The first part of this two-part blog discusses the value of family rituals and traditions around Christmas time. By family rituals and traditions, I am referring to a set of actions or behaviors that are repeated and that carry with them a symbolic meaning for the family members. A number of families who celebrate Christmas tend to have a set of traditions and rituals surrounding Christmas time. These traditions vary from one family to the next, but some examples can include whether the family decorates their home during the Christmas period, whether a Christmas meal for the family is organized, or gift giving traditions around this period. While families might not stop to think about the value of these, family rituals and traditions may hold a number of benefits for the family and family members. The following are some of the benefits:
Through family rituals and traditions, the family has an opportunity to make new memories together. Shared memories tend to increase the feeling of closeness between the different members of the family. Apart from making new memories, some traditions may stir up strong emotions that are attached to memories of past celebrations, and family members may reminisce about these memories and discuss or process them together. For instance, the parents of the family might get in touch with the fact that their children are now older, and recall together funny moments from past Christmases when their children were still younger.
- Slowing down to be together
Family traditions may act as a way to bring families closer together. It could be a set time in the year that due to family traditions, family members leave free from other commitments and make time to be together. This could offer families with something different, considering that some families may live a fast paced and busy lifestyle.
- Brings different generations together
The rituals and traditions of a family provide a sense of continuity across the different generations. This means that certain family traditions support the family in transmitting values, history and culture from one generation to the next one. These traditions could also be a way of bridging the gap between different generations. This is because by different generations being together for family rituals and traditions, people from different generations are making memories together and creating new stories; which gives, for instance, an adolescent and a great-grandparent a common experience to relate on.
Rebecca Cassar is a Family Therapist practicing the Systemic Approach. She specializes in offering therapy to families, couples and individuals who are experiencing distress in their relationships. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 79291817.