The holidays are one of my favorite times of the year. From oversize sweaters to peppermint mocha lattes, there is nothing I love more than diving all in for the holidays. My family has a lot of traditions that we orchestrate each year. Some include playing Christmas songs when we decorate the tree, unwrapping new pajamas on Christmas Eve, decorating a gingerbread house, making cookies, reading Christmas books, etc. Each year though, I try to create new traditions for my children. As they grow, their understanding for the holiday also grows and develops and so must our traditions!
Here are five Christmas traditions that I love:
Good Deeds Manger
Grab a small cardboard box or basket, a small baby figurine or baby doll (think Barbie, Fischer Price Little People, or the small baby figurine you got at that last baby shower you went to, the one that was frozen in the ice cube), and some cotton balls. Any time your child performs a good deed, hand them a cotton ball to place in the manger (i.e. box). The idea is to fill the manger so that baby Jesus will have a soft bed. On Christmas morning, let your child put the baby in the manger. Not into DIY, buy one here.
On Christmas Eve, go out with your children and look for the Christmas star. Hint: It’s the brightest one! Tell them that this star let’s them know that Father Christmas is on his way! Fun Fact: did you know that in Russia and other countries, people fast (don’t eat anything) on Christmas Eve until the first star has appeared in the sky!
Almost everyone leaves cookies and milk for Santa on Christmas Eve but how many of you leave food for the reindeer? If you Google reindeer food, there are all kinds of recipes. An easy one is to take some dried oats and add glitter, mix together and put in a bag. Have your children sprinkle the reindeer food on the lawn. The glitter is so the reindeer see the food from the sky. It’s also so your child can see the food from their window at night!
I recently bought angel chimes for our dinner table this year. The heat from the candles would make the angels spin around, striking bells beneath them. Growing up and still to this day, my parents place a Christmas pyramid out and we all light candles at dinner. While Christmas pyramids are pricier these days, angel chimes are a perfect alternative. Light the candles every night at dinner time. You’d be amazed how the chimes coupled with the candle flair memorizes your child.
Christmas Tree Sleepover
Pick a night and sleep under the Christmas tree. Roll out your sleeping bags, grab some popcorn and hot chocolate, read Christmas books and fall asleep underneath the tree lights. Oh the magic! Fun Fact: in Finland, Christmas trees are usually bought on Christmas Eve and families spend all day decorating them that day.
Bonus: And if you are a parent whose child is questioning if there is or isn’t a Santa, try this. Tell your child that it’s the spirit of Christmas. Tell them the story of St. Nicholas and explain his love and generosity has filled the world, and people throughout the ages have added to what it is today. Then ask them what they would like to add? On Christmas morning, have them open up a gift from Santa of a snow dome of Santa with a tag that says ‘welcome to the spirit of Christmas’ and the year that they became part of it. This won’t take a way the magic, only make it grow more special.
Now I want to know, what are your families holiday traditions?
Please share in the comments below!