I grew up in a home that loved family traditions. Birthdays were a big deal and our family tradition involved going around the table and telling the birthday girl/boy what you appreciated about them or saw in them over the past year. I was always the cryer of the family and mom would make sure there was a box of kleenex nearbye when it was my turn. It was such a great time of affirmation and is something I want to continue to do with my kids.
Christmas is another time of year that is full of tradition in our home. From the order of events, to the annual picture on the stairs, it was always the same every year (with the addition of new family members :) ).
As fall is in full swing in Germany I am beginning to notice a lot of German traditions. One of these traditions is the giving of the Schultute to all first grade students. In order to ease the transition for young kids as they enter the first grade, and their first full day of school, their parents send them to school with a cone filled with toys, school supplies, and sugary sweets. This way the child ends up looking forward to school so that they can open up their cone that's full of surprises in class. The cones are made of paper and cardboard and usually covered with glitter and paper cut outs.
They are also sold at most supermarkets, in case you are not handy with a glue gun.
It was a lot of fun to watch the kids walking home from school with their cones, grinning ear to ear. I think that this would be a great tradition to start in the U.S. Although, I think I would give my child the cone at home. I am not sure their teacher would appreciate me sending my child to school with a two foot cone filled with candy.