Christmas is dubbed as the holly, jolly season for a reason. Many family traditions make the holidays a joyous time because traditions are something to look forward to. Christmas is a time of year for families to come together and participate in holiday activities as a family. Many common family traditions during the holidays include decorating the Christmas tree together, walking through the neighbourhood to look at Christmas light displays, and baking holiday treats together.
One of the most important aspects of Christmas is making memories with your family. When your family upholds special family traditions, that’s one of the best ways to make memories together. One of the best ways you can fill your love bank is to celebrate Christmas traditions that everyone, especially your kids, will remember and continue for years to come. Traditions are incredibly important within families because they give each individual family member a deep sense of belonging. Studies also prove that traditions have an overall positive impact on people’s lives. The sense of belonging and meaningfulness that comes with family traditions can’t be replicated.
Building family traditions is also a way to express the values which are important to uphold as a family unit. Traditions anchor you to your history and help you celebrate generations of family togetherness. Below are 7 examples of family traditions that make the holidays more special:
Decorate the Christmas Tree Together
Decorating the Christmas tree together is one of the most memorable family traditions that your kids will remember and cherish. You can even take your kids to the store every year to select one new Christmas ornament for the tree each year as part of the tradition. Alternatively, part of the tradition could be decorating Christmas tree ornaments and adding new ones each year.
The key to making this tradition more poignant is to ask each child to explain why it’s their chosen ornament for the year. Then snap a photo and have it printed out for placement in your Christmas album. Then, as the parent, write down a short journal entry of the year it was taken and their reason for picking the ornament. As your children grow, they will love seeing their own personal ornaments in your tree that you collected through the years.
Family Christmas Caroling Around the Neighborhood
Some families are genetically more likely to be great singers. If your family can sing, perhaps one of your family traditions is to go Christmas carolling in your neighbourhood. Spread holiday cheer around your neighbourhood by singing Christmas carols with your family. When you and your family are rehearsing, you’re bonding as a family, and when you go carolling, you’re building a family tradition.
You don’t have to be amazing singers to do this activity. The key is rehearsing a few popular Christmas songs so that everyone in your family knows and feels comfortable singing them. You can even carry a portable soundbar to accompany you. Then, kick it up a notch with instruments like bells, maracas or guitar if anyone in your family plays instruments. The traditional way to go carolling, however, is to do it acapella.
You can even wear matching costumes like Christmas sweaters and Santa hats. Bring some family-decorated Christmas cookies with you, for the neighbours to enjoy, or a family holiday card.
Participating in Neighborhood Christmas Light Displays
It’s always a fun family tradition to decorate together and check out other Christmas light displays in the neighbourhood together. Sometimes, families in the same neighbourhood uphold traditions as an entire block, to all decorate their houses and make their neighbourhood an extra-special one.
Volunteer Together as a Family
Volunteering isn’t something you can just do on a whim. During the holidays, spots fill up at soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and other volunteering spots. It’s great to teach your kids the lesson of giving back, but this has to be a family tradition booked and planned in advance.
You will find many great causes that allow you to get involved as a family during the holiday season. You might sign up to cook and prepare meals at a local homeless shelter. Or, it can be something simpler like a project angel tree which many local boutiques engage in during Christmas. They will provide information about a child in need, and you can be their Christmas angel by picking out their gift.
Alternatively, you can do something that allows you to share more of your time, such as giving out Christmas cookies in a nursing home, putting baskets together for food banks, or wrapping gifts for a women’s shelter. Volunteering will teach your children compassion and empathy, allowing them to learn how to count their blessings and live with an attitude of gratitude. Besides, research indicates that volunteering has positive mental health benefits, improves social health, decreases depression, and makes people feel a sense of purpose.
Watch a Christmas Movie as a Family
Perhaps one of your family traditions is that you always watch the same Christmas movie together as a family, every year. There are so many great choices that your family will look forward to watching every year, such as Home Alone or Elf or Miracle on 34th Street.
Some families have matching Christmas pyjamas that they wear during their family movie nights, or they eat holiday treats together while the movie is playing.
Organize Your Own 12 Days of Christmas Gifts
It’s an excellent idea to host 12 Days of Christmas involving people your kids feel close to, like cousins, good friends, or a favourite teacher. Alternatively, they could pick someone that could use a little extra gift and care in their life, like the school bus driver, a favourite sales associate, or even a classmate in need. The gifts don’t have to be fancy. You can collect small items for the people you want to bless during Christmas.
The important part here is the hand-made Christmas cards your children make because, as always, it’s the thought that counts the most. This activity will encourage them to look outside themselves, allowing them to feel excited about sharing. Then, after finishing the cards and wrapping the items, you can do the gift drop-offs to let the recipients know they are loved.
Holiday Baking Extravaganza
Set one day aside each year for the family to come together for a holiday baking extravaganza. You can make Christmas-themed cookies in the shape of Santa, a reindeer, a star, or a tree. Let your kids make “food art” by decorating with frosting and sugar embellishments.
Gingerbread houses are always a hit with the kids, too. You can also get busy in the kitchen by making holiday fudge and brownies. The fun part here is the “mess” you make with your family as you measure ingredients and whip up the dough. Finally, put everyone in the mood by cranking up your holiday playlist while you bake.
Since you don’t want the kids to have a sugar rush with all the treats, prepare holiday tin cans ahead. Keep some of the finished products, but give the rest away as your gifts. This way, you can have fun making the treats, but you don’t have to worry about consuming too much sugar.