Some rituals become so much a part of our lives that we act instinctively: planning the annual family picnic and softball game, dressing up for Thanksgiving at Grandma's, the "wrap of summer" oyster roast, or collecting change for UNICEF at Halloween. They're not only how we celebrate but a part of who we are. Every once in a while, however, a moment arises, calling us to action, imploring us to create a new event. By beginning a fresh tradition, we are making a stamp on our own personal histories, and at the same time changing up — and enlivening! — the future. When I was a child in Richmond, Virginia, I squirmed with excitement while anticipating the Fourth of July at the "rivah" with cousins. I adored hanging out at the end of the pier, watching my mother water-skiing and my uncles steaming crabs that would soon be heaped on a long picnic table and devoured. I thought nothing could beat the constant chatter, the competitions, the family feasts, and the pileup of children in bedrooms. Later on, I became a more engaged participant in the aesthetics of these happenings. Now I look forward to creating a mise-en-scène for my summer girls' dinner, which kicks off a weekend we call the Caftan Caucus, and planning my annual Christmas luncheon, a Southern buffet. During family week each summer at our home in East Hampton, it's all about us just being together: water-skiing, shooting pool. We're not the only ones who love starting rituals. My friend DeJuan Stroud, the event designer, has published his first book, Designing Life's Celebrations (Rizzoli), on the very subject. As he told me, "Traditions are a natural framework for special occasions. Every August one couple, longtime clients of mine, host a family reunion with a dinner on the beach, but each year they do something different. They may vary the menu, or hire live entertainment, or even give the dinner a different look."