Family Fun Is Spelled T-I-M-E!

Published online: Jun 07, 2021 Articles, Lifestyle Susan Stucki
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A line in a movie caught our attention: “Family is everything. All else is just stuff!” 

Whether you are a family of one, a few, or are part of a large extended group, family really is everything. Spending time with family working and playing builds strong bonds.

Developing family traditions sometimes requires intentional planning, and sometimes our happy experiences just naturally become part of our family blueprint. As young parents, we determined we would create family traditions to ensure a tight knit connection and have them coming back home to spend time long after they were grown.

We have enjoyed a myriad of traditions with our siblings and their families. Because of the times spent together, we have solid connections. Annual reunions, delicious dinners, birthday and holiday celebrations of every variety, secret pals, bike rides, floating down the lazy river on tubes which has now turned into kayaks, singing around the campfire, Girls Day for the women, Alaskan fishing trips for the men, fishing at the holes that were the favorites for four generations (a.k.a. “No Tellum Creek”), teaching kids to fish and camping together created happy times for us as we spent time together.

Decades after the inception, we still draw names for secret pals with my husband’s siblings and spouses and throughout the entire year, do fun things for them, even long distance. Secret pals are revealed at our annual gift exchange and names for the coming year are chosen. This sibling ritual provides a reason to think of this special person all year long and we find ways to send anonymous gifts or serve them in some manner. 

You are never too old for family fun! And who doesn’t like to be acknowledged and receive unexpected little gifts throughout the year?

Mid-pandemic, we experienced a new kind of fun: virtual fun. 

Our extended family gathered on Zoom for a family trivia party on a designated evening. Everyone was invited to send in trivia questions about any family member and details of growing up on the farm. Our nephew hosted and moderated the event. Donations to purchase prizes were gathered. Various ages of family met from various states. Thirty four phones were involved with 34 family members. Young children were also able to participate. The annual family summer reunion and Christmas celebration had been cancelled, so this was a great way to spend time and enjoy reconnecting. Prize winners were delighted, and everyone enjoyed the unique experience.

With our own children, we have created traditions to which we all look forward. We work hard together, and we play hard together. Working together is family fun time with branding calves, cattle drives and projects on the ranch. And of course, we carve out recreation time with Christmas tree hunting excursions, snowmobiling, riding ATV trails, hiking, hunting, games, spring break trips, summer camping, discovering the newborn animals in Yellowstone Park, birthday parties and family softball games. Holiday festivities of all kinds keep us connected. New Years Eve parties, Easter Egg Hunts, 4th of July BBQ and fireworks, Halloween fun, stuffing ourselves on Thanksgiving, the nativity being reenacted, Christmas gift giving, hayrides, secret Santa-ing, boating and jet skiing, swimming, fishing, sitting around bonfires and the long process of making an very old family recipe of Swiss cookies. 

Spending time together is our family glue. 

We laugh together. We cry together. Supporting each other is essential. Recently we celebrated someone in our family paying off their vehicle early, another earning first place at a national dance competition and another getting straight A’s in her masters’ program the past semester, and yet another surviving an auto accident. 

Whether we gather with family members to whom we are related or friends that make up our family, we can infuse joy into our lives by spending quality time. That is what life is all about. “Family is everything. All else is just stuff!”


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