5 Fun Holiday Traditions to Start with Your Family
One of the things that often comes to mind at holiday time, as well as in conversations with friends, is “family traditions.” Things like: When and how to decorate the Christmas tree, special foods to prepare, and types of gifts to give – are all often handed down from generation to generation.
But some families may not have those traditions, and it can be easy to feel left out or let down at the holidays. Particularly if you come from a broken family, or one where the holidays were actually a stressful time, the idea of holiday traditions may be a foreign or even uncomfortable thought.
Or maybe you have some wonderful family holiday memories but want to mix in some new ideas and traditions for a fresh holiday feel! Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or your own version of family time in the month of December, here are 5 Fun Holiday Traditions to Start with Your Family:
- Draw Names and Give Homemade Gifts. Each member of the family (even kids!) puts their name in a “hat” (maybe a Santa hat or even a stocking!) and then each one draws a name – make sure you didn’t draw your own! Then each family member creates some type of homemade gift for the person whose name they drew. Younger children can enlist the help of another family member to give them a hand with their creation. Need ideas of things to make? Visit a local crafting store like Hobby Lobby or Michael’s – they have kits and other craft ideas for all ages. This is a great way to put a lot of love and thought into a gift without spending a lot of money.
- Gingerbread-House-Making Contest. The tradition of building houses out of gingerbread dates back to Germany in the 1600’s, and may have actually been sparked by the fairy tale of Hansel & Gretel rather than Christmas, according to an interesting article from PBS.org. Kids, adults, and even hard-to-entertain teenagers often enjoy building and decorating gingerbread houses in their own creative ways. Even if they fall apart and look terrible, it can make for a lot of laughter! Here’s an easy gingerbread recipe HERE, or you can even find ready-to-build kits at places like WalMart, Michael’s, and grocery stores.
- Holiday Decorating Party…And All You Need is Paper. When it comes to decorating your home for the holidays, there’s a fun and easy way to get everyone involved and keep the expenses to a minimum. All you’ll need is lots of paper – cheap, white copy paper will do, but you can also mix in colored construction paper or craft paper. Then plan a day for your decorating party! Put some holiday music on, maybe mix in some hot cocoa and cookies, and let the decorating begin. The two main staples of your decorating? Paper snowflakes and paper “link” chains! Kids can typically handle small safety scissors well enough to make snowflakes by about age 4 (or even 2-3 with help and close supervision). They’ll love to hang the snowflakes from the ceiling, and tape them to walls and windows. Paper chains are easy to make (see a video here) and you can make it more creative by coloring the paper strips with crayons or markers before linking them together. Turn it into a game by dividing into teams to see who can make the longest or most creative chain. Still have more paper left over? Make homemade holiday cards or holiday pictures to hang around the house.
- Visit a nursing home, soup kitchen, or elderly neighbor. Be sure to check for any COVID restrictions first, but if you have the green light, pay a visit to folks in need. This shows your kids that the holidays are about loving others, not just loving the gifts and yummy goodies we get. Take homemade gifts or cards to the folks you are visiting, sing Christmas carols or other uplifting songs, or just sit and chat for a while. The people you meet will be blessed and encouraged, and your family will enjoy knowing they have brightened someone else’s day.
- Visit a church, synagogue or other place of worship. Maybe you grew up in a faith-based community, but you’ve gotten away from it in recent years. Perhaps you had a negative experience in a church, and you haven’t wanted to relive that. The holidays can be a wonderful time to give it another chance. In the age of the internet, you can learn a lot about churches and other places of worship before visiting by going to their websites. Look at the pictures, read what they have to say about themselves, use their “contact us” forms to ask questions. Creating a faith tradition for your children can be a wonderfully positive influence in their lives, helping them to make good choices as they grow. If you are local to our area and would like to see our list of suggested churches to check out in the Winchester, VA or Martinsburg, WV area, shoot us an email here.
Regardless of how you and your family choose to celebrate the holidays, all of us here at AbbaCare Pregnancy Resource Center would like to wish you a joyous and wonderful season, and many amazing new adventures in the new year!
AbbaCare is a pregnancy resource center serving women and families facing pregnancies that are unexpected or unexpectedly difficult. To learn more about our free, confidential services, visit abbacare.org.
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