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TWU Home > Marketing & Communication > News Releases

Holiday traditions bring families together


DENTON — Whether cooking special dishes, decorating a Christmas tree or watching a movie together, establishing holiday traditions are important to building strong families.

Dr. Joyce Armstrong, associate professor of family sciences at Texas Woman’s University, says that developing rituals around the holidays are critical to creating a sense of belonging among family members.

“People value traditions because they see them as a time of togetherness for sharing and strengthening relationships,” she said. “Individuals in families, in particular children, need to feel that they have a set of common values with one another.”

To create new family traditions, Dr. Armstrong first recommends that families get together and discuss what is most important to them, what they would like to do together and how they can make this happen.

“The common theme around the holidays is sharing time together. Carving out time for family traditions is important and it’s beneficial to have the whole family involved in the planning process,” she said.

Dr. Armstrong says that in these uncertain economic times, families can establish traditions inexpensively with activities such as playing board games, watching a holiday TV show or movie, making homemade decorations or gifts, decorating the Christmas tree, going out to look at holiday decorations, cooking together, etc.

She also says that families can look to the past for things that their parents and grandparents did at the holidays and re-establish these rituals in a new way for their families.

“Sharing these stories about past holidays and looking through photographs each year can help establish a sense of a family tradition.”

Dr. Armstrong says that often in the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, decorating and extra obligations, time with family can be overlooked. She adds that holidays get people together and the particular activities are not as important as simply spending time together.

“What is important about family traditions is the recurring, planned time with family members that can give children, parents and relatives a sense of connectedness that is becoming more difficult as families become increasingly separated in today’s society,” she said. “Holiday traditions help families remain close because they create a connection between the past and future.”



Media Contact:

Amanda Simpson
Director of News and Information
Tel: (940) 898-3456
e-mail: asimpson1@twu.edu

Page last updated January 22, 2009

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