The holidays are the perfect time to take a breather – yes, that’s right. Take a few minutes and think about what means the most to you and your family. You probably will find that the things that are the most meaningful are the memories you’ve shared through the years. Often the gifts are soon forgotten, but decorating the tree with your kids’ handmade decorations every year or serving a special eggnog recipe in your grandmother’s silver punch bowl will usually be the rituals that you treasure.
“What is so awesome about family traditions is that they can be whatever you want them to be,” says Sandy Sandler, founder of Crafters 4 Kids. “Even if your family never had a special tradition, it’s fun to start off with a new tradition that you will carry forward.
Here are a few ideas for creating great holiday traditions to incorporate into your own family’s holiday celebrations.
Create a written record
“Have everyone write something down before dinner that they are thankful for and read it before starting dinner,” Sandler suggests.
Giving everyone time to think about this and actually write it down makes it more meaningful and makes people feel more at ease than they would be if they had to think of things on the spur of the moment. Keep these notes and bring them out on different occasions. It’s amazing to see how everyone’s lives evolve from year to year.
Do it for the kids
When you create holiday traditions for the youngest members of your family, you will be instilling memories in them for years to come. A favourite tradition could be started with close family friends who gather together all the neighbourhood kids for a special party during December. Each child could sign their name in “Santa’s Big Book” and write down what they want Santa to bring that year.
Then “magically” Santa can appear, take each child on his knee and read aloud what the child had written.
Sandler also suggests taking pictures of everyone each year at the holiday dinner and then using that picture for the following year’s place setting. Family pictures always are treasured as presents, too.
Start a collection
This is one of the easiest ways to carry on traditions from one year to the next. Find a unique “collectible,” and add to it each year.
It can be as simple as unwrapping your kids’ handmade ornaments and decorating a Charlie Brown tree or as elaborate as setting up tables of snow villages complete with lights and trains.