Creating Christmas Traditions

This year is a year of lots of chaos for us.  Not only the normal chaos of the holidays but added to it moving.  Things are very much in upheaval right now. So I’m really grateful that we’ve worked hard over the years to create some traditions for our kids that we’ve been able to bring with us to create a sense of normalcy for them in a very abnormal situation.  If you are looking to add some new ideas to your holiday routine and make some new memories take a look at some of the ideas below.  Some are things we do in our home, some are things friends do in theirs.

  • The count down to Christmas – We all know the advent calender.  Chocolaty goodness behind little doors. Another great option is to find a reusable advent calender (either one that has little doors/compartments or something with little pockets) and put something special in each pocket.  Things you can throw in there: small farm animals/dinos, Christmas ornaments, candies, nail polish, new undies/socks with their favorite character on them, crafting supplies, character bandages, hair ties/barrettes,  matchbox cars, lip gloss etc.  It’s a great way to count down to Christmas with a little surprise for them and to get them the random odds and ends you would buy anyway.
  • Christmas Crafts – doesn’t have to be crazy difficult but there are tons of fun ideas for Christmas crafts some super simple like paper chains for the Christmas tree and some more complicated like salt dough snowmen or ornaments.  Sit down and do a craft it’s a good way to focus the crazy holiday energy they have.
  • Christmas Ornament collection – Each year since my daughter was born we’ve bought her two ornaments, one that’s glass or wood or something else special that’s pretty unique.  It could be a place we went or her favorite animal that year or whatever but something about her that year. The other is the more traditional mass marketed plastic character ornaments (we call them Hallmark ornaments back in the US no idea what they are called in Australia).  But again something special about that year for her.  One year’s ornament is Rapunzel because she watched it no less than 4 times a week for most of that year. Another is a snow man sledding with his child from the first year she saw snow.  On the bottom of each ornament I’ve written the year and her initials so that someday we’ll both be able to look back over the years of memories of who she was as a child.  We put the fancier ornament on our Christmas tree and then I have a small table top tree for her that I’ve put in her room with her special ornaments on it as well.
  • Blast some Christmas Music through the house and have a Christmas dance party – Our 2 year old loves a good dance party and the Christmas music helps put me in the frame of mind to deal with all the crazy that is the holidays.  Laughing hysterically with a 2 year old as you spin wildly around the house makes pretty much anything better.
  • Read a Christmas book every day leading up to Christmas – We have a fairly good sized collection of them ourselves but we also go to the library and source new Christmas books to read to fill in the gaps.
  • Talk about what the holidays were like for you as a child – Kids love hearing stories about when you were little (at least at 5 they do) and it’s great to be able to share how things have changed or what you loved about the holidays as a kid as well.
  • Talk to them about the meaning of the holidays to your family and what they mean to others – Explaining whether you are a practising Christian or not what this holiday is to you and your family and what it is to others is always a way to make sure it’s more than just a commercial showcase.
  • Make a Gingerbread house – Buy a kit!! I tried making one from scratch once, it was bad. Really bad.  Just buy the kit.  Better yet if you can find one pre-assembled then all you do is the fun bits which is actually decorating it not the hard parts of putting it all together.  It’s fun to see how their decorating skills and creativity evolve each year.
  • Volunteer – Make a point of making it a season of giving. Go volunteer somewhere, a food pantry, or a pet shelter or a nursing home or whatever or go out and donate gifts etc.  But make sure they know that this is the season of giving, not just getting.
  • Christmas Books/Movies/PJs Gift on Christmas Eve – Each year on Christmas Eve we open one present.  Each year that present is a new pair of PJs to wear on Christmas Eve night, a new Christmas book to read for each of them that night and a new Christmas movie  (just one to share as a family) to watch.  My husband and I also get a new pair of PJs that night as well to wear, it’s a good excuse to toss out some of the old ratty pjs and treat myself to a nice new pair each year.  If you want throw in a packet of microwave popcorn, some marshmallows and some instant coco packets you can make it a pretty great night!
  • Read the Christmas Story or The Night Before Christmas or something else special on Christmas Eve night to the kids each year.
  • Take pictures in front of the Christmas tree on Christmas morning – Show off those new jammies!
  • Have Santa always bring one thing the same every year – For us it’s an orange and nuts.  Every year.  It was a tradition in my family as a kid as so we’ve passed it onto ours.  My daughter thinks it’s hilarious that for some reason Santa apparently loves to give oranges and nuts.

Ultimately whether you do one thing on this list or all of them find a way to make memories and traditions with your kids that they can look back on fondly and share those stories with their kids someday.
More articles from Amber:
Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? Having Babies on Two Continents
Living Life Abroad – Peter Panning Life
101 Things to do in Sydney – Parks & Playgrounds edition
The Great Ocean Road and Kids…Why I Hate Car Trips…
Taking Candy from Strangers – Why Buying a Used Car Seat is a Bad Idea
Moving – The Other 4 Letter Word, and Tips for Surviving it
We Were in a Car Accident. What Now?? (Car Seat Safety/Tips Post)
You may also like:

Resolving Conflict in Families Around Holiday Time
How to Strengthen Your Relationship and Make Love Last After Having Children
Countdown to Christmas
We Wish You a Merry Calm-ness

A Christmas Gift for You

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