Never Too Late to Start a New Family Tradition

Never Too Late to Start a New Family Tradition

My elf can beat up yours!

My elf can beat up yours!

You’ve seen the cute little shelf elf around right? Last Christmas, I had been feeling a bit sad that the adorable little elf wasn’t around when my children were younger, as they would have enjoyed the mischievous  pranking elf. Even though my three are now college age, I thought they still might enjoy some silly elf fun. Of course, by the time I thought of this it was mid-December and the elves were scarce. Necessity is the mother of invention after all and this mother has a glue gun!

I raided the kid’s neglected toys and found a pro-wrestler action figure. Perfect! I didn’t want some “cutesy” replica of an elf, I wanted a way to engage my somewhat too cool young adult children into reliving a little Christmas magic. For that it was going to require something a little bizarro, but I knew that if it would make them laugh – they would play along.

What is a tradition? Meg Cox, the author of The Book of New Family Traditions , defines family ritual as “any activity you purposefully repeat together as a family that includes heightened attentiveness and something extra that lifts it above the ordinary ruts.

Traditions are a important, they help a family feel a sense of identity and it strengthen bonds. It is comforting and offers security to children to know, even when they are far away (like in Alaska freezing their hiney off while at college), that some things are constant, familiar and the same.

Traditions can teach our family values, pass on our cultural and religious heritage and help connect generations. When a study group asked by researchers about what they remembered most about their childhood, most responded by talking about the simple, day-to-day traditions, the family dinners, the holidays, and bedtime stories.

How to Create a Your Own Tradition:

  • Find a purpose
  • Make it personal
  • Look at your family history, your family heritage from other cultures and countries for inspiration
  • Add traditions from your own childhood
  • Feel free to create or delete traditions as needed

Fill your family with lots of rich memories, ones that they can pull out to cherish and remember when life’s challenges are heavy. It’s never too late to create a new tradition or dust off an old one. So, how did my Elkins Elf work out? You decide:

elkins_elf_cupcakes elf_blocks

Elkins_elf_dunk Elkins_elf_firecracker


  1. Valerie,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today’s Fab Finds post at

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. Wow. I am so totally in love with this idea and your post about it, so I am going to put a link on my family traditions page, And thank you so much for quoting me and my book, The Book of New Family Traditions. This ritual is exactly the sort of thing I recommend to parents all the time, using popular rituals out there in the culture as templates and making creative, personalized versions.

  3. great post! I like the pictures.
    will comment back –

  4. I like your “elf” better than the real one! Great job, Valerie. I learn so much from you and your blog, thank you for all you do.

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