10 Holiday Traditions to Share with Children

The gingerbread house my daughter and I made together this year.

The gingerbread house my daughter and I made together this year.

I’m always looking for ways to make the holidays special and memorable for my daughter.  When she is older, I want her to have great memories of her childhood and the fun things we did together.  These are some of the holiday activities we have done together that have been a lot of fun.

Build A Gingerbread House – When I saw an ad that our local culinary school was holding a class to build your own gingerbread house, I signed up.  I’ve always wanted to make one, and I thought my daughter would have a blast – and she did!  Sure, our creation isn’t worthy of a magazine cover, but the joy we had making the house totally makes up for it.  All you really need is royal icing, gingerbread sheets or graham crackers, and lots of candy decorations. The tree uses a sugar cone as its base.

Elf on a Shelf – It really feels like everyone has an Elf on a Shelf – but we didn’t until this year.  My daughter was so excited to get one, and picked out a girl elf.  While I do think the elf doll and book are a bit overpriced, they are more keepsakes than toys, so I plan on keeping them stored away in their box each year to preserve them.  My little girl has had a lot of fun searching for her elf every morning.

Baking Homemade Cookies on Christmas Eve – Every year since she was old enough to help, my daughter and I have made homemade cookies for Santa.  Usually, we make thumbprint cookies filled with jam, but this year she requested to make chocolate chip cookies.

Advent Calendar – My mom always made an Advent Calendar for me when I was young.  Each morning during December, there would be a small gift helping count down the days until Christmas.  There might be a piece of chocolate candy, or a Christmas pencil, or other small items.  I did this for my daughter last year and she really enjoyed it.  This year, I completely forgot, but I may bring this back again next year.

New Pajamas on Christmas Eve – We did this in the past and she really enjoyed special new pajamas for Christmas Eve.  It’s not something we do every year, but it could be a fun tradition as she gets older.

Watching Holiday Films Together  – We have a nice little collection of holiday movies that we love to watch every year – “Home Alone”, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, “The Muppet Christmas Carol”, “Christmas Vacation”, “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, and more.  This is one of our favorite things to do as a family.

Visiting a Manger Scene – When we see a manger display, I like to take the opportunity to discuss its significance with my daughter.  We all know how easy it is to get wrapped up in the decorations, travel, parties, and gifts this time of year, so it is important to me to point out that the real meaning of Christmas is celebrating the birth of Jesus, not presents.

Visiting a Christmas Light Display – Some cities have a Christmas light display every year, and there is an excellent one close to us that, sadly, I haven’t been to in a few years.  However, this activity can be as simple as riding through your own hometown neighborhoods to look at lights and listen to Christmas music.

Shopping Together for Family – My daughter is starting to learn about giving to others.  I think a good way to start is to select a small gift together for a friend or family member.  It gives my little girl pride to know she helped pick something out for someone that they will enjoy.

Donating to Charity – There are so many charities that collect money during Christmas.  Every year, I make a point to give my daughter money to put in a collection bucket.  This helps build understanding of giving to others in need.

What holiday traditions to you have with your family?


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