Everyone has their own way of celebrating the holiday season, and as young families grow new traditions are started too. We’re sure you have your own way of marking the holidays, but here are a few traditions from other families that might be worth borrowing for your young family!
1. The First of December
For some families this is when the holiday season really begins! Decorations have been up in some stores since October, and the music has been playing for at least the past few weeks but holding off on decorating and indulging in the holiday season until the first of December is really important to some. This allows for a more concentrated experience and the anticipation of a set date is exciting.
Some families even give gifts on the 1st of December such as advent calendars, Christmas jumpers and other Christmas novelties that will be used throughout the month. These are items that children would likely be given anyway but receiving them as a gift just makes them seem extra special!
2. Kid’s Tree or Holiday Symbol
How many times have you redecorated your Christmas tree after your children have ‘helped’ to decorate it? It’s lovely having them involved in decorating but if you’re going for a certain look it can also be frustrating having all the decorations bunched up in one area or mismatched! So why not give them their own tree or area to decorate? Giving your child the opportunity to have full creative control over their own decorating inspires their creativity and encourages their sense of independence.
3. Holiday Bucket List
Get your children involved in creating your family’s own special holiday bucket list, which you can then display in your home and tick off activities as you complete them. They could be very simple activities such as decorating gingerbread cookies, drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows, watching a specific movie or more elaborate activities such as ice skating and meeting Santa Claus.
4. Story Count Down
Instead of chocolate treats to count down the days until Christmas (or maybe in addition to!) why not wrap 24 books and open one each day? This gets your children excited about listening to stories and they get a dedicated story time every day. These books could be new, holiday themed ones, or books from consignment or thrift stores, or even just some that you already have. The excitement of unwrapping the story to read each day will really capture children’s imaginations.
5. Reverse Advent Calendar
Use the holidays as a time to increase your child’s awareness of others in the world and develop kindness and compassion. A great way to do this is a simple ‘Reverse advent calendar’; grab a box and each day put something in it, toothpaste, shampoo, canned goods, clothing and take the opportunity to talk to your child about why other people may need this particular item. When your box is full up drop it off at a food bank, women’s refuge or homeless shelter. If you’re feeling particularly organized you could find out what they specifically need before you start filling your box.
6. Family Games Night
With family traveling from out of town it could be a nice idea to start a games night tradition. There are some wonderful board games for very small children on the market, and older cousins are often great helpers, learning to take turns and interact with a range of ages is so beneficial to young children as well as the learning that comes from the games. Plus, having everyone together, with a bit of competition creates a real festive buzz!
7. Religious Services
Focus in on the reason for the season and take your children along to a religious service, whether that’s at a church, synagogue or mosque. Lots of places of worship will put on special services and events for families with children. This gives your child the opportunity to discover more about the reason for all the celebrations and explore the spiritual aspect of life.
8. Family Feast
Lots of Europeans celebrate on Christmas Eve, traditions vary slightly by country but it almost always involves a big family feast, with friends as well as blood relations, with no distractions, good food and lots of talking and laughing. Whilst we have our main celebrations a day later here in the US there’s nothing to stop you getting everyone together for a cozy dinner on the 24th. Eating together is an important aspect of friendship and family, and allowing your child to be a part of the hustle and bustle of this is great for their emerging sense of culture and belonging.
9. Night Before Christmas Box
For those celebrating Christmas or awaiting a visit from the big man in red a ‘Night Before Christmas’ box might be just the ticket. Fill a box with special hot chocolate, a movie, new pajamas, a bedtime storybook and any other treats you like (something for the Reindeer maybe?) and present it to your child on Christmas Eve. It may seem materialistic but really this is about the gift of time; time spent together snuggled up watching the movie, and reading the story and preparing for Santa’s visit. The most magical memories we have of Christmas are usually of spending time with family.
10. 4 gifts: Want, Need, Wear, Read
Gift giving is a part of the holidays in most homes but often it can become a bit overwhelming. Sticking to just 4 gifts per child is a way of managing the expense, materialism and, let’s be honest, clutter, that can come with the holiday season! The idea is that you buy each child a gift that they want, for example, the Paw Patrol Lookout Tower they’ve been coveting for months, and a gift that they need, for example, an electric toothbrush. You then also buy something to wear, new party shoes or a cool hoodie, and something to read like a book or magazine subscription.
However you choose to celebrate the holidays we hope you create wonderful memories and that your children have a fantastic time!
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