Don’t you just love holiday family traditions? The anticipation. The preparation. Knowing that your family has done this activity in the past and will continue to do so, makes a tradition powerful. Hopefully, your family traditions are also a load of fun, because the holidays are all about spending time together as a family and making memories.
You may already have a few family holiday traditions in place but I want to inspire you to do something new. Maybe you could add a fun twist to an existing family tradition or maybe your kids are a little older now so they can do more things. Either way, plan to have some fun.
Here's a list of 7 Fun Holiday Traditions to start this year.
1. Decorate a Gingerbread House. Every year my kids have decorated a gingerbread house with their grandparents. It's so fun to spend time together in the kitchen and even little hands can participate. You don't even have to make a house. We've made gingerbread trains, horse stables and I've seen people on Pinterest make gingerbread nativity scenes. Here's everything you need to know to know about Gingerbread House Construction.
2. Give back as a family. Christmas isn't all about getting gifts and there's no better time to share that message with your kids. Sit down as a family and decide how to give back in your community. Collect dog food from neighbors to donate to a local animal shelter. Grab the neighbors and organize a Christmas Carol party at a local nursing home. Collect gently used coats, hats and mittens to give to a local women' shelter. Make birdseed “ornaments” with pine cones, peanut butter and birdseed to decorate trees outside and feed the birds in winter. You can do the same thing every year or take turns picking a new charitable activity. By doing these things together as a family you'll show the kids how important it is to help others have a happy holiday.
3. Camp out under the tree. We love turning the lights off and just sitting and looking at our Christmas tree before we go to bed. So, why not turn that into an event? Grab your sleeping bags and have a family slumber party next to your Christmas tree. Read Christmas stories, listen to holiday music, and share your favorite memories of Christmas.
4. Christmas Lights Roadtrip. A fellow blogger told me that she surprises her kids one night every December by taking a Christmas Lights Roadtrip. She waits until after they have gone to bed, then comes around waking them up to get in the car in their pajamas for a roadtrip. The family turns up the Christmas music and then drives around several neighborhoods looking at all of the lights. The kids love it because they never know which night it will be. Don't forget a thermos of hot chocolate!
5. Create a Christmas Card Art Gallery. A gentleman came up to me after a presentation I did on family traditions and told me that his family hosts a Christmas Card Art Show every year. As they receive cards from friends and family, they tape them up on the wall. Then one night the declares it Art Show night and they vote on their favorite cards. Here's more info on how to set up your Christmas Card Art Gallery.
6. Make or purchase an ornament every year. My mother started this tradition where she would buy each of the kids an ornament, usually with the year on it. When I got older, she would do a little research and we would make the ornament. When I finally was old enough to have my own apartment, she then gave me all of the ornaments to get me started decorating my first Christmas tree. I still have those ornaments on my tree today.
7. Holiday Movie Marathon. It's crazy busy during the holiday season. Pick a day to unwind, keep your jammies on and watch your favorite Christmas specials or movies. Everyone can choose their favorite show and you can watch them back to back together. If you have any home movies of holidays past, this is the perfect time to watch.
I'd love to hear about your family holiday traditions. What are some of your favorites? Are they fun traditions from your childhood or did you start them for your kids?
Sue Kirchner is a family fun coach, kids party planner, and weekly contributor to Patch.com. Sue and her family fun ideas have been featured on TV, newspapers, magazines, blogs, as well as her own family fun site ChocolateCakeMoments.com.