Family Christmas Traditions
Christmas is almost upon us. Even though I’m not a fan of the cold weather it brings, this IS the season that brings families closer, and it has nothing at all to do with presents or keeping warm…well maybe a little about keeping warm! There are so many opportunities to connect and reconnect with your children through annual family Christmas traditions. If you haven’t started a family tradition already, begin yours this year! You’ll find your kids reminding you about them like my own do: “We need to read that story mom!” or “It’s time to put up the decorations!” Here are some ideas to get the ball rolling and use this time of year to bring your family together.
- Hunting for a Christmas tree. Do you take the kids out each year to find that perfect family Christmas tree? If your scour the tree lots, why not take to the National Forest this year to hunt for that tree (permit required). You can find out some details about tree hunting here.
- Decorating the Christmas tree. Always a favorite family tradition, we do this the day after Thanksgiving (take THAT Black Friday!) I put on Christmas tunes and we all pitch in to decorate the tree. Each ornament has a cute story. And we try to add one, specially selected ornament a year (if you choose to do this too, be sure to write the date on it!) That is another of our family traditions.
- Visiting Santa. When your kids are little, how can you not? I confess, I have never visited a mall Santa, but we HAVE seen the one arriving on a pontoon boat on the river (only in Florida, folks!) Santa pays visits to our local State Parks and we have caught him during a reading group at the public library and also at an organized playgroup Christmas parties.
- Viewing Christmas lights. We love to ooh and aah over the Christmas lights, and let’s face it, that IS why people decorate their houses- so that we can! I was lucky enough to take our son to see the Osborne Lights at Disney Studios in Orlando when he was young, but we usually just take a drive around our neighborhood- and a few others to ogle the light displays. Be sure to let your friends know where you spot the best lights. Share the love! And a hot chocolate afterwards never goes a-miss either!
- Watching a Christmas parade. This can be a great family tradition (and being in one too!). Make it an annual event, invite friends to join you. You can read more about that here.
- Watching a Christmas movie. Everyone has their favorite, be it: It’s a Wonderful Life, ELF or The Santa Clause. There are loads of family friendly Christmas movies to choose from. The Home Alone series is our family favorite- seriously, they need to get that kid a babysitter! Snuggle under cozy blankets and pop some popcorn.
- Ice skating (or sledding). Every year the near-by big city sets up their ice-skating rink for kids( and adults) to enjoy. They even had an ice slide one year! Okay, so everyone in our group tends to spend more times falling than skating, I suspect that the hot chocolate afterwards is the real highlight of everyone’s night! Make it a family tradition to go skating during the Christmas break (ok, bike riding and hiking are acceptable in our cold-less Florida climes!)
- Reading Christmas Stories. Every Christmas eve, we snuggle up in our pajamas and read “Twas the night before Christmas.” My daughter reminds me if I forget this favorite tradition of hers (and mine!)
- Making Christmas cookies. Sure the kids can leave Santa some store bought cookies, but the fun is in making them! A friend of mine gave me a great gingerbread cookie recipe and every year we break out the cookie cutters and create special gingerbread cookies. We even give them as Christmas presents! Be sure to pick up some decorator frosting and mini chocolate chips for eyes and buttons. Here’s a great gingerbread cookie recipe for you from McCormick.
- Bonfire night. We tend to do this for New Years Eve, but if you are able to- plan a bonfire night. There is nothing more cozy then cuddling up around an open fire, with the stars overhead. Roast marshmallows, make hot chocolate for the kids, and a big crock pot of chili . Invite friends and neighbors over. But watch the kids around the fire! This is our favorite annual family tradition.
- Go camping. Okay, this is on my bucket list. My sister and also a friend of mine go camping every New Years in the National Forest. It’s cool (okay, sometimes very cold too!) Make it your family tradition.
What family traditions do you participate in this time of year?
Other seasonal stories that may interest you:
and to keep you going through the holidays: