Starting Your Own Holiday Traditions

starting your own holiday traditionsWith the holidays approaching, it’s time to think about all of the things I want to go do as a family. This year will be different, as we will have a newborn with us. Traditions are an important part of growing up. I want my children to remember happy traditions that our small family shared each year, as well as other traditions that our extended family celebrates and discovers together.

My husband grew up in a larger family, where he was the youngest of 4 children. He grew up out in the country on a farm where the holidays were full of homemade pumpkin pie and large family gatherings. My family was smaller and I grew up without siblings around, so my holidays were full of activities at church or whatever my grandparents thought was fun that year. I think it’s important to share the stories of your childhood with your children. My daughter is 4 and loves to hear about what we did when I was little.

Now that I have my own family, we have started some of our own holiday traditions.

Christmas Eve Reading
My husband likes to read “T’was the Night Before Christmas” to our children on Christmas Eve. He has an older copy of the book that is special to him and he loves to share it with our two toddlers. I also like to find new Christmas books to share with them. Last year, I enjoyed reading from the Bible with Johanna and sharing the Christmas story with her. Find a book or something that is meaningful to your family or faith tradition and share the gift of reading. Babies love to be read to, as well!

Lights and Pajamas
My husband is a big fan of decorating the outside of our house with as many lights as possible. Last year, we put the kids in their pajamas and went on a long ride looking for Christmas lights. It was fun to discover new houses we hadn’t seen yet in our area and also tour the ones we like the best. I am excited for this tradition this year, since we live in a new state and new area. Of course, our house is on the list of houses to stop by and check out.

Baking Cookies
My daughter loves to bake and eat cookies, no doubt about that. I am not a good baker or cook, so sometimes these are slice-and-bake cookies. I am hoping we can make more cookies this year and take some to our new neighbors to share the holiday spirit.

Visiting Santa
Over the past few years, we have gone to see Santa at a couple different places. Johanna loves to go see Santa and tell him what she is yearning for. This year, it is Shopkins. (Help me! These are a choking hazard to a baby.)

Christmas Movies
We recently purchased new character-themed popcorn bowls for our kids, and I can’t wait to curl up and watch a good Christmas movie and eat some popcorn in them. My kids love the traditional Christmas movies, and my husband and I love to watch some of the classics and of course, the Hallmark Channel movies.

Giving Back
This is a tradition I want to do more of as my children grow. Last year, we bought for two sisters who weren’t going to have much of a Christmas without help. I am hoping to teach Johanna and Levi about how fortunate we are and how we need to give and be a light to others at Christmas. The Salvation Army bell ringer was something that intrigued Johanna last year. I am hoping to adopt a family off of the Angel Tree this year.

So no matter what you do with your own little family, start some new traditions. Your kids will have fun and remember the time you spent together for years to come.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of 2, almost 3, in Arkansas where she hopes she sees some snow this year!

Tags: christmas, family, hanukkah, holidays, traditions, travel

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