There is something magical about creating and following family traditions every holiday season. They bring about a sense of nostalgia, create special memories with our loved ones, and strengthen the family bonds. Children look forward to those same traditions every year, and even as adults, we find comfort in following the traditions each year. Whether it is a special ornament that gets hung on the tree every year, a delicious breakfast dish that is served every Christmas morning, or family dinners that happen every year, these traditions are at the heart of the holiday season. What holiday traditions do you follow with your own family? Are you looking to start some new ones? Here are 10 easy, festive, and fun holiday traditions that will create wonderful, heart-warming memories for years to come.
Give back to others
This is something that we started the year our son was born, and it is something that we have always kept as a tradition in our home. We are fortunate to have food in our bellies, a roof over our heads, and clean clothes to wear every day, and it is important to teach our children that not everyone in the world is as lucky. Taking time during the holiday season to give back to others is an important tradition for us. Some years, it might be donating money and food to the local food banks, some years it was purchasing the Gifts of Hope to give to the grandparents from our children, while others years, we donate our time to go and help out at local charities however we can. But, giving back to others warms our hearts and hopefully makes someone else’s Christmas a little brighter.
Do some holiday baking together
We all want yummy things to eat during the holidays, and there is something inherently special about doing some holiday baking together. Kids love to bake, and they take such pride in their carefully-created treats. I always remember doing Christmas baking with my mom, and it is easily one of my favorite traditions. Set aside an afternoon, allow the kitchen to get crazy messy, and have some fun baking with your kids and creating memories together.
Holiday baking is a wonderful tradition to start with your kids.
Take family photos
Now, this does not necessarily have to be professionally taken, perfectly curated, matching outfit perfection. It could simply be starting the tradition of taking a family selfie in your jammies on Christmas morning. But, get that camera out and grab some family photos – use the timer to make sure Mom is in the photo too! You will be glad to have these memories when the kids are grown…and they will be glad too!
Create a Christmas morning tradition that you all can look forward to every year
It might be having special Christmas pajamas to wear the night before, or perhaps a cozy, delicious breakfast that you all enjoy every year. We used to have the tradition of us kids waiting at the top of the stairs until Mom and Dad were awake, and then we would all go downstairs together. It was a simple tradition, but I always loved sitting there with my brother, in anticipation of what Santa brought! Whatever it might be, start a special Christmas morning tradition that you all look forward to.
Go for family winter walks
This is one tradition that I still recall fondly from my childhood. We used to get bundled up after dinner, and go for a neighborhood walk to see the Christmas lights. I still recall during one particular walk, looking up at the street light and seeing the snowflakes floating down. It was simply magical. During the hustle and bustle of the season, make some time for this peaceful, quiet tradition, and let your children soak in the magic of winter. As an added bonus – it also gets the kids outside for some fresh air and exercise, which will make it much easier for them to fall asleep at night!
There is something peaceful and magical about holiday lights against the snow!
Choose a new family ornament each year
This is one of my favourite traditions that we started the year our son was born (in hindsight, we started quite a few traditions that magical Christmas eight years ago!). Every year, we go to the shopping mall and choose a family ornament that can be personalized with all of our names. We get such joy out of seeing those ornaments each year as we decorate the tree, and recalling the memories that are associated with it.
Have a Christmas movie night
Get in to your coziest jammies, make some popcorn and hot chocolate, and cuddle up together for a Christmas movie night. Depending on the age of your children, you might enjoy watching Home Alone, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (older kids only!), Mickey’s Christmas Carol (my personal favorite), or How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Go for a Christmas Lights Drive
This tradition is similar to the Christmas Lights Walk, but you can go a little further by taking the car! Have the kids get into their jammies, pop some popcorn or bring along some little treats or hot chocolate, and go for a drive around the neighborhood to see all the Christmas lights. Play some Christmas music on the stereo as you drive, and have fun singing carols along the way!
Make a special Christmas Eve family video interviewing each family member
This is a tradition that I haven’t started yet, but hope to this year. On Christmas Eve, have a few questions pre-planned about the year, what they recall, what they are grateful for, what they hope Santa will bring, etc. and interview each family member. You will enjoy looking back on the adorable interviews with your children, especially when they’re all grown up.
Take your kids shopping to buy presents for each other
This is quite possibly the favorite tradition in our household, and it is the one our kids ask about the most. Every year for the past 4 years, we have split up and gone shopping for each other. The kids buy for their sibling and whichever parent they aren’t shopping with. They love this tradition, and they are learning about the joy of giving back to others. They ask each other what they want, and carefully select and wrap their sibling’s gift. Their excitement on Christmas morning watching their sibling open the gift they chose is simply priceless.
The joy of giving back to others is something they will never forget.
There are countless traditions that you can start with your own family. You can’t go wrong with any of them, really. Don’t bombard yourself with too many, so that it creates a sense of stress during the holidays. But, select one or two that you feel are important or special, and start them with your own family. Your children will cherish those memories, and will likely continue them with their own kids later on in life. Pass on the magic and warmth of the holiday season, and be sure to take time to enjoy them yourself!