As your family grows up, moves away, starts their own families and lead busier and busier lives, it can become easy to not keep in touch or get together as much as you might have. Even a family that are still all living under one roof can become quite detached from togetherness as each member moves in their own circles of day to day life - heads in school books, technology, TV, working or socialising with others.
No matter your family situation (or whom you classify as family), people gathering to celebrate or simply be present with one another is an age old tradition that supports connection, conversation and community. It doesn’t matter who you are or even what time of year it is, we can all thrive from this sort of contact with other humans. In order to bring the family together again, consider taking the lead and organising one of these easy gatherings in your home soon.
A beautiful family tradition is the act of sharing a meal. Sitting together and eating, asking everyone about their day, and keeping the conversation light-hearted can allow families to feel connection and belonging. Even if it’s just you asking warm questions and your awkward teens are responding with short sentences, deep down they will know this is an act of love. Show a genuine interest in whomever sits at your dinner table as this simple act of breaking bread with people can be where some of the best memories are made.
A regular dinner time can encourage this to happen every day if you all live together, or schedule time each month for a big family pot-luck meal if not. It might even be that crafting the perfect kitchen (through a company like House of Kitchens) could give you the motivation to do this more often - opening up your home and having the kitchen be the living, beating heart of it. Of course, life duties can sometimes get in the way of all of this, but if you can arrange it, try to schedule a even 45 minutes for your family to sit and converse with one another over a meal on a regular basis.
And PS. Every family is unique so create meal time gathering that feel right for you - formal dinner parties, blankets and barbecues on the beach, or casual, messy and crazy in the kitchen. What matters is making the most of being together, and if a few recipes get shared, a few laughs, or even a few tears, the showing up to each other with mutual respect and understanding is a habit to cultivate!
"Family and friendships are two of the greatest facilitators of happiness."
- John C. Maxwell
If there’s anything better than eating with your family, it’s watching a great movie as one. Curate a movie night in which all mobile phones are confiscated at the door, everyone gets cosy, and the snacks come out for the pure enjoyment of being entertained. Sitting down and watching an episode of a new Netflix show, learning and debating over a fascinating documentary, collectively holding your breath through an action film, or relaxing with a laugh-a-minute comedy undeniably feels good - and you may even collect a stash of family in-jokes to share forever after!
If you're game, make it a plan that a different person chooses the film each time you gather in order to cater to all tastes. This not only helps everyone feel like they have a contribution, but can help them feel proud to show something to their family, especially relatives of various ages and genders who might not spend much recreational time together.
A group family project can be a great idea, and there's plenty of options to suit every type of family and delight even the grouchiest of family members! You can go all out with a planned family vacay where you all meet from your corners of the world to holiday together, or keep it simple with a Christmas decoration project party, where you'll all get to gather and share in your handiwork a month later. You might work together on an art mural celebrating your family to hang in your parents home; have a working bee in each other's gardens; or even better, come together to film the next feature for movie night, starring the whole family!
A group family project can help certain members feel closer together,
seen, heard and valued.
And sometimes, working on an item that will benefit the household as a whole can be the best way to introduce kids to their new home space and teach them how to care for this place and the people they share it with.
Whatever you choose to do, bringing your family together in your home will certainly nourish
its atmosphere and fill you up in more ways than one!
Got a family tradition you share together?
Tell us about it below.