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Traditions of Christmas, a New Generation

Updated on October 28, 2022
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I may not be an expert when it comes to preparing for the holidays, but I sure do have a lot of experience.


In The Beginning

The pilgrims didn't have any traditions because they wanted to start something new. They created ways to celebrate and decorate for Christmas that worked for them. For instance: evergreens on the door and family table, cooking a recipe created and adjusted all year for the Christmas Dinner celebration, and making ornaments from the things around them. Most families, even those of the present generation, find or create something that is unique to them and then hand the idea(s) down through the generations.

Many households leave cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve.
Many households leave cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve. | Source

How We Go From Idea to Tradition

It's not that hard to make a tradition. All you have to do is do something different one year; if it works, continue doing it every year. We all know that things change. Children grow up and get a career. Soon, they are having babies, and the traditions, it is hoped, live on. However, as things change, traditions may change to keep up with technology. What does that mean? It means that the traditions are growing just like the family. Many town-wide traditions may not be followed by us when we are away from home. So start something new and totally different. Once you have tried and liked it, you have started your own tradition. Just remember to do it again every year.

Sometimes traditions get so deeply ingrained in the family celebrations that it is almost unforgivable to omit them.

Creating Fun Traditions Will Encourage Participation

Here are a few you can try out. Feel free to use, change, or adjust them as you like.

A white tablecloth:

  • Use a white tablecloth on your coffee table or buffet and have all family members sign it in green and red permanent marker on Christmas or just before. Don't worry if the cloth isn't covered with them because you will be getting new signatures every year until the cloth is filled to the brim (so to speak). A different take on that would be to have them draw Christmas pictures like candy canes or snowflakes and be sure they all date it.

An ornament party:

  • Gather your family for an ornament party. Have items like paint, small branches, Styrofoam, flowers, glue gun, beads, etc. Then have each member craft an ornament that will be unique to them. Each year, be sure to display it on your tree prominently. If you have too many, pack up the ones your kids made so they can give them to their kids, not only to display on their own tree but to use as a guide to making their own.

Secret Santas:

  • Do you remember the Secret Santas that are done at office parties and such? Why not make one for your family for a time and day convenient for all? To make your Secret Santa different, assign the names as numbers. Then, on the day the gifts are given, have family members draw a number from a stocking or bowl and pick their numbered gift from the pile. Be sure everyone knows the gift should be for either gender and put a limit on how much can be spent. If you get your own back, that's okay, keep it or trade it with someone else.

Gather everything you will need.
Gather everything you will need. | Source

Place Cards:

  • Have your family make name tags for seating at the table during the Christmas Dinner. They can use stickers or markers, even crayons will work. If someone isn't the crafty type, you can have them do a quick swirl of glue over the tag and then sprinkle on glitter.

Gift Tags:

  • Have your kids make the name tags that will go on the gifts this year. Same as above, only smaller.

Leaf Project:

  • Gather leaves in the fall when the colors are still bright. Use two pieces of waxed paper and have the children make a picture or collage of the leaves they gathered. Make sure the leaves are placed on the waxed side of the paper and that nothing is placed on the edge of the paper. Place the second sheet of waxed paper, wax side down, on the picture and iron with warm iron until the pieces are stuck together. Let it cool. Then, when Christmas comes, they can display their art for all to see. Crayon decorations can be done before ironing as can crayon or waxed color drops.

Felt Ornaments:

  • Make small felt ornaments like Santa Clause or a snowman. Just drawer or trace the figure onto the felt with about a 1/4 inch extra on each side (or you could just make round ornaments and then drawer the figure on with permanent marker). Sew or glue the edges of the pieces together and turn right side out. Fill with fluff. Make felt decorations for the ornaments or you can use permanent markers or fabric paint.

Don't let the cats have all the fun this year.
Don't let the cats have all the fun this year. | Source

Think Outside The Box

Every family has things unique to them. Use that difference to feed your imagination.

For example:

  • No snow or even cold weather in your area? Try sand sculpting.
  • Apartment too small? Try going online to get every one there.
  • No money for a tree? Make one out of construction paper and put it on the wall. (A poster board would keep it stiff and you can just lean it against the wall to avoid damaging the wall.)
  • Not a good cook? Get a cookbook, I recommend Better Crocker's cookbooks, and work with the easy recipes until you get it just right. Then move to another one. You'll be a pro in no time.
  • Baking skills lacking? Try getting premixed dough and follow their directions. Getting a packaged mix can also work.
  • No oven to bake in means you can use a friend's oven and include them in the baking process and fun.
  • Think putting up decorations and a tree are too tiring? Try inviting family and friends to help. Start a group that goes to each other's homes and helps with the work. It is always more fun with more people.
  • If you suffer from poor wrapping skills, you can ask friends to help there as well. You each learn skills from the other and the wrapping is done in time for cocoa and cookies.


Only The Beginning.

With a little imagination and, perhaps, a lot of internet or book searching, you can find lists upon lists of fun things you can do with your family, and everyone will like the fun. Be careful though, once you get the kids off their electronic devices you might not get them back on during the holiday fun.

Just a last bit of information. Try not to force the family to do something just because you might want to start a tradition. Better to have them brainstorm ideas with you as a family. That way, the whole family is involved in the choice as well as the work. Doing something someone else wants to do can often take away the fun factor.

Handmade Is Unique

Handmade ornaments and decorations are unique. They represent joy, hope, and love. Don't forget that you stopped your humdrum holiday to make these things (and had a great time to boot). One more thing: never be ashamed of your work and never be ashamed of someone else's work. It is the thought that matters.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Cheryl Simonds


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