If you’re like me, you have memories from your youth of the things your family did on an annual basis. How wonderful to think back and feel the warmth of those family traditions! Often you can share the memories with siblings, parents, or friends. “Remember how Grandma made us scarves every Christmas?” or  “Remember how we played Scrabble for hours every Sunday afternoon and had pizza for dinner?”

There’s something concrete in traditions that provide a spirit to the family. They give us a sense of belonging and help create warm memories for children. Are we creating these traditions in our busy society?  Sometimes we are without even realizing. But if you think you’re not doing enough to nurture the family in the sense of offering a feel of family bonding and passing on values, there’s always time to start! Especially if you have young children, why not think about what your family likes to do and make these activities into a winter tradition?

For families that love to cook, set a day each month to do something as a family. Homemade pizza night? Sunday pancake brunch? Bring out the bowls and mixers and make batches of homemade cookies. Doing this on a regular basis, with lots of laughs,  becomes more of a “family tradition” night that your children may very well pass down to their own family someday.

Snow day traditions can be a lot of fun. Drop everything and head to the park with sleds, then back home for hot cocoa! Or start a fire in the fireplace and play charades all day. These memories will be cherished always.

Family movie night is always in style. Whether it’s a Christmas movie, a Disney film, or the latest action flick, figure out a movie night and perhaps watch the same one each year! Blankets, popcorn, stuffed animals, and cuddles make beautiful memories. No phones!

For families that like to help animals, make it a once a year tradition to donate to an animal shelter in person.  Have everyone collect their loose change each January, cash it in for bills, and drive the family to a local animal shelter to present the gift.  Whether $5 or $50,  it doesn’t matter. You’re teaching the children to give, helping homeless animals, and making memories. Make sure to visit with the animals while there. Your kids will always remember this!

Start a family read-aloud book each January and take turns reading out loud at a set time each week. I read a Christmas book with my daughter for a few years in a row and she still remembers it!

Winter can be long. Create great family experiences that continue each year for memories that will last always.