I know, I know. Right now you’re thinking you cannot possibly add any more to your already busy holiday schedule. I get it, but trust me when I say you are going to WANT to find time for these family holiday traditions!
Family Holiday Tradition #1
Stamp wrapping paper. This is not a Christmas exclusive tradition; you could stamp paper for Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, winter, or even Festivus. I started stamping Christmas paper with my son when he was 7 months old. He is now 16 and we have created our own unique wrapping every year since. Start off by purchasing wrapping paper that is actually paper—anything that has a shimmer or gloss will not hold the ink as well. We like to buy a large roll of plain white wrapping paper, found at any craft store. We roll the paper out on our kitchen floor into sections and stamp way. Once we have filled the exposed part of the roll with festive and colorful stamps, we roll the stamped section and roll out the next blank section. Repeat until you’ve stamped the whole roll
Family Holiday Tradition #2
Kids’ Secret Santa. What a better way to teach your kids to embrace the spirit of giving during the holidays than with a Secret Santa exchange. It works well in our house, since we have five kids. If your household is a bit smaller, feel free to incorporate grown ups into the fun. The rules in our house are simple; you have to leave a secret gift for the person you chose at least once a week. Gifts can be small or handmade. One final and a bit larger gift is given during the “big reveal” on Christmas Eve. Our Secret Santa fun starts the weekend after thanksgiving when we pick names. I then take the kids to the Dollar Tree or Five Below where they pick up supplies for their gifts. The older kids use their own money earned from doing chores around the house while I help the little ones financially. The kids get so excited on “shopping day”. It is truly incredible to see how much thought they put in to the gifts for their siblings. Remember, the gift doesn’t have to be expensive or even purchased. Getting creative is part of the fun…. a homemade coupon book, handmade bracelets or pictures, the sky is the limit. The point of the tradition is three-fold, and it is not about the gifts. Number one, you are teaching your kids the true meaning of the holidays by giving them the opportunity to truly GIVE to one another. They are sacrificing their own time and money to purchase or create gifts of their own idea for someone else. Second, you are creating an opportunity for each kid to really see their sibling as a person. It’s a chance to really THINK about what their sibling’s interests are and what their sibling would really like. That kind of consideration doesn’t come easily to kids…especially if you have a large age gap between your oldest and youngest. It gives the chance kids to get to know one another and really see each other as people, not just as another kid in the house. Thirdly, your kids are making Christmas memories TOGETHER, memories they will keep forever.
Family Holiday Tradition #3
Cookies: If you are not doing this, give it a try. Yes, I know it’s messy and takes a ton of time and it’s messy (did I mention that already?), but really it’s worth it. You don’t have to make 70 different kinds of cookies. You don’t even have to make your own dough, buying refrigerated cookie dough or the pre mixed dry packaged cookie dough will suffice. The kids will not care. The fun comes from making their own treats with you by their side. Each of the kids has his/her own favorite, but their collective vote for cookie is definitely for sugar cookies. Not only can they cut the cookies into shapes shapes, but they can decorate them too. Yes, I did mention messy…but trust me, it is so worth the clean up!
Family Holiday Tradition #4
Let the kids pick their own ornament. This is a yearly tradition in our home as well. We let the kids pick out their own ornament, something that represents who they are right at this moment in time. Yes, my Type-A mama personality does guide them a bit but for the most part, I let them go at it. It is great to see what they pick and it is even more exciting to open the boxes of ornaments every year and see all of those memories.
Christmas can be such a busy time. With all that we THINK we need to get done during this time of the year, it is easy to lose sight of what the season is REALLY all about. Creating traditions within your family makes your family stronger, provides opportunities for everyone to interact with one another, creates a bond between family members, and makes each member feel as though they a part of something special. Traditions are important, so take a deep breath this holiday season and go make some family memories!