7 Ways to Teach the Importance of Family During the Holidays
**This blog post was updated on November 25, 2022.**
With the holiday season in full swing, now’s a great time to start thinking about some family bonding activities to help connect with your kids and reinforce the importance of family. We know it can be hard to get teens, tweens, and adults all sitting around a table engaged in the same fun task, which is why we've come up with a list of kid (and parent!) approved activities.
Start a Handwritten Recipe Book
There are a million ways to find other people’s recipes for chicken noodle soup, kugel, or beans and rice online, but nothing will ever taste quite the same as your mom’s vintage dishes. Your kids may not understand this now, but they will when they’re older and calling to ask you for recipes. To get started, buy a sturdy, blank notebook (have your kids decorate it if they want!), and begin collecting your family’s favorite recipes. Have your kids contribute their favorites and add yours as well. Pro tip: Make sure everything’s handwritten. Trust us, it’ll mean more in 20 years.
Go Through the Old Family Photo Album
You probably have a lot of photos of your kids on display around your house, but there’s something extra special about digging through dusty boxes of photos and finding old, non-digital snapshots of your family from years ago. If your kids are in middle school, wow them with some of your greatest hits from junior high in the ‘80s / ‘90s — back when everyone wore stirrup pants and Umbros. Compare trends today with the ones you lived through. Try not to laugh too hard.
Tell Old Holiday Stories
As your family celebrates more and more holidays together, you’ll start to accumulate some memorable stories, and recounting them every year will help you cement your bond as you continue to add to them. From the good (the year it surprise-snowed and everyone ran outside in their pajamas) to the bad (the year the cat climbed the Christmas tree and it fell down in the middle of the night), these memories are part of the fabric of your family’s life, and will remind you of the importance of family and just how much you’ve all experienced together.
Make a Family Movie
This can be fun for the whole family, no matter what someone’s strengths are. Different folks can create backdrops and sets, someone else can write up the script, and the most outgoing family members can be the actors! Pro tip: Even if you don’t ever post to TikTok, you can shoot and edit in the app and take advantage of the super easy editing features — including music, transitions, special effects, intros, and titles.
Take Personality Tests and Discuss
Whether it’s which Hogwarts house everyone’s in or something more serious like a Myers-Brigg test, personality tests can be a great way to strike up some super interesting conversations with your family. Ever wonder why the quiet people in your house always wake up early? Or why the bookworms like to ask so many questions? Quizzes can uncover trends and habits that enable you to better understand each other — as well as cut each other some slack.
Plan a Family Dream Vacation
Without worrying a single second about any financial or travel logistics, sit down together and brainstorm everyone’s absolute bucket list trip. Is mom itching to visit Paris again because she studied abroad there years ago? Do the kids want to live out their intergalactic fantasies and jet over to the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney World? Talking about the places you long to visit can reveal important parts of your identity and help you understand what your family dreams about.
Start a New Tradition to Show the Importance of Family
We talked earlier about the importance of remembering the events of holidays of yesteryear, but it’s also important to continue adding to these traditions. This will naturally happen, too, as your kids grow up and priorities change. For example, your teen may want to take the lead and make the holiday pie this year, or as a family, you may sign up for everyone’s first 5K. Whether the tradition sticks depends on how much everyone enjoys it, of course, but it’s always good to keep learning, growing, and doing as a family.
It’s easy to function as a home unit on autopilot much of the time, but during the holidays, try and stress the importance of family and positive relationships to your kids. We hope these suggestions help spark some ideas, but there are tons of ways to get together and communicate. Your kids may not understand at first, but connecting in a way that builds familiarity and love is important to growing together as a family.
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