Here are 5 of my favorite traditions that I love to do or will be beginning with my family this year.
1)Get a Little Crafty- Make homemade ornaments with your family and then pick a day to go to a nursing home or hospital to hand them out to the residents or patients to spread some holiday cheer and teach your children about compassion.
Make sure to call ahead to let them know you are coming and your intentions so that they are ready for you and can lead you in the right direction when you arrive.
Over the years, we have never come across a facility that wasn't happy to have us, but you want to make sure that it is within their policy to ensure a great experience for all.
Here are some great easy ornaments everyone can make:
Recycled Card Ornaments:
Salt Dough Ornaments:
2)Vacation Memories- This is a tradition that you can start all year round and remember at Christmas. When you go on family trips or special outings, buy a Christmas ornament that represents that trip. For example, the ornament from our Maine trip a few years back, is a man looking at a globe because grandpa kept getting us lost.Every year when we unpack it, it brings up great memories that we all reminisce about and laugh. Make sure you write with a marker on the bottom or back, the place and date, so that you can always remember which trip it is from. This is a great way to remind eachother of the fun times you've had together and start up conversations even in those teen years.
3) Raise Your Voices- What better way to enjoy the season than to gather with a bunch of your friends and their children and practice a tradition from years gone by. Go online and print some lyric sheets, if needed, of traditional Christmas songs, bundle up and go caroling in your neighborhood. You don't have to be wonderful singers for your neighbors to enjoy it and to make memories your children will remember. Make sure to end the evening by warming up with a mug of hot cocoa!
4)Lovin' From the Oven- As cliche as it sounds, nothing can bring on more holiday cheer and make lasting memories for a child then baking and decorating Christmas Cookies. Even the biggest Scrooge in the family will enjoy putting eyes and buttons on a gingerbread man. When the cookies are all baked, package them up and go together to deliver them to family and friends that may not have time to bake cookies for themselves this year.
For a creative way to package the cookies or other gifts, grab a coffee can, oatmeal container or even a shoebox, cover them with paper, pom poms and other holiday trimmings!
5)Celebrate While Learning- There are many traditions which we do today that started in countries of our ancestors or from ideas that other nationalities began and still some that we have yet to learn. Spend a few days this holiday tasting traditional Christmas recipes, singing songs, learning cultures and creating ornaments and decorations of other countries. There are a lot of sites online where you can find information. My favorite is http://www.santas.net/aroundtheworld.htm or you can follow this blog as I will be writing about different Holiday traditions throughout December!
Family Memories are easy to make in the wintry holiday season, these are just a few that I gladly share. Make sure with all the hustle and bustle that you take a little time to enjoy the little things that make living all worth while. Happy Holidays!