What an exciting time of year it is to discuss such a wonderful topic! Bonding is a way of life, and a way to promote success and happiness at all levels of your family! It is so important for families to recognize that spending good-quality-time with each other is a MUST, especially when we all live such busy lives! Sometimes, we all need to slow down and work on our bonding, even if it is only for 5 minutes! Starting with something simple, like lending a helping hand, to an all-out weekend adventure and anything in-between is a great way to create bonding experiences.
Christmas is a great time of year for families to reunite, spend time together, create memories, enjoy traditions and much more- the possibilities are endless! I know for my family specifically, we have traditions that we re-live every year that have been passed on from earlier generations. One tradition my family has participated in ever since I can remember is Christmas Eve! First, we go to 4 o’clock mass. Then, my entire family meets at Babci’s, my grandmother’s, house. We eat appetizers, catch up with extended family, lend a hand in making dinner, and then we all sit down for dinner. At dinner, we break a piece of oplatek and wish each person something like, “Health, wealth & prosperity!” Next, we eat dinner, share many laughs and then everyone pitches in for the after dinner clean-up! When we are all done with cleaning up, we usually relax for a little bit and then move onto presents and dessert! The night always ends with us all gathered in the living room, stuffed, and watch “A Christmas Story”!
One thing we used to do that I loved as a child was receiving the “Special Reindeer Food” my Aunt would get from Santa! It was a simple but cute idea she came up with so that we could sprinkle it on our front yard to make sure Santa and the reindeer’s would know where our house was. Plus, it looked really pretty on top of all the snow! The “Reindeer Food” consisted of oatmeal and every type of glitter she could find! She would put it in little zip lock baggies that my sister and I would hold the whole way home, while listening to Santa sightings in the area! When we finally got home, we would jump out of the car, spread the reindeer food all over our front yard, and then come inside to find the best, brand new pair of comfy Christmas pajama’s that Santa’s Elves (otherwise known as my Mom) would leave out for us while we were at my grandma’s! From there, we’d put on our awesome new pajama’s, get cookies and carrots ready for Santa and the reindeer, try to play with or put away all of our new stuff we just got and then head to bed because Santa was on his way! What a great memory; something that I will definitely pass onto my own family when I have one!
Old or new, traditions can also be shared through family, friends and within our communities. Here are some other great idea’s for you to start or add some additional traditions to your family:
- Use an Advent calendar to count down the days until Christmas is a fun tradition, especially for children.
- Make homemade gifts to show thoughtfulness.
- Take a family photo each year.
- Send homemade Christmas cards to your loved ones.
- Watch a parade or go to another community event.
- Pick out a tree as an entire family.
- Go sledding and build snowmen together.
- Make homemade ornaments.
- Get new matching winter pajamas for the whole family can be a funny bonding experience.
- Teach your family the importance of Christmas and how it originated.
- Spend time with your family in general: cooking, baking, watching Christmas shows, etc.