The holiday season is deeply rooted in tradition for many people. During my childhood, my parents, brother and I always visited at my grandparents’ house on Christmas Eve with the extended family, a tradition that continues today though there are some differences. For many years going to midnight mass was also part of that tradition but eventually, that stopped and mass was attended on Christmas Day instead.
Now that I am grown up and with a family of my own I have been thinking a lot about starting traditions with my children. We’ve tested the waters with a couple of ideas but nothing has been officially decided yet. My son and daughter are still young so I don’t feel the pressure to pick one and stick to it just yet. Besides, I want to pick something that my husband, kids and I will really enjoy together.
What’s nice about holiday traditions is that you don’t necessarily have to pick just one. You could select more than one to do as a family either every year or perhaps rotate. Since my family is still trying to find our perfect fit for a holiday tradition I guess you can say we are rotating.
If you and your family are like mine and you are still looking for a holiday tradition to do together let me help you come up with some ideas by sharing with you some of mine. Here are seven great traditions you can start with your children this year.
Give to charity. ‘Tis the season of giving and donating to those less fortunate is something very special you can do as a family. Last year we did the Reverse Advent Calendar with my kids. Rather than getting your traditional chocolate Advent calendar and opening one tasty morsel a day until Christmas, we got a big box and each day put in one non-perishable food item. Then on Christmas Eve, we brought it to our local food bank. Although Advent has already started it’s not too late to do this idea. You can still grab enough food items to amount for each day of Advent. Here are two examples of charities I donated to when I was younger. One was a sponsor a family program, like Holiday Helpers where you can buy gifts for low-income families with children (you can look up online for a program like this in your area). Another great option is Operation Christmas Child, which is done through Samaritan’s Purse Canada. Simply fill a shoebox with hygiene items, school supplies or toys and bring to your nearest drop-off location. There are many other charities to donate to at this time of year so feel free to look up one that you and your children can do together.
Holiday movie marathon. Pick out some holiday-themed movies, new or classic, make some popcorn or grab other favourite movie-watching treats and get cozy on the couch.
Get matching Christmas pajamas. This is an idea I am sort of trying this year. I got jammies for the kids but not for me and hubby, although I think I would like to do that next year. I like the idea wearing holiday pj’s on Christmas Eve so that you wake up all festive Christmas morning.
Have family portraits done. Get dressed up, whether it’s in fancy clothes, coordinating outfits, or with cozy scarves, hats, and mittens, and put those smiles on for the camera. You can do this indoors at a studio, in front of the Christmas tree or even outdoors at a park to use nature as your backdrop (bonus points if you can get some scenic snowy shots). If you are always struggling to find the time to get family pictures together, starting this tradition will ensure you have new ones every year.
Get baking! Gather the kids in the kitchen and bake some tasty treats together. Either pick some favourites you can enjoy as a family or package them up to gift to neighbours, friends, and family.
Start an ornament collection. You could either buy a new family ornament every year or perhaps even get crafty and make one together. It will be like decorating your home or Christmas tree with memories.
Take a scenic drive. There’s nothing quite as magical as finding a residential street filled with houses adorned with bright lights and holiday decorations, especially if freshly fallen snow is added to the mix. Put on some holiday music in the car and make this drive truly festive.
No matter what tradition you choose the most important thing is to have some quality time as a family and create some wonderful holiday memories together.
What do you think of this list of ideas? Are there any special traditions you do with your family? I’d love to hear about it so comment below!