You're two peas in a pod. We love our families, no matter how crazy they might be. They keep us grounded, teach us all the life lessons we need to know, and give us a million laughs and memories in between. In your family, you hold a very special role. You're a daughter, cousin, and maybe a sister, too. But, when you become an aunt, you're a whole new kind of special to someone. Your niece will be a constant source of energy and light in your life, and will seriously put adulting in perspective. For that reason, you'll want to keep her close, and maybe consider one of these traditions to start with your niece.
Our parents, in particular, are great for some guidance and making sure we always give everything our best shot. Our grandparents are the only ones who can teach us the life lessons that still apply from one generation to the next — how to be aggressive with your dreams, follow your heart, or find strength in life's stickier situations. And our cousins are kind of like our best friends disguised as family members.
Your niece will be the only one, though, to remind you to dance like nobody is watching and never take life too seriously. To her, you're the fun one in the family and she'll look up to you for advice or just a listening ear. You don't want to be just any aunt — you want to be the cool aunt. So, start one of these seven traditions with your niece now and continue them forever.
1. Take An Annual Day Trip Together
Hop in the car and hit the road. The best tradition you can start with your niece is taking an annual day trip together. Nothing quite brings two people together like an adventure, and you don't necessarily have to go too far to find the exact experience you're looking for.
Maybe you just go out to lunch for some grilled cheeses at the diner and then do some shopping around the downtown area. Or maybe you're feeling extra adventurous and drive a few hours to a brand new spot to make completely new memories. Either way, you'll appreciate having a whole day just to yourselves every year.
2. Share A Snack
Food is sometimes the quickest way to our hearts. Once you share a snack, you never go back.
Find something you both love and vow to eat it together every time. Sure, if you choose Oreos or Goldfish you'll probably slip up, and that's totally OK. But, when you're hanging out and find yourselves a little hangry, I hope you look to this tradition and split the sleeve of chocolate chip cookies.
3. Have A Cool Handshake
Typically, a handshake is a way of sealing the deal. So, why not start a tradition with your niece that's in the same spirit? Growing up, whenever we made new friends we'd spend a solid hour or two coming up with the perfect handshake. I like to think we have The Parent Trap to thank for that — even if we never come up with something quite as cool.
Maybe you'll add a nice hand explosion at the end, or just come up with a high-five that's totally original. Whenever you see your niece for the first time in awhile, be sure to break out your secret handshake so she knows the love is real.
4. Pass Down Your Personal Stuff
When you were little, you were probably on the receiving end of so many hand-me-downs. There were the old sweaters, and the slightly worn T-shirts that somehow became staples in your closet. Well, now it's time that you pass your stuff along.
Whether it be clothes, advice, or just things you hold a little closer to your heart, your niece will love having something that was once yours. She'll treasure the little trinkets and listen to the stories behind how you got your favorite books and where that pair of leather boots has been. You inspire her — even if she doesn't quite know how to explain it.
5. Have Dance Parties To Your Favorite Song
You can probably think of at least one time you were out with your friends and heard "your song." Naturally, screaming quickly ensued, and you were out of your seats dancing like nobody was even watching. Your niece will absolutely be a ball of energy, and would love a tradition where you two get to have dance parties on the reg.
Pick a song and call it yours, and when it comes on the radio, instantly feel closer to the little lady in your life. She'll know all the coolest moves, and probably out-dance you every time.
6. Have An Annual Sleepover
Sleepovers don't have to stop when you turn 20-something. Dance parties get a serious upgrade when they're spent at your place in pajamas. Maybe you'll have a Disney movie marathon, or put on something from Pixar. I highly suggest Moana or The Little Mermaid, especially if you're looking for something with a solid soundtrack for a sing-along.
Whip up your favorite snacks, or have an ice cream sundae bar before snuggling up with your favorite family member. Being an aunt means you're there for advice and adventures — and you can have so much fun right in your own space.
7. Bond Over Breakfast Food
Waffles have a way of bonding even the worst of enemies. Of course, you and your niece are basically best buds, but if you want to bond even more, bring in the breakfast food.
You might already have some traditions that revolve around bacon, eggs, and French toast. From brunches with your besties, to coffee dates with your coworkers, you're not a newbie to making memories over morning meals.
Bring your niece to your local diner and maybe make it a regular ritual. Your relationship is so sweet, especially with some syrup on the side.