By Kevin & Justyn Lang, Contributing Writers
A blend of holiday traditions that are unique to your family can be such a wonderful way to create warm and close relationships with your spouse and, later, children. Whether you are newly married or have been married a few decades, consider making your holiday traditions more intentional this year!
When you’re planning to start new traditions, you’ll want to make sure that the things you choose are meaningful to one, if not both, of you. So many people get caught up in doing what they are “supposed to do” that they miss some less traditional traditions that might fit their own families better. If you’ve been married awhile, talk about the traditions you’ve been doing and decide whether or not they are really how you want to spend your time and energy. The Thanksgiving Day Parade bores Justyn to tears, but we both enjoy watching football. Parade out, football in!
If you are newly married and this will be your first holiday season as a new couple, don’t fall into the trap of just going back to the parents’ houses and playing the role of “the kids”. Set aside at least part of each holiday for something special, just the two of you. If you’re both thrilled about having Thanksgiving dinner at her parents’ house, go for it. Just make sure that somehow you celebrate your own little family unit, too.
Newly married couples have the fun, and sometimes challenging, task of blending the traditions of two completely different backgrounds. Try to keep it a relaxed and pleasant experience, not a platform for an argument. Talk about what you loved when you were growing up and what you’d like to incorporate into your new family. If one of you is strongly against something (Great Uncle Bob’s three-day Christmas Luau, for example), you’ll need to get creative with the compromises. All of you couples that have been married for years might need to be backing up to this step, too, if you’ve been going to that Luau just because you’re expected to!
Creative Family Tradition Ideas
Many of our holidays include crafts, such as stained-glass leaves or gingerbread houses (that’s a new one!). These make precious memories for the kiddos.
We like to have a traditional Thanksgiving meal with extended family and watch the football game (or play games, if the football game is a flop).
Starting this year, we will also be doing a Thankful Tree or Garland (this is a fabulous collection of examples!).
For Thanksgiving, many families go around the table telling what they are each most thankful for from the previous year.
If you know many single people with nobody to celebrate with, it can be fun to have a large pot-luck Thanksgiving dinner and invite them all to come eat and play games.
Consider doubling your Thanksgiving dinner and dropping off half of it to a family that can’t afford the special treats.
If you watch the football game on Thanksgiving, have everybody tell one thing they are thankful for whenever a touchdown is made.
For Christmas, we are doing a tradition from Kevin’s extended family. Instead of a traditional meal, we have a smorgasbord! So much fun and much less stress! (note: You’ll get to see an entire list devoted to meaningful Christmas traditions in our December post!)
To make the smorgasbord even more interesting, we include ethnic foods from around the world!
New Year’s Day
For New Year’s Day, we do a New Year’s Re-evaluation. It’s so much better for our style than the traditional “resolutions”!
Shrimp is a must-have in our house for New Year’s Day. No meaning to it, it is just a tradition from my family that stuck!
List out family and individual goals for the year on New Year’s Eve or Day.
Have a special date that you do every year on Valentine’s Day (special restaurant or event, maybe).
Easter we will be doing a Resurrection Garden, which I just learned about this past year!
Deliver Resurrection-themed baskets to neighbors or at a retirement home for Easter.
Invite your kid’s friends over during Easter break for a special showing of a children’s Easter movie that explains why we celebrate Easter.
We skip Halloween, but we celebrate fall-time with a trip to the pumpkin patch and lots of fall-themed crafts.
Fourth of July
We try to find a very patriotic Fourth of July celebration with plenty of music. Bonus points if the fireworks are choreographed to the music!
For adults and older children, read a short biography about one of the Founding Fathers for the Fourth of July (I think we’ll start doing this, when it’s age-appropriate).
Be sure to keep an eye out in December for some fun and meaningful Christmas traditions, too!
Your turn! What are some traditions that you love or that you would love to start?
This post is part of our Surviving the Holidays With Your Marriage Intact series! Come back all month long for tips, advice, giveaways, and a FREE eBook on the Holidays here at A Biblical Marriage. You can find the rest of the series HERE.