Make the most of your family traditions

In 1967, our family, along with two other young families, had planned a Good Friday breakfast picnic at a local lake.
When we woke up Friday morning, it was cold and windy. But we went anyway.
It was so windy that the wind blew out our Coleman gas stoves. So finally, all 14 of us huddled behind a utility building to fry our bacon and eggs.
Our young children loved the adventure. But one grandmother, who was here for the weekend, thought it was outlandish and was served breakfast in the car.
That cold morning in 1967 began a wonderful tradition that continues to this day!
Gradually, other families joined us for our Good Friday outing.
We had breakfasts in local parks, with Easter egg hunts for the children. Sometimes we stayed all day—eating the leftover breakfast goodies for lunch.
One time, the fathers made a trip into town to buy wieners
and buns.
Gradually our children grew up and most of them left the community. And, eventually, our whole Sunday School class joined us.
We gathered when it rained or snowed, when it was windy, or when it was sunny and warm. In 40 some years, we have cancelled only one time because of the weather.
As we got older, we became more “chicken,” so now we rent the shelter house at the park.
This past Friday, there were about 30 people at the breakfast–though only four of the originals were on hand. Some were there for the first time.
What a feast we had, with John’s buttery scrambled eggs, Marion’s sizzling bacon, Howard’s Li’l Smokies, Harv’s fresh-perked coffee, Bob’s pancakes, and an assortment of tasty breads, egg casseroles, and fruits.
Once again it was cold (in the mid-30s F), with snow on the ground. But the roaring fire in the large stone fireplace and winter coats made us comfortable.
Even so, we heard rumblings about renting the heated newly-constructed shelter house next year. Even though it would cost quite a bit more.
Thus, once again, our tradition probably will change.
But that’s the way traditions stay alive–by going with the flow. Being flexible and enjoying the present.
Since 1967, nearly 100 people have attended the breakfast at one time or another. Some were one-time guests. Some were regulars, but have since moved away. Some were children, who now live far away.
And poignantly, last Friday we mourned the loss of three members who had died during the year—two in a tragic accident.
Still the tradition goes on, but life changes. And possibly one day, we even may decide to give up this tradition. Then it will be time to begin new ones.
What’s important throughout life, and especially as you get older, is to be flexible and adapt to life’s changes.
What about your holiday traditions? How have they changed over the years? Do they still work? Or is it time to create new ones?
If your children are far away, you could invite friends in for dinner. Or if you find it overwhelming to make a big dinner, how about organizing a potluck or eating in a restaurant with friends.
Just make sure you make the most of all your traditions, not only at holiday time but throughout the year.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at or visit

Posted in Uncategorized