When it comes to connecting in a family setting, one throughline that can bring varying viewpoints, living apart, and other disassociating factors together, is the celebration of traditions. Namely: Family traditions.
From that special dish cooked on a shared holiday to expressing gratitude for a shared life and history, there are many ways to connect through tradition and bridge the generational gap. Doing so creates an inherent sense of comfort and security, as well as a reason for everyone to get together those certain times of the year!
Spend quality time together
Time-honoured traditions are those dates you just don’t want to get out of. They can set the foundation for your life view, and be an “excuse” to hang with the people you love; thereby even being a catalyst for a good work-life balance! These family traditions work to give identity through comfort, belonging, and personal pride.
Embrace independence while maintaining strong family relationships
Aging family members change the dynamic between parents and children, and even between the senior family members themselves. This is where mindset plays an important role in how senior independence is maintained, and why open, honest, and consistent communication is key. Patience with and being open to the process are at the heart of this. We’ve put together ways family members can provide support and encouragement while connecting with their senior loved ones here.
Celebrating a shared cultural past
Whether it’s researching family lineage or reminiscing over Grandma’s favourite recipe, exploring family history together from geographical and cultural standpoints is a great bonding experience to bridge the generations. Elderly loved ones enjoy nothing more than sharing stories from the past. It’s a great way to learn not only about history, but also family traits and traditions—or where that particular personal quirk came from, in some cases! Check out other ideas for senior travelers and their loved ones here.
Journaling for mental wellness and posterity
From reducing stress levels to achieving a more harmonious state of physical and mental health, the therapeutic practice of journaling has many health benefits as we explore here. Keeping a journal is also a phenomenal way to share with the next generations not only “what life was like”, but personal insight into family dynamics. Keeping a journal is a fantastic personal and familial tradition that benefits the individual as well as serves to keep memories alive.
Expressing gratitude for a life well lived together
Try this beautiful gratitude practice with a loved one as a way to bond and show appreciation for those important people in your life. Connecting through gratitude practices can ease the mind, appease the heart, and be a lovely way of bridging the generational gap even if you have nothing else in common—simply being together is a gift in itself.
Traditional Ideas…and ways to keep them going!
Looking to start a family tradition? Here’s a list of tried and true favourites.
- Gratitude jar
- Annual camping trip
- Full moon celebrations
- Family recipes
- Games’ night
- Religious holidays
Competing schedules or living far apart? Here are a few ways to keep the traditions going:
- Choose something everyone is interested in
- Set a date that works for everyone (even if it’s not December 25th, or some other well-known holiday date, pick a day that works for everyone that matters)
- Simplicity and positivity are key ingredients to keeping traditions alive
- Be open to change
Connecting through traditions in these ways can have a huge positive impact on all members of your family to create a supportive, solid safe space in our chaotic world.