Memorializing Family Rituals and Traditions in the New Year 2019

The last two years, this Grandma’s New Year’s posts have been heavy and emotionally taxing.  See post, 2018 New Year’s Resolutions Focusing on Feelings That Span A Lifetime Will Bring Us Joy

2018 New Year’s Resolutions Focusing on Feelings That Span A Lifetime Will Bring Us Joy


This year, two years into retirement from the bench, I acknowledge that the year 2018 itself was heavy and emotionally taxing.  While mediating for families in trauma and with family disputes since retirement from the bench, I notice that what is important in life, family and home, is increasingly suffering because of external stress, angst, and upheaval.  I want to write this post for resolutions for the New Year 2019 to remind us all of what is most important in life, family and home love and life, and bring attention to what we already know and do: children and grandchildren remember rituals and traditions in their lives, not how much quantity of time one spends with them.  As a family court judge, ritual and tradition creation was at the forefront of what I wanted to leave families with to sustain them through the hard times of life.  Remembrances of rituals and traditions can bring a smile to a child or grandchild when things get tough.

Rituals and traditions are a continuing theme throughout the years of this Grandma’s blog. A 2015 blog post defines family rituals and traditions and talks about the reality and importance of rituals and traditions.  See post, “Grandma as the Storyteller and the Importance of Rituals and Traditions for Our Grandchildren.”

Grandma as the Storyteller and the Importance of Rituals and Traditions for Our Grandchildren


A 2013 post talks about the kinds of rituals and traditions that keep families together.  See post, “The Grandma Glue: Keeping Families Together for Holiday Rituals and Traditions.”

The Grandma Glue: Keeping Families Together for Holiday Rituals and Traditions


All of this seems like a lot of work when we are on overload just getting from one day to the next.  However, it occurred to me as I prepared for the New Year 2019 that we all seem to overlook the obvious: we are reinforcing family rituals and traditions every day in our daily lives.  Now we just have to think about how we grandparents might memorialize them as a 2019 New Year’s resolution.

Just this past week, three conversations show how we Boomer grandparents are already creating family rituals and traditions every day and do not realize how significant this is to our and our grandchildren’s immediate joy, and ultimately to how we are remembered by our grandchildren when we are gone.

A friend just shared a holiday conversation with her near six year old granddaughter.  She asked what the granddaughter wanted for Christmas.  The granddaughter responded that what she wanted most was to go to church with grandma on Christmas Day as this is what she looks forward to every year.  My friend said she had tears in her eyes, that her granddaughter did not seek things, but that she made a difference in her granddaughter’s life by introducing her to God and the love of God.  I explained that she has a ritual and tradition with her granddaughter that will live beyond grandma’s life, every time her granddaughter goes to church on Christmas Day, she will remember her grandmother and how she brought God and religion into her life.

Another dear family member grandpa shared how he was teaching his grandsons to play golf and one of his grandsons was going to be a star golfer.  It did not occur to him that his grandsons would forever think of his early teaching and that memory would outlast grandpa’s life.

A third grandma friend found out that her grandchildren cannot wait to bake grandma’s famous chocolate chip cookies every time they visit and that they tell anyone who will listen that their grandma’s chocolate chip cookies are the best.

I reminded her that they will always remember her cookies long after she is gone. I suggested for this holiday season she might consider handwriting the recipe on stationery with chocolate cookies printed or drawn on it and getting it framed for the grandchildren’s rooms.

That is an example what this Grandma recommends for New Year 2019.  Recognize the traditions and rituals you already practice with grandchildren and reinforce those traditions and rituals with a substantive acknowledgment of the memory creation.  I recommend to the grandpa who is teaching the grandsons to play golf to give each an old iron upon which grandpa has signed a message to the grandson for the future with his signature, all in permanent ink, as an example.  It may sit in the corner of the grandsons’ room but is a constant reminder of a tradition and ritual creation. If the grandchild is too young or the iron may become an unintended weapon to use on siblings, frame a picture of the grandpa coaching the grandchild now.  I recommend to the grandma who takes the granddaughter to church every Christmas to this year take a picture with the grandchild in front of the church this Christmas Day and have it framed for the child’s room, and add a picture each year to show how the grandchild has grown.

This Grandma thought about a family ritual and tradition to memorialize that I had not considered before.  Grandpa and I play the card game, Hearts, with our oldest grandchildren.  We purchase cards on our travels, such as cards imprinted with “the big five” animals from South Africa.  The grandchildren complained that the cards are getting worn.  We will be with them soon and I will have a picture taken of the four of us playing hearts and have that photograph made into decks of cards to give them.

We all have some rituals and traditions that are so part of what we do with the grandchildren that we overlook that the acts have become family rituals and traditions.  It is not hard to reinforce and acknowledge these with our grandchildren with a lasting symbol of the memory creation.


In the Jewish religion, we live on forever in the memory of those we leave behind.  What would our grandchildren remember about us?  A photograph on their wall, an autographed photo album of our activities with them, something of ours we give as a gift to remember us are just a few ways to leave a physical sign of a forever memory.


Every day we create rituals and traditions.*  Let us memorialize some as a New Year’s resolution 2019 with






*This Grandma cannot help but to remind us that we need years of life to continue to create and celebrate family rituals and traditions.  See post, “Five Healthy Habits to Give Us Twelve to Fifteen Additional Years to Celebrate Milestones With Our Grandchildren and Only One Word To Remember”

Five Healthy Habits to Give Us Twelve to Fifteen Additional Years to Celebrate Milestones With Our Grandchildren and Only One Word To Remember

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