By: Angie @ Kids Matter
As the holiday season gets into full swing, lets discuss traditions that families have. I personally feel it is important to have traditions, not just for holidays but throughout the year. Kids will not always remember the gifts they received each year, but they will carry your family traditions with them forever.
1) Christmas Books: Many people collect 24 different Christmas themed books and wrap them individually. Each evening, a child opens one of the books to be read together as a family.
2) Baking cookies for Santa. We love to decorate special cookies for Santa and he even has a special plate at our house.
3) Special foods served each year at the big meal. For our house, it is always scalloped oysters on one side of the family and dumplings on the other. Delicious!
4) Gingerbread houses. You can bake it from scratch, but in our house we just buy the kits. It makes my life easier and the fun is in the decorations, not the baking for this.
5) Visiting Santa. We actually see Santa twice each year. We go to see him at the mall and have a great picture taken, but our church also has Santa come to a big breakfast that they have at the beginning of December.
6) A new ornament for each child, each year. We always do this with the intention of when the kids move out, they will already have ornaments for their own tree. I try to make it personal by selecting something reflective of the past year and I prefer the ornament to be home made, whether by us or someone else.
7) Writing a letter to Santa. In our house, you can't ask Santa for more than three things. It can be hard to narrow it down, but somehow he manages to do it each year.
8) Angel Tree. Each year we select a kid to buy for. The kid is either my son's age or has the same interests as him, then we go shopping and my son picks out a gift or two for the Angel.
9) Salvation Army. Each year we participate in the red kettle campaign by spending a few hours ringing the bell with some friends. In addition, I have to keep lots of cash on me for my son to donate in each and every red kettle he sees.
10) North Pole Breakfast. The morning after we decorate the tree, we eat breakfast under the tree. It is always festive, but we just eat donuts and drink hot chocolate. Our Elf usually shows up that morning also.
11) Elf on the shelf. We participate in the Elf on the shelf, but our elf (Buddy) knows that there are some rules he has to follow too. He is not allowed to make big messes or be bad. Buddy can be silly without making a big mess and we expect him to boost spirits by pointing out nice things we do and leaving little notes to parents about some nice things.
12) Birthday party for Jesus. Our church has a birthday party with snacks and storytelling and each family brings books to be donated to foster children. In addition to this, my parents always have a cake for Jesus and the grandchildren get a lit candle to blow out in each of their slices of cake.
13) A personal Christmas tree. We replace the nightlight in my son's room with a small tabletop Christmas tree that he decorates and we keep it lit for him each evening.
14) Drive around to see Christmas lights. If it is not too cold, bonus points for the kids being in pajamas for the ride.
15) Drive Through Bethlehem. Our church puts on a live action Bethlehem and includes real animals and actors portraying scenes. We always attend this event and it is a highlight of the season for us.
16) Stockings. Each year the stocking has a piece of fruit and 4 toothbrushes, in addition to small gifts. That is because my stocking always contained those things when I was growing up and I carried the tradition over.
What are some of the traditions that your family carries with you every single year?