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Meaningful Traditions to Start with Your Children

Tradition is so important to me–as a way to connect to the past, to honor those who have come before me, and as a way to cast ties into the future. Some of the traditions that are the most meaningful to me are the ones that began when I was a child. As my child grows up, I am so enjoying sharing these traditions. These are even more meaningful to me now that my mother is no longer with us. I wanted to share three of the traditions that are the most meaningful to me with you. In my opinion, they are small but wonderful ways to honor the special relationship you have with your child (or the child in your life); they create a lifelong tie in a very unique and special way.


A place setting for each special holiday: My uncle and aunt began giving me a full setting of Christmas china every year for Christmas until I had enough for eight settings. It was the beautiful and traditional Spode pattern, and I love it so much. It’s something I will cherish forever, and I felt so grown-up at the age of seven, receiving china as a Christmas gift!

When my husband and I met, my other aunt and uncle began giving me a silver setting of my great-grandmother’s pattern (pictured here) for the holidays. I was the first grandchild in our family to start the set, and I felt so honored and touched to be considered an adult.

An ornament for each Christmas: This is another special tradition, and one that is a bit more known than the place setting tradition. I love marking each Christmas with an ornament, whether it’s Winnie-the-Pooh or favorite Sesame Street characters 🙂 It’s a special way to remember each year!

A special trip, once a year: This doesn’t have to be a big thing, but it should be meaningful. My mother and I used to take trips to Manhattan on our own for many years after we left the city. I loved getting to visit special places to us–the National Arts Club, Gramercy Park, the Public Library–and getting to spend time with just her is something I cherished, and am so glad that I had.


What traditions do you cherish the most?

(The image in this post is via my aunt’s Instagram account, of her collection of her grandmother’s silver pattern.)

3 thoughts on “Meaningful Traditions to Start with Your Children

  1. Oh, I love this post!

    Every autumn, we go to a local farm to pick pumpkins. In the late Spring or early summer, we plant a few edible plants in our garden to enjoy growing and harvesting together.

    We do the ornament tradition at Christmas too, and read passages from Tolkien’s “Letters to Father Christmas” throughout the advent season. (A wonderful family book!)

    However, my favorite is a more daily tradition:
    Each night before tuck in, we read a poem together. Sometimes silly, kid-poems (think Shel Silverstein) but more often classics like “Mending Wall” or “Invictus.” Most days, this is quick ritual, but it has instilled a deep love of poetry in my son. We started doing this when he was a toddler. As he got older, we talked more about the meanings of the poems, and even used some for drawing strength or expanding joy when needed. There are great collections of classic poetry for children available. When he was little, we selected ones with illustrations. Later, he chose his own. The poem was in addition to the bedtime stories we read when he was little, and we continued doing this long after he learned to read to himself.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this post! I love your family traditions, especially reading poetry. I love poetry, as does my husband; we may have to adopt this one for our own. This sounds so special and such a wonderful way to install a love of learning and language.

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