You can also submit your own tradition here.
The purpose of traditions…Teva sings ‘Traditions’ in Fiddler’s on the Roof…things we do repetitively have great power in our lives.
In the Book of Mormon they brought the Brass Plates so they could keep the traditions on the fathers. How did “traditions of the fathers” relate to the Lamanites? Look for that phrase in the Book of Mormon. The Nephites were told it would be worse for them than the Lamanites because they hadn’t been taught.
The power of traditions can be positive or negative.
Look at the law of Moses. What did it contain? It was the symbolic traditions. Passover….they set the table for Elijah with an extra plate. They had lots of customs that they had done over and over. The purpose was to bring them to the remembrance of the Savior…to bond them to the Savior.
We need to have traditions in our home to bond us to our family. Traditions create cement to these people. A memory is like a photograph. You want to be sure that all members of the family are in the photograph. Be sure that everyone is in the photograph. That’s what creates the bonding feeling that pulls everyone together.
As you get married we think our family traditions are doctrine and they are not! They are practices. Sometimes when you come together and get married both of you feel very intense that your traditions are what your new family will do. The sad part of it is…sometimes your parents feel like those traditions are so imperative that you should be doing them. Some of you in the early years you felt pretty guilty and torn. You felt that there was a right and a wrong. When you start having children you get this nagging feeling that you want to have your own Christmas in your own space. Then it becomes a 3 way pull. Then holidays become NOT FUN! There’s too much pressure.
Another problem is that some of you are over achievers and every time you hear about something new you want to add it in. You try to incorporate ALL activities and traditions. At the end you are just fried. Because you put all of the energy into the holidays your daily life is boring and you fall into depression. If I did it out of duty and responsibility and ‘have to’ it would have been heavy.
You have to be able to celebrate everyday life too. Be careful where you go in this next stretch. We set ourselves up for depression in January. We aren’t enjoying the moment. As you go through this next period along with doing what you do for your holidays that you set aside something you are doing in January. Something you can be excited about and look forward too. It will help you handle the let down of the holiday season. Whatever you choose to do…do the things you find joy in. Those things need to be joyful and bonding.
Pg 31 in Syllabus
L Tom Perry “Family Traditions”
“The Lord has not been so explicit in providing us religious customs along the order of feasts and festivals to remind us of the blessings we receive from Him today. However, the practice of having traditions to keep us close to the great heritage which is ours to enjoy should be something every family should try to keep alive.
Daily we should kneel in family prayer and study the scriptures together. Weekly we should observe the Sabbath day by attending our meetings, especially sacrament meeting, and behave appropriate to the activities that are proper for the Lord’s day. We should also gather our families together in weekly family home evenings. Perhaps it would also be appropriate to have a date with our wives each week, to remind us of the great blessing they are in our lives. Monthly we should fast and pay our tithes and offerings to the Lord. Semiannually, we should make listening to the messages delivered at general conferences a family tradition. We should organize, annually, family reunions to keep alive our great gospel heritage.”
Traditions are primarily set by the mother.
Command: To love the family traditions.
Key: Mother’s imprint is what makes them successful.
This is a blessing and Heavenly Father has endowed women with the gifts to make this happen. We can do this because we can make it fun. Husbands and children should have input, but Mom’s really make it happen. Don’t look at that as a burden. See it as a blessing and gift.
Traditions are in place to meet special needs. Syllabus pg 32
4 Basic Human Needs….
- Need to belong
- Strong sense of identity to know who they are
- Accepted by others
- Emotional & physical security
Class member: What are your feelings on inviting friends on family traditions?
The issue is are the members of your family bonding more to friends than the family. Sometimes you can have friends and they just blend it and the family is still bonding. If you find that one member of the family are off with their friend doing their thing you might want to check it.
Class member: I was not a member growing up. My friends tradition was to quilt a quilt on General Conference. I got to quilt a quilt that year.
They pulled her into the family not pull the child out of the family.
Family traditions can be developed by intent or by accident.
Example: When my children were little we didn’t make a lot of money. We had a tight budget. I had these children that I wanted them to have a nice Christmas. When it came time to wrap presents and put them under the tree I couldn’t bring myself to buy boxes. Throughout the year I would save cereal boxes. We had the Christmas pajamas and all of them were wrapped in cereal boxes. One year one of the kids said I can’t wait to see which cereal box I get! It became a tradition.
Example: My sister has 3 daughters they decided they were going to have a family sleepover. They got all their stuff and slept in the family room. That became a tradition. Pajamas, movie, popcorn.
Example: Another sister had all boys. On the last day of school she bought whipped cream and they had a fight out in their back yard. It expanded to where everyone wanted to be in it. They had to go to the park and do it.
Syllabus pg 34
DAILY ROUTINES & TRAIDITONS:
Ponder question: What does your house smell like? What does your house sound like?
Smell….Scentsy, home made bread
Sound…I turn on elevator music or Christmas music.
Another thing…do you smile at home? That is a tradition. How you look and act are daily traditions. Family prayer, Scripture, family dinner….all traditions. Do you have couple prayer every night? Bedtime routine. What is on the walls in your home? That is a daily tradition.
Example: In our house growing up it’s a long hall way I had a ‘hall of fame’. I counted one time. I had 54 pictures hung on that way. They were not all lined up in rows and in matching frames, some were professional and some were snapshots. One side I had their baby pictures, the other side were things they were doing good. I wanted them to see themselves as part of the family. Playing football, with grandparents, backpack trips. When anyone came to visit us they walked down that hall they always stopped and looked at the pictures. That gave them a feeling of being important.
I have a picture of the temple and the Savior in every room except the bathrooms. That was part of our traditions.
As they got their Eagles…that was a non-negotiable tradition. I made the plaque and put it on the wall. I didn’t have to hound the other boys. They just knew and wanted theirs up there too. Now my Grandson’s pictures are hanging up around it. The girls as they get their YW Medallions we put the plaques up.
Things that are unique to your family. Some are musical they play instruments together. Every family needs to have something they do together in their family….biking, swimming, music, bowling, music…anything. You need to have something you do together.
Our family went backpacking. I went to places that are SUPER hard to get to with a backpack on, but I did it so I could be in the picture.
Family service projects need to be a tradition in your family. At least a couple times a year, a big one, or a long time one. As a family all of them go and work on ‘flipping’ a house together.
Our family worked on the subdivisions together. They went every day after school. They poured concrete.
As a family keep a garden, do canning. Things the kids think are hard, but that you do together. Do hard things, but fun things too.
I decorate for everything. I like to have decorations that require minimal to no effort. You go the drawer and get the table runner and it’s done. My decorating is very simple, but I always do it.
When someone opens a present….they have to say something nice about the person before they can open it. It creates less of a self focus atmosphere.
Class member: We gather supplies for the NICU she had to stay in. Instead of the kids bringing things for her she gathered supplies for the NICU. We do something for someone else for their birthdays.
Class member: Mom always took work off on our birthdays and she pulled us out of school and we went to lunch and shopping just on my birthday. It was a day to just celebrate me.
Class member: We do a birthday crown. The birthday person wears the crown and everyone has to say what they love about that person.
Class member: On our birthdays Mom would come in and tell us about the day we were born. Share their birth story.
Class member: I always made dinner whatever they liked and had it that evening.
I would let them choose their breakfast (garbage cereal). They picked their dinner and an activity we would do as a family.
Practice: I am not a birthday party…invite your friends. There were some ages when they could have friend parties, but they were mostly family parties.
Class member: I tie a balloon to my kid’s backpacks.
Some parents take a treat to school and deliver to their room.
Our children tend to be very competitive. This is when they can celebrate each other and still know that their day will come too.
Syllabus pg 41---Birthday survey. Fill out and watch how they change each year. Take a picture and add to them.
Every year on his birthday he sets a goal. He keeps a notebook. Did you do it? What’s the best thing that happened to you during the year?
Send flowers or a card to your mother-in-law on your husband’s birthday to say ‘thank you for his birthday.”
You need to develop what you need to do for ONCE IN A LIFETIME EVENTS. Like baptism, graduations, marriage, baby blessings, priesthood ordinations, missions.
For missions—we had a lot of family so the night before they would speak in church we would have a ‘family side’. We had a slide show of their life and talk about memories. Whomever had been on a mission the uncles…would give them some advice followed by a Father’s blessing.
Mary Poppins bag…it’s a travel bag when taking kids on trip. It is full of Dollar Store treasures and lollipops. About Mountain Home they start saying ‘are we there yet?” You list the increments and at each one of those spots they get to take something out of the bag. They have to identify the street signs.
Class member: A dear family that we lived by have shared family traditions. When their 2nd daughter was on her mission the Mom died on her mission. Someone found her scriptures on the side of the road. They threw it on the gurney. She had all kinds of notes and scriptures and scribbles on it. Because someone saved it everyone else took her scriptures on their mission.
I hate Halloween and love Halloween decorations. I love fall leaves and love fall colors. If I don’t like what they are doing I created something I liked.
Class member: My birthday is in October. Every year the weekend before Halloween we had a big party and eat chili. We would watch a movie. We still have chili on Halloween. I share stories about my Grandma.
Class member: We bake mummy hotdogs. That is the only time they get them.
Class member: We serve the neighborhood. We have nachos and everyone just comes and stays there.
Class member: I made pizza for the neighborhood kids before they filled up on junk.
We lived out alone by ourselves. We didn’t go trick-or-treating because there was no one out there. I would give each child $5 and then they went to the Dollar Store and they got to decorate their room. We would have a contest. On Halloween I would let them go trick-or-treating around the bedrooms.
For Halloween costumes I would have the older children take a younger child and they had to create costumes in our home.
We bobbed for apples in the bathtub. We would sit on the floor in the middle of the dining room with a candle. We told stories. We did the donuts on a string. Instead of getting treats we would make treats and deliver them to the fire station. Kids would dress in costumes to deliver the treats.
Class member: The traditional Thanksgiving dinner with turkey. We go to relative’s home.
Class member: At the beginning of November we make a thankful posterboard. The whole month everyone writes what they are thankful for.
Some people do that on their Thanksgiving day table cloth.
Class member: My Dad taught me the “Mr. Turkey” Song. My Dad made me learn that and sing it to the neighbors. On Thanksgiving day my Mom likes to put some origami thing she has folded. It has an ice breaker question. Each person has a different one they have to answer it first.
Class member: We started a thanksgiving gift bag. We write things we are thankful for and pull them out and read them.
Class member: We are going to fill our bucket with things we are thankful for and to show we are thankful for.
Class member: My family sits down before dinner and we have a mustard seed on our plate to symbolize faith. We tell pioneer stories and family stories. This made us appreciate our ancestors.
For me Thanksgiving is the beginning of the Christmas holiday. Christmas should start with gratitude. We would make a chain counting down until Christmas we would discuss what we were thankful for. We would do the white Christmas stocking and think of something we would like to give the Savior. We would put it on a piece of paper and put it in the stocking. Take it out on Christmas Eve and evaluate how well they did. Keep a gratitude journal.
Thanksgiving is “Giving Thanks”. If I am thankful for my scriptures I will read them every day. I am thankful for my home (so what will I DO) I will keep my bedroom clean. It’s to say If I am truly thankful what will I do because I’m thankful.
On Thanksgiving night Mr. Peeps comes. (Elf on the Shelf). Pg 39 in syllabus-poem
I believe in the magic of Christmas and Santa Claus. I believe about making it as magical and enchanting as I can. What about when they figure it out? I didn’t lie. The Spirit of Christmas is magical. I believe in that magic. What do you do when they reach that age? I posted to my Facebook page about what to do. I would pull my children aside and tell them that I do believe in Santa and when you reach a certain age you get to be part of creating that and get to become that.
One year I gave the older ones money and they had to fill their stockings. See what they would like and what they would want. They had to watch the others and help each other. That morning as they came down to see what Santa brought they went straight to the chair of the child that they bought. They were so involved that they didn’t even go see their own stocking until later.
Another tradition we had our children could play with everything they had on Christmas Day. After Christmas day they can’t play with anything they haven’t sent a thank you card for. No Santa Claus stuff until their thank you cards were done. They learned to be grateful.
Making family calendars. Send them a family calendar for Christmas
My kids would draw names for each other. I gave them posterboard. They created a poster for the names they had. I have 4 girls, 5 boys, and 1 girl on the end. As these boys did the Valentine for her she realized that her big brothers loved her. When they went to college they would send their valentine home to their family. It becomes a ‘focus out’, but bond family together.
I testify to you that the Lord has traditions. He has things that he does in the church that we do repetitively and bind and keep us focused on what is important.
- Look at your family traditions. Are they busy work or do they have a bonding tradition on your family? Evaluate and simplify the holidays. Pull your children into what’s happening?
- What can you do to make Thanksgiving more reflective of attitude and Christmas more reflective of Christ?
- Ask someone you admire how they celebrate a holiday to get new ideas.
- Think of 2 questions to take to Conference. Make it a positive experience for your family.
As the mother you are the heart. You make it happen. It centers around the love you have and can create eternal bonding.