Do you have any family rituals that you love? Whether they are things you remember from childhood, or new ways to mark the days and the passing of significant dates, rituals can be an important glue that helps us connect with our loved-ones. Studies have shown that children perform better in all areas of life (school, career, relationships etc) when they have a sense of where they come from. And family can be crucial in instilling and developing this sense of belonging. Rituals, however small and simple, are significant ways to enrich our lives and enhance wellbeing. Perhaps this is why the idea of hygge is so popular: it gives us permission to slow down and to reflect. It seems we are all in need of this more meaningful time, whether alone or with others.
So we thought we would share some of our family rituals, and also give you some tips on developing your own, if the fancy takes you.
Our family rituals (current and past and sometimes remembered…)
- Tying balloons to the birthday-person’s chair the night before their birthday
- Breakfast in bed for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day
- Drinking hot milk with cinnamon and honey (we call them toddies) by the fire
- ‘Book Club’ – where a child snuggles into our bed and we read to them from a longer book, for a proper length of time
- Learning a poem off by heart each month
- Friday Fika
- Pancakes for breakfast on Sunday mornings
- Opening Christmas stockings on our bed first thing on Christmas morning
- Having a bath by candlelight once the children are in bed. And locking the door
- Harvesting the apples
- Stacking logs ready for winter
- Movie night with popcorn
Some other ideas you could try
- Hand-grinding your morning coffee
- Planting a ‘bulb lasagna’ in winter, ready for spring tulips and daffodils
- Taking a daily walk or swim
- Lighting a fire, inside in winter and outside in summer
- Takeaway coffee and bagel on Monday mornings
- Making preserves and jams from foraged fruits every fall
The main thing to remember is to keep it achievable and realistic. It’s good to keep your rituals regular. But if you can’t make pancakes one morning because of soccer practice, or you’ve run out of eggs, don’t sweat. Just do it another time. None of this is meant to feel like yet another drain on your energy or time – one more thing that you want to do but feel like you’re failing to do ‘properly’.
Rituals need to be affordable too. Keep it simple. There’s a beauty in that simplicity. They also need to be fun and not forced – if no-one feels like watching a movie, just do something else instead and try another evening. Try to think of things that everyone can join in with, however large or small your family. Some rituals might be tied in with religious festivals, others will be sporadic and seasonal. The main idea is to develop a sense of rhythm and structure to your day, or week, or year, and to carve out some precious moments within all the other demands on your time to just laugh, share food with others or be in silence.
Do you have any family rituals you’d like to share? Drop us a comment. We’d love to hear what your family’s do.