Every family has their own traditions, whether they're holiday related or just activities everyone loves doing together. No matter the tradition — simple or complex — they're all meaningful and have a way of bringing the family together. 

Each year as the holidays approach, I am always reminded just how special my own family’s traditions are to me.

Like many families, my children and I do many of the typical holiday family traditions. We pick out a Christmas tree and go ice skating downtown. Then there are some traditions we include our extended family in, such as yearly family photos, making holiday treats and exchanging Christmas gifts.

No matter how each of them started, they all have a special place in our heart and I’m sure we would all be devastated to see any of them come to an end.

But one of my favorite traditions actually isn’t holiday-related at all. It's something my sisters and I have been doing since before my two teenage children were even born. Every Sunday, my family — which consists of my dad, two of my sisters, two nieces, a nephew and my own children — get together for breakfast and to just spend time with one another.

It started about five years before my mother passed away, which happened nearly 11 years ago. She had been sick for several years and was eventually moved to an assisted living facility in Valley, Nebraska. Since it was so far away from our homes — and we knew our time with her was limited — we made the decision to visit her weekly to spend as much time with her as possible. My children were born not long after the tradition started, so it became even more important for me because I wanted them to get to know one another.

Once she passed away, my sisters and I weren’t convinced we should stop getting together — even though our initial reasoning wasn’t quite what it used to be. We had gotten so used to the idea of seeing each other on a regular basis we decided this was a tradition we wanted to continue. Since we all lived so close to one another, we started meeting at my dad’s house. We cook breakfast, the kids play and we catch up on one another’s lives.

Now we’ve become so used to it we couldn’t imagine it any other way.

To me, the best part is how much closer our family has become as a result. We celebrate major life events, accomplishments and special occasions — including birthdays and holidays. We even get together for not-so-important moments, such as a trip to the zoo or for a movie once in awhile.

Throughout the years we have made some adjustments, and every now and then, we aren’t able to get together. But we always do what we can.

In this time, we’ve come to realize just how important our family is to us. Even though we have our disagreements and we know everything won’t be perfect all the time, we still know not everyone is lucky enough to see their family as often as we are. So we work through the bad times and celebrate the good — making sure to enjoy our time together as much as we can.

What traditions does your family have?

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Amanda Smith, a working mom of two children, writes weekly for momaha.com. Read more from Amanda »

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