The traditions you share with your children build cornerstones of family life: moments you await with pleasure and recollect with joy. Create your own observances around personal milestones or major holidays, for example to add new levels of togetherness to your history and outlook. Whether these traditions spring up spontaneously and become part of family lore or you plan them in advance and introduce them to see if they take root, make them events that become part of your story.
Regardless of how many birthdays your family observes each year, each celebration makes one person at a time feel like the day belongs to her. Even in families with twins or larger sets of multiples, you can make each celebrant the center of attention. Hide presents around the house and use your digital camera to create a set of clues for the birthday girl to use in finding her gifts. Tell her she's on or off track as she searches and take her picture as she finds each present. Display past years' gift-hunt photos from your digital image library via Wi-Fi® to a Smart TV.
Same Time Next Year
Whether you're celebrating New Year's Eve, Thanksgiving or an "unholiday" of your family's own creation, use it as a reason to take a group photo that duplicates the same pose and location each year. Set your digital camera or camcorder up on a tripod so everyone can get in the picture, or establish a companion tradition in which the picture taker wears a special garment or hat for a second photo. If you take the photos on "International Funny Glasses Day," "Global Bunny Ears Day" or some other just-for-fun holiday invention, use appropriate props in your photo to carry out the theme. These images make ideal subject matter for the front of a family holiday card.
If you set up a year-end holiday tree, designate a specific day on which all of you design and make a new ornament together. You can use any kinds of materials, including paper, fabric and lightweight wood, choosing your construction supplies with an eye to making an annual token that can last for years. Take copious photos of the family building session and the results of your work. At the same time, choose a special ornament to hide deep in the tree's branches and give an annual award to the first person to spot it.
Shared meals bring families closer together. Choose a special dinner each month for which to involve the entire family in meal preparation. Use your cook-together night as an opportunity to explore new cuisines, dishes and ingredients. Focus on elements of the cuisines of your ancestors to tie your experiments even more closely to family tradition. As you experiment, develop your own recipes based on the flavors you try out and incorporate the best of your innovations as a regular item on the dinner menu. To add flexibility to your preparations, stock your refrigerator with an interesting ingredient in advance of recipe night. Research its use on your home computer and share the photos and recipes you find, helping spark ideas for a new dish.
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