Do you have Christmas traditions? Perhaps this is the year to revive them or begin new ones. I was thinking about this because I overheard a group of millennials talking about how sad they were that they had no traditions for the Christmas holiday. This was something they longed for and wished their families were more intentional about creating traditions.
Well, it’s never too late. Anyone can begin to establish Christmas traditions. Year after year, traditions bring a continuity to life, a marking of time and memories. Here are a few tried and true traditions to consider:
- Take a family photo but make it creative–ugly sweaters, unique setting, something fun that you can all remember with fondness. The photo seals the memory of that year. I have saved our family photo Christmas cards over the years and like to look back on them. Time does seem to fly, and those little children dressed in their Christmas outfits are now all grown up.
- Make a few of your own decorations like a popcorn or paper garland. Put on the Christmas music and decorate the tree as a family. Some families are very creative and make their ornaments and more elaborate decorations. Even the outing to purchase a tree can become a family tradition, especially if you like to find a farm and cut your own. We have a tradition of getting our tree the weekend after Thanksgiving.
- Make a gingerbread house. You can make the pieces from scratch (look at You Tube) or buy kits you assemble. Assembling and decorating can be done with your family or other families as well. And big and little kids enjoy this as it provides a fun activity together. I am not a fan of gingerbread and found an Oreo house to assemble this year!
- Drive around and look at lights. When we lived in Virginia Beach, there was an annual Christmas light show at the beach called, Lights on the Beach. You could purchase hot chocolate at the entrance, listen to a CD they provided of Christmas music and drive on the boardwalk through the display of the 12 days of Christmas. Every year, we did it as a family and it became a tradition. Find a lighting display in your home town and make it a yearly visit.
- If you live in a cold climate, make it a tradition to shovel snow for an elderly person or couple and leave a Merry Christmas note on their doorway! And if you don’t live in snow country, then do an act of kindness for someone, but involve the entire family.
- Sledding, making snow men and ice skating were all part of my Christmas tradition growing up. And if you have a snowmobile, get out and drive through the woods–maybe not to Grandma’s house but certainly through the countryside. Then back to the house for hot chocolate.
- Find an angel tree and shop for gifts as a family. Develop the tradition of giving to the needy during this and other times of the year. And my own children loved to pick out the gifts for other children.
- Do an advent calendar and/or wreath with the kids. OK, it may be a little late this year if you haven’t done a calendar or advent wreath, but pick one up on sale for next year. Our advent calendar was felt with pieces of the Christmas story. It was a signal that the season had begun and was used as a countdown to Christmas as it hung on the kitchen pantry. This way, our children learned the story at a young age and decided the order of the pieces. Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus were placed on the calendar the last three days. We also have an advent wreath that we light each Sunday of advent and review the spiritual meaning.
- Organize a caroling party. Make a pot of chili, practice a few songs before you head out and go to a nursing home or neighborhood. It’s an old tradition that seniors love. And singing is a stress reducer!
- Read the Christmas story before you open gifts. Children can act out parts or people can take turns reading portions of the story. Then give thanks for the gift of God’s Son and celebrate the birth of the Savior with a birthday cake. And make it a tradition to go to a Christmas eve service where the story will be read. This reminds every family of the true meaning of Christmas.
There are many more traditions you can establish that your family will remember in years to come and pass on to their children. This holiday season, create memories and continue those Christmas traditions!Christmas traditions