With the holidays comes endless shopping hours on Amazon, wrapping oddly packaged children’s toys, and feverishly addressing your family’s Christmas card, so they don’t become New Years’ cards. Within all of the “to do, ’s” of the holidays though lies something extraordinary. When you set aside the hustle and bustle that can take over the season, you then have the time to see what this time of year is all about. Creating traditions and family memories.
Take a moment to think about some of your favorite Christmas memories.
Do they include making gingerbread houses with your siblings every year? Cramming in the car each Christmas Eve to drive around to look at Christmas lights? Going to the same tree farm year after year to find the perfect tree?
All of these things are not only a wonderful festive memory but also some form of tradition.
Some of these you may have even loved more than others. The beauty is you are now a mother, so you get to set your own family’s traditions. This means you have the power to keep or cut any tradition you wish.
Mom Tip: While you craft your family tradition wish list, try not to feel like you have to do every tradition. What makes traditions so beautiful is that through them, you become more connected, not more stressed. Incorporate the ones that have the most meaning to you and let the others fall off your list.
With so many holiday traditions out there it can be overwhelming to figure out which ones to start with so we’ve crafted our top 8 holiday traditions that give us joy and bring our families closer together each year:
The sprinkles will be flying with this festive tradition. Maybe your Aunt Martha has a beloved family sugar cookie recipe, or perhaps you find one of your own to start using each year, but there is nothing more special than baking Christmas cookies with your children. From letting them cut out the shapes to slathering icing on the cookies, this is an activity the entire family will have a blast with.
Christmas Tree Trimming
This annual family outing is sure to spark excitement each year when you all go out to hunt for the perfect Christmas tree. Make a day out of it by going to the tree farm mid-morning, followed by a fun lunch outing before heading home to decorate.
Part of the joy of the holidays is spending time with our families and loved ones, so what better time than now to host a game night? The adults can come together for a round or two of Catchphrase while the little ones play together or take part in the fun. A great time to host a game night is even after Christmas as it’s the perfect stress relief once the inlaws have gone home (you are guaranteed a few good laughs) and all of the leftover holiday cookies, candies, and treats easily become snacks for your guests.
With all the craziness this time of year can bring, it can be easy to forget about those that may be less fortunate than ourselves. One great way to start teaching your children about giving back is by adopting an angel from the Angel Tree. This incredible program is put on by the Salvation Army each year. With the adoption of an angel, you are giving to children that would otherwise be without this Christmas. Have your children pick the angel and help shop for the gifts to incorporate them into this charitable tradition.
Christmas Lights Drive
Turn up the holiday music and load up the entire family in the car to drive around to look at Christmas lights. What better way to get into the spirit than by staying warm and sipping on hot chocolate as you find the best Christmas light display. Want to take this tradition a step further? Make it a Christmas light scavenger hunt! Who can find the first icicle lights? Who was the first to spot a blow-up Santa? You can make your own scavenger hunt list or find one online.
Book Advent Calendar
This is a fun way to quickly build up your little one’s library while counting down to Christmas! Wrap 25 books (they can be holiday-themed or not), and starting December 1st, your child unwraps 1 book a day leading up to Christmas. Don’t worry, though, if Christmas is only a few days away as you can start this tradition on any day you like! Put your own spin on it. For example, make it a Christmas Eve tradition where your children unwrap this one gift before bedtime on Christmas Eve so that they have a special book or two to read with you before Christmas morning.
With so many choices of fun activities to take part in during the holidays, it can be overwhelming to decide what to do. Instead, choose one unique adventure to go on with your family each year. From the Polar Express to Zoo Lights and every Santa activity possible, if you choose one event and make it a special day, it will be more memorable than trying to squeeze in every activity imaginable.
Starting from your babies’ first Christmas, buy a special ornament for your child each holiday season. It can be an ornament that captures something special about the past year (like an ornament from a trip you went on as a family) or reminds you of them. This collection will grow over the years and will be something special they look forward to opening each holiday season. Then when your child is grown and has a tree of their own, the collection you started for them is now a unique ornament collection for their very own tree.
No matter what traditions you decide to go with, remember to focus on your family and being present during this time of year. As mothers, we can so easily get swept away with all of the planning and forget to stop and take it all in. After the gifts are unwrapped and the tree is put away, you want to have cherished memories to take with you throughout the year.