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Practicing Celebration as a Family

Some of our best memories of family times are born during moments of celebration. Here are some thoughts on how to add meaning to your celebration of everyday events and special occasions. To get started, check out 5 Ways to Celebrate with Your Family.

Celebrating God’s Presence

  • In her blog post on, Liz Bewley gives a quick tour of how Friday family dinners provide time for celebration and family faith formation. (Scroll to the bottom of the page to find the video.)
  • Pointing to God in the midst of everyday events and special occasions helps cultivate a spirit of gratitude and celebration. Where do you see God at work? Look for “God-glimpses” every day and celebrate them with each other.
  • Celebrate baptism anniversaries in your family by lighting a special candle and sharing special food.
  • Celebrate everyday blessings: rays of sunshine after a long, dark winter day, the beauty of a rainbow, healing from an illness, the blessings of answered prayers, God’s comfort when you’re anxious or afraid. Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts is a helpful read.
  • Consider ringing a bell in your home every time you find something to celebrate and thank God for. That will pique other family members’ curiosity and provide an opportunity to share the celebration story.

Celebrating Birthdays

  • Write or find a birthday blessing that fits your family, and use it in your birthday celebrations. Here’s one example by Traci Smith.
  • Birthday affirmations are a wonderful gift! Invite family members to take turns expressing what they love and appreciate about the birthday person, what that person’s gifts and strengths are, and how that person loves God and neighbor. Do this with people of all ages, not just kids—adults need affirmation too!
  • Faith-forming gifts: Include one gift that will invite the birthday person to grow closer to God: a prayer journal, a book, a favorite Scripture passage in beautiful lettering, a piece of art, an album by a favorite group.
  • For more ideas, check out this list of Birthday Traditions That Bless Your Child.
  • Celebrating Holidays and Seasons

    • Use special objects to signal the arrival of a new church season or holy day: an Advent wreath, a collection of star or angel ornaments for Christmas, a purple tablecloth for Lent, a wreath of thorns for Good Friday, white and gold paper butterflies for Easter. Bring these objects out every year—even if your kids seem too old to care (they really DO care, and they’ll miss them even if they don’t say so).
    • Faith Formation Ministries’ Family Faith Formation Toolkit includes lots of ideas for celebrating church seasons like Advent, Lent, and Pentecost. Check out the “Resources by Topic” tab. Also follow our blog posts on The Network for seasonal ideas.
    • Holidays like Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day can be faith-forming celebrations too! Look for themes of gratitude, love, and God’s provision, and amplify those in your celebrations.

    Celebrate Big and Small Moments of Triumph

    • Sometimes we forget how many “firsts” kids go through as they grow. Read 5 Reasons You Should Celebrate Milestones by Julie Baumgardner on and plan your own milestone celebrations.
    • Kids (and adults!) are constantly learning new skills, new ways to manage feelings and fears, and new ways to use their gifts. Celebrate those big and small moments of triumph in your family: a hard conversation completed successfully, a fear overcome, a kind act that helps someone else flourish.

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