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HOW TO CREATE AND INCLUDE PLAYFUL RITUALS TO YOUR (FAMILY) LIFE – PART ONE

How many ritual have you got in your daily life?

I bet more than you think, I am going to share my favorite rituals with you later in this post, but to make it easy for you to create your own routines and rituals let us look at what that actually means and why creating rituals is not at all conflicting with our flexible lifestyle.

The German Philoge W. Burkhard defines rituals as an inter actual phenomena which can be described as an ordered communication course. Although it took me a while to get this I like this definition because it shows how often rituals are subconsciously rooted in our daily life.

Both children and adults need rituals which give us a sense of security and help us relax. They show the way and give family a strong bond of togetherness. Although rituals and routines can cause the exact opposite result. They restrict us, are said to be old fashioned and stiff, make us inflexible and are difficult to fit into our busy lives where we WISH to be flexible and open to all options.

But rituals can be so much more than mere routines carved in stone making family members roll their eyes and causing increased stress. Thoughtful used rituals can increase our own and family creativity thereby relieving strain and enriching our lives.

We will see how that works in minute. Bear with me.

Before, however, it is worthwhile to really understand what a ritual should and should not be. Rituals ought to be voluntary and never, ever compulsory. They should make us happy and help to make that bored and negative routine – exactly those which do not inspire us or make us happy- easier to cope with. They should be special and have regular times although these times can be changed. After all, we change in ourselves all the time and a ritual always grows with us and ideally makes everyone happy. Rituals need not be large nor expensive.

Of course we need discipline to keep up but it is similar to jogging or yoga or any other exercise you feel comfortable with. At first it is difficult to make an effort and we often feel to lazy or have other (not so) important things to do. But I doubt if you arrive back home afterwards thinking how stupid you were to have gone. The positive feeling is always stronger.

You can think out a ritual just for yourself and reward yourself for attaining a goal or motivate yourself to go further. We often have them in our lives without noticing so it is worthwhile to look more closely at our routines and what we already do and which existing rituals can simply be improved or just need a little boost.

It helps to remain realistic when planning this. Make your ritual easy to plan and keep the price down this gives you the chance to create it with little or no stress.

Now comes the exciting part- How can rituals look? How can I create a ritual?

Most rituals can be put into these categories (feel free to add as many as you like, these just work for me very good)

  • waking up
  • farewell
  • culinary
  • seasonal
  • festival
  • birthday
  • anniversary
  • evening
  • bedtime
  • after work
  • sport
  • travel

As I mentioned above, this list can be enlarged ad infinitum. It helps to consult your own daily or monthly routine ans to analyze in which category a ritual would fit into your life.

As a small impulse I have put ten rituals together and hope they inspire you to either adopt one or to think of a ritual for yourself.

 

COUNTDOWN CALENDER

We all know the annual adventcalender but why not making a countdown calendar for other occasions. Pick a date in the future that you cannot wait for to come and create your own calendar. For a new job, Birthdays for children who are always very excited. Wedding anniversary or the last day of school. Motivational thoughts, cards, little sweets can be easy to make items to equip the calendar.

STAY IN BED SUNDAY

Once a month you keep your Pijs on and stay in bed either alone, or the whole family. Wrap yourself up under the duvet and get a book and a tea or coffee and hide your phone in a far away place.

The magic to make this happen is to choose a very realistic time limit. Its not very likely to happen if you decide to stay in bed 3 hrs with a toddler who demands fresh air and play time after a while or if you have a dog. Be realistic. Start with half an hour, or even just  15 minutes its the little things that count.

FIRST SNOW DANCE

Once the first snow of the year falls turn on your favorite tune, put on your warm jacket and have a happy dance in the snow. You can combine this with a hot pot of chocolate and home made biscuit afterwards if you like, or anything else that warms your heart and soul.

FLIP THROUGH ALBUM

Something we do at our house is to flip through the baby albums on children´s birthday, or through our wedding album on our wedding anniversary. We all cuddle up on the sofa and take our time to reflect the past years and especially our children love this ritual. This requires an album of course which leads me to another ritual I have created just for myself…

CREATE A FAMILY HIGHLIGHT ALBUM

Every year between Christmas and new year I log off for 2 days and create a family album of the year with all our highlights in it. To make it easier for me I try to collect and organize all photos taken during the year. I have 12 files for the months and just upload everything each month. At the end of the year I only have to choose and edit a little bit. It doesn’t have to be a 300 pages all inclusive big album. It all depends on how easy it is for you to create this. Remember to make it as easy going for you as possible. You might want to do this online or just print them out and stick them into an album you have. 

PIZZA FRIDAY

Every second friday, or maybe once a month that is totally up to you and your schedule, gather together with family and /or friends and have a pizza evening. Everyone just brings something to put on the pizza and because you are doing the same dish week by week everyone will know what to bring. No complicated and long arrangements are needed. It is easy to make, not a lot of work, it can be done together and what you get is a cooking free night and lovely inspiring time with family and friends where you can all sit together and talk.

LAST DAY OF SCHOOL SURPRISE

Each year before the big summer holidays I think of a special surprise for my children when they come home after their last day. It is also the day they get their yearly reports and therefore they come home earlier that day.  What they love most is a picnic I prepare in the garden of course including a few sugary things. Due to heavy rain it took place indoor too one year. It was as much fun as the outdoor version.

ADVENT SUNDAY STORY

Each advent Sunday we light a candle, have a cup of tea together on the sofa and read a story together. Before that I always buy a seasonal book with short stories and pick out four. We avoid discussions on what to read and don’t waste time that way.

Time invest is around half an hour. These Christmas days and weekends are often very busy so make sure not to plan anything that would collide with your weekend family appointments.

Sunday story ritual can be held without the Christmas background or you might want to include them to other festive seasons you are celebrating.

I will try to keep this list of rituals updated and add new ones that I think are nice to share.

Maybe you would like to share one or two? I would love to hear about your rituals and experiences. How many rituals do you have in your daily life? Have you created your own?

Feel free to drop me a line, x

4 Comments

  • Rabya says:

    Love this post Gila! As you know we love a pancake ritual on the weekends!

    • Gila Freudenthal says:

      So glad to hear Rabya thank you!I would love to add this to my list for a seasonal special on rituals, if you don’t mind, x

  • Caroline says:

    Every Wednesday is movie night in our household. Everyone in the family attends and phones are banned for the movies duration. Popcorn is compulsory! It started a few years ago when we would all come together to watch the Great British Bake off. When that finished our Wednesday night watching just continued.

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