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40 family traditions that can bring your family together

When you think of your own happy memories from childhood, what is it that immediately comes to mind?

For many of us, it will be memories of our beloved family traditions. The things we did together, consistently, regularly, year after year. Trips to the beach. Decorating the Christmas tree. The special birthday pancakes your mum always made you.

These memories of our most cherished family traditions make us smile. And the traditions themselves are more important than we realise. They’re important because of those special memories they create, the quality time spent together, the moments of connection, and their lasting effect on the whole family.

So, we’ve compiled a list of some fun family tradition ideas. We’ve created this list so you can pick the family tradition ideas that resonate with you and incorporate them into your family gatherings.

But first, how do you turn a new family tradition idea into an ongoing family ritual and one that truly sticks? We’ve got you covered.

How to create a new family tradition that resonates with your family members

Creating (and maintaining) new family traditions doesn’t have to be hard, but it can take some intentional planning.

To start with, think about what your family already enjoys doing together, and then build in a new family tradition (or a few family traditions) from there! Fun family traditions have the strongest glue, as everyone enjoys doing them.

You might like to consider family traditions from your own childhood or family history that you want to pass down to your children. Alternatively, you might like to start completely new family traditions that are unique to your family.

Family traditions don’t need to be centred only around the holidays. While the holiday season is certainly a great time for family traditions, it is not the only time!

You can create family traditions around anything that feels meaningful for you at any time of the year.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to family traditions. 

However, there are a few things you might like to consider when you’re finding what works for your family.

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Keep it simple

If your family tradition is elaborate, expensive, or requires a lot of props or supplies, you are less likely to keep it going. Often, the simplest traditions are the best ones, anyway. 

Family traditions and family rituals can be as simple as playing games, having meals together, and sharing a laugh.

Similarly, too many family traditions can feel overwhelming and can take away from the magic of the special traditions you already have. 

My advice is to keep it as simple as you can. 

So, while this list of family tradition ideas is a long one, just pick those that resonate with you the most. 

You could still, of course, try the others for fun one-off activities! Just don’t put pressure on continuing everything in this list as a new family tradition. 

Be flexible

Sometimes, you’ll try something, and it will flop. Sometimes, your traditions will evolve over time. And sometimes, you’ll get rid of something altogether. And all of those things are ok.

“Because we’ve always done it” is no reason to continue doing it. If a tradition is feeling like a chore, if not everyone is enjoying it, or if it’s just not working for you anymore, it’s ok to change it or stop doing it altogether.

Be open to changing things up or trying new things. 

And remember, sometimes the best traditions are the ones that happen accidentally, so don’t keep yourself too locked in!

Focus on your values

If your tradition is meaningful to you, you’re more likely to keep it up (and enjoy it!). 

Think about what is really important to you and what kind of values you want to teach your children. Then, choose traditions that reflect those and that help you live them out.

40 family tradition ideas you can get every family member involved in

If you’d like to start some more family traditions but are unsure which ones would work for your family, you’re in luck.

We’ve compiled a list of 40 family tradition ideas that you could adapt into your routines for the whole family.

Just pick those that resonate the most with you and seem the best fit for your family culture.

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‘Family night’ traditions

Why not set aside a regular night to spend together as a family? Everyone agrees on the frequency – maybe weekly or monthly – and commits to keeping this night free for some fun family time. 

Want to know what this family time could entail? Give these ‘family night’ family tradition ideas a try.

1) Family movie night

Each member of the family has a turn choosing the movie each week. Then pop some popcorn, put your comfiest pyjamas on and snuggle up on the couch to watch a movie together.

2) Family board game night

This is a super fun way to end a long week, and is a little more interactive than a movie night. You can play a board game, a card game, or even have a whole board game tournament! 

For a bit of added fun, the winning team can be awarded the honour of being able to perform a silly victory dance (and the losing team gets to laugh at them).

3) Family games night

If your family likes playing more active or exciting games than the board game variety, you can do a regular family games night of other varieties. For example, active games or video games (depending on your preference).

For something active: 

Try a night out at your local family games arcade, a spot of ten-pin bowling, family table tennis or pool (if you have the equipment). You could also take turns to shoot hoops into a basketball ring, or get a rolled up paper ball and take turns trying to throw it and land it in a waste paper basket. There are plenty of fun indoor game variations of similar challenges, with your imagination being the only limit.

For a video games night: 

Challenge your family to a videogames night tradition. You could try a parents vs kids play-off, a champion vs everyone else challenge, or draw a name out of a hat to decide who competes in each round. Choose a video game that everyone can play, like Mario Kart, or whatever video game your kids love playing.

4) Family fun night

If you’re a family who likes to get out and about together, you could take turns choosing a fun activity to do outside of the house together, every week or month. 

Maybe your family already has one activity they love to do together that you want to do more regularly. Think mini-golf, ice creams, or even trampolining!

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Family holiday traditions

Whether you like to travel far and often, or you prefer to stay close to home during the holidays, family holidays are a wonderful opportunity for connection and memory-making. Here are some ideas for you to try for holiday-based family traditions.

5) Regular holiday spots

Got a favourite holiday spot? Head to the same destination once per year, or once every few years to turn it into a family holiday destination tradition.

You could stay in the same general area, or even in the same cabin, house or room! This can make the sweetest memories over the years as the kids grow up.

6) Family photo traditions

If it’s a regular holiday destination or holiday style, you can take a family selfie at a special spot every time, and watch how everyone changes over the years. 

Or, if your holidays change, pick a signature pose that you ‘must do’ on every family holiday as a family, at least once. 

Another fun family tradition photo idea is to pick an iconic photo that you all remember from another holiday, and try to recreate it — with different family members, even. Your family tradition could be the act of recreating a photo or prominent memory from the previous year, and capturing it in a photo (again).

7) Annual summer camping

If your family loves the outdoors, you could go on an annual summer camping trip as a family tradition. Whether this is in a tent, a caravan or a cabin, you’ll look back on those moments around the campfire with joy.

8) Annual winter trip

Does your family love the snow, or the cold? Go on an annual winter snow trip. Cue cute memories of snow fights and making snowmen!

9) A ‘Mars Bar moment’ (or other ‘snack’ moment)

A cute idea that some families do on family holidays is the ‘Mars Bar moment’ (which can be replaced with whichever snack you prefer). 

The idea is to sit down together, in cool and unique places, or at iconic times during holidays, and enjoy a special treat as a tradition. 

Families that do the ‘Mars Bar moment’ will often do them just after reaching the top of a big hill during a hike, or at the exact halfway point of the holiday, or at some other significant moment. 

It’s a way to mark a moment, as well as keep up with a family tradition. Snap a selfie of the moment for added memories.

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Family meal traditions

Sharing a meal is a great way to connect with the people we love, and many of our already established traditions naturally revolve around food anyway, so this is a simple way to establish new family traditions. Try these meal-based family tradition ideas.

10) Family recipe traditions

Take note of the recipes your family loves, and make these regularly. Mum’s famous chocolate slice, Dad’s pumpkin soup or Nanna’s pea & ham soup will soon become traditions in their own right.

11) Favourite Family restaurant traditions

Is there a restaurant that you’ve always gone to as a family? Or a restaurant that the kids absolutely love? Going back to that same restaurant regularly, or on special occasions, can create a new family tradition. Even if the restaurant in question closes eventually, you’ll still talk about that restaurant fondly (and can replace it with a cool new restaurant to keep the family tradition alive). 

12) Family cooking together traditions

Cook an old favourite family recipe together, or create a new one of your own! You could also create a regular food tradition on a certain day of the week that you make and eat together. For example, Taco Tuesdays, Friday Pizza, and Saturday morning pancakes. You could also have a baking day once a month, where you bake together.

13) Kids choice traditions

Once a month, it’s the kids’ choice for dinner! It could even be dessert for dinner (perhaps followed by actual dinner for dessert), or it could be up to the kids to put their heads together and choose what they’d like. Within reason, the parents have to go along with it! If your kids might squabble over the choices, or have different tastes, alternate who chooses each month.

14) Breakfast for dinner traditions

Everyone loves breakfast for dinner! Once a month you could have a wonderful breakfast spread for dinner.

15) Celebration dinner traditions

Is there somewhere extra special that your family likes to go? Or can you think of somewhere that could be? It can become your go-to place for birthday dinners, graduations or even end-of-term or semester celebrations. Celebration dinner traditions can also take the form of how you come together to have dinner to celebrate something special. Should everyone wear their finest attire to your family dinner table on celebration dinner nights? Could you light candles, put up fairy lights or decorate the dining room extra-special? Find a fun and special way to celebrate anything from achievements at school, work and extracurricular activities, and special occasions.

16)Lunch outing traditions

Lunch out with your family can be absolutely wonderful. It could be fish and chips out at the beach on a weekend once a month, going to a fast food restaurant once a month, or something else for a tasty lunch-based family tradition that brings your family together.

17) Picnic traditions

Pack some sandwiches, fruit and snacks and take your meal outdoors. Family picnics are wholesome and lovely family traditions that create wonderful memories. You could go to the same favourite places, or mix it up and decide on the picnic spot each time. 

18) Dinner table gratefulness and sharing traditions

Whether it’s every week or once a month, sharing about your day, or what you have to be grateful for, or something good that happened that day, is another wholesome and fulfilling family tradition that can also help you kids feel and experience gratitude. Take turns going around the table and sharing what it is you love or admire about each other, something you’re proud about, some good memories you can think of, or some highlights from your day.

Family sports traditions

If you’re a sporty family then watching or playing your favourite sport is a great way for you to connect. It’s also a simple but fun way to create some new family traditions! Here are some sports-related family tradition ideas.

19) Cheer on your teams on the TV together

Don your team colours, make some snacks and watch your favourite sport together on the TV each week

20) Local games traditions

Support your local community by attending games together on a weekend. This can be whenever your team is playing locally, once a month, or at whatever frequency you prefer.

21) Annual family tournaments

Have a yearly family tournament with a trophy for the winning team (do this one during the Holidays to include extended family too!). The sport can be of your own choosing! Whether it’s backyard cricket, beach cricket, beach volleyball, table tennis, tennis, mini golf or a series of challenges, your family tournament will most likely become a family tradition that is talked about year-round.

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22) Kids’ sports carnival traditions

Whenever your kids have sports carnivals at school, you could incorporate a special tradition into supporting them. Whether it’s the whole family dressing up in the kids’ sports house colours, Mum or Dad wearing a silly outfit, signs decorated to cheer the kids on, or a special treat that you enjoy together at the end of the carnival, it will make these occasions special and memorable.

23) Weekend sports routines

Many of us that played weekend sports remember the after-match family traditions. Whether it’s getting a McFlurry from the McDonald’s on the way home, eating Red Frogs lollies, or a healthier variation of one of those, they can make for great memories and family traditions. 

24) Family sports traditions

There are many family sports traditions that you could work in. Much like the annual family tournaments, it can be any sport that your family enjoys playing together. It could be that every time you visit the beach, you play a round of family beach cricket, or throw a football around. It could be that on the weekend, you kick a football around the front yard or the back of the house. 

Birthday traditions

Birthdays are a great opportunity to create family traditions because they communicate to the birthday girl or boy just how much they are loved and appreciated. Try these ideas for birthday-based family traditions.

25) Birthday breakfast traditions

Make a special birthday breakfast for the birthday person, or let them choose what breakfast is for everyone on their birthday.

26) Birthday lunch traditions

Do a special family birthday lunch, or let the birthday person pick what’s on the menu.

27) Birthday dinner traditions

Have a special birthday dinner as a family, or let the birthday person pick what’s for dinner!

28) Birthday fun activity traditions

Let the birthday person choose a fun activity for the day, either on their birthday or on the closest weekend to it.

29) Birthday love tradition

The Birthday Love tradition allows each family member to express what they love most about the birthday person. You can write these down or say them out loud, taking turns. You could even write them on sticky notes or hearts and stick them on the birthday person’s bedroom door.

30) Birthday cake tradition

Let the birthday person pick their birthday cake out ahead of time from a birthday cake book, make them a surprise birthday cake, make a cake together, or let them request a type of cake to be made.

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Outdoor traditions

Spending time in nature is a fabulous way to create family traditions. If being outdoors and getting active is important to your family, try these ideas for outdoor family traditions.

31) Family walk or hike traditions

Go on a walk as a family, in the mornings before school and work, after school or work, or on the weekends.

If you’re feeling adventurous or are an active family, go on regular hikes together. Pack a picnic for extra fun memories.

32) Family bike ride traditions

Go for adorable family bike rides together on weekends or in school holidays.

33) Annual fruit picking

This is a really cool one to do on school holidays; visit a strawberry farm or another type of fruit farm, and pick fruit together. Find a local farm, orchard, or berry patch and visit it at the same time each year to pick fruit together

34) Annual backyard camping trips

If you don’t like campaign trips away, or if it’s a bit tricky logistically, nothing is stopping you from camping in the backyard once a year as an annual tradition (or even once a month). The bonus: if your family doesn’t love sleeping ‘outdoors’, you can ‘wrap up’ and put everyone to bed inside at any time.

35) Annual family fun runs

Participate in a yearly fun run as a family.

Kindness traditions

Kindness is a value that is important to every family I’ve ever encountered! So create some traditions that encourage your family members to live out this value! Here are a few ideas for you.

36) Clean up Australia Day

Participate in Clean Up Australia Day as a family.

37) Operation Christmas child

Pack a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child each October.

38) Annual/monthly volunteering

Volunteer at a homeless shelter or another charity at the same time each month or year.

39) Annual spring clean & donation drive

Have an annual spring clean and choose items to donate.

40) Annual donation or fundraiser

Choose a charity to donate to each year as a family, or hold a fundraiser for a charity each year (this can be something like a lemonade stand, or a bake sale).

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Remember, whatever family traditions resonate with your family, will make great memories

Above all, remember that all families are unique, and so too are family traditions. Your family traditions don’t need to look like anyone else’s, but they do need to be meaningful for you!

If you find new family traditions that your family loves doing together, they’re sure to stick around and create beautiful memories.


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