grahamcrackerhouseGretchenThis weekend, my daughters and I made our graham-cracker houses. As I write about in Happier at Home, every year, instead of traditional gingerbread houses, we make graham cracker houses, which are easier to build and decorate.

Every year-this also seems to be part of the tradition-I almost forget to organize the house-building, until it's almost too late. But we've always managed to do it.

I learned how to make graham-cracker houses when my older daughter was in kindergarten; I was a parent helper when the children made them as part of a unit on "home." (Coincidence? Or not?)

For me, one of the most important aspects of home is the celebration of traditions-like the building of these houses. Family traditions mark time in a happy way and give a sense both of anticipation and continuity. Research shows that traditions, routines, and rituals boost physical and emotional health. And they're fun.

I love graham-cracker houses because they're very festive, they're very dramatic, and they're easy. No kids crying because the task is too frustrating or because "it doesn't look right"; no mother irritable because the task requires a lot of errands, prep work, or clean-up. (My husband cheers us on, but doesn't build a house himself.)

If you'd like the extremely easy instructions about how to build a graham-cracker house, you can find it in the Behind the Scenes extra here.

Do you have any satisfying yet easy holiday traditions? I have to keep traditions manageable, or I just can't keep up with them.

grahamcrackerhouseawning grahamcrackerhousedog

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