Celebrating Holidays and Special Occasions: An Introduction

Which holidays does your family look forward to most? Holidays and special occasions—when they work well—bring families closer together. Even holidays that aren’t perfect can be transformed into ones that are meaningful.

Did You Know?

  • Families who celebrate special occasions are more likely to raise kids who have a strong sense of identity, are healthy, have close ties to family members, and succeed in school. 1
  • Get more tips for supporting school success >
  • The more meaningful older teenagers felt their family rituals were, the more likely they were to have a strong sense of themselves and be able to handle the stresses of going to college freshman year.2
  • Families who share the preparations for a family holiday are more likely to continue traditions. In too many families, one female (typically between the ages of 40 and 59) does all the work.3
  • Get ideas for getting everyone to help with household chores >
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    1. Barbara Fiese and others, “A Review of 50 Years of Research on Naturally Occurring Family Routines and Rituals: Cause for Celebration?” Journal of Family Psychology 16, no. 4 (2002): 381-390.

    2. Barbara Fiese, Family Routines and Rituals (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006), 97.

    3. Pauline Boss, Loss, Trauma, and Resilience: Therapeutic Work with Ambiguous Loss (New York: W.W. Norton, 2006), 192.

    4. William Doherty, The Intentional Family: How to Build Family Ties in Our Modern World (Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley, 1997), 3-16.

    5. Margaret Leach and Dawn Braithwaite, “A Binding Tie: Supportive Communication of Family Kinkeepers,” Journal of Applied Communication Research 24 (1996): 200-216.

    6. Peter Benson, Peter Scales, Nancy Leffert, and Eugene Roehlkepartain, A Fragile Foundation: The State of Developmental Assets among American Youth (Minneapolis: Search Institute, 1999), 16-17.




    The importance of family traditions is so valuable.