One of my favorite things about the holiday season are the traditions – both old and new. When Mike and I got married, we decided to incorporate both his family’s traditions and my family’s traditions while also creating our own new traditions. It’s these traditions that create the memories that last a lifetime. It’s what I remember about Christmases and holidays as a kid. I remember the ham and “Ensalada Rusa” (Russian potato salad) that we always ate on Christmas Eve. The “Noche Buena” (Christmas Eve) party that my parents had every year. How we opened gifts at midnight on Christmas Eve. The big deal that my mom made about Santa. I swear that I saw Santa’s leg in our hallway once when I was a kid LOL! Today I wanted to share some of the new traditions that we’ve created – hopefully they will inspire you to create a few of your own!
1. Advent Calendar.
We do an Activity Advent Calendar where we do a small activity every day in December leading up to the big day. Activities don’t have to be big – think drink hot cocoa by the fire, read Twas the Night Before Christmas, drive around and see the holiday lights, watch a holiday movie, etc. We also do a Story Book Advent Calendar every year. We read one holiday story book every day in December leading up to Christmas as well.
2. Drive around and see the holiday lights.
We get into our PJs, pack up a thermos with hot cocoa and drive around nearby neighborhoods to see all of the pretty holiday displays.
3. Host a family holiday brunch.
We do this every year a couple of weeks before Christmas and it gets the entire family in the holiday spirit.
4. Bake together!
Whether it’s putting together a gingerbread house or making cookies, this is a great way to bond together in the kitchen over the holidays.
5. Give back.
This is the reason for the season! Whether it’s baking cookies for the neighbors, helping out a local shelter, or donating toys to kids in need – this is a great way to honor what the holidays are truly about. This year, we donated toys to the Christmas Project in Lawrenceville. They will be placing the toys with families that need them. We even had Lucas pick the toys out himself – he was very excited to be doing this!
6. Host a cookie decorating party.
We invite all of our nieces and nephews to a cookie decorating party a few days before Christmas. They are then able to use those cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve.
7. Take the family to a holiday movie or stay in and watch a holiday DVD together.
You must have typical movie snacks too, of course!
8. Make traditional dishes that celebrate your culture.
For instance, we always make sauerkraut and lima beans for Mike’s dad who grew up eating these two sides during the holidays and we always have ham and “Ensalada Rusa” like I had as a kid.
9. Purchase a new ornament for each member of the family every year.
The ornament should represent where that person is in life – think hobbies, milestones, likes, etc. That way you can look back on them in the future and the ornaments will represent a snapshot of your lives that year. For example, Lucas loves baseball so the Just for Fun Team Sports Ornament is perfect for him!
10. Open a present on Christmas Eve.
We always open a pair of brand new holiday PJs and a Christmas-themed book on Christmas Eve. This year, both Amelia and Lucas will be wearing personalized PJs from Personal Creations. So cute!
Piera Jolly is the founder and editor-in-chief of JollyMom.com, a savvy and popular blog that provides moms with helpful parenting information, fun child-friendly activities, craft ideas, recipes, and the latest trends for moms, kids, and families. JollyMom.com is also proud to have been named a Top 10 Inspiring Blogger by Mashable, a Power Mom by Nielsen and one of Access Communication’s Top 50 Mommy Blogs!