

    steadymom.com´s last blog post…what do you think?

  9. I really like this and have been aiming to figure out a family night routine. Thanks for sharing and inspiring! (P.S. I’m still loving my crocs.)

    minnesota:madre´s last blog post…a place for Julia

  10. Great post! I love traditions!

    We have “movie night”. My 4 yr old picks a movie and we make popcorn. We all get in our PJs and get cozy in front of the TV. It’s a lot cheaper and more comfy than a theatre.

    My son and I also have breakfast together each morning. I work full time and our morning time is very special. We eat our breakfast (sometimes in front of the TV watching cartoons) but we laugh and eat. It’s his special time to “connect” with me before our busy day.

    Another important tradition to me is eating together as a family. I feel like this is a “dying” family tradition due to busy schedules.

    I can’t wait to read all the comments…I love hearing other family traditions that I can start with my family.

    Lynne´s last blog post…What Do You Want to be When You Grow Up?

  11. We actually have a family tradition on Friday nights too. We let the kids stay up late (except the baby), pop popcorn, and watch superhero cartoons. They love it, we love it, and it is very fun family time. They talk about Friday nights all week.

    Another tradition we have is that on Saturday morning we always go to the library and pick out books for the week. They also get to choose one book on tape and one video for the week, which we watch and listen to on various days throughout the week, and read the books throughout the week. Sometimes the books chosen are random, and sometimes they have a theme. We do mix that up a bit.

    Taylor at Household Management 101´s last blog post…Apr 10, Homemade Cleaning Recipes – Window Cleaning Formulas

  12. Our Sunday night meal always consists of popcorn and ice cream. My family did this growing up and I’ve continued the tradition.

    Natalie @ Politics 4 Moms´s last blog post…Obama Speaks Out Against Nuclear Weapons

  13. I guess I’m going to be the odd-ball here, but our family tradition is to go out for dinner every Friday night. My husband is not into cooking, so since I’m in the kitchen every night of the week, this gives me a nice break.

    Occasionally, if the budget doesn’t allow for us to eat a whole meal out, we will grab a sandwich at home and then just go out for ice cream. Either way we try to make sure to go somewhere together each Friday night.

    Amanda @ Mommy’s Idea Book´s last blog post…No! Because I said so…

  14. So far the only thing I can think of is that every night we sit down together to have dinner (as opposed to eating all other meals at the island.) And we take turns saying Grace.

    But that’s it. It seems like I’m going to have to shake things up a bit, and find something that works for us.

    Thanks for the prod!

    Kirwin´s last blog post…I refuse to be vanilla

  15. We’ve been doing Friday Night Pizza Night too. We also put on music..It’s amazing how much our 5 year old looks forward to Fridays he jumps up and down just talking about it. Thanks for all the inspiration.

  16. Your Friday Pizza Night sounds lovely! Before our little guy came home we used to have steak and wine on Fridays – now we are too tired!
    Actually we have been trying to just have a date night on Wednesdays – a nice meal, wine, and conversation – just the two of us. I might have to join in the Friday Pizza club too.
    I agree – thanks for the inspiration!

    Krista´s last blog post…He’s Famous!

  17. We have a few weekend rituals. Friday night is “Family Date Night”. We go out to dinner or do a fun activity with the family.
    Saturday morning is “Pancake Saturday”. The kids help make pancakes from scratch. They love to pour their own pancakes.
    Sunday is “Donut Day” – my son gets to pick out donuts with dad before church.
    My husband and I have our own weekend rituals as well. I go hiking almost every Saturday morning. I hike a local mountain that takes about 1 1/2 hrs to go up & down. I go early in the morning before the rest of the family is up and moving.
    My husband’s Saturday morning tradition is to take the dog to the local dog beach. Sometimes he goes alone and sometimes the family tags along.

    Kristen M.´s last blog post…Megan’s Matryoshka

  18. We have several rituals around here…

    Sunday night is cereal night: I cook almost every night of the week and just don’t have the gumption to cook again on Sunday. It was the same way when I was growing up, except that my dad would always make something like grilled cheese and tomato soup or rice with warm milk/cinnamon/raisins. My husband’s idea of cooking is to tell everyone to grab a bowl of cereal, I guess. It works for us.

    Now that our kids are older, my husband and I are religious about our Saturday night date night. The kids stay home and watch a movie or some approved television – and we go out – either alone or with friends. It’s SUCH an important part of our week – and it sends a very clear message to our kids about us making OUR relationship a priority. We never could have afforded a weekly babysitter when the kids were little, but now that they’re older, it’s SUCH a treat for us.

    I have worked on Fridays (the only day of the week I’m out of the house all day) for over five years. A couple of years into in, I established “Friday Chores.” When the kids get home from school, there’s a list of chores that they have to do before they do anything else. They vacuum and mop and dust and put things away. It’s SO nice for me to come home to a clean house (instead of a destroyed house, which is what happened before I instituted Friday Chores. It’s great to start the weekend with a fresh start, since our house has a tendency to fall to pieces with everyone home for two whole days.

    Our Christmas Eve tradition is a bit unusual: My oldest’s birthday is on Christmas Eve, so the whole day is devoted to him (a side tip: going to Chuck E. Cheese on Christmas Eve is the best thing EVER – you’ll have the whole place to yourself!) But in the evening, we switch the focus from birthday to Christmas with our tradition of eating pumpkin pie and popcorn for dinner and watching “A Christmas Story” as a family. I used to get the kids new jammies that they would open, but we’ve discussed this tradition and last year decided to use that money instead for a donation somewhere. (We were inspired by Advent Conspiracy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K14c4NGuhDI )

    Okay – that’s a lot. But I love our little rituals… and it’s been so fun to read other’s and write about this! Thanks!

    Cathy´s last blog post…Lost Freetown

  19. We have couple of traditions like this. Friday is pizza, games, and movies night. We love it. Sometimes, we buy the pizza and sometimes we don’t. But the night is fun and easy. We just always plan to be home.

    We also have date nights on Tuesday nights. It sometimes is going to dinner or doing something free, but we make sure we do something that involves us. It really has made a huge difference in our marriage.

  20. We do pancake (or waffle) Fridays for dinner. It started because I wanted to incorporate an easy & cheap meal at least once a week, but now my 2.5 yr old can’t WAIT for “pancake Fridays” to show up – I would have never guessed he would be into something like that. And he rarely actually EATS the pancake – the sausage or bacon that goes with it he consumes, but he usually just ends up playing with the actual pancake. Kinda funny.

    Can you post your pizza sauce recipe sometime?

    Vicki´s last blog post…53 Days

  21. I am not in a family yet; it is just my boyfriend and me but I did notice that you say your husband and you break out a board game after the kids go down. Do you have any suggestions for good and challenging two person games?

    • Yeah, two person games can be hard to find. We just bought In a Pickle, and that’s been fun. We like Hoopla (a Cranium game), Kuuduk, and most definitely Trivial Pursuit. We also like classics like Scrabble, Monopoly, and good ol’ cards.

  22. I love this site! We usually do a pizza Friday as well, usually homemade, but sometimes take and bake or go out. We usually do spaghetti Sunday as well. And we eat dinner every night together at the table, it is something I grew up with and it is so easy yet so important to us as a family.

  23. That sounds so fun! (I especially love your music selections.) We often make homemade pizza, but it hasn’t reached ritual status yet. Maybe it should.

    But once it gets warmer, I can’t wait to start GRILLING pizza!!! I swear by that. It is so fast and easy.

    We do have a weekend morning ritual of pancakes or waffles at least one morning, depending on my husband’s soccer coaching schedule, and I always make a big enough batch so I can freeze the leftovers for my toddler’s breakfasts during the week. HUGE time saver.

  24. Our family traditions have changed over the years. When my kids were small, and I was a single mom, there were two Friday rituals. We enjoyed a quiet shabbat dinner and played a game that helped us catch up with each other. We’d take turns asking each other:

    <blockquote cite=”Kaitie, Kaitie how was your day? Good, bad or just OK?”
    Everyone got their ’15 minutes’ of fame to share their day, week, or whatever. I learned a lot, especially when they were in grade school.

    The other ritual was responsible for saving my sanity many a weekend. I went ‘OFF DUTY’ each Friday evening after dinner until bedtime. That meant that unless there was an emergency (blood, safety issues) they were on their own. Sounds crazy but it worked. They learned to be self sufficient, enjoy independence and that even moms need a break, not matter how much they love their babies.

    Now, that they’re teenagers our family dinner ritual has gone by the wayside to accommodate their social calendars (actually just my son, my daughter is at college). So, I’ve dreamed up a new ritual: dates. I spend a day alone doing whatever they fancy. They love being in charge and I love being with them and seeing a new adult emerge.

    Now, I just have to get a ritual for me as I stop being mom and become mom/consultant.

    • When we all eat together during the week (not always easy when I work shift work as a midwife and now the kids have training for different things etc) we go around the table and say what the best and worst thing about their day was. The funny thing is the *baby* nearly 10, always starts this off. His teenage sister rolls her eyes and grunts most of the time – but sometimes she will talk. It is nice – but wish we could do it more often…

  25. Great idea with the music and making pizza together. We often make pizza too. I, personally can’t wait for the warm weather and bbq season to begin!

    I’ve also found that it make the weekend feel longer if we do something fun on Friday night. I’m for anything that makes the weekend seem longer!!

    MB´s last blog post…I Finally Made Bread!

  26. After seeing “Hancock” (Will Smith), we started Spaghetti Madness on Sundays. I’m fortunate to live very close to Rhode Island’s Italian food mecca, Federal Hill, and I go to Venda Ravioli where they sell the BEST marinara & freshly ground beef, pork & veal. I make meatballs on Sunday & we have them for dinner. Then, I mash up any leftovers and have them later that week as meat sauce over the most delicious fresh pappardelle pasta–large ribbons of pasta that hold the savory meat sauce perfectly.

    Sometimes, in summer, we switch things up & make beef fajitas with all the fixings–guacamole, salsa, sour cream, cheese & tortillas. I use a beef flank which is affordable & slices so nicely for fajitas. If there is meat leftover, I chop it up & add it to a veggie stir fry using Whole Foods frozen whole grain brown rice & whatever fresh veggies I have. Yum!

    We listen to our iPod as well, usually The Roots, 311, Modest Mouse, The Ting Tings, songs from the “Step Into Liquid” soundtrack & some great tunes from Yo Gabba Gabba. :)

    Thanks for sharing this post about “rituals”–I agree with you. Kids love rituals & we are creating lasting memories for them. When my husband & I are gone, they will say, “Remember when we used to…”

    Have a great weekend!
    Heather

    Heather Allard´s last blog post…Friday Link Love: YOU! (linky)

  27. I LOVE THIS!! I’m all about traditions….my blog was started for that reason…Family Traditions one story at at time. I’m so passionate about having traditions and giving our children a sense of purpose and belonging….they need these traditions to keep them grounded and give them a sense of security and safety. Traditions come in all shapes and sizes….but they are what helps keeps a family together. Thanks for such a beautiful post!

    Tara B´s last blog post…Create!

  28. This is a lovely ideas. One of our family rituals is as soon as my husband gets from work, we all sit on the couch together and talk about what we did that day. My husband and I still need to work on our own ‘couple’ rituals. Thanks for this post!

    Tamara´s last blog post…Friday’s Figures: 4/10/08 Frugal Living

  29. Such a great idea! thanks for sharing. Your Friday night ritual sounds lovely.

  30. we have pizza on Friday nights too, although we buy ours. It’s been a long week for both of us we pick up our pizza, maybe rent some movies and in the winter we eat in the playroom at the bar. It’s near the woodstove and it’s nice and cozy.

    Peggy´s last blog post…2008 is finally over

  31. Wonderful Post! and Great comments. It’s wonderful to hear about everyone’s special traditions. Our family loves Friday night movie night, but my secret favorite is Daddy Daughter Saturday Morning, when Mommy gets to sleep in.

  32. We have a few.

    1. Sundays is dinner with my folks. I think it’s important to keep that close relationship with the grandparents aside from them babysitting. So each Sunday we spend the afternoon and evening with my folks for some fun and dinner and sometimes we sit down and play a game or watch a movie.

    2. We have family devotion in the morning and right before bed. My oldest gets really upset when we don’t have time for our bible stories. I love hearing him retell his version of the stories to his little brother.

    LaToya @ Christian Momma´s last blog post…What happened to the village??

  33. It’s funny, we just started the Friday night homemade pizza thing too! Although this week, since hubbie and I are doing South Beach, I bought eggplant to grill and top with sauce, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella!

    Usually, Anna (3) and I do regular baking and bread-making together but there’s not much that all 3 of us do. Usually we’re taking turns with our daughter so the other one can “get things done”.

    This is an area we’ve really neglected since we both work from home and our daughter is only 3. It’s been very easy to always be checking email or working in bits during “family time”. Thanks for calling attention to it — just in time for the weekend!

    Julie Wheeler´s last blog post…Drunk with color

  34. A family therapist once told me that families should have daily, weekly AND monthly traditions. The routine and predictability really is huge for kids, like you said – making them feel secure.

    Daily traditions could be as simple as bedtime stories, sitting down to breakfast together or prayers before dinnertime. Weekly could be as you described or another kind of family night and monthly could be decorating the house for the theme of the month (Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, May with spring flowers, etc).

    Katie @ 3 Blondes and a Redhead´s last blog post…Freezer Stockpile

  35. That sounds like such a wonderful tradition! I’m sure your kids will look back and remember for years to come. Great post!

    Jen
    http://www.afterthealter.com

    Jen´s last blog post…On The Road Again

  36. This was so great! Ours is a Friday lunch out to a nearby pizza shop. When my first daughter was a baby, we discovered that with the lunch special there, we could eat for around $7 for the family (it’s a bit more now that the 4 yo gets her own slice, but still super cheap). Every Friday we’re in town, we all load up in the car and head downtown for pizza. We usually take a quick little drive around town after lunch to look at this or that and then head home for naps.

  37. I love, love, LOVE this article! Our family does pizza & movie night every Friday, too, but I guess I never saw it as a ritual. Our son is just a little guy right now so he can’t join in on this, but I think you’re absolutely right. I think he will love to be a part of this when he gets older and we will all look back on these nights as good times with fond memories.

    Lauren´s last blog post…Economizing on Groceries

  38. What a fabulous ritual and great post. My husband and I had a friday night ritual before the baby, but since have struggled with getting back to it. But now that our son is almost two, it well overdue and needs to be a priority.

    Thanks for the reminder!

    courtney from mommie blogs´s last blog post…I love my bub!

  39. I forgot to share my ritual! We’ve recently designated Sunday to be “family day.” We go to church Saturday nights, so we have a lazy little morning and rarely have an agenda. We don’t make plans, don’t attend BBQs or birthday parties, we truly spend the day just being together. Sometimes we go out, mostly we stay in and around the neighborhood, but the tv and cell phones are always off and we concentrate on recharging before the new week begins. It’s now my favorite day of the week!

    Katie @ 3 Blondes and a Redhead´s last blog post…Freezer Stockpile

  40. Our ritual also involves homemade pizza, except my hubby is the master dough-maker! If I touch it, it flops horribly. It’s apparently the only bread I can’t do. Oh well.

    We do pizza and a “picnic” in the living room with a movie on Saturday nights. We try to time our Blockbuster queue so we’ll have a fun classic musical or old-timey kids movie classic to watch. Sometimes, it’s just a “pick from our own shelf” thing. Either way, it’s fun.

    After the kids are in bed, my hubby and I usually either watch our own movie or just visit with each other.

    Tiff @ The Faery Inn´s last blog post…Good Friday

  41. I loved reading this post and reading other’s rituals. I’m also one of those, “go out” instead of “cooking in” as a break from working from home. We go out to breakfast almost every Saturday together, then walk down to the beach afterwards. There’s something about that time at the ocean together, sitting, running around, playing, laughing that washes away the stress of the week and reconnects us as a family.

  42. What a great idea! My husband enjoys cooking sometimes; maybe I can get him on board with this every other week.

    We watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition every Sunday night. There are always tears shed…always from my eyes, but sometimes from my children and even my dear husband. It’s a great show to remind us of what we have to be thankful!

    Melanie Ward´s last blog post…Pet Peeve: Personal Space Invaders

  43. One of our favorite rituals is pancake Sundays. Sometimes we make waffles or oven pancakes, but usually the kids love the regular ones from scratch. We do pizza and movie Fridays, with popcorn, of course. I just may have to steal your wine with cooking idea – what a nice way to usher in the weekend with the hubby!

    Casey´s last blog post…Tweets and Finds

  44. Our family has developed a Sunday night ritual (when I am not working), we have toasted sandwiches/jaffles around 6ish – and then watch some seriously crappy tv together. I guess you could say our whole Sunday is always the same – bbq breakfast of bacon, eggs, tomatoes, toast, baked beans, the newspaper, then I do some washing and they all do their on thing – if it’s hot we will swim, otherwise, just bum around at home – vegging out – then coming together around 6 for dinner. Love my Sundays!! Obviously if I work or we go out somewhere it changes, but it happens more often than not. We also have rituals for Christmas day…Love them…

  45. our ritual is Sunday night BBQ dinner on our deck. My husband works long hours so we eat dinner after the kids are in bed but sundays we spend all together (some saturday nights too, but usually that is a night for dh to cook me a fab dinner). I am loving reading these though and will think about the daily, weekly and monthly concept. we do bedtime stories daily, but sometimes it is me and sometimes it is dh.

  46. I loved this! Thanks for sharing. I am always thinking about this, wanting to start some good traditions for my family now that I have children of my own. I think it’s important. :)

    Charin´s last blog post…Family :)

  47. Love your word picture! We do something similar, minus the view of the bay ;). Fridays have been our homemade pizza and movie night for about ten years now. The next morning hubs does Pancake Saturday with the kids while I take a much-needed break.

    Great suggestions!

    FishMama´s last blog post…Frugal Friday: DIY Backyard Toys

  48. avatar
    Roxannee says:

    My family is always looking forward to Friday Night Movie Night or games night!!! Just simple- popcorn, crisps and some lollies, a favourite DVD or any movie that’s on the local channels just tops our week. Every now and then it is changed to games- it may be Nintendo Wii, a board game or play station. During the cold months, sitting by the chiminea on our patio and telling stories is a good way to unwind. Husband and I will indulge on wine or a bottle of beer and we are all set. You are right about giving the kids a sense of security. I can feel it with my kids.

  49. We often have a movie night.

    It’s funny how such simple things in the home can be so enjoyable and so looked forward to by everyone. Shows how much we need that down time and together time.

    Mistress B´s last blog post…Secret Mother’s Day Swap

  50. Add us to the list of Friday night pizza families. It started out of a budgetary necessity. We love pizza, but when my husband lost his job in December, we had to make some changes. Instead of ordering out, we decided to make it at home. Our daughter helps to measure out the ingredients and kneads the dough for her own little pizza. I have experimented with recipes to come up with the perfect crust, and have enjoyed making the sauce as well. Now we’re experimenting with ‘fancy’ toppings. We all look forward to pizza night, to see what the latest creation will be!

  51. avatar
    DeniseK. says:

    We have a weekly ritual, each Tuesday is appreciation day in our family… We have a rotating schedule and each Tuesday someone is ‘appreciated’ and anything goes, from making their favorite breakfast to playing their favorite game after an early dinner (so there’s time before bedtime to enjoy a game). Each person anticipates their appreciation day with excitement!

  52. Ah… love it. Have you read what Elizabeth Gilbert says about rituals in Eat, Pray, Love?

    “This is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don’t have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down. We all need such places of ritual safekeeping… And I do believe that if your culture or tradition doesn’t have the specific ritual you’re craving, then you are absolutely permitted to make up a ceremony of your own devising, fixing your own broken-down emotional systems with all the do-it-yourself resourcefulness of a generous plumber/poet. If you bring the right earnestness to your homemade ceremony, God will provide the grace. And that is why we need God.”

    I TOTALLY AGREE!

    My family has lots–too many to post, but one of the things I’m trying to establish with my kiddos right now is a ritual to say we love each other. Especially with my son. Every day I ask him, ‘Buddy, who is your girl?’ Every day, he says “You’re my girl, Mom!” (He’s four.)

    Love the post! Thanks!

    Heather @ alis grave nil´s last blog post…Easter Eve’s Eve

  53. avatar
    Syrahsuzie says:

    We started a ritual when our girls were babies – Saturday night we (parents) would eat together when the girls were finally asleep – and we kept to it even if it was nearly midnight some Saturdays!
    Then as the girls got older they ate first (their menu) and then watched a video while we had our meal. It was our chance to have non-child-friendly food – aubergines, spicy sauces, curries.
    Later still, the girls started complaining that our Saturday meal was so much more interesting than theirs! So our ritual evolved to a family night and they got to try unusual foods.
    Now they are both at university so we are back to date nights.

  54. This is beautiful! Love the word picture you create in your opening paragraphs. I love how you keep it simple and inexpensive. Lovely!

    Musings of a Housewife´s last blog post…Tried and True: Cheesecake

  55. Great article. I love this idea! We’re having a great time creating meaningful family traditions for the holidays. Our next step is a fun weekly ritual. Thanks for the tips!

    Abby´s last blog post…Thinking Outside the Toy Box

  56. What a wonderful post…I love your Friday ritual…
    perfect.
    sandy toe

    Sandy Toe´s last blog post…"Stir and Season" Saturday

  57. A favorite family ritual of ours is that each year, in Christmas stockings, I put a tree ornament (along with other treasures) for each child so that when they leave home they have their own little collection started. My mom began this with my siblings and me and now my kids love it too. I have great joy in selecting a special ornament for each of my three kids :)

  58. Thanks for stressing the importance of weekly rituals. We all think about setting holiday traditions, but not the more common things. Our old pastor used to say that if something is important to you – some skill, activity, relationship, then you need to be involved in it WEEKLY.

    I also love the idea above of “Tuesday Appreciation Day” where one family member gets to choose the meal, game, etc each week. What a great way to remind your kids that they are special just because.

    Funny how so many of our rituals evolve from laziness (too tired to cook…) to intentionality.

    Alissa´s last blog post…Ready for Spring

  59. This is wonderful! We enjoy a good bottle of wine, especially with Italian, and we all enjoy cooking. I may just have to adopt your ritual on top of my own.
    Every other week my younger sisters and their husbands come over for Game Night. They live out of town, but not far. We stay together until midnight, eating and talking, laughing and competing. It’s a time that we all look forward to!

    Wendy @Sun-Kissed Savages´s last blog post…Brotherly love

  60. I think Saturday morning pancakes have evolved into a ritual around here, but I am scratching my head for others!
    Danny and I are both really flexible/spontaneous and have kept that up even with two kids. I think the day-to-day events are so predictable that I need to liven things up on the weekends! So depending on the weather we could throw a picnic together and spend the day hiking–or stay in our PJ’s til noon baking cookies and doing art projects.

    Can you write about the benefits of being spontaneous, too? :) There must be some…

    Aimee´s last blog post…UtHC AFK

  61. I love this article!
    I’m looking forward every morning to read what do you have to say!

    Tish hablas espanol?
    Me encataria traducir algunos de tus articulos

  62. I love this article! Family rituals and traditions are some of the things that I am most looking forward to about motherhood; I hope that we can find some great things to do with our kids, activities that provide them with fun family memories, just as you seem to have done with yours.

    Sarah @ BecomingSarah.co´s last blog post…Dignity gone.

  63. We have “Brinner” (breakfast for dinner) every Friday night. Cheap, easy to plan!

    Will Blog For Shoes´s last blog post…Amen

  64. Wonderful! Over the past three years, since my first son was born, we’ve been going to a Mexican restaurant on Friday nights for dinner where they have a mariachi band playing. My son has loved it since he was just a baby – I think he remembered hearing the band while in my belly!

    We’ve also just begun the tradition of making popcorn and watching holiday animated shows when they come on TV, like Peanuts and Frosty the Snowman.

    My second son was born four weeks ago and we look forward to including him in these traditions and creating new ones too!

    Moltomom´s last blog post…A Birth Story…Or…A Flashback to High School Biology Class

  65. As others have said — great post.

    While not a tradition, my wife and I make a strong commitment that the family has supper together every night. With our four kids age 10 and younger, it’s not too hard to do for now.

    One tradition we did start several months ago is, on Sundays at supper, each member randomly picks another (draws names, etc.) and says something nice about another member. The kids enjoy getting positive reinforcement and compliments.
    -Mike

    Mike Driehorst´s last blog post…Domino’s delivers…to mixed reviews

  66. This year I finally started a family tradition (when I was a kid) with MY family (now that I am a mom). Why now? because I had to wait for my son to go to Kindergarden that happened this month! :)
    Our tradition is to have the same breakfast every first day of school. Is Oatmeal with grape juice. I remember to have the same breakfast when I was a kid until I graduated from high school. My mom started this tradition out of convenience. She confessed that she wanted to do something special but never forget what is was. So she kept it simple but it marked my brother’s, my sister’s and my life. Now I am sharing it with my son, who really appreciated specially when I told him the story about it! :)
    .-= lvlc @ FromMomToMom´s last blog ..I wish all of you had RSS feed option in your blogs!!!!! PLEASE READ! =-.

  67. I know this is late, but I just wrote a blog post about how pancakes were an important part of my family ritual and thought I’d share it: http://downhomefoodie.blogspot.com/2011/04/my-mothers-pancakes.html,

  68. Hi there, just wanted to mention, I loved this post. It
    was funny. Keep on posting!

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