Holiday Traditions to Start with Your Kids NOW

Are you looking to start fresh with new holiday traditions? Or do you already have holiday traditions and want to add a few more? Check out these ideas for some amazingly fun holiday traditions to start with your kids now!

holiday traditions
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Elf on The Shelf: The Elf on the Shelf can show up in your home anytime before Christmas. Some families keep it simple, some develop elaborate Elf on the Shelf ideas.  However you choose to approach the Elf, the basic idea is that he (or she) flies to the North Pole every night to make a report to Santa then returns to your home each morning – and always to a different spot to be discovered by your children. Do you celebrate Hanukkah instead? Don't worry, there is also a Mensch on a Bench.  

Countdown to Christmas: Kids can't help but know Christmas is coming once December rolls around, but without calendars of their own they can have a hard time keeping track of when exactly Santa is coming to town. Help them out and have fun in the process by using a cute and simple Advent Calendar like this one from Melissa & Doug that uses cute magnetic ornaments.

Cooking: Most kids love getting in the kitchen and being a part of making a special meal or treat. Choose a dish or two and start a holiday tradition by including the kids each year in making the same recipe year after year. It doesn't matter whether you choose baking cookies for Santa, a Christmas Eve dinner, or the sides for a special Christmas day meal. The important thing is to get kids involved and enjoy how their participation changes from year to year from simply mixing ingredients in a bowl to measuring and eventually using the oven or stove. 

{ MORE: Welcoming Babies Around the World: Beautiful Traditions }

Decorating: Kids love getting involved in decorating for the holidays, from picking out a Christmas tree to hanging ornaments and lights. Get them involved in making your home festive for the holidays. For younger kids, even allowing them to scribble on a piece of paper and hanging it up for Santa and family to see can be a big deal. Simple crafts like painting pine-cones or making hand-prints are fun ways to involve young kids. Older kids may be able to help place other decorations around the home.

Donating: Kids and adults alike can't help but focus on what they are getting (or would like to get) this holiday season, but it's important not to lose sight of those who are in need and what you have to give as well. Chances are there is a family in your neighborhood in need, a Toys for Tots donation box, or an organization in need of your time. Make it a tradition to seek out a way to give to others every holiday season in whatever way you can.  


Read a Book: Once the Holiday season starts, begin a nightly reading of a special book that gets everyone in the holiday spirit. Choose a classic holiday book like How the Grinch Stole Christmas or create a special book just for your family, such as The Christmas Snowflake, Wonderbly book that allows for customization with the names of one or more children along with a personalized introduction from.

Decorate a Gingerbread House: Gingerbread Houses are so much fun for kids and adults to decorate together. Buy a kit or make your own out of graham crackers and icing. I like to keep supplies on-hand and make our family's gingerbread house on a rainy day or lazy weekend at home. Sometimes we keep our house to display. Sometimes we eat it. But we always make one every year!

Put Out Treats for Santa and his Reindeer: My kids love planning what to leave for Santa and his reindeer for weeks. Sometimes we bake our own cookies, sometimes we leave some favorite store-bought treats. We always leave carrots for Santa's reindeer.  Make it extra-special by leaving your family's something special for Santa on a cute personalized plate that stays the same year after year, even if what's on the plate changes. 

{ MORE: 5 Tantalizing Taco Recipes You Can Totally Make in the Crockpot }

Allow Children to Buy (or make) a Gift: A good way to allow children to feel involved in gift-giving is to allow them to buy or make a gift for a sibling, friend, teacher, or neighbor. It's a great way to teach children how much thought and effort goes into finding the perfect gift and they will be very happy once they see how happy their gift makes someone else!  

Look at Photos and Cards: One of my family's favorite part of the holidays is getting cards from friends and family near and far. It's fun to go through holiday cards with kids and reminisce about the good times you had with loved ones over the past year and to tell them about those friends and family members you don't see as often. It's also a good opportunity to review your own family photos from the past year and talk about the good times you had together.  

See Something Special: No matter where you live, there is no shortage of holiday displays and shows. Many department stores have free holiday spectaculars and visiting one year after year makes a great holiday tradition. Another free option is scoping out the blocks in your city that have impressive holiday displays and making a drive to see them a tradition. Many parks also have awe-inspiring light shows that are worth a visit. Or, splurge on a truly magical experience like the ICE! exhibits at several Gaylord Hotels nationwide.  

What do you think?

Holiday Traditions to Start with Your Kids NOW

Jamie is a Beltway Insider who loves channeling her pre-motherhood love of traveling into spending time exploring all D.C. has to offer with her brood of two girls and two boys ages 9, 7,5, and a baby. She is a reformed lawyer turned full-time kid wrangler who enjoys photographing her everyday chaos and anything salted caramel. Since life is never dull, she loves writing about the issues and events going on in her life at any given time, including caring for a daughter with special needs and th ... More

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