We really enjoy traditions in our family. Not only are they fun and help create wonderful memories, but I believe traditions pull everyone together and even when our children are grown and have families of their own, I hope that they will always remember our traditions. Even after they leave our homes, I know they will remember the things we did year after year and hopefully they’ll have such fond memories that they’ll want to carry on some of the traditions themselves.
I would love to know what others do for family holiday traditions. I’m going to list ours below and if you would like, please share yours as well.
– During the month of December, we watch Christmas movies together as a family while drinking hot cocoa and eating snacks. We watch The Polar Express, Muppet Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, traditional Christmas classics (like Frosty), Hallmark Christmas movies, Christmas Shoes, and any other kind of movie related to Christmas!
– We used to put up our tree right after Thanksgiving, but now that we’re in a tiny house, we usually put up our tree about a week before Christmas. Nonetheless, whenever the tree is put up, our tradition is to lovingly unwrap each ornament and talk about it as we put it on the tree. We have handmade ornaments, gold ornaments, and ornaments that belonged to me and Chris as children. The kids especially enjoy hearing about those. 🙂
– Chris makes Christmas pancakes on Christmas morning. This was a tradition carried over from his own childhood.
– On Christmas eve, we read aloud the story of Mary and Joseph from the Bible and we read about how they traveled to Bethlehem and had a baby who was born in the night and laid in a manger. The baby was to be our Savior. This is the last thing we do before bedtime and as they go to bed, the children look at our nativity that is set out each Christmas. The nativity lacks one thing – the baby Jesus.
– On Christmas morning, the children wake up to a tree and gifts (modern traditions of society), but even after all the years of doing this, they also look to see if baby Jesus is in his manger. (He has been there every year except for the one year I fell asleep and forgot to make him “born” before morning! We quickly found him and put him in his manger!)
– We normally play a lot of board and card games, but during December and actually throughout winter, we play a lot more indoor games than we do at other times of the year. The children enjoy this and it’s a great way to spend time as a family! If you have young children, I would encourage you to start now and try to buy at least one family game each year as a “group gift” and PLAY IT throughout the year, especially on cold, wet days during the winter. If you have older children, it’s not too late to start this tradition either. Even if you have all teens, buy the “teen and up” or “adult” games and play with them. You might be surprised how much you learn about your child by playing a game of “Taboo” or Cranium “Whoonu.” 🙂
– One other tradition we have is that we celebrate with stockings. We use homemade stockings that my mom made for each child the year they were born. I have one from my childhood and Chris has his childhood stocking. Since we don’t share a lot of big gifts, we always have great stockings! When we’ve asked the children one of their favorite holiday traditions, one of the things they mention is the fruit, candies, and small gifts they receive in their stockings each year. This is one of my most favorite traditions as well!