I love the Christmas season. It is a season of giving and for spending time with the ones you love. It is a time of making great memories and starting new and lasting family traditions.
To me, the best thing about Christmas is reflecting on its true meaning. When you think about it, the love that surrounds the meaning of Christmas is something to be overjoyed about. On that very day, the Savior of the world was born and through Him, we receive ever-lasting life. That is something to definitely smile about.
I think of years past and how much Christmas meant to me as a child. I remember in elementary school caroling with my friends through our neighborhood. Bundled up, yet cold, we went from house to house to spread some Christmas cheer.
Every year my family celebrated together and the memories that I have remain with me all these years later. We always had Christmas Eve dinner at my grandparent’s house with all of my aunts, uncles and cousins. I remember snow on the ground and all the houses decorated with colorful lights and even now, it makes me smile and long for those times.
Christmas Eve night my family attended Church. Seeing the candles lit and hearing everyone sing Christmas songs celebrating the birth of Jesus was something so amazing to me. The love that filled each pew was something that I will never forget. I cherish those memories and always wanted to give my children the same kind of memories.
A lot can be said for family traditions. The ones that I mentioned are only a few, but they are the ones that I remember and cherish the most. To me it is important to create wonderful memories for your family and here are some ideas that may just get you on the path to starting some of your own.
12 Family Traditions You Can Start This Christmas Season
Christmas Movie Night
Spend each night the week before Christmas watching your favorite Christmas movies. Make popcorn and hot chocolate and just enjoy each other’s company. Snuggle under a warm blanket and be thankful for those around you.
Build a Ginger Bread House Together
Build a ginger bread house together. My sons are 20 and 13, but we still build a ginger bread house every year. It’s fun to create something together, but most importantly just to spend time together. You can find the kits in almost any store during the season.
Bake Cookies & Decorate Them Together
My son just asked me this week… “when is cookie baking day, mom?” (It’s funny because I am so behind in my baking this year). Anyway, I bake a lot of different cookies, but the favorite in my house are my sugar cookies. The best part is that everyone sits down to help decorate them. Click here for the recipes that I use for my cookies and icing.
Mark Each Year With a Special Stuffed Animal
This is especially great if you have a new baby or one on the way. My boys have a collection of stuffed animals bought specially for them by me since their first Christmas. My oldest son has reindeer and my youngest son has bears.
Each year they ask me where their stuffed animal is and every year they display them on the shelves beside our fireplace. I tried to retire the tradition for my oldest son this year, but he was not having any of it! He said that he wanted to pass them on to his kids…when he has them – (hopefully not any time soon, he still has a few years to wait!).
Here are the stuffed animals cozy on my shelves...
Decorate Your House Together
I know, most kids may not find this fun, well at least my boys don't. But there are definite ways to make it happen. Give each of your kids a room to decorate and let them put their own spin on the décor. This has worked for me in the past.
Christmas Morning Breakfast
When my kids were younger, opening gifts Christmas morning was the first thing on the agenda. Now that they are older, the first thing we do is eat a nice breakfast. It’s the same menu every year. Breakfast casserole, bagels and fruit. The breakfast casserole is a family favorite and so easy to make. Click here for the recipe.
Buy a Yearly Ornament
I have been doing this forever. My tree is filled with ornaments from every year. The best part about this is that when you are decorating the tree, the memories of past Christmases bring a smile to your face as you trim the tree.
Use Specific Wrapping Paper for Each Member of the Family
I know this sounds a little crazy, but to be honest, my kids have always loved this. When wrapping my family’s gifts, I chose a different paper for each of them. Christmas morning they all try to figure out who's gifts are in what paper. There is always a meaning for why I choose the paper...maybe a character or a specific pattern that reminds me of them. It makes opening presents a little more fun.
Set Goals for the Upcoming Year
During the Christmas season my husband, my boys and I set our goals for the upcoming year. The goals are the things that we would like to accomplish or change by the end of the New Year. The goals are collected and sealed in an envelope (but each person is given a copy of their own to hold on to). On New Year’s Eve, we read our goals from the year that is now over and talk about what goals we met and how it feels to meet or not meet them. Click here if you'd like a copy of the form we use.
Create a Blessing Jar
This is one of my personal favorites. Every time one of us feels blessed or thankful, we write the blessing down and put it in the blessing jar. On New Year’s Day we read each blessing out loud and thank God for the blessing that He gave to us. It is a great way to start the New Year with a grateful heart.
Buy Gifts for Less Fortunate kids
I love this as well. There are so many kids who don’t get to celebrate Christmas the way most kids do. This is an awesome way to teach kids to have a giving heart and for them to learn that Christmas really is about giving. There are many ways to give back. The malls usually have Angel Trees. Many local stores have boxes for Toys for Tots. Search out your local charities to find places to give.
Go on a Christmas vacation
Yes, once in a while it is nice to spend Christmas in another location. Last year we spent Christmas in a cabin in the Tennessee Mountains. It was so nice to be secluded away from the world and spend time, just the four of us and our two dogs, playing games, relaxing in the hot tub and sight-seeing.
*Bonus Tradition* Read the Real Story of the True Meaning of Christmas
Christmas is a time of joy, a time to celebrate the birth of our King, Jesus Christ. It is my prayer that all children would know the real reason we celebrate the Christmas season...Jesus. Click here for a copy of The Real Christmas Story.
I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas. May you create wonderful memories and family traditions that will last a lifetime!