New Holiday Traditions

Ask a child what presents he received last December and he’s probably forgotten – what kids do remember are the special holiday traditions their family does every year. Here’s a few ideas for some memorable activities to start with your children.

Preserving the memories

Reminiscing about holidays past is part of the fun of the season. Remember your family’s special moments with these ideas.

Holiday Journal

Journals are a great way to record your family’s thoughts and feelings throughout the holidays. By providing daily or weekly writing prompts, kids can share their experiences in a very visible way. Keeping these journals as a memory book provides a cherished item that can be passed on year to year.

A New Annual Picture

Try a different vantage point for this year’s holiday photo. Before the kids open their gifts, prolong their anticipation just a bit and line them up in their pajamas (with that crazy bed head hair) for a family picture. Capturing their excitement in raw form and freezing that brief moment in time will be priceless.

Let us eat, let us eat, let us eat!

Indulging in delicious treats is practically required during the holidays. Break out of the traditional cookie mold and start some new rituals with your crew.

Gingerbread Family

Create your own likenesses in gingerbread! Set up a workstation complete with wax paper, frosting, sprinkles, colored candies and gels. Once the cutouts are cooled, ask your children to design their cookies to look like the members of your family – including grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Display your gingerbread family throughout the season or take a picture to document your creations before devouring everyone up!

Hot Chocolate Bar

Hot chocolate is essential during the cold winter months. Why not set up a weekly hot chocolate bar in your own home complete with marshmallows, candy canes and whipped cream? Let kids become their own barista coming up with a variety of hot chocolate concoctions.

Become a crafty elf

Making seasonal crafts can get everyone in the family in a festive spirit. Whether you are designing a special gift for the grandparents or decorating your own home with handmade love, here are a couple of projects to try this year.

Salt Dough Handprints

Combine 1 cup of salt, 1 cup of flour and a half-cup of water for an easy-to-use dough perfect for making ornaments. Once the dough is formed, use a circular cutout to create a round shape. Next, ask your children to press one of their hands into the center of the circle. Bake the ornament in the oven at 325 degrees for one hour. After the handprint cools, kids can decorate their ornament with paint to create a memorable collection of adornments for your tree or mantle.

Homemade Snow Globes

Create your own winter wonderland scene right inside a mason jar. You’ll need a mason jar of any size, gorilla glue, small decorative items (spruce tree, snowman, etc.) glitter and water. Start by gluing the decorative items to the inside of the lid. Then, add water and glitter to the jar and reattach the lid. The result: winter captured!

Giving gifts

The holiday season is synonymous with the act of giving – here’s a couple of ideas to make it more fun (and less expensive!)

Christmas Eve Box

There is nothing more exciting than awaiting Santa’s arrival on Christmas Eve. To make the most of this special night, create a Christmas Eve Box with festive pajamas, a new holiday book and some granola or “reindeer food” to sprinkle outside. Kids will look forward to opening this special present every Christmas Eve.

Pull a Name Game

As families grow, gift giving can often become a financial challenge. Ask family members to put their names in a hat to draw one name to buy for. Set a price limit or choose a theme to keep things fun. After all, moms and dads will enjoy the holidays more if they can focus on the spirit of the season and not their post-holiday wallet blues!

Whether you are following long-standing traditions this year or establishing new ones, the holiday season reminds us that at the root of all our best traditions we always find family.

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