It’s colder out, it gets darker much earlier, and there is not a single open spot in the mall parking lot --like it or not, it’s the holiday season!
It can be a stressful time to be sure, but the reasons for the holidays are not so that we can focus on all the “to-dos” and “don’t forgets”, but the motivations behind the to-do’s –to make each other happy and feel loved. Beyond the holiday hooplah, it’s a great opportunity to come together as a family and focus on making memories with each other, and what fonder memories are there than fantastic family traditions!
Here are 10 of our favorite family traditions that you can start this coming holiday season. Feel free to steal a few and make them your own!
Design an ornament on Christmas Eve! We’ve shared this one with you before because it really is a great tradition for the family to share. Either pick a special ornament while on a family outing, or come together to design and decorate an ornament to document the big events of the closing year.
Whatever you decide to decorate onto your family ornament, be sure that everyone in the family knows that it is this year’s “family ornament”. Next year’s will be different, and a different ornament the year after that. Start a collection!
Discover how the holidays are celebrated around the world! Chances are that when you were little, you believed that everyone did things the same exact way that you did them –which means that your own little ones probably believe the same thing. Expand your little one’s minds this holiday season by sharing with them how the rest of the world celebrates!
Show and tell what Christmas looks like in Sweden, Holland, Africa and the Philippines, what Hanukah looks like in Poland, Switzerland, and Israel! The world is so different and bigger than we can ever realize, and introducing your little ones to the different cultures of the world will open their eyes to just how diverse and vast the holidays can be.
Have a bake–off! What is Santa supposed to snack on if you don’t hop in that kitchen and start baking your socks off! Get the family involved this year and have every able bodied family member bake a goodie of their own this year.
Don’t limit the dessert menu to just cookies though, bring brownies, cupcakes, and even fruit cake into the mix --it’s not the holidays without fruit cake, you know that! Looking for inspiration on what to bake? Grab some Disney D-Lectables to get the creative ball rolling on what to delicious and adorable baked good and dessert to create!
Snuggle up to Holiday Story time! A great way to slow things down and really get into the holiday spirit is to have a quiet family-wide story reading session. Light the fire, break out the cocoa and slip into some warm pajamas because what time is it? It’s story time!
Take turns reading aloud from classics like “'Twas the Night Before Christmas”, “Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus ”, “A Christmas Carol”, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” or our personal favorite “The Polar Express”. If this idea doesn’t get you into the mood, then we don’t know what will!
Bring Gingerbread Houses and People to Life! Need a tiny hand made of gingerbread to help you get the whole family involved in the festivities? A team building exercise might be just what the gingerbread doctor ordered!
Break up your family into teams and set out to design, construct and compete to build the best gingerbread house! If your little ones are having a tough time getting enthusiastic about the building --which is not likely because, come on, its houses made of pure candy--, then add a prize! Winner of the best gingerbread house award gets to select and open one present early!
No matter what, your home ends up as a winner. All of the constructed gingerbread houses together will make up your very own gingerbread neighborhood –a wonder to behold in sight as well as smell!
Unplug with a Board Game Night! In the times leading up to the holidays, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in all the digital distractions. The iPad grabs dad’s attention, documenting and sharing all of the holiday decorations on Instagram takes mom’s attention, and the latest video games take up the kid’s focus. Make a point to have your intentional family times this holiday season be a digital device free zone. In those times, what do you do together? You break out the board games.
All played out with the old editions of Monopoly, Scrabble, and Candy Land? Here are a few new games to add to the rotation!
Holiday Movie Night! The holidays can be exhausting, and when you want to spend time with the family but are a little tuckered out, there’s nothing better than having a family movie night –holiday style.
Classics like “A Christmas Story” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, or newer favorites like “Elf” and “A Christmas Carol” (with or without Muppets) are just a few films the family will most likely love.
Want to make holiday movie night into a solid tradition? Pick a movie and without fail, be sure that film makes it onto the screen every year. Even if nobody likes the film, roasting the movie as a family can be a real bonding experience for the family. Dim the lights, pop the popcorn, and roll the film.
Have the Little Ones memorize a Christmas Carol! Trying to get your little ones into the holiday spirit? Try teaching them a new Christmas Carol every year! Select an old favorite and work with them to memorize it to perform in front of the family on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning! Practice with them during car rides, while you are baking up a storm in the kitchen, or any other time you are spending with them.
Memorizing a carol or two is great for building memory skills, singing, as well as performance skills for when their big family recital comes up! If they are feeling shy with stage fright, support them by going up and singing along with them. The family will certainly “ooh” and “ahh” at your little one’s performance either way!
Pajama Party! Kids may groan at the thought of getting clothes as gifts, but what if everyone in the family received a matching pair? Open up your matching PJ’s on Christmas Eve and have a Pajama Party!
Any and all of the holiday traditions we described above can be done while wearing your matching pajamas, so if you feel that you need a special and formal occasion to dawn your new gay apparel, just scroll up and take your pick! Photos of the family in their new threads makes a great Christmas card for next year, too!
Ever Hear of the Holiday Pickle? Now this is one we’re almost positive you haven’t heard of yet. The story behind this fun idea is that if you have the special Pickle shaped ornament, on Christmas Eve night, Santa comes and does his Santa thing but also takes your Pickle shaped ornament and hides it! He leaves a treat also for the one who on Christmas morning looks and finds where the Pickle shaped ornament is hidden! How fun is that?!
This tradition comes with a fun poem. Check it out on VivaLaBuenaVida.com!
Have some Holiday Traditions of your own that are special to your family every year? Share them with us on our Facebook Page!
Thanks for stopping by, and as always, we look forward to seeing how you Play Inspired! Happy Holidays!