I can’t believe Christmas is just 2 weeks away! And if you are anything like me, that means it’s go time for your favorite family holiday traditions to take place. But if you are tapped for time and want to make sure that the holiday traditions you choose instill in your children are worth your time and their memories year after year, then here are my top pick for holiday traditions that stick!
Acts of Service
Have you ever noticed how the words Time and Talent come before Treasure? When plentiful, it is easy to give money and of course that money is so very needed. Thank goodness it’s so easy to donate toys because those are also always in short supply for children who already have so very little. But it takes commitment to give our time and talent at the busiest time of year, the willingness to let someone else dictate our time and perhaps even a little inconvenience on our part to make it happen. Yet these are the two things that can have the greatest impact on the recipients of your efforts and they are the most tangible for your children. While donating a toy can connect the dots that there are kids who may not get toys like I do, including your children in a holiday service project where their time spent in person working to support a cause plants seeds for a lifetime that this season is not about the receiving but always about the giving without expectation. Our family has found a local outlet for this in The Christmas Store, an amazing event sponsored by a local church and ministry that services hundreds of families in need.
Baking together makes memories that will last a lifetime. Baking is the experience of making something special both with and for the ones you love. Its the magic of making the entire house smell incredibly sweet and delicious thanks to hours of baking a batch at a time. Its the memories of decorating (and eating) your creations in whatever way you wish. And if you are incredibly lucky, its done with at least one recipe that was handed down in your family from generations before, connecting you to your extended family no matter how many miles or years have separated you this year. Baking cookies for the holidays is worth every ounce of time you can spare. And for my crowd, the pre-made Gingerbread House in the easy to assemble kit works just fine.
Planning one night when you take a drive through your neighborhood or travel to the nearest “Best Lights in Town” location is magical. Plan to head out one night after dinner, in your jammies with blankets and hot chocolate if you like, all cozy with holiday music to carry you along. Slow down and enjoy discovering the beautiful displays your community has put together for all to see.
Such a simple thing to do, this is yet another tradition that closes the years between my children. Each with their own personal favorites, from Rudolph to Charlie Brown, the Sound of Music (original of course) and Santa Clause, the list goes on of a holiday shows the kids all enjoy. Planning time to watch together gathered in our family room, Christmas tree lit and lights dim, connects us on a level playing field of fond memories for all and I love how often this down time happens in December, even if I have to switch gears to make it work.
There is nothing more magical on Christmas Eve than a neighborhood aglow with luminaries. Long before kids my husband and I started this tradition with our first home and no matter where we live, we will always include it. Another great family activity to assemble and place them together, the luminaries set the stage for the wonder of the night and draw everyone into the quiet awe that is the spirit of the holiday season.
Pictures with Santa
My children span eight years from top to bottom. That meant that when our highschoolers had clearly outgrown writing letters to or visiting Santa, our elementary aged child still looked forward to every part of that tradition. We made it clear to our teens that taking a picture with Santa wasn’t optional, simply part of the holiday drill and to be good sports for her sake. The best part was that the older they got, the more they realized how much it mattered for her. It was also helpful, and funny, to share stories like those of the two brothers who have taken a picture with Santa for 34 years straight. Seriously. 34 years. And counting.
Sending Holiday Cards
The real deal ~ an actual Christmas card that comes in the mail with a hand addressed envelope and a stamp too! Love to send them. ADORE receiving them.! And in our home we leave them hanging on the wall all year long. These days its rare you get a holiday card from someone you don’t know well and we enjoy having those smiling faces and kind notes from dear friends and family look over us throughout the New Year, wishing we could have them all with us in person.
Clearly I love Christmas and this list could go on and on about holiday traditions that are worth your time. My goal with this post is to help you focus on traditions that make memories ~ ones that you will love having passed onto your children that they will carry in their hearts ~ and into their families for years to come. Christmas is love and family is where our story begins. Giving my children a story full of traditions that are easy for them to honor no matter what each December throws their way means I’m giving them memories to cherish and even more memories to make. Tell me..
What are holiday traditions are worth your time?
Thanks so much for stopping by ~ we’ll see you next time!