Best Holiday Traditions for Families
The Excitement of Christmas!
If your family is anything like mine, the holiday season (starting even before Halloween these days) can be overwhelmingly busy. We're bombarded by commercials and Christmas Muzak practically as soon as the kids start back to school.
With four children and a large extended family, we've learned how to manage the excitement of Christmas by sticking with the best holiday traditions for families. These are the things we do, each and every year, to celebrate the season. As the kids get older, we vary things a bit. And, we're always game to try new things. But at our home, Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas if we didn't honor these traditions.
When considering your family holiday traditions this year, remember that the things that make Christmas the most special aren't "things ." Its time spent together and memories made.
Seven Traditions for Children During the Christmas Season
- Make gingerbread cookies or gingerbread houses with plenty of candy decorations! Nothing says Christmas like white frosting and an assortment of candies. Use a shortcut by purchasing gingerbread cookie dough in the refrigerated aisle and/or ready to construct gingerbread kits.
- Select a tag (one for each child in your family) from a "Giving Tree." Shop together for the gift needed by the recipient - often something like a warm coat or boots. Make sure you get your purchase back by the specified deadline.
- Organize a caroling party with another family or two. Each child picks their two favorite Christmas Carols. Plan a safe route, sing your hearts out, and finish with hot cocoa at home.
- Attend a local Christmas parade. Many take place the day after Thanksgiving, but some communities hold their annual events in the first week or two of December. Bundle up and enjoy the show!
- Go for a walk or drive through local neighborhoods to enjoy seasonal light displays.
- Watch the traditional holiday television specials. You really cannot see Rudolph or Charlie Brown too many times! Make some popcorn and snuggle together on the sofa.
- Trim the Christmas tree! Children love hanging ornaments and other special decorations.
Christmas Eve Traditions
Our Christmas Eve traditions have been fairly consistent since I was a little girl. Now, my sisters and I are grown with children of our own. Its hard to believe that there are now nine grandchildren, ranging in age from 1 to 13 years old.
The afternoon often starts with me at the piano, playing traditional Christmas carols while the family sings along. After church, we have dinner and the kids plow through their favorite Christmas cookies.
It wouldn't be Christmas Eve if we didn't get to open one present the night before. Its always the same - pajamas! The kids get matching PJs, which they put on for a few photos. Then, its time to listen to Grandpa read "The Night Before Christmas."
Afterwards, we hang stockings and get into bed for the big day in the morning!
Cooking Christmas Recipes Together
One of the best ways to spend time together as a family is cooking Christmas recipes together. Children love to help in the kitchen.
Kids of all ages can help with these recipes, whether stirring ingredients together or learning math skills with measuring.
From our family holiday cookbook, you might enjoy these treats:
- Classic Chex Mix
- Easy Homemade Peanut butter cups (make a great gift)
- Pumpkin Cranberry bread
- Amaretto Bread pudding
- Holiday coffee cake (Christmas morning tradition!)
Enjoy your holiday baked goods, or share them as a treat with your friends and neighbors!
Christmas is Family Time
By honoring our annual holiday traditions, we hope to raise our children to enjoy each moment of the season. Its not about gifts that can be wrapped, or Christmas lists.
Christmas is family time. The memories created through our holiday traditions are more precious than any store-bought toy or video game.
I'd like to think that my kids agree!
Please share your best holiday traditions for your family in the comments below!
What is Your Favorite Holiday Tradition?See results without voting
More by this Author
The National Christmas Tree at the White House in Washington, D.C., has been a holiday tradition since 1923. Learn about its history, decorations and where you can see the National Christmas Tree!
Choosing between real or fake Christmas trees is simple with this consumer guide
If you are planning a birthday party for a teenager, consider these suggested activities for groups of teens, from low-key to extravagant, depending on your budget and their interests.