Starting a New Tradition

My sister, Valerie Elkins, is the author of the blog,, a blog that shares her love of family history and story telling. She is my guest blogger today. Take it away, Valerie!


You’ve seen the cute little shelf elf around right? Last Christmas, I had been feeling a bit sad that the adorable little elf wasn’t around when my children were younger, as they would have enjoyed the mischievous pranking elf.

Even though my three are now college age, I thought they still might enjoy some silly elf fun. Of course, by the time I thought of this it was mid-December and the elves were scarce. Necessity is the mother of invention after all and this mother has a glue gun!

I raided the kid’s neglected toys and found a pro-wrestler action figure. Perfect! I didn’t want some “cutesy” replica of an elf, I wanted a way to engage my somewhat too cool young adult children into reliving a little Christmas magic. For that it was going to require something a little bizarro, but I knew that if it would make them laugh – they would play along.

What is a tradition? Meg Cox, the author of The Book of New Family Traditions, defines family ritual as “any activity you purposefully repeat together as a family that includes heightened attentiveness and something extra that lifts it above the ordinary ruts.

Traditions are a important, they help a family feel a sense of identity and it strengthen bonds. It is comforting and offers security to children to know, even when they are far away (like in Alaska freezing their hiney off while at college), that some things are constant, familiar and the same. Traditions can teach our family values, pass on our cultural and religious heritage and help connect generations.

When a study group asked by researchers about what they remembered most about their childhood, most responded by talking about the simple, day-to-day traditions, the family dinners, the holidays, and bedtime stories.

How to Create a Your Own Tradition:

  • Find a purpose
  • Make it personal
  • Look at your family history, your family heritage from other cultures and countries for inspiration
  • Add traditions from your own childhood
  • Feel free to create or delete traditions as needed

Fill your family with lots of rich memories, ones that they can pull out to cherish and remember when life’s challenges are heavy. It’s never too late to create a new tradition or dust off an old one.


Thanks for sharing Valerie. My boys would love the fun of a super hero Elf. Looks like I will need to break out my glue gun and find the box with the toys in it.

What traditions have you started with your family?