6 Holiday Traditions to Start with Your Toddler

Image adapted via Flickr/ storyvillegirl

I can't believe we've hit the holiday season already! I swear I just dug out the shorts and t-shirts out of the back of the closet for the kids, and here we are already needing sweaters and winter jackets.

While it may seem like December is still a little while away (and we should wait until Thanksgiving has come and gone before we think too much about the holidays in December), it will creep up on us just as quickly as the cold has.

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If you have a young toddler who is just at that age when they're realizing all the magic that happens during this time of year, it's the perfect time to start traditions. I had them during my childhood — from Christmas cookies to making the worst decorated tree we could (my siblings and I, my parents were none too impressed) — and they're what make the holidays so memorable.

If you're looking to start some holiday traditions with your toddler, here are six that you can begin now because your kids are the perfect age to help and continue each year after.

Make holiday cookies

It was one of my favorite things when I was a kid — not to make the cookies, but to eat them. I am not much of a baker, but it was something my siblings really looked forward to doing with my parents.

Toddlers are at that right age when they want to help, and there are a lot of ways they can when it comes to baking — stirring the mix, pouring in ingredients, and, of course, eating the final product are all ways your toddler can help.

Need some holiday cookie recipes? Check out the 12 Days of Cookies from Food Network or try these adorable Candy Cane Cookies.

Holiday countdown

As if waiting for the holiday to roll around is not enough, this is one of the more fun ways to get your toddler involved in the excitement: holiday countdowns.

In the past, we used the store-bought chocolate calendars that counted down to Christmas, which is a perfect tradition on its own, but if you're interested in doing a little something extra, why not make your own?

Check out these 30 DIY Christmas Advent Calendars from Lolly Jane.

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Image via Flickr/ mbaylor

Hide the elf/angel, etc

Personally, I don't care for the idea behind the very popular “Elf on the Shelf,” but if you find it fun and want to add it to your holiday traditions, it's a great time to start when your child is a toddler.


If you love the idea of the “Elf on the Shelf” but want a little something different, check out 3 Alternatives to “Elf on the Shelf.”

Secret exchange for charity

I love the idea of using the holiday season to teach our kids about giving to others and the spirit of coming together, and that's why a secret exchange for charity as a holiday tradition with your toddler is such a great idea. Getting them into the spirit of giving when they're young and keeping that going is a wonderful touch for the holidays.

Need an idea on how to give during the holidays? Check and see if there's a toy drive near you.

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Visit the tree farm

If you celebrate the holidays using a Christmas tree, make the hunt for the perfect tree a tradition for the whole family. While your toddler is young, they can still have their vote heard when it comes to choosing which tree is the perfect one for that year's celebrations.

Need to find a tree farm near you? Check out the tree locator from the National Christmas Tree Association.

Make (or buy) a yearly ornament

This is a tradition we're big on doing each year, and it started when my husband and I got engaged. Each year, we choose an ornament that represents something from that year. If you're into doing this with your family, have your toddler help out by either having a say in which ornament to buy or you can all get together and make your own each year.

{ MORE: The Best Easter (and Beyond) Gift Ideas for Spring }

What are some of your yearly traditions you've started with your kids? Share in the comments!

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6 Holiday Traditions to Start with Your Toddler

Devan McGuinness is the founder of the online resource Unspoken Grief, which is dedicated to breaking the silence of perinatal grief for those directly and indirectly affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Using her own experience of surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan has been actively supporting and encouraging others who are wading through the challenges associated with perinatal and neonatal loss. Winner of the 2012 Bloganthropy Award and named one of Babble's “25 bloggers wh ... More

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1 comment

  1. ovation says:

    We let the kids pick out an ornament each year which is what my parents did with me as a kid. My mom and I also make a bunch of different cookies which my 4 yr old loves to help i.e. make a mess. Lol. I don’t really care for elf on the shelf so instead a week or so depending in when xmas day is the “elves” put little toys and candy in the kids stockings for them to find each morning before xmas eve. My 4 yr old would run down the stairs each day to see what he got from Santa’s elves. I have so many good memories as a kid I want to make sure I give my kids the same.


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