After my husband and I got married, I began the tradition of making Christmas countdown garland to hang in our home. I sit down every year after Thanksgiving, cut out red and green construction paper, and loop links together that I then cut down daily until Christmas morning.
On the very last link, the one for Christmas Day, I write a note of thanks for that year and keep that link to connect with all the other final links in previous years. Just imagine in 25, 30, 50 years what a special Christmas garland that will be!
Today, I have a 2-year-old son to join me in this tradition, and I can’t wait for his excitement. For children, it’s the little things that bring so much joy, and I know tearing down one link every night will not only be a great responsibility for him, but an opportunity for me to remind him that we are one day closer to Christmas, a holiday we cherish in our home.
Traditions mean so much to children. This is a season to gather your family and enjoy one another’s company, and children revel in that quality time. No matter what your winter traditions, there are ways to make special memories!
One of my favorites that we plan to begin with our son this year is a Winter Campout. Once you have your tree up, arrange a fun night for the whole family to camp next to the tree and its twinkling lights. Pack a picnic, have dinner on a blanket, set out sleeping bags and pillows, and include books and games as well. And don’t forget the S’mores!
Here are a few other simple holiday traditions you can begin in your home this year.
- Take your children on a twinkly light tour around town.
- Choose a special book to read every holiday, or read and tell your children about other winter holidays, like Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Ramadan, that families are enjoying this time of year.
- Bake and decorate cookies together, then deliver plates to your neighbors or family.
- Begin a countdown or advent calendar, something your child would look forward to every day!
- Cut down your tree as a family, or pick it out together.
- Host a game night with hot chocolate and candy canes, and put festive tunes on!
- Design and decorate gift tags together to put on all your gifts.
- Make traditional food from a different country, like potato latkes or Puerto Rican pasteles.
- Winter movie marathon!
- Go sledding or ice skating as a family.
Lastly, consider the Christmas Eve box. Whether you open presents on Christmas Eve or wait till Christmas morning, be sure your child opens this one gift on Dec. 24. Inside is a new pair of Christmas pajamas and socks to wear to bed that night, a new movie to watch as a family, popcorn, hot chocolate and a new blanket to snuggle up to. This could be a fun gift they look forward to every year, and who doesn’t love new PJs?
Be sure to share your winter traditions with us! We’d love to hear more!
About the Author
Angela Tewalt is a writer, storyteller and mother to two boys. She shares parenting stories and inspiration in Guidepost Parent.
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