Simple Seasonal Family Traditions

Post by Contributing Writer, Michele Augur of Frugal Granola

As a family, we cherish each new season. Our children love the familiar rhythm of knowing what to expect and savoring the many delights of each season.

We like to keep a handful of seasonal traditions that are easy to schedule into our busy lives, as well as easy on the budget. (There are also a few “special extras” when possible.) Now that our oldest child is almost five, she has quite a memory bank of these traditions, and doesn’t let us forget!

Also, whenever we’re expecting a new baby, we let our children know in “seasonal terms” when they can expect the newest arrival. (Our summer baby came “when it was hot and sunny, after the blueberries, with the zucchini and tomatoes, and before the corn.” Our spring baby is expected “near the end of the snow, when the spring rains come, the crocuses bloom, and the green buds appear.”)

Here are some of our family’s favorites:

Photo Credit: ollesvensson

Autumn

Right now, we are entering into the autumn season of fall leaves, garden harvests, and cooler nights (probably our favorite time of year; at least for my husband & I).

  • Wild Blackberry and/or Huckleberry-Picking
  • Hiking in the Woods (It’s nice to get out in the clear fresh air, even if it’s a bit rainy!)
  • Baked Apple and/or Popcorn Nights
  • Gathered Leaf Crafts (such as leaf rubbings, garlands, “bouquets” on the table, etc.) We just completed a fun Leaf Pounding project (printing onto muslin fabric on top of a board- instead of cardboard); even our 2-year-old got in on the hammering!
  • A Fall Camping Trip (usually at the beach)- Campsites are usually less crowded in the fall, you can see the stars in the darker evenings, and it’s cozy by the campfire! (We’ve also gotten together with other family members and rented an affordable beach house together, since it’s the “off” season.)
  • Attending an Apple & Pear Harvest Festival/Farmer’s Market and/or U-Pick Farms
  • Treats of Hot Spiced Cider, Applesauce, or Creamy Pear Pie (a “mandatory” dish at our big family Thanksgiving dinner gatherings!)
  • Cream Cheese Pumpkin Muffins on Thanksgiving morning
  • Pumpkin Waffles for breakfasts (can also use some cooked squash)

Photo Credit: hello-julie

Winter

We have a few winter birthdays in our family, plus our wedding anniversary, in addition to the other holidays, so this season is very celebratory for us!

  • Advent and the Twelve Days of Christmas activities
  • St. Nicholas Day
  • Snow Angels and Snowmen
  • Occasionally, attending a performance of The Nutcracker (a children’s theater or a matinee is often more affordable, and a more manageable showing time for little ones)
  • Homemade Gingerbread Cake or Molasses Cookies
  • Mint Hot Chocolate
  • Listening to a Handel’s “Messiah” CD or DVD
  • Participating in our church’s Children’s Christmas Play/Musical
  • Seafood Christmas Dinner (often a simple Crab Quiche)
  • A Christmas Tea Party and/or New Year’s Open House
  • Decorating with “bouquets” of fresh holly & greenery (or homemade wreaths)
  • A drive or walk to see Christmas lights and/or Caroling
  • Homemade Gifts and/or Ornaments
  • Handmade Valentines

Photo Credit: EvelynGiggles

Spring

  • Starting Garden Seeds and early Spring plantings
  • Occasionally we’ve been able to attend a community “Easter Sunrise Church Service”
  • Spring bouquets of fragrant daffodils and crocuses
  • Listening to the many little frogs at the creek
  • Reading about St. Patrick
  • Picking Nettles
  • Meals of fresh, green asparagus, new leafy greens, or just-picked rhubarb
  • Puddle Jumping and Walks with Umbrellas
  • A Mother’s Day camping trip (usually at the beach); typically a less-crowded weekend before the summer crowds and hot weather arrive
  • Board Game Nights
  • Nature Walks/Hikes
  • Making Butter from grass-fed raw milk (late spring/into summer)
  • Star-Gazing on clear evenings

Photo Credit: JustyCinMD

Summer

  • Bonfires and Barbecues
  • Early Garden Harvests & Later Plantings
  • Swimming/Wading in a shady creek or river
  • A Backyard Camp-Out in the Tent
  • Bouquets of Roses and Wildflowers
  • Berry Smoothies or Blueberry Cake for Breakfasts (I know some of you live in climates where you actually get strawberries in the spring; but ours aren’t ready until at least June!)
  • More Butter-Making from grass-fed raw milk
  • Attending Farmer’s Markets
  • Lavender Desserts (such as cookies or souffles)
  • Making Lavender Sachets for adding to laundry or bed pillows
  • Gathering Herbs & Preparing Remedies
  • Ice Cream Sundae Parties
  • Picnics on the lawn
  • Jars of Sun Tea

Did you see some of your favorites on the list? What are your family’s traditions?

About Michele

Michele and her husband Calvin live a simple & sustainable life in rural Washington with their two- going on three- (busy!) little ones at Hampton Creek Inn. She takes joy in the daily ministry of delving into creativity, traditional homemaking & hospitality, homeschooling in everyday moments, and smooching her husband in the woods. Michele loves encouraging women and equipping them for frugal, natural living through her blog, Frugal Granola.

11 Responses to Simple Seasonal Family Traditions

  1. Living So Abundantly October 15, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    This post really encouraged me to enjoy all seasons by finding yearly traditions to enhance the excitement. When I was a kid, here were some things we enjoyed as traditions:

    Winter: Sledding in our snow suits, making snow angels, cinnamon rolls, hot chocolate, going
    to arcade in the area, Christmas Eve service at church, opening one gift from stocking
    after church service on Christmas Eve

    Spring: Bike rides to parks and 7/11 to get slurpees, helping plant the garden, swinging on
    patio swing

    Summer: City pool membership(we LOVED the diving boards, etc.), boating, beach, ice cream
    from local ice cream stand, fireworks and mini golf on the 4th of July

    Fall: Apple orchard(picking apples, apple cider, and those doughnuts–my favorite!), helping
    rake leaves and bag them, starting school with new clothes, working a jig-saw puzzle
    while watching the Thanksgiving Day parade on t.v.

    I will be posting some traditions that my husband and I have continued and added in a post coming soon!

  2. LuAnn October 15, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

    We really don’t have a lot of family traditions, sad to say. I’m hoping to fix that this year. Actually, loading the mom (me), the dad, the two teen boys, the 8 yr old DD and our dog Sneakers into the Suburban for a 900 mile trek from Kentucky to Texas to visit MIL and her husband is kind of a holiday tradition of sorts. Last year it was Thanksgiving, this year will be Christmas.

  3. [email protected] October 10, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

    Love this! I think I need to do the same – to write down our seasonal traditions. I feel like they’re all stored in my head!

    A beautiful way to build home for your family.

  4. Country Nana October 6, 2011 at 6:51 pm #

    Hello from beautiful Oklahoma! I am new to blogging, but I really enjoy your blog and the photos are beautiful!

  5. Cindy October 6, 2011 at 4:32 am #

    Love all the ideas! Thanks!

  6. Megyn October 5, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

    This is so sweet! Love it. Your children will have such wonderful memories!!

  7. Ashley Willcox October 5, 2011 at 10:50 am #

    What a wonderful resource of suggestions! Thank you for sharing!!

  8. Sarah M October 5, 2011 at 10:26 am #

    I really liked reading all of these. I love to do yearly seasonal activities with my kids, and this is a great jumping off point for new ones (recipes, especially), to try. Thanks again for all the links!
    Sarah M

  9. Heather October 5, 2011 at 7:39 am #

    What a great list! Thanks for sharing! Our favorite fall tradition is apple picking, and the subsequent apple preserving :-)

  10. Jennifer @ Her Southern Charm October 5, 2011 at 6:21 am #

    These are great! Thank you for this list! :)

  11. Lisa Grace October 5, 2011 at 5:53 am #

    Our favorite fall tradition is baking gingerbread boys and then decorating them on Thanksgiving morning :)