Is today any different than yesterday?
Yes, today is different and I want to celebrate! Today I woke up to a winter wonderland. The first snow of the season has made its debut and it is absolutely stunning.
About a week ago my friends and I were in bible study discussing the importance of rituals – things we choose to do with our family that will make a positive impact on them.
Ritual: always done in a particular situation and in the same way each time.
My pastor’s wife challenged us to consider what kinds of rituals we already do or plan to do with our families to make our families closer and stronger. I had remembered back to my childhood, growing up in Southern California. Whenever it rained, my aunt made cookies. All day long she spent time making big batches of a variety of cookies. Her children and all of the cousins would be so anxious for raining days, looking forward to the gift she always provided. The ritual of making cookies on rainy days was so special to us. It was a time of celebration and change.
Now that I live in Central Oregon, a place where rain frequents a little more than in SoCal, I decided to begin a ritual with my children based on my memories as a child. I had determined that the first snow of the season would be a day of making cookies. It would be a day to celebrate and have fun.
Today was that day. I woke my son up and hurried him along to look out the front window. His eyes lit up with joy. Then I told him that today mommy would need his help to make cookies. He just turned three years old and although he is not exactly skilled as a sous-chef, he is practicing.
He moved a stool into the kitchen and helped me stir as we made a fresh batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies. We talked, we hugged, we cleaned up mess after mess, and we enjoyed each other.
I can’t wait to do it all again next year!
Rituals can be small or grand, they can be rare or frequent, but rituals will always be good for families. Rituals give us all something to look forward to. They provide a positive atmosphere where conversations take place and emotional intimacy abounds. Rituals are a great way to cultivate connectedness and they leave a lasting impression in the hearts that are closest to us.
Doing rituals with your family is good because they will make your love strong. I value rituals because they provide the best kind of atmosphere to engage emotionally and affectionately. They also help others feel comfortable enough to talk about the heart matters. They will fortify the foundation of a family. Rituals provide evidence of care.
Its those things we do repeatedly that add up over time and leave the most beautiful and intricate picture of love for others to appreciate.
Bless your family by creatively loving them through establishing rituals. A ritual can be done daily, weekly, yearly…the choice is up to you! Here is a brief list of 39 rituals you can do with your family.
- Cookies on a rainy/snowy day
- Reading together before bedtime
- Praying together at meals and before bedtime
- Sunday night family worship time
- Ice Cream dates with dad
- 10th Birthday Adventure Celebration (I got this idea from Love Does)
- Filling a kid’s room with balloons on their birthday
- Making a Thanksgiving Feast as a family
- Pajama day for everyone
- Movie day
- Watching an old movie & having hot cocoa
- Family game night once a month
- Family photos once a year (same outfits or using same props or same blanket)
- Watching a parade together
- Dinner picnic on the living room floor
- Breakfast for dinner
- Once a year all-nighter (Staying up til dawn)
- Putting a tent up in the living room for a camp-in
- Shopping day with mom (Or if you have multiple children, picking one to help you)
- Evening walks
- Coffee break
- Saturday adventure day
- Once a year family vacation
- Playtime before bed
- High Tea or afternoon tea
- Serving together such as volunteering at a soup kitchen
- Getting up early to have coffee with your spouse before the kids wake up
- Going for a run
- Participating in a marathon
- Making a dessert platter for friends during the holidays
- Cooking dad’s favorite meal for his birthday
- Watching the Grinch Stole Christmas every December
- Turning all the lights off and using candles
- Chinese take-out night once month
- Mommy daughter date to get pedicures
- Dad and son hunting trip every fall
- Morning snuggles in mom’s bed before the day really starts
- The same time every day to memorize scripture with kids
- Taking turns at dinner to share one highlight and one lowlight.
If you have established rituals that have made a positive impact on your family please share about them in the comments. If this list inspires you, be sure to make some of these rituals your own!