I come from a small but tight-knit family that loves traditions and has an “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” motto when it comes to what is served for Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners, to our routines at the holidays and even sometimes what gifts are given and received. Surprisingly, I’ve met a few moms recently who just this year got their very first Christmas tree or who are looking to find new traditions with their families now.
Whether you come from a traditional family and are looking for a few new ideas, or if this is something new you are starting this generation, here are a list of Christmas traditions that are sure to make memories with your family this holiday season.
1. Participate in your local school or church Christmas Pageant. My kids have been in our church’s Christmas Pageant since they were toddlers and participate every year. My mom has a photo of me as an angel at the Christmas Pageant when I was around 3 or 4 and now I have the same for my daughter. Little ones can be angels and shepherds, who often with the assistance of adult “helpers” can participate as young as 2 to 4 years old. Don’t forget your camera!
2. Find something special that your family loves already and incorporate it into the holiday season. My kids favorite local destination is Sesame Place and we visit during all months of the year, but my favorite time to visit is during A Very Furry Christmas when we can visit Santa Claus, see the decorations and humongous tree and see the holiday themed shows. Plus, the park is usually not too crowded (a bonus!).
3. Incorporate a simple tradition and keep it the same every year. My mother is German and has always buys us pfeffernusse, a delicious spiced cookie/biscuit topped with powdered sugar and springerles. In Germany, pfeffernusse and springerle are closely associated with Christmas and been a part of European yuletide celebrations since the 1850’s. It’s something we’ve come to associate with Christmas and these cookies always remind me of my mom (and her sweet tooth!).
4. Ask your parents or relatives what traditions they kept as children and surprise them by including them this Christmas! Many times, relatives don’t want to “impose” especially if they are visiting your home for the holiday. Whether it be singing a favorite Christmas carol, making a special Christmas Eve dinner (7 fishes for example) or leaving out carrot sticks for the reindeer along with the cookies for Santa – these little traditions are ones you can carry over. One tradition we carry over from my parents is giving the kids advent calendars which start on December 1st and run until Christmas day. It’s a fun way to “count down” until the 25th!
5. Make giving to others in need at Christmas a tradition you emphasize every year. By choosing to adopt a local family for the holiday, picking an angel from the Angel Tree, donating to your local Veterans Association or providing gifts to local animal shelters you can show your children the true meaning of giving at Christmas. Selflessly giving to others will not only brighten someone else’s Christmas but will teach your children to be more thankful for what they do have and create a tradition of giving to be continued year after year.
6. Give matching Christmas pajamas or a special holiday book for the kids to open on Christmas Eve. Christmas books on Amazon can be found inexpensively and shipped indiscreetly to your doorstep! I love this easy idea that also encourages them to read over winter break from school. Over the years, this tradition could build a small Christmas library for the whole family to enjoy!
7. Elf on the Shelf. Do you elf? The craze is definitely a popular one, and one we do in our home. My grandmother had an elf (which did sit on a shelf) but back then it didn’t move from room to room, creating shenanigans and wrecking havoc in its path. But every year, my kids love seeing where their elves end up and look forward to this simple tradition.
8. Find a favorite Christmas show or movie and watch it together every year. Whether it be my personal favorite The Grinch That Stole Christmas, Veggie Tales Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas or A Christmas Story – pick one that “fits” your family and snuggle up on the couch with some hot chocolate and enjoy!
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Here are some products that I use at home which are available on the website with downloadable coupons:
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Visit the Healthy Essentials® website for savings on your favorite products during the holidays.
What traditions do you have in your family that you want to continue? I hope that the above ideas give some inspiration and help make your holiday with your family a bit less stressful and full of wonderful memories!
Disclosure: This post is part of the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® 2014 program by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and The Motherhood, who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are all my own, and I hope you enjoy them. Third party trademarks used herein are trademarks of their respective owners.