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What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “rituals”?

Tribes in the rainforest painting each other before a goat is sacrificed? Drug-induced, non-stop dancing? Seances?

For me, it’s far less exotic.

Rituals, or traditions, are what my kids grew up with and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

I was just reading a few suggestions for family rituals that have real value — like a regular game night, a weekly date scheduled for Mom and Dad and even when girls can get their ears pierced. Even if they occasionally protest, kids love routines that they can depend upon.

In my house, Christmas would never have happened if we didn’t get our tree in the same location and put on the same ornaments, while the same carols were playing. If we had forgotten “The Little Drummer Boy” even once, the baby Jesus would never have been born. And please believe: No matter how old-fashioned it sounds, family dinners should be every night, not just on Thanksgiving.

I’m Pat McMahon.