Simple Holiday Traditions to Start This Year

There’s no time of year that inspires a love of tradition like the holidays. Whether it’s pajamas on Christmas eve, a barefoot run in the first snow of the season, or heading out with your extended family for a winter meal, most parents are excited to pass along their own childhood traditions to their children. If your family growing up didn’t indulge in many traditions you enjoy, or if you’re looking to create some new traditions for your growing family, check out the simple ideas below that have the potential to bring joy for years to come!

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Image via Flickr/ Ann

1. A special meal

Just because it’s supposed to be special doesn’t mean it has to be fancy. Pick a family favorite that’s homemade (like grandma's chicken-pot-pie) or delivery (Chinese or pizza anyone?) and a consistent day (like the day after Thanksgiving) and make a note to repeat this meal every year. Let your kids know it’s a tradition that you plan to carry on and they’ll begin to look forward to all year!

2. A special story

This holiday season, scour the bookstore for a story you love. Once you’ve found one that resonates, take it home and make a point to pull it out only on your special, designated day. Some families have a special story for Thanksgiving while other prefer to save their tale for Christmas or New Year's Eve. Try to pick a story that will grow with your kids and that, years from now, they’ll think of whenever they think of the holiday.

3. An annual craft

Time flies and, years from now when your kiddos are grown, you’ll be glad to have a craft, hand-made by them each year, to look back on. If you decorate a Christmas tree, consider snapping their picture and letting them turn it into an ornament each year. If gratitude is important to your family, perhaps let them write out their ‘top ten grateful for” lists each year. When they’re small you can write out what they say and let them decorate the page, as they grow they’ll become more independent as they craft!

4. A tradition of giving back

If there’s a cause that close to your families heart, consider finding a way to give back that you can do each year. There are many ways to volunteer as a family and, if you start now, your little ones will find more and more joy in volunteering as they get older and begin to understand the impact they can have on the world. Whether you’re packing food at the food bank, raising money for a specific disease, or giving your time to a local non-profit that serves animals, volunteering – and doing so as a family – is what’s important.

5. A special gift

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Many winter holidays incorporate gift giving. This year, consider choosing a gift that you’ll give each year, even if there are some variations as to what it will look like. Maybe matching pajamas or cozy slippers are something your kiddos would appreciate each year. Or maybe movie tickets good for Christmas day. As your kids grow they’ll look forward to the gift they know is coming every year!

Do you have any holiday traditions you are passing on to your children?

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Simple Holiday Traditions to Start This Year

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. Julia lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. You can find more of her work at JuliaPelly.com ... More

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