This holiday season, as you prepare for festive get-togethers and celebrations, it’s time to rekindle those family traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation.
Whether it’s serving special recipes for Thanksgiving or getting dressed up for a fancy Christmas Eve dinner, developing rituals around the holidays create a sense of belonging among family members. Close-knit families share a sense of history, connection and unity—all of which tie into family holiday traditions. These traditions are also important because they connect family members who may be separated by distance, work commitments, or schedules filled with sports, school or activities. These traditions help us stay close to our family and create a connection between our past and the future.
Celebrate the family meal
With all the rush and frenzy of the holidays, family traditions may find it hard to compete with everything going on. Families, however, can rely on meals to stay connected and to remember this joyous time of year. Family experts say that meals are a great way to build family traditions, especially since food can be such a sensory experience. Think back to your own childhood when you entered your home and greeted with the smells of fresh-baked cookies cooling on the counter or a lovely turkey roasting in the oven. The sights, sounds and smells of the holidays can bring you back to special family gatherings in your past.
Connecting food to holiday traditions is a natural process. The key is to keep things simple, especially for more casual gatherings. Food experts suggest coming up with an easy-to-make comfort dish such as soup or chili, served with warm, baked bread. Also, don’t fall into the trap of getting stuck in the kitchen alone. You can create memories and spark conversation when you include everyone in the process. Family experts agree that the best food traditions involve interaction with my family whether it’s doing the grocery shopping together, cooking and baking, and, of course, sharing the meal.
If the thought of preparing an elaborate dinner—or even baking holiday cookies—strikes fear in your heart, look to the experts. Many of today’s chefs, food experts and, yes, even celebrities have cookbooks geared specifically for the holiday season. For recipes that are closer to home, look to your own family members. Ask everyone to prepare and share their holiday favorites, such as pecan pie for dessert, green bean casserole for a delicious side, or blueberry pancakes for a Christmas morning breakfast. Other food-focused holiday traditions you can enjoy with your family include:
Making traditional dishes that include foods from your culture or foods you enjoyed growing up. Ask for recipes from relatives to keep family food traditions alive.
Organize a cooking-baking party. Invite friends and family, or a group of your children’s friends. Ask everyone to bring their favorite holiday cookie recipe.
Make a gingerbread house with your family. Pre-made sets come with everything you need, making it quick and easy