Some of my favorite memories growing up do not circle around holiday parties, gigantic birthday bashes, or lavish family vacations. We were a typical ’90s family who played outside, watched TGIF on Friday nights, jammed to New Kids on the Block, and ate supper once a week at our favorite local pizza place. The simple elements of weekly tradition were instilled in us at a young age; that you could create enjoyable family memories without breaking the bank. Your child may never remember their beach trip from their second birthday, but they will definitely remember the small, special happenings that you consistently loved as a family. Here are five frugal traditions that you can build with your crew:
1.) Bonfire night. We live on a farm, but even in a residential area, many families enjoy a night a week where they gather around a small fire pit or bonfire and roast marshmallows, share favorite moments from the day, or simply count stars before bedtime. I only have to say “bonfire night!” once before they are running outside and finding the best roasting stick. Bring your own lawn chair and get some fun conversation started!
2.) Favorite Food Night. If you are a Lego Movie fan, pretty sure your kiddos have probably requested Taco Tuesday in your home. And as we all know, we are HUGE fans of Donut Saturday on our homestead (more on that here). And you could find my family at Charley’s Pizza every Friday night for the majority of my childhood. No matter the day or “theme” you choose, kids love having something to look forward to. And it also helps in meal planning if you know every Tuesday night there will be tacos!
3.) Movie Night. When my husband was gone last year for four months to a law enforcement academy, the kids and I had a “family movie night” every Wednesday to break up the week for us and give the kids something to get them through the time without daddy quicker. Watching movies at home has come a long way since the “be kind, rewind” era we all remember. Between Netflix, Red Box, or simply renting a movie at the library or borrowing one from a friend, having a movie night with popcorn and warm blankets is exciting for everyone! (Also: if you want to take “family movie night” to the big screen, the theater in Windsor Square Shopping Center shows older movies for $2.50 a ticket!)
4.) Nightly Walk/Hike. Everyone finished with supper? Clean off the plates, get the dog and take a family stroll around the neighborhood. Even a ten minute walk can help burn off some of the energy that kids seem to get right before bed, making your nighttime routine smoother and more manageable.
5.) First Day of the Season Celebration. Every “first day of spring” the kids and I load up and head to Market Square for free Rita’s Italian Ice. We do this rain or shine, or regardless of how long the line is. It is tradition! It is the first thing my daughter marks on her yearly calendar in January. First day of summer? We go to the local splash park and grab half price slushies at Sonic. We haven’t quite nailed down our fall/winter celebrations yet, but it is so much fun and great way to hang with friends and rejoice that a new season is upon us.
So, whether you try one or go crazy and do all five, building consistency and tradition will give your children sweet memories to pass on to the next generation.
Do you have a special, simple family tradition that you guys look forward to each week? Share with us in the comments! Also, if you are looking for a list of inexpensive indoor activities in Knoxville for a family outing, that list is (here).