Family Traditions

What’s it about?

This is a non-fiction book about-guess what?-family traditions. It was written to encourage people to celebrate not only holidays, but any day or event of their choosing. It helps us recognize the need for and the great pleasure in traditions. Included in the book are the histories of holidays, so you can at last learn why we have both eggs and rabbits at Easter time. There are myriad activities for adults and children, and there many recipes, including “Drop in Anytime Biscuits” for, well, anytime: and Old Witch’s Nut Cake, made just for Halloween. Some of the chapter headings are: Everyday Rituals, Seasonal Celebrations, and Welcoming Home the New Baby.

What was the inspiration?

Family Traditions Book Cover
Reader’s Digest Press – 1992

Actually, this was the first book I ever wrote and it was not my inspiration at all. Rather, a book developer named Alison Brown Cerier was putting together a package. She had an idea and a publisher; all she needed was a writer. So she called Parents Magazine to ask for a recommendation. I was writing for the magazine at that time and the editor with whom Alison spoke said, “Oh, try Elizabeth Berg, she’s a really good writer.” When I was first approached, I said no. But then, thinking I’d never write a book otherwise, I agreed to do the project. It turned out to be a really nice book, I think-my daughter Julie, who’s big into traditions, uses it all the time.


“When I think of the Fourth of July, I think of my grandfather. He initiated the annual Independence Day picnic that all our relatives attended. We held our picnics in a huge park and it was a good thing, because there were lots and lots of us-mothers with their hair tied back, setting out pastel bowls full of potato salad and baked beans and Aunt Tish’s marinated cucumbers; fathers in their t-shirts throwing softballs around and manning the barbecue; and children everywhere you turned.”