Motherhood

What Are Your Family Rituals?

uno family game

Last week, we got a request from a reader names Catherine: “Could you please, please, please have a post where readers submit favorite year-round rituals from their childhood or ones that they’ve started doing for their children? My daughter is at the age where we’d like to create fun traditions, and I know the Cup of Jo community would be a gold mine. Weekly, annual, mundane, extravagant, I want ALL the ideas.”

First, here’s one of ours: Before dinners at restaurants, we always play a game of Uno. We’ll usually play it at home beforehand, or in a hotel lobby if we’re on vacation, but sometimes we’ll play it at the table before the food arrives. The game is often accompanied by wine for the grownups and juice (or Shirley Temples) for the kids. It’s such a fun ritual and helps set a relaxed tone for a family dinner out. That’s all, short and sweet!

Now, please share below what fun things you do regularly with kids in your lives — and let the inspiration begin! xoxo

P.S. Jenny’s ode to rituals, and our five holiday traditions.

  1. Phew loved reading through all of these!

    It made me realise we have more traditions than I thought :)

    – Strawberry picking before Christmas (it’s summer here)
    – Choose a new tree ornament each year
    – Drive to visit the Christmas lights
    – Christmas stockings opened all in one bed before going to the tree (all of our family including husbands and grandkids have handmade stockings from my mum)
    – Christmas morning Mimosas and carols while opening gifts
    – New Year’s Eve First Footing (a Northern England tradition always performed by my Dad growing up, sadly we don’t do this in our house now halfway round the world, I’d love to reinstate it)
    – Shrove Tuesday pancakes (not religious but always looked forward to this)
    – Easter egg hunt
    – Half birthday cake for my son
    – A cheesy, themed fridge magnet from each vacation
    – Halloween trick or treat, always homemade costumes growing up
    – Every birthday and Christmas we buy a new vinyl record for our son, anything from Al Green to Alabama Shake. Our hope is that he’ll have a nice collection by the time he’s 18

    I can’t wait to include more regular, casual traditions as our son gets older (he’s 3) :)

  2. Margaux says...

    Dear Jo, if you guys are fond of UNO and if you can find its Flip version, go and try it! UNO Flip is worth trying! My kids are fond of it I’m pretty sure your boys too…

  3. Shannon says...

    Every night since our kids were 2 and 1 (they are 9 and 8 now) we have two rituals. First, we each share our “favorite part of the day.” Then we do a family cheer “team Marvin, team Marvin, teeeeeammmm Marvin!” We always, always, always do this except when someone is missing (business trip, sleepover, etc.) or when a friend is over for a sleepover (it’s kind of an intimate, family thing ya know?) I know it’s not going to last forever, and it might be cringe-y for them someday, but for now I think we all look forward to it.

  4. Andrea says...

    Loved reading these so much, I just made a note in my phone with ideas!

    A couple we currently do:
    For Black Friday, we’ve adopted the REI challenge to “opt outside.” We go for a family hike at a nearby nature reserve. It feels so good to move and get fresh air after Thanksgiving.

    On Christmas Eve, after playing Santa, my husband and I prep the tastiest baked French toast recipe (which includes cinnamon, cardamom, orange zest, creme fraiche!) and easily pop in the oven Christmas morning. https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/french-toast-casserole

    For birthdays, we’ve begun to do a treasure hunt for gifts, as my mom did for us growing up.
    My in-laws also call us first thing in the morning to sing happy birthday, even if we will see them in a few hours! It’s a simple and special way to start the day.

    During the pandemic, we’ve stumbled into a ritual I am not so proud to admit. Our 3 year old wakes up so early, and because I am so sleep-deprived right now from anxiety and being 8 months pregnant, I barely notice, but she will crawl into bed and I will, half-awake, find Daniel Tiger or Peppa Pig on my phone for her while I fall back to sleep for a while. I feel some mom guilt over this, but I know sleep is too important right now to stress about it too much, and it’s temporary, and she loves snuggling in our bed and getting a cartoon first thing. It’s something I think we will miss someday.

    Our daughter starts preschool in the fall and she’s a bit nervous about it, so I’m planning to institute “Muffin Mondays” (I may have originally read this idea from a COJ reader!). We will have a relaxing Sunday evening to get the Sunday scaries out by baking a batch of muffins together and voila!, also have a special breakfast treat for the next day. Whether we choose to send her this year with the pandemic or not, I will begin this in the fall because I’ve been excited about it. :)

  5. Christy says...

    I love celebrating all my best friends during their birthdays but wanted to save some money on gifts this year. So I started this tradition, on each of my BFFs’ birthdays they are allowed to read the corresponding date’s entry in my most sacred of documents, my 6th grade diary. These are all friends I’ve made as an adult so it’s been hilarious to let them peek into my mind as an 11 year old, while I was at my cringey-est, angsty-est and most boy-crazy. We all get a kick out of these middle school musings and if anything, it makes us grateful for the privilege of aging and becoming (somewhat) more mature.

  6. Diana says...

    We do pizza and a movie on Friday nights. We also always save some Halloween candy to decorate gingerbread houses in December. My daughter likes to save any candy throughout the year that is subpar for this purpose too. I have a song I have made up with my daughter’s name that I sing to her when I come into her room to say goodnight (she is nearly 10 now). And if it is just me and my daughter at home we eat our thrown together meal (generally a snack plate) on the sofa and watch a movie. It is such a treat for her and she so looks forward to mama daughter nights.

  7. Bates says...

    Sometime b/w Christmas and New Year’s Eve we have Harry Potter Day where we watch all of the HP movies of the books we have read thus far. Once we finish an HP book (Which we actually listen to not read – Jim dale is an amazing narrator!), we can add the movie to HP day. We just finished 6, so that’s what we will add to the mix this year (can’t wait to see it!) Side note: I had never read HP before we had kids and wow it does not disappoint – I had snobbishly wondered how can something that every single person loves actually be good (had the same thought about Hamilton until we finally listened to it in March and have listened every day since!)

  8. Greta says...

    I never realised but upon reading these I have realised we have quite a few. Here are my favs;

    1. We take an A3 piece of paper and on a birthday we write a list things of things we like about the birthday person so, when they get up in the morning it is there on the wall for them to see. I have kept them and it so gorgeous looking back at the spelling, handwriting and comments.

    2. We have special dinners during the school holidays where we choose a country and each person has to dress up like they are from that country and come to dinner with 3 (non-soccer) facts about the country. It is sooo interesting the facts everyone chooses. Obvs the dinner is from that country too.

    3. We go to the family mass service on Christmas Eve at the Cathedral and then head into the city for a fancy dinner out as a family. Because we have a large extended family for Christmas this has been a wonderful way to celebrate more intimately.

    • Becky says...

      3 non-soccer facts – I love that qualifier!

  9. cm says...

    This just brought up a memory for me! I think my mom used to serve us bananas and milk. Funny!

  10. Lise says...

    I LOVE reading these!

    One thing i stole from COJ a while ago, that is a huge hit with my son, are Happy Plates for lunch or dinner once a month. A plate full of random food, fruit, vegetables, meatballs, chips.. whatever is handy. It makes him SO happy

    On Christmas Eve after mass we go to my cousins home where a family member dresses as Santa and hands out one gift each that we pass to him before, to the kids. Then he hurries off to get on delivering gifts around the world and we head home and put the kids to bed. Then my husband and I open our gifts to each other with a whiskey. It’s a lovely slice of time to ourselves during the madness that is Christmas.

  11. Andrea says...

    Pancakes for supper on Sundays, and fondue by the fireplace on Christmas Eve.

    Reading the Psalm that corresponds with your birthday being celebrated (sometimes had to heavily redact them when dark and angry ones came along lol).

  12. lulu says...

    We started weekly rituals that have helped so much during this time when days can blend together and our son loves it!
    Monday Dark Dance Party: 3 songs, throw in some flashlights, and have a blast!
    Wednesday Dessert Night: I so look forward to this all week.
    Friday/Pizza Night: we each make a pie to share.
    Saturday Game Night: uno, spot-it, santorini, and qwirkle are big hits.
    Sunday Special Breakfast: we used to make something different every week but then we tried Jenny’s Famous Waffles and the rest is history.

  13. Hannah says...

    My daughter created her own holiday, several years ago at the age of 3. She was outraged that in our country, there was a Fathers Day and a Mothers Day but not a “little Girls Day” so we made one. We literally call it “Little Girls Day” (a name which will need to be updated shortly, sniff!) and celebrate on the Sunday before Mothers Day. It’s essentially a YES day – yes to snacks, yes to presents, yes to fun activities, yes to balloons, yes to ice cream for dinner, yes to scavenger hunts, yes to staying up late.

    • Catherine says...

      We actually celebrate Girl’s Day in Hawaii (it’s a Japanese holiday… lots of folks of Japanese ancestry here). It’s celebrated on March 3rd. Boy’s Day falls on May 5th, although somehow people always just call it “children’s day,” so technically little girls can be celebrated again!

      Since I didn’t grow up here, I’m not sure what is involved for the littles. As an adult, it means that somebody usually brings in mochi to the office.

  14. Laura says...

    For birthdays: Hot chocolate in bed with a song and a posy of flowers from the garden. We then do a slideshow session on the kids’ birthdays to see how they’ve changed.

    At school drop off, we like to say our mantra: “Look after yourselves, Look after each other and ALWAYS look out for the little guy”.

    And my kids cook for us on the weekends, one dessert and one main.

  15. Lauren Tremper says...

    Mine is going to be long haha! I think traditions are one of my favorite things about having a family. Let’s see, for Christmas Eve we get in our jammies and go out to our local burger spot for cheeseburgers (the first year we did this it started snowing, and in Seattle that’s not crazy common. It was magic!)

    Hm, let’s see, for school (pre Covid) we would do a special necklace for our girls when they first started school so they could remember we were with them throughout the day. And before each school year we have a Back to School Feast, we all dress up and the kids pick the entire menu start to finish. We make crowns for the kids to wear and have candles, the whole nine yards. We each share a hope or intention that we have for the school year and celebrate our girls. Similarly we have a Closing Ceremonies at the end of the year where we give out an award to each of them (like a paper one, not an actual gift).

    What else? Oh, based on the How Full is Your Bucket for Kids book that our girls love, we do Bucket Filling Ceremonies (our kids are really into ceremonies, or maybe I am). And each family member sits in the hot seat and we each encourage them. Even our 2 year old suggests doing it sometimes. It makes my heart swell.

    There are more, but I won’t bore you. Hahaha. Right now little traditions are everything! On 4th of July we didn’t feel very patriotic at all, but decided to have a big family food fight in the backyard and that was so silly and fun. Having kids right now is even more complicated, but I’m so thankful for them and their endless joy and hopeful outlook.

    Love to all the COJ friends:)

  16. kash says...

    I think there’s something extra nice about making a ritual around a specific food item, so that when a child grows up they have a nice association with the food.

    Like many of the other commenters, we had a special breakfast ritual on Sunday! Usually it was bacon from the microwave and crispy waffles from my mom’s ancient, probably super unsafe, waffle iron. I’m a real-deal grown up now, and I STILL seek comfort during really tough moments by making waffles and bacon for breakfast on Sundays! My mom’s breakfast ritual really created a stable source of coziness in my life.

    Related but more complicated–my little sister (well, she’s 30 now so… not so little, but you know what I mean) has a disability, which made for an unavoidably unbalanced childhood in terms of effort and resources for my working class family. I remember very clearly that once a month my dad would take me out to share a banana split, no one else allowed. I got to eat most of the fudge sauce and he’d always pretend that I’d outsmarted him and been faster with my spoon. I’m not as close with my dad, but I really think back to those ice cream outings with so much affection; I can recognize now that it was my dad’s way of giving me some special and undivided attention as a little girl–and I still feel weird eating a banana split without him, many decades later.

  17. diana K. says...

    I have one.

    At Christmas Eve dinner everyone has to eat a clove of garlic (for your health!) dipped in salt, with a piece of bread. It’s a Polish thing, but I just love seeing everyone wince when they eat it.

  18. Carolyn says...

    Every Friday is “Cozy Family Movie Night”. We get pizza, change into pajamas and pile up a blanket nest on the couch. We try to pick a movie my 5-year-old hasn’t seen before, and we make stovetop popcorn!

  19. Johanna says...

    “Bone Fridays”! Every Friday our 3 year old daughter gets to hand a rawhide to our aging Bernese Mountain Dog, Rosie. The smiles on both of their faces…

  20. Em says...

    So many traditions in our family! A few favorites:

    — Every so often when growing up, my parents would announce we were going on a “mystery ride” after dinner. We’d all pile into the car and inevitably arrive at our town’s ice cream spot, but it always seemed to be a surprise :)
    — Earlier in December, my husband go out for a special date night. We bring a notebook we’ve been using for a few years and discuss things like what went well that year, where we struggled, where we want to travel the next year, our goals for the next year, where we want to make our big charitable donation for the year, etc. These are some of my absolute favorite nights of the year and something we both look forward to so much.
    — Every September, we think through who in our circle is starting their freshman year of college (in this season of life, sometimes babysitters, family friends, or church friends). Then, my older daughter (4) and I shop for care package goodies and send them off in a big box. I had a very rough transition to college, so I love to be able to pay some joy forward, even if we’re not super close to the recipient :)

    Ooh! One more, since we’re talking about college :) My grandmother baked and sent a red velvet cake to my Mom every year in college, with a tub of frosting to ice it with. My Mom did the same for my sisters and I when we were in college, and I look forward to doing the same for my kiddos! Great way to make friends in the dorm :)

  21. Sydney Rose says...

    So many wonderful ones when I was growing up that I’d like to one day continue, including:
    -my family is half-French and ever summer we went to my great-grandmother house’s (not my grandmothers) in the south of France. We’d end every lunch with little cakes from our favorite patisserie and everyone gets the equivalent of one whole little cake, but it could be made up of as many halves, quarters or eights of individual cakes as you’d like (though doing 8 eights was frowned upon). That and the order of services has always been eldest female to youngest female then eldest male to youngest male in the family. As the eldest female grandchild, I was a big fan of this rule.
    -celebrating half birthdays! Cakes, but no presents. My mom had so many little things she did that made our childhoods special, like notes in lunchboxes, one-on-one outings, etc. but this one was always a favorite.
    -my Dad created many serialized stories for us (that I later found out where from old books he read as a kid) and would tell us one section every night before bed, always ending on a cliff hanger. I did this as a camp counselor with my 13-15 year olds and they loved it.
    -my Dad also created elaborate treasure hunts for our birthday parties as kids. The clues were always really hard, which made it even more fun.
    -aperitif every night before dinner during the summer. As kids, we were always expected to participate in the conversation and help pass around the snacks. We also usually got a bit of champagne to toast with (but never clink, it’s bad luck).
    -we lived abroad most of my life and often in tropical countries, but always had a Christmas tree, even if it was almost never a pine. The palm tree my Dad dug up and repotted in a plastic bucket in Congo is still one of my favorites.
    -my Mom is an amazing cook and has given me so many of her favorite cookbooks over the years for my birthday. I love that she not only thought me so much about baking and cooking, but that we can both reference our cookbooks from a far and compare recipes, notes, etc.

    So many little things that add up to a happy childhood. I miss my family so much right now (Covid) and am finding a lot of comfort in old rituals and memories. Thank you for this post!

  22. Melissa Dunsmoor says...

    “Scones” after trick or treats. Really, its fry-bread. Just defrost rhodes rolls and fry up. Top with honey and powder sugar. A finger food dinner in the living room for Christmas eve. No TV Sundays.

  23. Kristin B. says...

    I believe our family ritual is one I saw on Cup of Jo years ago! Randomly throughout the year I will announce to my kids (2, 4 and 6) that we are having “backwards dinner,” which basically means we get to eat dessert before we eat dinner. It’s perfect during summer when we all enjoy a late afternoon visit to the ice cream shop followed by a light dinner. It also gives the kids some time to get their sugar wiggles out before bed.

  24. Jill says...

    As a child I remember my mom writing letters/words on my back while tucking me in. I’d guess. I do it for my kids and it is something they deeply love—and I can remember what it felt like in my own body. ❤️

  25. Sara says...

    1. When my husband and I were dating, we started our ‘Holiday Lights’ tradition. We pick a Saturday evening in December and visit all of the holiday light displays in Philadelphia (Wanamaker light show! Love Park! Comcast building! Christmas Village!). We always end at a fancy restaurant in Rittenhouse Square. We’ve continued the tradition as we’ve gotten married and now have our two daughters. Last year, our three-year old was SO excited to get dressed up and enjoy a fancy dinner out with us. It’s our absolute favorite tradition! We also display a photo from each Holiday Lights years past in our home during the holiday season. It’s so fun to see how our family has grown and changed.

    2. Whenever we celebrate a birthday with a friend or family member, we ask our birthday questions:
    – what were the highlights of your past year?
    – what were the highlights for important people in your life this past year?
    – what are your lessons learned this past year?
    – what do you look forward to in the year ahead?
    My family loves to tease me for how corny I am, but the questions always generate rich and genuine conversation. It’s a gift to be with each birthday celebrant as they reflect and process.

  26. Rachel says...

    Our best traditions include watching every.single netflix countdown on NYE (calling out 10-9-8… over and over is so much fun), and always having confetti, and the week after New Year’s, eating at the same restaurant where we pick our word to live by for the year. We make a huge list, talk about the words and narrow it down. This year our word is: together

  27. I am so bad at remembering to keep traditions! But we do JUNKFOOD BIRTHDAY CEREAL. Every year on their birthday week they can pick WHATEVER crap cereal they want, last year my son chose SourPatchKids cereal (yes that is a thing) and thought it was gross, but so fun picking it out and trying it. That stuff is intense! They spend all year talking about what cereal they will pick.

  28. Julee says...

    We pray before bedtimes and mealtimes.
    I make everyone’s cake myself on their birthday.
    We have a birthday mug that the birthday boy or girl gets to drink out of on their special day.
    We summer at Cape Cod, and whoever spots the Sagamore bridge first, from our car, gets a quarter. Every.single.time ?

  29. Sandy says...

    Every year in December, on a snowy night we’d pile our three little boys in the car. They’d be in jammies and slippers and we’d drive around looking at Christmas lights, when we all had enough we’d go the the little Starbucks in town for hot chocolate- the first time we did it their eyes were as big as saucers, they couldn’t believe they would be allowed in Starbucks in jammies and slippers! As they started approaching middle school we had to skip the jammies/hot chocolate part, but they still wanted to see the lights every year! 30, 28, 25 now, they still talk about it!

  30. Sarah says...

    When my daughter was almost two and a half and we told her that it was her half birthday soon she, very seriously, asked if that meant she got half a cupcake. Now we do half cupcakes for everyone’s half birthday!

  31. Shannon says...

    We have Second Day Christmas and Pizza Sundays.

    Second day Christmas is Dec 26 when we eat leftover Christmas food and let the kids play with their new toys. It seems a waste that a day we have been waiting all year is gone in a day, so we stretch it to two days.

    Pizza Sundays are pizza lunch or dinner (usually pepperoni, the kids’ favorite) as long as they try a new food or thing, or if they behaved well all week, as a weekend treat. They look forward to it all week.

  32. Kamina says...

    The one that immediately came to mind for me was a really weird one!

    Growing up we used to eat this dinner we still call “Wednesday Night Dinner” because my dad made it on Wednesday nights. Carrots, peas, broccoli, oven fries, a veggie burger and gravy. Before starting to eat the Wednesday night dinner we had to see who got the longest chip. The way we would do this would be to each identify our longest chip, then slowly draw it out of the pile and hold it up while we all sang the star wars theme song to create a sense of ceremony. We would hold the chips up alongside each other to see who got the longest. And then…nothing! Just the glory I guess.

    This is SO WEIRD, right. I love when there’s something your family thinks is totally normal until you try to explain it to an outsider.

    • L says...

      My family always did “challenge for the longest!” with our fries, at home and at restaurants. The reward was also glory (and the biggest fry!)

    • Mary says...

      so weird and so awesome. your dad sounds great!

    • Jonna says...

      I love this so much!❤

  33. Kate says...

    What a beautiful post idea!

    Each night before bed I sing my girls songs that my mum used to sing to me, ‘Wynken, Blynken and Nod” and ”Á frog went walking on a summer’s day.” My husband also makes up silly stories and songs with the girls. We also have a candle in our weetbix on birthdays (an Aussie style tradition) which is a throw back to my childhood. At Easter the bunny leaves us a treasure map which we follow and hop, skip, jump around the yard… my husband makes homemade pizzas most Sundays for lunch and we have made gratitude boards with our girls.

    I am loving reading everyone’s family traditions! Thank you.

    • Brenda Yeates says...

      One of my favorite traditions when I was growing up we named “special shopping”. Each kid would get a Saturday morning out with my mom to pick up new school clothes, shoes and supplies for the start of the new school year. We then got to choose our favourite restaurant for lunch. We would pick out a chocolate bar for our dad and siblings who had to stay home. When we got home we would show everyone our new clothes and surprise them with their chocolate bar. It made the beginning of the school year exciting and that one-on-one time was treasured!

  34. Arliss says...

    Every year on the Saturday after Christmas we have Bad Choices Day. On that day, as long as it’s legal and doesn’t hurt anyone else, my kids can do whatever they want all day long. Ice cream for breakfast. Candy for lunch. Movies all day. Anything. The only other rules are, they have to eat real food for dinner (Even if it’s pizza. Otherwise they completely fall apart), and they have to go to bed at midnight, because the day is over at that point. My kids look forward to Bad Choices Day all year long, and anytime they want to do something that’s a little too out there for regular life, I tell them to save it for Bad Choices Day.

    • Hillary says...

      I love this! ❤️

    • Julee says...

      Hahaha so cute!

    • Sally says...

      This is best idea I’ve ever seen! And I am stealing it immediately!!

    • Sarah says...

      This sounds like so much fun Arliss!

  35. Jessie says...

    I love rituals. So many great ones from growing up.
    -we used to go to a ski resort every Christmas.
    -we used to bake our own cakes for birthdays
    -eating sweet potatoes with marshmallows for thanksgiving. Not even sure if I really like it, but it’s a must when I visit my parents.
    Now that I’m older, my husband and I also have some fun traditions.
    -watch the oscars and golden globes together. For the oscars we always have a ballot and often have friends over to vote.
    -on Saturdays (or either weekend day I’m at home), I listen to the npr new music Friday podcast and have a leisurely breakfast
    -we celebrate our anniversary and the day we met

  36. Daniela says...

    We don’t have kids yet but I have a ton from my childhood. Two favorites are that my mom always celebrated our name days which is big in our home country. She also always snuck my brother and I a small gift on each other’s birthdays. Probably because his is two weeks before mine, and being older I found this unfair. ;)

  37. Julie says...

    The night before the first day of school we eat under the dining room table instead of on top of it. My kids are little (4 and 7) so they find this exciting and a wacky way to end summer and start the year!

    • Hannah says...

      Great idea! Going to try this, it’s gonna be a wacky school experience this year… so we can kick it off with a bit of whimsy!

    • Rusty says...

      I love this!

    • Olivia says...

      Oh I love this! My girls would squeal with delight. Need to make a note so we do it when schools reopen. <3

  38. Caitlin says...

    Like many folks, we do a dinner time check in, which we have always called “mustache” although I can’t remember why :). With the stress and anxiety of COVID, we expanded with these questions:
    -favorite part of today?
    -looking forward to tomorrow?
    -something I am having a hard time with?
    -something the pandemic has shown me that I didn’t notice before?
    -something I miss about “normal life”

    We also make sure to buy the TACKIEST magnet possible on every vacation. Deli meat package magnet from Milan is currently the champion.

    • Sarah says...

      I “mustache” you a question!

    • Alice says...

      Is it because you mustache (must ask) them a question?! This is super cute though.

    • Kat O says...

      Perhaps it’s called “mustache” because “I mustache you a question…”? :)

    • Karen says...

      I “mustache” you a question – classic dad joke origins perhaps?

    • ale says...

      maybe because it started as ‘i mustache you a question’!? :)

    • Caitlin says...

      HA!! I truly can’t remember if that is how it started, but I love it. I’m going to roll that joke out to my 11 year old, and likely watch him roll his eyes so hard he gets a headache :)

  39. Brier says...

    My MIL had three curious kids who would shake gifts put under the tree before Christmas day. She invented Christmas “code names” to write on the presents. From then on the kids didn’t know whose presents were whose and would stop peeking. On Christmas day each kid gets to guess who’s assigned to each code name and she reveals the results at the end. My husband is now 33 and the tradition is still alive! She always chooses a different theme. Sometimes they are so abstract we spend hours just trying to guess what the theme is. Last year it was types of dairy cow (Holstein, Normande, Guernsey, Belted Galloway) and the year before it was cities in Ireland (Cork, Killkenny, Limerick, Dungarvan). One year she did locations of WWII battle sites. She keeps us on our toes and I always look forward to it.

    • Greta says...

      I absolutely LOVE this. I also have a shaker. I am keen to try this :D

    • Rebekah says...

      Cackling at the thought of dairy-cow-themed anything! So cute!

  40. Lana says...

    The night before our kid’s birthdays we put tons (like 100!) pink flamingos in the front yard with a sign that says, “Happy Birthday (insert kids name here)”!!!
    Our neighbors all got the biggest kick out of it and now request flocks to be put in their own yards the night before bdays and anniversaries. The best part is that the kids LOVE sneaking out at night (!!!) to creep around someone’s yard and out the flamingoes in place. We have so much fun!

    • amelia says...

      This is so neat and unique!!

    • Kristian Olson says...

      Oh! We’ve done this as a fundraiser for our local Speech and Debate teams. A house gets “Flamingo-ed” and has to pay a modest fee to get the flamingoes taken down…. But once they have paid they get to name the next house to get “flamingo-ed!”

  41. Megan says...

    Each birthday , my daughter is presented with her traditional “birthday breakfast”. A bowl of ice cream, sprinkles, and a candle! We all sing happy birthday. A fun way to start her special day!

  42. Tammy Spiller says...

    When my kids were little Friday night was games night. This wasn’t just board games, but included dance offs and statues. Seeing their Dad dance in silly ways brought on sooo much laughter. Our other rituals exist to this day. Birthday banners go out the night before the big day and I prep for pancakes no matter the day. However, before they could read or knew the day every birthday miraculously fell on a weekend.

  43. Addie says...

    My boys love it when I pull out a freshly washed blanket from the dryer and yell, “Warm fuzzy!” They come running for a warm embrace as I wrap the hot blanket around all 3 of them as they squeal with delight.

    • Jeannie says...

      love this so much!

    • Madi says...

      This is amazing. I’m stealing it!

  44. Barb says...

    My husband and I started to do sourdough pancakes on sundays before our son was born. We kept it up all those weeks with a newborn, and these days my now-2 year old wants to put the blueberries in every week and help cook them.

    We also go strawberry and blueberry picking every summer, and apple picking every fall.

    I remember my mom giving us “banana cereal” for dinner when my dad was out of town. It was sliced bananas in milk with a sprinkle of sugar, so weird, but delicious. I never knew this wasn’t a real thing and was probably something she made when she just didn’t feel like cooking and my sisters and I were giving her a hard time. We’d also do big sleepovers in her bed.

    • Elizabethkatt says...

      Banana cereal is totally real; my dad always made it for me!

    • Erin says...

      I also had this growing up. For me and my sisters it was a special snack before bed.

    • Stephanie says...

      My mom made this for me as a dessert! We called it bananas, sugar and milk (how original!). I still crave it sometimes!

    • Marisa says...

      Oh my gosh, bananas in milk with a spoon of sugar! I had totally forgotten about that. It was my favorite “midnight snack” (what we called anything eaten after supper) when I was a kid.

    • Heather says...

      I grew up on banana cereal too. One of my favorite memories from childhood.

    • Sarah says...

      Banana cereal!!! You just brought back a childhood memory I had long since forgot. Thank you for this gift.

  45. Hilary says...

    Oh my gosh, I can’t wait to read all of these!

    We have lots of little rituals: we say our family rules every night before bed (always listen to Mom and Dad, never hurt yourself or anyone else, and love other people well), Sunday night movie night, and cocoa after playing in the snow. But my favorite began when my husband and I were first married: we addressed our Christmas cards by candlelight while drinking peppermint tea, eating dark chocolate-covered peppermint Jojo’s and watching “Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown.”

    Two Christmases ago, most of our house was under construction and we’d just lost a close friend to a car accident. It was an awful season and I felt bitter about sending out cards and joy when our lives felt so upside down, emotionally and physically. But we did it all anyway and seeing my daughter’s little toddler face (and our cards, ahem) smothered in chocolate while she bopped around to the Peanuts theme song is a memory I’ll treasure forever as a bright spot in what were otherwise some very hard days. Oh, the power of ritual.

    • Andrea says...

      This warms my heart. And makes me ready for the Christmas season. :)

  46. Christy says...

    Every night we do “Questions” right before bedtime. First we each ask the others any question we want (ex: what superpower would you choose?). Then we each get asked, “What’s something remarkable that happened today, and what are you looking forward to?”

  47. Ashley says...

    Other than my husband, all of our birthdays are in the winter doldrums. So, I make a half-birthday cake for each of us too. They get to to choose any flavor, design, theme and I try my best! My 6 1/2 year old son’s half was last week and he chose “chocolate and vanilla swirl cupcakes but iced all together as a cake and made into a volcano WITH lava.”

    Also, I would love to hear Jenny’s take as she literally wrote the book on celebrating everything!

  48. Anna Wagstaff says...

    We had family council each Sunday afternoon. It was when allowance was paid out, schedules were discussed, the HS car use was decided (one year three of us shared! THE WOES!), and family outings were planned. It was hard at times, but it was short and sweet. My husband and I now do it every Sunday and it gets me all ready for Monday–I would have missed my meeting this morning if I had not pulled out my calendar the day before.

  49. Tovah says...

    We have a bunch, and have added more since quarantine began.
    1) Meal Schedule— pasta Monday, taco Tuesday, etc. Really cuts down on whining, indecision, and pickiness battles.
    2) Clean Up Monday— I will not constantly nag you to clean your rooms, but every Monday they will get tidied before you can have a show.
    3) Choose the Music— we rotate who gets to pick music to listen to during dinner, which is a new thing. There have been some hilarious kid choices in there!
    4) Solstice Flashlight Walk— That night in December when it’s dark at 4pm, we walk around the block with flashlights and make it feel special.
    5) Signs of Spring— this is new but I wanna continue. It’s basically walking around the neighborhood in March with a notebook or clipboard, drawing/writing down any new buds, blooms, etc.
    Yay for rituals! I love this question.

    • Lana says...

      Omgosh! Please do tell what meals you serve on the other days! I know so many people do Taco Tuesday and Pizza Friday, but I need more ideas! ?

    • Tovah says...

      Hey Lana! The current set up is as follows:
      Pasta Monday
      Taco Tuesday
      Asian Wednesday (stir-fry, Thai takeout, etc)
      Seafood Thursday (kids will do fish sticks or smoked salmon)
      Pizza Friday
      ‘Special Surprise’ Saturday (leftovers, sandwiches, breakfast foods…)
      Pizza Sunday (I know I know, pizza twice?!!?!? This was Soup & Sandwich night in the fall/winter, but we gave ourselves a pizza-loving pass for pandemic season, plus there’s usually a salad too!)

      Honestly all four of us love the meal schedule and rely on it; even if we get takeout we keep to our categories now! It seemed weirdly rigid at first but there’s something comforting about it, and it doesn’t get boring since plenty of variation can be found within the categories.

      Good luck crafting your own rotation!

    • Joanna says...

      Oh such a great idea! I also need inspirations! Can you share more day meals?

    • A says...

      I love the clean up Monday idea. Stealing this one!

    • Meredith says...

      I am 100% am advocate for meal schedules! And it’s just me and my husband still :) We do Monday: salads with chicken or steak on top. Tuesday: breakfast for dinner. Wednesday: a pasta dish. Thursday: chicken or beef burrito bowls (or burritos or tacos). Friday: homemade pizza or burgers. Saturday: steak or dinner out/take out. And Sunday is homemade soup and fresh baked bread. We have recently realized how much we both miss curry and have started sneaking it in some too :)

    • Maggie says...

      Oh I love that solstice walk – that time of year can feel so gloomy!

  50. Leigh says...

    Every Thursday is pasta night. Sometimes homemade and sometimes from a box.

  51. Erin says...

    Two additions!
    1. Christmas Eve Eve: every December 23rd evening we load into the car and drive around looking at Christmas lights and singing carols. Then we come home and watch Christmas movies and fall asleep in the den. A perfect start to Christmas and a nice way to celebrate with just my spouse and kids.
    2. We celebrate half birthdays! I make the kids a half a cake (literally looks like a cake cut in half) and I get them half a present (they can pick out a toy and I will pay half and they pay half). This helps them learn to save money!

    • Grace says...

      Love the half birthday present tradition. That is such a great idea.

    • Andrea says...

      Love these! Literally just created a note in my phone called “family rituals” so I could remember them both. Thank you!

    • A says...

      Christmas Eve Eve will be added to our Christmas rituals! Thanks for sharing.

    • Diana says...

      I love to bake so my kids get to choose the theme of their birthday cake. I’ve made two dinosaurs, two unicorns, a bear and an Elsa cake since we started the tradition. It’s a fun challenge for me and now it’s something they (now 5 and 3) talk about all year. I also buy them a birthday shirt in the same theme as the cake (personalized from Etsy) that they can wear for the year and then I save the shirts in their keepsake box. It will be a sweet reminder of what they loved at each age.

  52. KimS says...

    When my kids were little we always celebrated the Kentucky Derby (we live in Kentucky). The local newspaper would always print a full page of the horses names and special facts — kind of like little tickets. We would cut them out and my kids and also the neighbor kids would all draw one or two depending on how many horses there were that year and then we would watch the derby and whomever had the ticket of the winning KY Derby horse would get something like a little Debbie snack cake! They just loved it! Now they are grown and we look back and laugh about how much they just loved getting a totally ridiculous silly prize!

  53. B says...

    Loved reading all of these! I started a tradition of doing a Christmas craft with my niece the day after Thanksgiving. While all the “grown ups” were watching football we always had a fun project. The tradition continues on even though she is 19.

    As a couple that is not having children I’d be interested to hear from readers about traditions that have with their significant outhers. Small traditions, date nights, avoiding COVID cabin fever etc.

    • Melanie says...

      Us either! (Minus my stepkids)

      We regularly get sushi to-go and drink with champagne after either a crazy week or one with something to celebrate.

      Watch British Bake-off in bed with a whiskey on Friday nights.

      We’ll go out for a special holiday dinner just us around Christmas time. The restaurant we always went to really went downhill, so that’s a total bummer, but we’ll find somewhere else new!

      I’d also normally talk about travel… but I find it so hard to talk about these days, I try not to even bring it up.

      Love your tradition with your niece. I’m a brand new aunt (just over 2 weeks!) and I’m excited to see what traditions she and I create, too.

    • Hilary says...

      My daughter has a weekly slumber party at her grandparents (bless them!) so my husband and I take a long meandering evening walk around the neighborhood. We’ve also gotten really into 2-player card games, Scrabble and buying “secret treats” that are only for the two of us. Having something just for us has helped get through Covid times.

      In the before times, we also used to plan an afternoon away from each other whenever we traveled. It was always so fun to meet back up at a fun restaurant and debrief the different things we saw or did.

    • Kamina says...

      We’d probably like to have kids, but we’ve been together for 14 years child-free so far (we got together young!) so we’ve had the luxury of time to develop heaps of couple rituals.

      – Every year for his birthday my husband chooses a food he wants and I make it happen. e.g. one year it was “chocolate cake in bed before I get up in the morning”, another it was beer with a hot savoury breakfast.
      – Every Christmas morning we get up early and have a mango and a coffee for breakfast, sitting under the Christmas tree, and exchange one gift each. It’s our special time together before the madness of family.
      – And every Christmas night when family get-togethers are wrapping up, we open our home to all our friends. Everybody brings their Christmas leftovers and we play games and drink and hang out.
      – As often as we need to we have “marriage meetings”. When one of us thinks of something that needs to be discussed (finances, holiday plans, etc) we email the other and add it to an agenda. When we have a few items on the agenda we put aside time to have a meeting. This has totally revolutionised our communication!
      – Most weekends we put on a Carole King record and I make pancakes while he makes coffee. This is often when we have our marriage meetings, when we’re both really relaxed.
      – Pretty much every Friday we do “fun food Friday”. We pick a meal that’s a bit more elaborate or a bit more of a treat than weeknights, and we often make a thing of hanging out in the kitchen, having nibbles and drinks together while we cook. We only eat dessert on weekends and I only drink on weekends so we always look forward to our Friday night treat meal and it really signals to us that the weekend is here.
      – Most Sunday afternoons we run 10km then come home and have a lovely hot shower and relax. It’s a fantastic way to wind down.
      – No matter what game we are playing and regardless of the rules, I always go first.
      – We kiss goodnight every single night at lights out.

      Writing this out has really made me appreciate the special time we’ve had together without children.

    • Katharine Kooyers says...

      My husband and I have a fire every Sunday. It’s a cozy tradition (if a bit impractical in the summer!). I look forward to it and so does he.

    • Rae says...

      Hi B! No kids here! I don’t know if these count as traditions, and I’m in NZ with no COVID restrictions, so I’m not sure if they’re going to be relevant ?
      I can’t remember quite how it started, but my husband and I play an animal game at church. When we sing, we have to change the last word of each line into an animal with a matching first letter (praise/ penguin. love/ lemur). It’s become a competition to think of new and obscure creatures.
      We’ve joined the same sports team (pre-covid, we used to play separate sports). If someone goes to the corner shop, they’ll always bring home a chocolate bar to split with the other. We have to rate stuff out of 6, not 5 or 10. If one of us is making the other guess, they have to guess 3 times. We never play on the same team for cards. We collect gig setlists, and signed cocktail menus. We are constantly changing the Netflix profile picture.

    • B says...

      Thank you so much all, it was lovely to read your traditions. I think we may be adding a few!

  54. Jen says...

    After hearing of the tradition from a family friend, we now celebrate half-birthdays. We keep it really simple with half a birthday cake after dinner, nothing really fancy (and usually a last minute bake – one tier cut in half), a candle, a round of happy half-birthday being sung and that’s it, but it marks the day and the children feel really proud to be 5 and a half and not just 5 any more.

    • Susan says...

      We have pancake Friday every Friday. And we sing “it’s pancake Friday” (to the tune of “the final countdown!!!!”) it helps my littles (7,6,3) know what day it is especially since it’s quarantine and everyday is the same. We also (in February- last time my kids ate out) took a game to a restaurant and it was so fun. It took up all the time before dinner arrived. Great idea! I love reading these.

  55. I says...

    I do the same, Christmas tree ornaments during travelling. It’s a nice way to remember trips while decorating.

  56. Sarah says...

    I remember listening to an interview where a woman said she couldn’t remember a lot of her childhood because it was quite out of control and she had no rituals to help her remember anything. I suddenly realised I don’t really remember individual Christmases, family birthdays or holidays but because there was a lot of repetition! For example we always waited at the top of the stairs for Dad to check if Santa had been, he’d light the fire in the living room and ring a bell to let us know to come down – I don’t remember each individual Christmas but i have all those cosy memories of my childhood BECAUSE of the repetition. It has made me so determined to repeat family traditions faithfully – heart shaped banana cake with chocolate icing for Valentine’s Day, pizza and dancing each Friday night, donuts with a candle in for the last day of school…. I want my boys to have all those memories firmly planted!

    • A says...

      We get a new personalised decoration for everyone for our main tree each Christmas and our kids have a small tree in their rooms with their handmade decorations. We bake cookies for Santa every year and reindeer fly food. Starting Christmas Eve boxes this year with little Christmas tokens from Mom and Dad. New story book, some art materials and maybe a few little accessories. My kids are only 4&6 but want to start a tradition we can keep going even after they get too big for Santa to visit.

  57. Abesha1 says...

    A few of ours…

    1) We have a birthday box filled with random birthday- themed items, such as mug, plate, pin, hat, small birthday bear, banner, etc. Anyone who has a birthday gets all the items to use on their day! It works for all ages and even for guests. And it is literally in a box, so it’s easy to get out quickly if you, um, forget someone’s day ?

    2) I made a large banner with each child’s name. (Well, actually there are two banners, reflecting their heritage; one in English and one in Amharic) Then, any day that is a big event in their life can be celebrated easily, just by hanging the banners. It is rarely announced that they’ll be displayed, so it makes a meaningful and personal surprise every time.

    3) Every night we each say one thing that “our day made us happy about.” The grammar is a bit odd but that’s courtesy of the first child, and they’re always beautiful to hear, whether big or small.

    • em says...

      a birthday box, brilliant!

    • lulu says...

      Hi Abeshai,
      I love the idea of a birthday box! Our next family birthday is in September, plenty of time to get one sorted.

      Thanks from Lulu x

  58. Carly says...

    My dad used to travel for business when I was younger, and one night during one of his trips in the summer my mom said we were having watermelon and popcorn for dinner. My brothers and I loved that. And thought it was hilarious. So now one night every summer when my husband is traveling (or working late), and it’s humid and I don’t feel like cooking, I tell my kids its watermelon and popcorn night. They love it like I did. And still do!

    • Calla says...

      My mom did a really similar thing when I was young once. It had been a long day and when she asked us what we wanted for dinner we joked “chocolate chip cookies and popcorn”. Then she just said “OK” and did it. It freaking blew my 7 year old mind

  59. Tenley says...

    My family does a Birthday Wall! The night before each kid’s birthday, my family decorates a wall in the kitchen with themed decorations. We draw giant versions of favorite cartoon characters or things the birthday-haver is interested in (fairies! daisies! cats! sneakers!) and stick them up on a wall. Inevitably, the whole process is a scrambled last minute, late-night art frenzy. The birthday kid goes to bed, and everyone else gathers: “What are we doing this year?!” Most years, we add speech bubbles with silly jokes, which just gets funnier the later it is when you’re trying to come up with a caption. The birthday kid gets the fun of the big reveal at breakfast the next morning!

    This year, I was pondering what to do to celebrate my housemate’s birthday and discovered the real genius behind my parents’ idea: hand-drawn decorations are incredibly cheap, yet customized and super-special! I decorated with silly pictures of Arnold Schwarzenneger (a shared joke!). She laughed really hard when she woke up to the surprise the next morning, and I didn’t have to stress about whether or not she’d feel pressure to do some crazy celebration once my birthday rolled around!

  60. Lisa Britz says...

    This is so cute. I am in a family of men/boys so might enforce the holiday nail tradition if I can!

  61. I used to send my kids out to pick wildflowers for the dinner table and I had a collection of mismatched candles that we would light. There was something about involving the kids in making our dinner table pretty and lighting candles that made our family dinners more of an occasion.

  62. Caroline Rosengarden says...

    Big Sister and Little Sister day! My oldest asked me, at about the age of 4, “How come there’s a Mother’s Day and a Father’s Day but no special day for us kids?” From there, these special days were born. They move around on the calendar, typically about 6 months away from their birthday. On this special day Lucy or Sadie gets to choose all of the meals, all of the activities and receives a small gift from the rest of the family. It’s a great day for each girl and a lovely day for us. The joy of saying YES all day long…don’t underestimate it.

    • Tara says...

      We have a similar tradition: “Brothers’ Day”. I wanted to celebrate my sons’ bond, and reinforce the specialness of having a brother. We time it in February, which is a bit of a slog to get through in our 6 months of winter. We’ve only had our first annual one so far, but my plan is to have a cake with 2 candles and do fun things that they both enjoy!

    • A says...

      My 6 year old asked me the same question this year. I love this idea!

  63. Taryn says...

    We have two that I love. Friday night is “movie night.” We eat (takeout) dinner on towels on the floor in front of a family movie. No cooking and cleanup for the parents exhausted from the week. My four-year-old had added to the tradition, by including “family fight” after the movie ends. (We just wrestle and tickle each other for a while.) Second, every day that it snows, we have hot chocolate with breakfast. I make it from scratch with cocoa powder and sugar and nondairy milk. I love getting up a little early to make it before my girls wake up. It makes the day feel celebratory, and reminds me to appreciate the snow, even though I’m usually facing a nasty commute!

    • Brigette says...

      That cocoa is so sweet, what a great positive to put on a slushy morning!

    • Jane says...

      Our tradition is to have the birthday child plan the menu for her birthday meal. Our favorite has been lobster, pickled green beans, pear slices and doritos. A five year old’s menu, and a perfect meal!

  64. KAY says...

    First ever comment on this blog, but I have a few to share:

    1. My family also had a movie night each Friday, but ours was dubbed “Popcorn & Pepsi” night. It was the one night a week that we got to have soda as kids, and it made the event that much more special!

    2. For birthdays and Christmas, we each open gifts one by one and have to guess the contents before we can open the present. My mom’s go-to guess is always “socks!” (she has never liked the guessing tradition haha), but a few of us get really competitive trying to throw each other off with decoy items nested in with the real gift (marbles, a brick, a can of beans) or deceptively large boxes. For Christmases with fewer presents, this helped make the holiday a full day event and much more special :)

    3. As my sister and I have grown up and our relationship with our parents has become more strained, I am working to create family rituals of our own. Every December for the last few years, I have picked up my sister and her girlfriend one night after work and we spend as long as we want to driving around town looking at Christmas lights, listening to holiday songs, and drinking hot chocolate in the car. It is now one of my favorite traditions, even if it is more of a ‘chosen family’ ritual than the first two.

    • Fiona says...

      This is beautiful! I’m so glad you have something special and sweet that you built for yourself (selves) that nourishes your hearts.

  65. G says...

    Not sure if it counts but my Mother has a beautiful singing voice and used to sing us the loveliest lullabies when we were small. My husband and I are expecting our first child in the fall and have started practicing the songs my Mom used to sing to us, plus a couple new ones (Avett Brothers and Ben Harper.)

    • Amy says...

      Beloved One…waaaaaaah! Never fails to bring tears to my eyes when I sing it to my babies!

    • Ellie says...

      Avett Brothers are the best for lullabies. My son loves them (as do we!)

    • Andrea says...

      Nursing them as babies, and every bedtime during their toddlerdom, I sang my kids Joni Mitchell’s “Circle Game” and the Beatles’ “Blackbird” and “In My Life,” among others. They’re 16 and 19 now. When they hear those songs, their faces get all soft. They have both carefully taught themselves the words, so they can sing them to their own children.

    • Susannah says...

      Circle game and Blackbird were two of our nightly lullabies for our girls too! “Chelsea Morning ” and Carol King’s “Beautiful” were also on heavy rotation

  66. Anna says...

    Oh, I love this, and it has been one of my favorite things about parenting- both choosing what to replicate from my childhood, and coming up with new traditions. One of the mundane things we do is have oatmeal for breakfast on Saturday mornings. It just… happened, and makes Saturday mornings feel special. Another breakfast tradition that has evolved is on Christmas morning, we have sweet orange cranberry rolls and bacon. The rolls rise overnight, so it’s nice to wake up knowing a yummy breakfast is almost ready, and they smell festive!

  67. Genevieve says...

    On the first day of a family holiday, me, my sister & mum would paint each others nails the same colour then and my dad and brother had to submit one nail to also be painted, the “holiday nail”!
    My usually-serious local-government-lawyer of a dad loved it the most, probably because it was such a blindingly obvious reminder that he didn’t have to go anywhere near the office for a week haha.

  68. Thea says...

    Growing up, on Fridays our mom would pick me and my sister up at school and we would go to the library together. We each got to roam the library and pick out 4-5 books each. When we got home we had tomato soup and pancakes with blueberry jam- traditional Nordic food.

    Sweet memory.

  69. Alison says...

    One I had growing up was pancakes for dinner on Sunday!

  70. amanda says...

    One tradition we have kept is a Christmas stocking for every family member. My mother made her grandchildren needlepoint stockings when they were born, (also for my husband and myself), and they’re hung when the decorations go up. Not super unusual, for sure, but now that the kids are 30, 28, and 24, it’s the best to see them going through the stockings finding chocolates and small gifts, and always an orange in the toe! As gf’s and bf’s have joined our family, it’s been fun to make them their own personalized stockings and have them join in. For some of them it was a new tradition, and I think they felt especially welcomed by being part of it. And since my mother died when the kids were young, it’s a way to keep her still part of our family celebration. I really cherish those stockings.

  71. Samantha says...

    She doesn’t know it yet, but I invest money each month for my goddaughter, in the amount of her age. $1 a month when she was 1, $2 when she turned two, ect ect. She will be 11 next month! I plan to give her the money when she graduates high school or turns 18. It is a fairly low financial commitment from me each month, but should hopefully be a very nice gift for her one day. AND it will be a great lesson in compound interest and investing in your future ;)

    • Rebecca says...

      Love this!

    • Jen says...

      My godmother still does this for me and I just turned 41! So special.

  72. We played uno at airports while waiting to board the plane well into adulthood. We have some great memories of that game.

    We also watched 9 hours worth of the extended edition LOTR every Christmas for a solid 10-15 year stretch, sometimes adding in bonus content. We could all probably quote the entire series to each other by heart at one point!

    Last one (and my favorite) is banana muffins. Any old bananas lying around become mini banana muffins- my Mom bakes them from a super old and simple Betty Crocker recipe. They never last more than a few hours. I just moved in with my brother and sister (all in our 20s-30s now) and we’ve already continued the tradition :)

    • Genevieve says...

      Haha yes! The Two Towers video developed a slight squeak from overuse so we had to put a blanket over the video player, probably a fire hazards :D

  73. AN says...

    Jo, I know it’s pricey, but I SWEAR you must splurge for Uno Attack, or as we call it “When Uno Attacks”, like the old animal TV shows. Pre-COVID, we’d play it on a blanket in our front yard (two adults, with wine), and pretty soon, one neighborhood kid trickled over, then another one and another one, until pretty soon we had like 6 people playing, and the squeals when someone presses the button is worth one million dollars.

    https://www.amazon.com/Mattel-Games-Uno-Attack-Game/dp/B0042ET8S0

    • Ali G says...

      OMG I am totally buying this for the next time my nephews visit (hopefully Thanksgiving). They LOVE UNO. The 4 year old cheats though.

    • Rachel L Allmen says...

      We played UNO Dare on our recent camping trip. They were all silly and so fun!

  74. Emily says...

    My husband is a big football fan. Before our kids were born, we started cooking a food related to the opposing team to eat on football game days. Philly cheese steaks when his team plays Philadelphia, etc. Now with a 7 & 4 year old, the kids are usually more willing to try a new meal when it is the football meal! The kids like the anticipation of something different, & we usually get to talk a little bit about the other cities, too!

  75. Diany says...

    A nice tradition I have started with my kids is giving a special book on their birthday. Instead of a greeting card, we pick a book that means something that year (a book we borrowed many times from the library, a little story about a place we travelled to, about getting a sibling, etc) and we write a note on the front page or wherever we can fit it talking about memorable things of that year and hopes for the year ahead. I plan to give my kids a book with a love note every year for as long as I live.

    • Caitlin says...

      I LOVE this so much.

    • md says...

      this is awesome!!!

  76. Kara says...

    My family has one of the simplest but most unique traditions. Every year, we all place bets on when the first snowfall will be in our hometown. The winner gets to choose the ice cream flavor and movie for family night. As kids, this made looking forward to the first snowfall extra exciting, and while we’re all spread out now, we still place bets for our hometown, and it’s very competitive!

    • Robin says...

      I love this!

    • Sarah says...

      I hate snow (Californian living upstate NY), and my daughter loves it. I give her a book about snow on the first snowfall every year. We can celebrate her love of snow together through our shared love of books. I hope it makes up for all the complaining about snow for the winter

  77. Katrina says...

    I didn’t think I had a lot of rituals, since right now it’s just my husband and I, but now that I’m reading through these, I realize we do!
    -Irish soda bread on St. Patrick’s Day & my husband’s birthday (he’s Irish, and I use his grandmother’s recipe)
    -We spend Christmas just the two of us, as much as our families hate it. We wear silly Christmas underwear, and put on a “fire” on TV (even though we live in the caribbean), make a fancy breakfast & bloody marys, and open presents
    -On the 20th of most months, I make/buy a lemon dessert for my husband. It started when we both realized we hadn’t tried any of our (lemon) cake at our wedding, then sorta stuck. (The funny part is, we have photos of us eating the wedding cake that we found a few months later – except that neither of us remember the moment at all!)

  78. N says...

    We live in Oklahoma where it’s hot in the summer. The rule is that if it’s over 100 degrees, we each get a Popsicle as a treat and eat it together. It’s hot, it sucks, but POPSICLE DAY! However, since this summer sucks so much anyway, we’ve turned it into POPSICLE SUMMER and we all get Popsicles every day, no matter the temp.

    • Ashley says...

      Fellow Oklahoman and fellow popsicle enthusiast!

    • Tovah says...

      Hear hear!

    • Sarah says...

      We have popsicle summer too! Literally every day, I say “yes! You may have a popsicle!” My kids still act surprised and overwhelmed by my generosity every day! It’s hilarious.

  79. Nina Greenblatt says...

    We do our ‘peaks and pits’ at the end of the day around the dinner table. It is always cute to hear my 4 year old tell us she had ‘so many peaks’.

    • Nicole Holub says...

      Ditto!!! We have “high, low, high” and our son usually has 5+ highs!

  80. Katie says...

    We have a few new rituals in my family. Every night at dinner, we go around the table and say 1) something that I did for someone else today, 2) something that someone did for me today, and 3) something that you’re grateful for. It’s “our thing” and the kids often remind us to do it, but it was me (and my therapist) who first suggested it. Another ritual is that we rotate Friday night dinner takeout choices, so once every four weeks you get to choose where we get takeout. The kids often choose McDonald’s, or Boston Pizza delivery. It’s nice to have them in too, and if you have a craving for something, you know that it’ll be your choice soon enough. Also it means we get a break on making dinner once a week, and we really only eat out that one time which is good for the budget! During the pandemic we swapped take out for just a meal at home, but the choice of that – which has been hot dogs or pasta when the kids choose.

    • NH observer says...

      I want to come to your house for dinner! What could be better than hot dogs or pasta, seriously??

    • Lisa says...

      My parents are divorced and we were with my father every Wednesday (and other times). It was too far to drive to his house and back on a school night, so we always ate out and rotated choices. One of the brilliant things was knowing if you chose a place your brother hated, he could get you back the next week. Those nights were so special. My marriage is thankfully intact, but I would love to start a tradition like yours with my own kids. I never thought about doing it just for the fun of it.

  81. Meagan says...

    My friend has a sweet family tradition for Christmas night which I would love to incorporate in my own family once we have kids. After dinner when everyone is stuffed and over socializing for the day, everyone gets a “Ho-ho” – one last gift from Santa that is quiet and solitary, such as a book, a puzzle, a solo game, a colouring book or a movie. It’s their way of giving everyone permission to have some quiet time after a hectic day.

    • Christina says...

      Oh Meagan, I loveeeeee this!!!!!

    • Meg says...

      Love this!! We did something similar- after opening presents at my grandparents house we would all get a little packet of cheap scratch off lotto tickets from Santa- kiddos and adults. Everyone would get SO focused on matching the little symbols for 20 minutes. It was a great way to get the kiddos calmed down but still felt exciting since someone usually won 5 or 10 bucks.

  82. C. says...

    here are a few of ours:
    A back to school special dinner on the first day of school, with a cake for dessert that says “Happy (#) Grade!”.
    Often during the rest of the year we have some kind of casual dinner (tacos or burgers) in the living room while watching a movie. Not exactly a ritual, but a fun thing.
    For the holidays on my side of the family we draw names for the adult gifts. Kids all get gifts, but adults opt in (and can opt out) for the name draw. We have a pre-Christmas Mexican food dinner with my husband’s side of the family and a few friends, and also a holiday soup and sandwich lunch and gift exchange with any family members who we won’t see on Christmas Day. Also when my son was little and we read together all the time I started a collection of holiday books. I bought used, vintage, anthologies, classics, and new, everything from Dr. Seuss to Truman Capote (A Christmas Memory), adjusting for age appropriateness as he grew. I put them all out as part of the holiday decorating every year and it still delights me.

    • Relyn says...

      My daughter is 18 and she still read every single one of the Christmas pictures books I’ve displayed every year. There’s probably 30 of them and she reads every single one. I love that so much!

  83. Jo says...

    We had a standing weekly family meeting when I was a kid–every Thursday after dinner, we’d stay at the table and hold a meeting with an agenda and everything. Each meeting had a Chair to run the proceedings and a Secretary to take notes, and these duties rotated, so one night I (the youngest by far) might be the Chair while one of my brothers was Secretary, and another night my mum might be the Chair and my dad the Secretary. We could add agenda items throughout the week–a lot of them were things like “Upcoming Vacation: Where should we go?”, but each agenda definitely had a Festivus-esque airing of the grievances element. I don’t know how the rest of the family felt about these meetings but as the baby I LOVED that they felt like a total democracy, and I know my parents avoided dealing with lots of whining and bickering during the week by telling us to put whatever we were upset about on the agenda. We recently unearthed a stack of these 25+-year-old agendas and they are a h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s time capsule of my ridiculous family.

    • Sarah says...

      This is AWESOME! What a funny (and smart) ritual!

  84. Mindela says...

    I love these and can’t wait to keep reading all your suggestions!

    Our family does a slight variation on highlights/lowlights of your day during dinner or evening walks:
    We all say a Rose – something good that happened during the day
    Thorn – something “bad” that happened
    Water – how you were helpful that day OR how someone helped you/was a good friend/family member. This is a great way to publicly thank members of your own family. :)
    Sunshine – something you are grateful for. This does not have to be something from the day and it is mandatory you say something here.
    Dirt – more optional, but this is a time to share something you learned during the day.

    I think taking this time for our family to reflect every day not only teaches us about our children and what is going on in their lives, but also teaches our children to listen and care about others at the table.

    Other rituals include Friday night pizza/movie nights, Taco Tuesdays (which are sometimes Wednesdays) , big breakfasts on Saturdays, and personalized bedtime songs. We also take a birthday picture on our tree stump every year to watch everyone grow :)

    One of our favorite Christmas traditions is a present opening game called “you may open a present if…” which really helps when you have extended family and different amounts of gifts in front of each person. A few nights before Christmas I think about everyone attending (and the past year) and will make about 20-30 slips of paper that say things like “you may open a gift if you are in school” “you may open a gift if you love chocolate” “if you dislike mushrooms” “if you graduated this year” “if you bought your first car” “if you learned to ride a bike” etc etc. The idea is that some slips of paper will be very specific and only 1-2 people will open a gift or some will be for half the group and others for everyone. It keeps things fresh and also extends the fun.

    • Suze says...

      Love this idea! Cuts down on the pandemonium. Our family usually does oldest to youngest but kids are all old enough for this fun twist! Thank you.

  85. Clara says...

    So precious!

  86. Melissa says...

    We sneak into their bedroom after They fall Asleep with helium filled balloons( extra long strings, probably around ten balloons) and fill the ceiling
    The birthday boy or girl wakes up to a room full of balloons
    The littlest one still thinks it’s a balloon fairy

    • meggles says...

      :) :) :)

    • Antonina says...

      My father did this for me and my siblings growing up, but covered the entire bedroom floor! It never occurred to me it happened to others ^__^ It was the most magical thing to wake up to. I’ve done it for my boyfriend and housemates over the years, and it never fails to bring joy!

    • Relyn says...

      I do this, too. My daughter always wakes up with a wrapped pile of gifts beside her bed and balloons all over the place.

  87. Heather says...

    Three come to mind:
    1. We also have Friday night movie night, which has gotten a little more difficult now that our kids are teenagers.
    2. Each December, I make bake and construct gingerbread houses for our close family and friends – maybe 5 houses in all – and then find time before the craziness of the holidays really sets in to gather everyone at our place, put on a pot of chili, and watch the sugar crush unfold!
    3. And one that I’ve adopted from a co-worker… each time we travel to a destination, we search for an ornament to hang on the Christmas tree. It can be quite a challenge, especially during the summer months, but we always seem to find something. We have such a fun time decorating, pulling out the ornaments from our holidays and sharing the “Remember when we…” stories.

    • Sam says...

      We do the ornaments when we travel too! It’s always a nice walk down memory lane when we decorate tree in December.

      When I was a kid, each of my siblings was given $10 or so to buy a souvenir when we traveled. We would make sure we’d visit every tourist shop possible before making our selection. It was sometimes time-consuming but I still remember some of them.

    • Deb says...

      we get an ornament from travels also. We just returned from a Colorado vacation and our ornament this year has wildflowers on it because we saw alot of them while hiking. I agree, in future years, it brings back memories.

  88. My friends and I are massive UNO fans but we found a way to make it faster and more cutthroat. Basically if a player is holding the same type of card that was just thrown by an opponent, he/she/they can play it out of turn. It must be same color, same number, same action, etc. Play continues from the last person to discard. It speeds up game play and forces you to pay attention. Amusingly some of the Atlanta Hawks basketball team play the same way. We call it “Italian Rules” because an Italian girl taught us to play!
    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/13/sports/basketball/for-some-atlanta-hawks-a-revved-up-game-of-uno-is-diversion-no-1.html

    • Laura says...

      We play UNO that way too! Well, my husband’s family does and now I’ve adopted it. I’ve never met anyone that could “match” cards out of turn too.

    • nadine says...

      I’m italian and I indeed play with this rule.. Hahah
      I didn’t know it was not the norm!

    • Cristina says...

      YESSSSSS! Where I’m from, we call it “Tops.” If you have a matching number or color, you can yell ” Tops” and place your card down out of turn. You can also “tops” if you have several of the same cards in your own hand and place them all down at once!

  89. Calla says...

    When I was growing up, my parents would occasionally organize “Messy Food Day”. They would prepare a bunch of satisfyingly messy foods (spaghetti, peanut butter, whipped cream, etc), set it up on a picnic table in the yard and we would strip down and just have at it; eating it, throwing it, smearing it on our bodies, each other, the dog, etc. Once we were tired they would just hose us off (equally delightful) and we’d head inside. There are so many rules as a kid that it was so exciting to have this one time and place you could break them. My siblings and I still talk about it whenever we’re all together.

    • Genevieve says...

      Haha! Amazing

    • This sounds crazy weird and fun! What cool parents to think of something so wild :)

  90. Erin says...

    Watch parties! My boyfriends family has a knack for these. Oscars watch party, Super Bowl watch party, Downton Abbey finale watch party. And always with a themed menu of snacks and often a quiz as well. Such a fun way to gather (pre-COVID of course) and make special moments out of the “mundane.”

    • Melanie says...

      What a great idea and would work quite well over Zoom.

  91. Addie says...

    We do Sundae Sundays and watch AFV (America’s Funniest Home Videos) every Sunday evening. We have an old-school antenna so we have to watch it in real-time (with commercials and everything). We make ice cream sundaes and watch and laugh together. We also celebrate their half-birthdays with a cupcake and go to the arcade on the last day of summer (day before the first day of school).

  92. I do a lot of celebration planning at the shelter I run http://www.stlydiashouse.org. We’ve got replicable rituals down to an art because our families always change. We have one standard banner that hangs with magnets and everyone knows we’ll be celebrating when they see this orange and purple felt creation strung through the dining room. We often make girlscout style merit badges for accomplishments like 90 days sober or completing a training course and write a corresponding limerick for the occasion. At birthdays the badge will highlight a characteristic of the celebrated we’ve appreciated, like the “golden compass” for a staff person who loved to know which direction we were going and who also was very orienting to our guests families. For toddler birthdays there’s always a bubble menagerie onto the celebrated and older kids get a dance party with a custom mix of famous birthday songs playing + a cheap strobe light to add ambiance. The key is to have the rituals decided ahead of time, have everything on hand and then just plug it in.

    • T Bee says...

      Mary-Ellen this is so wonderful! As an Occupational Therapist I understand how important rituals and routines are for families, especially those going through tough transitions!

  93. Madelaine says...

    We’ve been having pizza movie night weekly since we started staying home March – before that we’d do it maybe once a month. Even though it’s become part of our regular routine, we all look forward to it even more than we used to, and it’s such a relief not have to answer the “what’s for dinner?” question yet again. We’re devoted to Smitten Kitchen’s Lazy Pizza Dough method. My almost-six-year-old usually picks the movie and the next day my three-year-old always wakes up the next morning and says “We had a great pizza movie night last night!”

    • Corinne says...

      For several years, when we were first married, my husband would shower before bed and I would sit on the closed toilet seat and we would talk about our day. So many sweet conversations.

  94. Helen says...

    Remember those rewards you could get in elementary school for reading a certain amount of time each day? The only time my dad EVER let us order soda was when we went to Pizza Hut with free coupons from reading so I LIVED at the school library. Brilliant move by dad!

    • Tovah says...

      Oh my gosh, I remember those!!!

  95. Lauren E. says...

    My parents had tons of traditions and rituals for us when we were kids. One that stands out is that my dad kept a penny above the doorframe of our bathroom, and he’d flip it when deciding which of us he’d say goodnight to first. He also taught us the word “discombobulated” when we were really young, and inevitably, whoever got the goodnight first would yell out during the second kid’s goodnight, “DAD! COME HERE! My sheets are all discombobulated!” and he’d come in and straighten them out. My dad is really the best.

    • This is the sweetest story ever, Lauren!

    • Lindsey says...

      Honestly brought tears to my eyes. Tell him you love him if you can, I miss my crazy dad so much. Xoxo

    • Annie says...

      This one is so, so sweet and is obviously so special to your dad and his relationship to you and your sibling.

  96. Jean says...

    Our Christmas eve dinner was always kids’ choice. Everyone got to pick one dish they loved, and I never vetoed anything. It was their favourite part of Christmas eating that they planned for days in advance, and we had some hilarious combinations when they were little – chunky monkey ice cream, carrots and dip, and ribs was one meal for example. Now our three kids are 25, 23 and 20 – and they still keep it going! I think anything where little kids get to call the shots for the whole family is always going to be impactful and fun for them.

    • Meagan says...

      I love this!

  97. Alison says...

    When I was a middle schooler and teen, Sunday night was always banned from doing too much because it would set a bad tone for the week (being out too late, tired, etc). However, we made it our family night and would always make homemade pizza and watch a show together each week. This was in the days of tivo, so we would save the same program regularly so we always watched a continuing show together as a family. Looking back, it was really nice to always make food together and have the treat of eating in front of a TV (we were table people normally!). I think it’d be fun to do as a family now and space out a show that might normally be binge worthy. Something to look forward to Sunday evenings, even when they can signal a bummer (i.e. almost Monday). <3

    • Bates says...

      We have a Sabbath from Friday eve until Saturday eve – no work, no chores, no iPhones for the adults, no major cooking (throwIng cinnamon buns or something in the oven for breakfast Is ok), pjs as late as you want, time to just be together and enjoy life. We prep on fridays by cleaning and preparing food. My 10 year old recently told me that when he wakes up and it’s sabbath it feels like Christmas. Since covid started this is also when we take communion together as a family. It feels like what we do is evolving based on the weather/season (right now it’s summer in Massachusetts so we have been going to the beach) and just what our family needs.

      Also on Friday night this is the prayer I pray over us:
      Days pass and the years vanish and we walk sightless among miracles. Lord fill our eyes with seeing and our minds with knowing. Let there be moments when your presence like Lightning illuminates the darkness in which we walk. Help us to see where ever we gaze that the bush burns unconsumed. And we, clay touched by God, will reach out for holiness And exclaim in wonder how holy is this place and we did not know it.

    • We had a similar philosophy about Sundays- they were the rest days o after church and a chaotic breakfast our with our cousins and grandfather, everyone settles in for a PLN (post-liturgical nap.) Might be a boring tradition but it’s one of my favorites.

  98. Josie says...

    Every Friday night is “snacky picnic dinner”. basically we clean out the fridge and eat lots of random leftovers from the week, Cheese and crackers, whatever little bites we need to finish up. We’ll also heat up some chicken nuggets or meatballs or other random apps from Trader Joe’s freezer section, maybe make some Mac n cheese, cut up from fruit and raw veggies and set it all out in a buffet and then watch a movie while we eat.
    Our favorite tradition and I don’t have to cook.

    • Sarah says...

      My mom used to call this “Fend-for-Yourself night,” which I didn’t understand the meaning of until much more recently. We loved it, though!

    • Jess Wang says...

      We did this with my Mum and it was called “Catch and Kill Your Own” night. I always hated it as a teenager but now I’m a mum I have a new found respect for it (and appreciation for my single parenting mum!). I’ll just have to wait until my kids are old enough to bring back this tradition haha

  99. Miranda says...

    Every Christmas morning, my siblings and I play a board game before we’re allowed to go upstairs and see what “Santa” brought us. We’re all adults now and my sister has a baby, and now we have to set alarms to wake up, but we still do it every year. Then we have to wait at the stairs before our parents tell us we can come up.

  100. Erin says...

    Bedtime rituals/traditions: When I was a little kid, we sang songs every night before bed. My mom eventually banned “On Top of Spaghetti” because my sister and I decided we *had* to jump on the bed while singing that particular song. With my kids now, when they get in bed, one or the other of them always says “Mama, tell us a funny story.” The funny stories are mostly about their toddler days — e.g. That Time Your Little Brother Got a Pea Stuck in His Nose — but some are from when I was little or are about their cousins. It’s good to end the day with some giggles.

  101. Aleta Lynch says...

    I don’t have any photos from my childhood so it’s been very important for me to chronicle my girls’ early years in a format they can interact with. Every January I sort through photos from the year before and create an album for each of them – printed through Artifact Uprising. I order by early February so they can unwrap it as a Valentine’s Day gift. My 6 year old is obsessed with her little photo books and often totes them around and spends time pouring over pictures of her younger self, asking me to tell her stories behind each image.

    • Eileen says...

      I love this so much! What a treasure for your children!

    • Mac says...

      I must love rituals, because my family has created a lot! Here’s a few:
      The night before the first day of school we do at home pedicures, the Saturday before Christmas we do breakfast with Santa at a local resort and hang out for the day. The tooth fairy leaves a trail of glitter from the window to the pillow, and the Easter bunny always poops (raisinettes) on our floor!
      A word of caution: be careful which rituals you create because the Easter bunny pooped on our floor one time and it’s been expected every year since..even during a pandemic!

    • Katie N says...

      I love the timing of this gift! Last year I did a photo calendar via CVS, which was a huge hit, but I needed to use the prior year’s Christmas photos to fill out December. Bumping a chronicle to Valentine’s Day is a lovely adjustment.

  102. Connie says...

    We have a “family toast” where we say, “to the Huff of the Wolf!” whenever we “cheers.” This spawned from when we would read them “The Wolf, The duck and the mouse” by Mac Barnett and the children misheard a line we read and one day began offering up this as part of our toast. We still say it incorrectly (on purpose now). I have dreams that one day, it will be a major milestone day in their adult lives and the toast we will offer will be to ‘the Huff of the wolf.’ :)
    We also go and see a performance of “A Christmas Carol” every year and go out for a fancy meal. My husband did this as a child and it is one of his most treasured childhood memories, so when we became parents, he was really intentional about beginning this tradition with our kids, too.

  103. Angela says...

    – Wednesday night (hump day) = dessert night
    – first day of the school hols = pyjama day
    – At Christmas each year since my kids were born, we head to the city, meet up with my sister (Aunty “Cool” ) and my husband, stand in line for a Santa photo altogether, than head to the food hall of our major department store, David Jones for chocolate dipped strawberries, champagne and a cheese platter. Sometimes i buy some cute shoes on the way out.

    • Sarah says...

      DJs in Sydney? I love their food hall! I live in London, and still occasionally crave Australian food- especially the lollies! ?

  104. Megan says...

    One tradition that has felt more grounding during pandemic time… We celebrate Shabbat on Friday nights with our toddler with carry-out, simple blessings + challah, lighting candles and having wine/grape juice/fancy-drink-aka-seltzer-in-a-footed-glass. Then, Sunday morning, we make French toast breakfast with leftover Shabbat challah. It really bookends our weekends deliciously!

    • Tovah says...

      Love this.

  105. Candice says...

    -Friday night is movie night and Saturday night we watch Cirque du Soleil on YouTube.
    -Friday and Saturday are also dessert night!
    -Christmas Eve we go to The Cheesecake Factory.

    It’s the little things for sure!

    • Lauren says...

      My family is BIG on traditions. A more unique one that stands out is that one night each summer, my dad would wake myself and my two brothers up in the middle of the night to go star-gazing. We lived in a mid-sized Kansas town, and he would drive us out to the middle of nowhere. Laying in the back of the truck and waiting for shooting stars will always be some of my sweetest memories from childhood!

  106. Jessica says...

    Our sacred family tradition is family movie night every single Thursday night (our kids have a 4 day school week, so Thursday is their “Friday”). I choose the movie. Kids choose the treat/snack we make.

  107. alison says...

    My family has quite a few sort of absurd (and sweet) traditions and rituals, as well as plenty of phrases that have made it into the family vernacular for reasons large and so so so small.

    On a whim a few months ago at the beginning of Quarantine, my dad created a family crossword puzzle and sent it to me and my younger sister — the clues were all of these “inside jokes.” We have laughed to tears many times completing these puzzles (We’ve done i think 4 now?) It’s amazing to see how many ridiculous things we all remember, but it also is just so amazing to think about all of the trips, traditions, stories, memories we share as a family!

  108. Beth Ann says...

    Last fall after moving into our new house, we implemented Sunday Fancy Family Dinners. Everyone has a rotating responsibility (picking the music, dessert, game, story, and joke/inspiration to share). We eat in our dining room and light candles and my kids LOVE it. Sometimes I cook, other times it’s cheap takeout, but the point is to have an anchor to start the week that everyone has ownership in. It’s become our favorite night of the week.

  109. Katie S. says...

    My family growing up always did breakfast for dinner one night a week with Mickey Moues shaped pancakes (which I now realize was the night where Mom was tired) as well as ‘snacks for dinner’ (which I now realize was Mom’s way to use up the ends of whatever was in the fridge). She’d put it out cheese-board style and we LOVED IT.

    Nowadays, my partner and I make homemade pizza (Trader Joe’s dough for the win) every Sunday night to quell the Sunday Scaries. We also bought a mini Instax polaroid camera and take pictures whenever we have guests over.

  110. Cassie says...

    I have a 6 month old son so we don’t have any advanced rituals yet- but every morning I take him on a walk to our neighborhood pond and say “good morning ___” to everything we see- ducks, flowers, bridges, squirrels, etc. Then we repeat the same walk later on to say goodnight and then we “thank” them i.e. “Thank you rabbits for hopping!”

  111. Sunday Night Dinner!

    Rain or shine, every Sunday, my sister, her fiancée, their dog, and a rotating cast of characters come over for dinner. There’s a text chain that goes around asking who is coming and gently ribbing anyone who has been absent for a few weeks. There are guest stars. If I’m feeling motivated, I cook, otherwise it’s pizza from downstairs. My 7-year-old gets so disappointed if it’s cancelled for any reason. God, I miss Sunday Night Dinner!

    • Sadie says...

      My family practices subsistence and so many of our traditions are based off harvesting from the land. Processing fish, berries, and meat through the summer and fall are rhythms that bring my family together.

  112. Kara says...

    My partner and I take turns sleeping in on the weekend, so every Sunday when it’s my turn to wake up early with our six year old we spend the morning playing video games on my old Super Nintendo (it still works!). It has become such a fun lazy weekend ritual that he and I look forward to all week.

    Also, for Mother’s Day we take the same weekend trip every year to the same beach house and we do the same old things while we are there: play at the beach, fly kites, make s’mores, visit the little bookshop in town, play board games, hike at the local state park… It has become such a comforting getaway that we all look forward to, and because of the timing in May it always feels like a little preview of the summer fun yet to come.

  113. Dominique says...

    During quarantine, my daughters (5 and 8) and I start their mornings with 10 minutes of me reading out loud to them. They love it – and I find it sets them up for both more reading throughout the day and more independent time. They each get to pick out what I read to them and they get my undivided attention for that time.

    My husband has taken over the bedtime reading, which is also nice. We have also started to play games after dinner several nights a week.

  114. Lisa says...

    I interview each of my kids every year on New Years Day. Questions have evolved over the years, but things like “what do you want to be when you grow up? what’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done? what’s your favorite TV show? what’s something I frequently say to you?” Then I type up the answers and have them draw a self portrait and sign their name. They are teenagers now and starting to resist the questions, but they love going back and looking at how they answered when they were little.

  115. Kimmie Rodriguez says...

    Pretty random: we request kids meal menus and race to see who can finish the crossword puzzle the fastest! (Most have them!) It was more common when we were kids and we already had them, & just requesting an extra one for my dad, but now we’re pulling into restaurants (all grown adults who are well out of the house) and requesting 6 kids meal menus along with the adult menus Hahahaha.

    • Colleen F Manwell says...

      Lollllll I just love imagining this.

  116. Ramona says...

    Bedtime stories. I always read for my children and now I read for my grandchildren. Take turns reading in each of their beds. And sometimes when I’m too tired to read we just talk about what we did that day. I love this connection so much. ???

  117. Jane says...

    I’m a single mum of a 2 year old son who is just learning the magic of movie night (which is actually most nights since COVID lockdown). Rediscovering Disney classics with him and watching new Pixar movies for the first time has been so special. His favourite is “Man with House & Balloon” also know as “Up”; and I would have to agree <3

  118. Kelsey says...

    To keep things simple at Christmas, we each get 4 gifts: something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. I am planning to use this model with my children (someday)!

  119. Andrea says...

    Ohmygoodness, I am so excited to read these! Thank you for doing this, COJ!
    For our family, it is far and away The Birthday Hat.
    My girls are 13 and 15 and they started wearing the Hat on their birthdays when they were small and now everyone wears it on their birthday – kids’ friends, parents, grandparents, etc. I realized how much it was a part of our family when it was our elderly neighbor’s birthday. We took her a cupcake that evening and my youngest grabbed the hat, brought it along, and asked our neighbor if she would mind wearing the hat while we sang to her. We now have a pic of pretty much every loved one (who lives nearby) on their birthday wearing the hat. The cheeky stuffed birthday hat is quickly becoming a family heirloom in the making.
    https://www.partycity.com/plush-blue-birthday-cake-hat-459578.html?extcmp=pla%7CLia%7CGoogle&gclid=CjwKCAjwgdX4BRB_EiwAg8O8HS3RiRUE9S2fwGlRac7lH8jZxz8ItJXvGukQ_pG1uK3ofCWD-SXukxoC208QAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

    • Andrea says...

      This makes me smile so big. :)

  120. LEE ANN says...

    For years, when I was a kid, every Sunday in the summer, we had a “cookout” for dinner. Hot dogs figured prominently, but sometimes corn, as well as marshmallows, and usually “pioneer” tea, smoky from being made from water boiled over the campfire. We stayed outside until after dark, watching the fire, talking, listening to music.

  121. Cathrine says...

    We have several little traditions;

    – first night of summer vacation we have ice cream for dinner, aaaaall you can eat and all kinds of toppings, we all usually end up feeling sick but it’s worth it
    – half a cake for half birthdays
    – breakfast in bed first day of school in fall
    – banana split for dessert on New Years eve
    – we sleep under the christmas tree every year on the 22nd of december and have green waffles shaped as a tree for breakfast on the 23rd.
    – we have «breakfast dessert» every saturday which means that after regular breakfast we all eat a cinnamon roll, a croissant or something else we want

    We all love traditions – these are just a few of them.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      breakfast in bed! we do this on birthdays. although funnily enough, they wake up super early, watch a show and then we wake up, make breakfast and they climb back into bed for breakfast :)

    • Wait! My kids and husband sleep under the tree on 23 December. We call it Christmas Camp Out. Love that someone else in the world does this, too!

  122. Alison says...

    The goody run.

    My parents didn’t keep many sweets in the house and dessert was a very special treat. But, every so often, almost spontaneously, my dad would sing a very special tune. He’s start very soft, repeating the words louder and louder until we were all shouting them with excitement. It went, “Goody run run run…Goody run run run…”

    Then my dad and I (my mom was explicitly not allowed) would jump in the car and run to the nearby 7-11 where I could pick the junk item of choice – almost always hostess cupcakes or nerds candy.

    The treat was good, but having that special outing with my dad was priceless.

    • Joy says...

      omg I love this, especially the song.

    • EC says...

      I LOVE this. So sweet!

    • Faith says...

      This is so sweet (no pun intended)! <3

    • carly says...

      Love this so much. Daughters and dads, man.

    • Andrea says...

      Oh my goodness. <3<3

  123. Hilary says...

    Oh, I love this! I’m all about the family ritual and while my daughter is still really young, I’m so excited to incorporate more going forward. A few that we love:

    – A new Christmas ornament for Christmas. I had this growing up, and now we’re buying our daughter a new ornament every Christmas so when she has her own tree she will have ornaments to decorate it.

    – Weekend tea. On the weekends, we make tea and enjoy cookies (sometimes just a Lara bar, sometimes animal crackers together.

    Can’t wait to read what everyone else does!

  124. I love this post! I’m totally into traditions and rituals.

    Lately we have been reading something inspirational together after dinner (usually scripture or a kind thought or quote from something one of us has listened to/watched/read lately) and then we take a walk with an open opportunity to discuss how we can implement it/ the significance of it in our lives – the conversation rarely stays on topic, but that’s the beauty of family walks, they start with one idea and move in an organic direction.

    Another ritual we do that only occurs during the summer is foraging. We’ll note different trees that have ripened fruit that goes unpicked and ask the owners if we can harvest and share it with them – or just pick it if it’s a public shared space. It’s been such a fun way of getting to know neighbors in our extended neighborhood! Also – I highly recommend finding a serviceberry tree. The berries are like a cross between a blueberry and apple when ripe and when overripe on the tree, they are nature’s fruit snack, perfectly chewy and sweet.

    • Andrea says...

      Service berries!! We had a massive serviceberry (we call it juneberry) bush in our previous yard and am missing it so much this summer after moving last fall. We planted 2 small bushes in our new yard and can’t wait for them to grow. :)
      Last summer I tried baking with them for the first time. We subbed strawberries + rhubarb for these berries. Heavenly.
      https://goop.com/recipes/strawberry-rhubarb-galette/

  125. K says...

    As a kid, my parents would do “crazy hat night” and “crazy utensil night.” Crazy Hat Night was announced 15 minutes before dinner by my parents. Everyone has to go find/make/create something to wear on their head, non-traditional hats preferred. Crazy Utensil Night would only be discovered when we’d be called to the table for dinner. Whatever utensil my mom had put down, we had to eat with — my dad with a spatula, my brother with salad tongs, two straws, you get the idea. These were easy, fun things my parents would announce randomly, always making meal time a little more fun.

    • Kat O says...

      Crazy utensil night sounds hilarious! What a simple way to add a little absurdity into the day.

  126. Haha, you must do super short UNO games! We always had an UNO tournament on New Year’s Eve, every.single.year. It was last hours and get so competitive, but so much fun!

  127. Amanda says...

    Three family traditions as I was growing-up: first, Pizza Fondue Sunday! Every Sunday night, we’d enjoy pizza fondue (a bubbling pot of mozzarella, tomato sauce, and Parmesan, enjoyed with fresh bread).
    We were the envy of all our friends.
    Christmas morning: monkey bread for breakfast and New Year’s Eve: homemade candy cane ice-cream (to make use of all of the candy canes from our Christmas Tree)

  128. Erin says...

    We do family movie nights on Fridays (easier now during a pandemic, since we’re all home. all. the. time.), Saturday morning breakfast at our favorite little bakery, and my favorite is our “Back-to-School Eve” tradition. The night before the new school year begins, I fill a basket with little, relatively inexpensive goodies for school: fun markers, a new water bottle, glitter glue, flashcards. We set up the basket in the same spot by our fire place where we place Easter baskets and Christmas stockings, so it feels like a little holiday. We play the song “We are going to be friends” by Jack Johnson (a sweet song from the Curious George soundtrack about going back to school), and my now six-year-old daughter runs down the stairs to see the goodies in her bag. We have a little paper “back to school” banner for the mantle. It’s simple but feels significant, and my hope is it keeps my daughter excited and hopeful about a new school year. My heart breaks a little thinking about what that tradition will look like this year if there is no school to go to.

    • I think this is such an incredible idea! What a way to make school exciting and so much fun.
      If school doesn’t happen, you have such an opportunity to get creative. Maybe some stationary and stamps to write to friends? Maybe a few things they couldn’t get away with at school? Like gum or… I don’t know. I haven’t been in school for a long time. What wasn’t allowed when I was a kid. Hats? Haha!

    • Megan says...

      Oh, I’m stealing this. I love it so much. My little has so much social anxiety around school and maybe this will help.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is so cute!!! we serve a cake with candles the night before school starts; the boys get to pick it out from the neighborhood bakery.

  129. Suzyn says...

    I make a Christmas ornament for my kids and all their first cousins, every year. My kids love them – I wasn’t sure if their cousins even cared. But then one of my nephews emailed me out of the blue a couple years ago. He’d just moved in with his girlfriend, and they were setting up their first tree together. And she couldn’t believe he had all these hand-made ornaments! So he asked, very sweetly, if I would make one for her, too.

    • LEE ANN says...

      Oh, Suzyn, it warmed my heart to read this! I have been making ornaments for my niece and nephews (now 4, 7 and 9) and am inspired to continue the tradition.

    • Luísa says...

      This is adorable ♥

    • Julie T says...

      This is so sweet <3

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      this is so, so sweet.

    • K says...

      Wow what a wonderful tradition. Would love to know more about the ornaments you make! What are they made of?

    • Suzyn says...

      Hey, everyone! Glad to see that this resonated! Most of the ornaments are knitted. If I can post a link, you’ll see a bunch of them here:
      https://www.ravelry.com/projects/KnitSurf?set=christmas-ornaments&view=thumbnail

      The first year, I used a cross-stitch kit. And the second year, when I’d decided it was stupid, but at the last minute my husband convinced me it wasn’t, I twisted dry-cleaner hangers into their initials, spray-painted them gold, and wired some beads around them. Since then, mostly knitting. Generally, they’re all identical, with some sort of an initial incorporated, so sibs can tell theirs apart. This year, I got ambitious and am making a ball ornament with each kid’s full name (understand the oldest nephew just got married – but he was an usher at my own wedding and he’ll always be a “kid” in my book!)

      I generally start the new ornaments pretty quickly after Christmas each year. That saves the panicked last minute rush, plus I’ve found it’s a pretty effective help for the “January blues.”

  130. julie says...

    Summer Sunday Sundaes! With all the fixings: homemade hot fudge sauce or butterscotch sauce from Smitten Kitchen, boozy sour cherries for the grownups, whipped cream, smashed peanuts or candied walnuts, sprinkles – anything goes! It’s been a fun transition at the end of the weekend. And if we’re out all day and can’t make it work, Sundae Mondays are fun too!

  131. Laura says...

    I know our rituals will change over time, but here are a few simple things we currently do with our 4 year old:
    – I read to her from a chapter book at breakfast or lunch (or she listens to a story on Spotify – look up “Songs and Story”)
    – We play “thumbs up, thumbs down” at the dinner table (you say something positive about the day and something that was hard), and occasionally switch it up with “Would you rather?” Our daughter finds it funny to only ever ask me to choose between giving up reading or coffee.
    – My husband and I rotate bedtime and we both one have one thing that makes our night special. Our daughter gets a book and song each night, but my husband tells a “boo boo story” (someone getting hurt) and I leave the room and pretend to say goodnight but forget to do something, like turn off the light, or close the curtains, or whatever. My older brother did this whenever he babysat me and I remember LOVING it. It’s funny the simple, silly things that stick with us.

  132. Elly says...

    Once in a while when we were kids, my mom would put the cookie jar in the middle of the table and announce “Cookie Day!” where we’d eat cookies for breakfast. The best days!

    For Passover it’s tradition for the children in the family to find the afikomen or matzo that an adult has hidden somewhere in the house. My grandfather took it a step further by writing and illustrating clues that led us on an amazing hunt around my grandparents’ house until we at last discovered the treasure. I still remember the year that he hid the matzo in the trash can. It blew my little brain — how could anyone come up with a better spot than that?! The prize money at the end never hurt either :)

    • Katie S. says...

      My mom would at times do similar things for breakfast and now it makes me think….She was probably just way too tired to cook!

  133. When I was a kid, my dad would stay home so he could be there when we woke up (he left for work very early typically). Him and my mom would wake us up and we’d get to open a present usually. And then for dinner that night, the birthday kid got to pick the meal and dessert. That was a big deal in a family with 5 kids as you didn’t get to make choices very often! Also, my dad would wake us up for church on Sunday mornings. I was kind of a brat about that tradition, though, because I did not want to get up early. But now I have fond memories of him singing ‘zippity doo-dah’ to wake us up.

    Another tradition was having a big meal for lunch on Sunday (which we actually called dinner – I grew up in a farming community in ND where lunch = dinner and dinner = supper) and then we’d have a big bowl of popcorn and cut up apples for ‘supper’ on Sunday night.

    Reflecting on these memories reminds that we don’t need to do grand gestures for our kids. My best memories are the simplest things from my childhood.

  134. Marki says...

    Our quarantine ritual: I ask my daughter if she wants to do anything other than play Animal Crossing. She says no. Repeat 30x a day, every day.

    • Alison says...

      Ha! I will forever associate the first few bars of that background music with this time in our lives. It is our quarantine anthem.

    • Emily says...

      Hahaha this made me laugh. I am a new mom and I play Animal Crossing while I pump :) It is such a sweet, simple and relaxing game. I love decorating my home, and my villagers feel like little friends :)

    • Haha this is real life and I love it.

  135. Katie says...

    Cookie Friday! My daughters both attended a preschool across the street from a bakery, and it became a daily debate over whether we could stop and get a cookie after pick up. Enter Cookie Friday! It ended debates about cookies and gave the girls something to look forward to. It even spread to other families and became an informal parent gathering at the bakery on Fridays after pick up. Our preschool days are done, but Cookie Friday lives on!

  136. Jeri says...

    Every night at the dinner table my daughter and I do “Favourite part of the day”. I ask her to tell me hers, and then I tell her mine. It’s a lovely way to remember the fun things we did that day, and has the added bonus of a gentle lesson on gratitude and mindfulness.

  137. Brittany says...

    I’d read somewhere that asking kids about their day was too overwhelming for their minds- a day feels like a week when they are little. So instead of a generic “how was your day?”, at dinner we go around the table and say the best and worst part of our days. It doesn’t usually amount to much more than looking at their sweet faces while they ramble on (which is enough in my book), but occasionally it helps process something big and scary. Lately there have been a lot of Covid complaining at dinner, especially with our schools still closed in the fall. But it gives us a chance to both validate their gripes and refocus on something we can express gratitude for.

  138. Megan says...

    pre-CV19 the three of us would go out to Uwajimaya, our local Japanese supermarket, every weekend. we would get the best salmon EVER for dinner, some veggies, snacks (spam musubi!), and whatever condiments needed restocking (kewpie mayo 4 life!). any kind of grocery shopping is ritualistic for me! its one of the weird things i very much love doing. currently, we still get to enjoy going to our weekly farmer’s market across the street where we get New Mexico-style breakfast burritos and i buy a fresh bouquet of flowers from a really sweet family-run flower farm. even though our income is now extremely uncertain, the flowers are a non-negotiable. i have purchased them every sunday for 2 years! they bring such simple joy to my table, especially during really unpredictable times.

    • When I was in residency and my husband was fun employed our ‘dates’ consisted of trader Joe’s on free sample day, Stew Leonard’s (also great free samples, and bizarre animatronics too) or H Mart where I would splurge and get a boba tea to sip on while shopping. It was not the easiest time in our marriage but now I look back on those little dates fondly :)

  139. L says...

    When my (very adult now) kids were smaller, I began asking for their self-portraits as my birthday gift. Many years later, I enjoy the most incredible archive of their growing artistic skills, evolving concepts of self, and interests at the time. It’s still what I ask for, and they happily explore new media, formats, and methods each year–often their portraits coordinate incredibly well with no overt communication.
    Can’t recommend this enough. Only wish we’d begun even earlier!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, L, I LOVE this!!!

    • julie says...

      Oh, I love this and am totally stealing it! In pre-k this year my kiddo did seasonal self-portraits, and it’s amazing how much his skilled evolved over those months.

    • Mel says...

      What a beautiful, heart-full idea!! I have a furbaby – perhaps she can gift me a pawprint every year :) Thank you for sharing!

    • Kristen says...

      Oh!! This actually made me teary. What a beautiful idea. Our small kids struggle to understand that a homemade birthday card means more to us than a new phone or a model rocket. How wonderful that your grown kids get it and continue the tradition!

    • Jessica says...

      This is really really cute.

    • Andrea says...

      This is beautiful!! Starting this!!

    • Cat says...

      What a golden idea!

  140. Maggie S-R says...

    Three-day weekend gifts! 7-10 days before each three-day weekend I brainstorm and order a gift for each of my boys, my husband, and myself. It’s generally something small that fits the season and fulfills a need (think: board games, fun socks, and movie bucks for the kids, a “fancy” six-pack of beer and massage oil for my husband, imported tea and delicious bath oils for myself). The gifts are unveiled at dinner at the start of the 3-day weekend. I’ve even involved the kids in picking a three-day weekend gift for one another! As far as small pleasures go, I’ve always found that three-day weekends rank surprisingly high. This little ritual of ours has made them even more of a treasure.

  141. Amy says...

    Pies. As soon as summer begins we draw our names out of a hat to set the rotation of who goes first, second, etc. Then each weekend all summer long I bake a pie, and we take turns picking out which kind of pie I should make that week. The kids, and adults, love it :)

    • Ashley says...

      I would like to know where I submit applications to join your family.

      This sounds delicious .

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “I would like to know where I submit applications to join your family.” hahaha

    • Amy says...

      Ashley, you made my day! :D

  142. Kristen says...

    Gold mine is right! I can’t wait to read these comments.

    Our go to “game” for boring situations that we didn’t prepare for was stolen from another family in an especially long airport security line. While our kids whined and refused to stand up on their own, the family ahead of us went through the alphabet six times, coming up with words for each letter using themes like: things in an airport, animals, fictional characters. We now play The Alphabet Game whenever we’re coming home from a trip and it’s always a surprise to see what our kids come up with…though you can pretty much always count on iPad for I.

    • NJ says...

      That sounds like a take off on a well known Israeli kids game – we call it “country, city” in Hebrew because those are the first two categories! The regular version is that one person says “A,” then goes through the (rest of the) alphabet in their head, and another person has to randomly stop them, and for whatever letter you stopped on, you find things/ words in these categories: Country, city, living creature, plant, inanimate object, boy’s name, girl’s name, profession. Lots of people also add extra categories, like a type of food, tv show/ movie, book, fictional character, medical condition… anything you want! It’s such a useful game :)

  143. Jess says...

    We started “Cinnamon Roll Saturdays” last year and it has been such an anchor during this unpredictable, unsettling time. It gives us something to look forward to, grounds us in a time when each week feels like a lifetime, helps offset decision fatigue, and our very hands-on toddler gets to help cook. Most weeks we use canned cinnamon rolls but if we’re feeling particularly spunky we may bake them from scratch. Self care at its tastiest!

  144. Cara Mills says...

    My Mom is an amazing baker and raised six kids. She was always extremely organized and had a solid dinner on the table every night by 6pm. But in the summertime, things would lighten up. During strawberry season, my Mom would let us have one night where we just ate strawberry shortcake for dinner – as much as we liked until it ran out! We’d pour milk over the top. Dessert for dinner! We looked forward to that tradition every summer. Even though my Mother is super fancy, her version was always made straight from the back of the Bisquik box. I’ve tried fancier versions (scones, etc) and nothing compares to good ole’ Bisquick. Now we do the same thing in our family every summer. It is also my go-to dessert when I bring dinner to new Mothers and without a doubt, someone always comments that it is the highlight.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is so sweet!!!

  145. Lisa says...

    I lived in a neglectful and somewhat abusive home. I remember hardly any of my childhood, so it was important for me to create family traditions for my children and build memories they will hopefully treasure. So….

    We do meatball Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, pizza (and movie) Fridays and Sundae Sundays in our house. The kids (8 & 4) love it – “Yes it’s Meatball Monday” is often the first words spoken on Monday mornings by at least one, and usually both of them!

    As for annual traditions, the one we have stuck with is the birthday treasure hunt. For younger ones string or ribbon lead them from room to room to find their gift(s). These days they follow clues. I figure they probably won’t remember the gifts they receive but the treasure hunt should become a favourite Childhood memory (and maybe a tradition they will pass down to their own children, should they decide to have them).

    • Charlotte K says...

      Your first statement brought tears to my eyes. I admire your courage to make a stronger family from a place of love.

    • Lindsay says...

      I love the birthday treasure hunt idea! How wonderful that you’ve made it a priority to create joyful memories❤️

    • A says...

      I think that your children will remember and treasure these. How luck they are to be in a home filled with intention + love. :)
      We did the ribbon birthday treasure hunt in our house for the first time this year, for our toddler. When I was growing up, my mom started birthday treasure hunts when we were school age, and I think we will change to do it that way when our child grows, too. Every year it was in a bit of a different format, but always with clues / a map / etc. I don’t remember any of the gifts I received (except one year I was obsessed with Reese’s candy and one of the gifts was a huge bag of little Reese’s all for me, haha) but I certainly remember the treasure hunts. :)

  146. Mari says...

    For birthdays, we started the tradition a few years ago in our family to wake the birthday girl or boy up by throwing a bunch of balloons on top of them in bed. We’ve tried variations and the one that has stuck is to tie at least a dozen balloons of different sizes onto the same string, which helps make them a lot more manageable. Then, the kids have fun playing with the string full of balloons for the next few days.

    • C says...

      my partner turned 30 2 months ago and I got him a few ’30’ balloons. They lasted a surprisingly long time and for weeks after we would both get up from our makeshift desks a few times a day to play a round of ‘don’t let the balloon touch the ground’.

  147. Andrea says...

    French Toast Friday!

    If we are out of bread, then it’s pancakes. If I wasn’t able to get up early in time to cook before school starts, then we have breakfast for dinner!

  148. Illana says...

    I love this and can’t wait to read all the responses. A new ritual we have since the shelter-in-place is that each week we do a special zoom with my mom so that she can teach my kids some famous family recipes as part of what we call her Zoom Cooking Show. My mom is a force and an amazing cook, and my kids and I really miss the extended family meals on holidays and birthdays when she would make all her famous things. I’ve also been a little worried about my parents being somewhat isolated, so it’s fun for everyone. It might be a recipe that I already know how to make, but I get to be there to watch how it all unfolds (and to put away the baking powder after it’s used, etc!). It’s fun and sometimes very silly and occasionally there’s a spat or I get irritated with the latency sound issue, but we are always glad we did it — and we end up with something yummy for the 3 of us to eat!

  149. Erin says...

    Our family ritual is on birthdays we hide gifts around the house & set up clues to help find them. My kids love it! They get equally excited to hunt for their own gifts and to help make clues & pick hiding spots when it’s someone else’s birthday.

  150. Megan says...

    We started Friday movie night when our son was 4 and it’s still going strong. We get in our pjs after dinner and watch a movie as a family. And it’s an exception to our usual no TV during weekdays (at least pre covid. Ha) so our screen loving kiddo really looks forward to it.