There’s an atmosphere to Autumn, an air of comfort and nostalgia, even as nature changes and moves on around us. To gather up and write out this list of my favorite meaningful autumn traditions, I started with a mug of coffee, of course, then tried to think back over the few, most meaningful autumn traditions our family has brought back year after year. This list took a little bit of moseying through memory books and enjoying bittersweet memories, then simply distilling the things we do every year into what delights us the most. Every family has a few annual traditions that resonate with them. These traditions are the kind that hold significance for our hearts and delight our senses as well. Here is a collection of truly my favorites from the autumn months:
- Donate School Supplies When we head out to the store, in August or so, to purchase the supplies we will need for the upcoming school year, the family always collects a few extra of the most basic supplies: a few boxes of crayons, packs of pencils, sticks of glue. There are so many children and teachers who find themselves ready to begin the school year but lacking some of the necessary supplies for even the first weeks. Buying and donating school supplies alongside our own is a way to connect ourselves and our children with those less fortunate. They need these things just like we do, and we can help them. This is one of my favorite traditions for Autumn.
- Gather Items for a Nature Box or Nature Table This tradition for us is educational, strengthens study of the world around us, and is just plain fun, but above all it celebrates the beauty in nature. This season has so much to offer, in color, scent, feel of the breeze, any aspect you wish to focus on. Gathering windfall leaves or seed pods not only provides teaching moments between parents and children about the life cycle of the ecosystem around us, it brings us together in awe and enjoyment of the miracle of nature around us. We like to put our favorite finds from a nature walk on a little shelf in the kitchen. There we can admire them or the younger members of the family can play with them. This also brings some of the beautiful season into our home.
- Go on a Fall Date Taking a few minutes (well, a few hours!) out of this very busy season to invest in our own relationship is as refreshing and comforting as a perfect apple cider. A few favorite suggestions are to enjoy a cocktail at an open-air bar, or a pumpkin spice beverage on the cafe patio, or even take a few hours to walk together through a fall market or fair. However, it can be pretty tricky to find a little time for this investment, as we all know. If a date out together is not possible, there are still many opportunities to spend time together as a couple, even with the children in tow. We have tried movie nights as soon as the littles are in bed, with a bit of seasonal cider. Another favorite is our mini bonfire with our travel-size cast iron grill, toasting marshmallows together, chatting, and enjoying the crisp air.
- Pack Thanksgiving Boxes At the local food bank or church, this is an act of service that can nourish and comfort a needy family right in our own community. Taking everyone to volunteer for a day or two packing boxes full of turkey, mashed potatoes, and jars of cranberry, is a custom I remember from childhood. Mom took us all along, and this has always stuck with me. Our neighbors might be hungry, and we can help. These acts of service truly make our hearts grow and give us joy.
- Make Warm Scarves to Share This is a newer autumn tradition for us, but I love it so much! Making scarves can be so very simple, and offering something beautiful and warm that you crafted yourself as a gift is just a wonderful feeling. Currently I’m working on soft, cozy blanket scarves based on this tutorial from Back to Her Roots. One of my favorite ways to craft a scarf though (Prepare for a shockingly lazy method here) is to use any length of cozy knit fabric I can find, just cut a rectangle, and sew the short ends together so it makes a simple circle. This is how most of the scarves found in our house are made. Taking these scarves to winter clothing drives is just one more heartwarming layer to add to this meaningful autumn tradition.
- Take Family Photos Every year, Autumn provides such beautiful scenery and sunlight, the photo opportunities are endless. Looking back over the years, and seeing how our family has grown from season to season, is a treasure I didn’t even know I was storing up as the irresistible weather encouraged photo after photo. I know many families who arrange a date and have a professional photographer capture their autumn family pictures in beautiful and perfect frames. Here are a few of the photographers I admire and love immensely, if you can set a date and utilize their amazing skills! If you are unable to find the time for a formal date, try my informal version of this tradition and snap a hundred pictures of Fall, save them for next year, and enjoy looking back over them!
These are the best of our meaningful autumn traditions, in one simple list. These few ideas are just some of my very favorites. The funny thing about this list of traditions is how it has developed over time. Establishing some traditions for our family to return to begins as a strong plan, but becomes a new discovery each year. The years change these habits a bit but the elements remain the same. All of these traditions are the kind that enhance our season and create good memories for years to come. Even as these traditions grow and bloom, our roots go deeper and we are nourished.
Do you have some favorite meaningful traditions for Autumn? Tell us about them in the comments!