The holidays are a time of family, friends and holiday traditions. Yes, family traditions passed down from generation to generation can make the holidays fun and entertaining for your kids.
Most of you probably have at least one family tradition you do for the holidays. One of the reasons I love family traditions is because I get to experience and re-live some of the memorable moments I had when I was a kid. In my family we celebrate Christmas, so some of our traditions take place before Christmas leading up to December 25.
Our first family tradition for Christmas starts right after Thanksgiving, it's baking cookies. My mother-in-law actually started this family tradition with me. We spend an afternoon baking dozens of homemade cookies to give away to friends and family during the holiday season. My girls love doing this and can't wait to decorate and of course eat the cookies. We do this every other year, since we rotate spending Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family and my husband's family each year.
On the year's we have Thanksgiving with my family, we usually go shopping the day after Thanksgiving for Black Friday. Since the kids are off of school for a week during Thanksgiving, we usually take time to decorate the house that week. We put up an artificial Christmas tree, lights and hang stockings along with festive decorations throughout the house. I tried putting out the Elf on the Shelf a few years ago, but we had to send the Elf back to Santa. My girls thought it was a little scary having something move around the house each night.
A fun family tradition I know a lot of people do is sending out Christmas cards. My mom always sends out a family photo Christmas card, so when I started my own family, I continued the tradition. When the girls were younger I used to take them to see Santa in the mall and get a photo. I remember sitting on Santa's lap when I was little and he would always give out candy canes.
I know Santa is probably a tradition quite a few of you have in your home. The tradition of Santa bringing gifts on Christmas morning has been passed down for generations in my family. My girls also like writing letters to Santa and sending them to the North Pole.
A new tradition I started with my girls is a video from Santa. He delivers it to my email for them. The video is high tech with real reindeers and Santa personalizes the message specifically to each of my daughters. You can have your own message for your children for free by going to www.PortableNorthPole.com.
Ever since I can remember, as a child I was allowed to open one present on December 23, my dad's birthday. My parents now let my kids open a present on my dad's birthday.
Another family tradition is we open all your presents on Christmas Eve from family and on Christmas Day from Santa. My husband's family has a different tradition and has a family Christmas Day brunch and opens family presents.
One of my favorite traditions is going to church on Christmas Eve, singing "Silent Night" by candlelight and hearing about the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Christ. I love seeing the church decorated with green trees, twinkling lights and beautiful red poinsettias. On Christmas Eve, our girls sprinkle the lawn with reindeer food made from oatmeal and leave milk and cookies for Santa.
I asked my friends what some of their favorite traditions and thought I would share some of them with you. Several friends had some of the same traditions as my family, like sprinkling reindeer food on the front lawn and setting out milk and cookies for Santa. Others had different traditions like stringing fresh popcorn around the tree, looking at lights on Christmas Eve, eating oranges with a candy cane, and playing BINGO with the family. One friend says each year she has Christmas Eve dinner with her in-laws and then the family flies out on Christmas to see snow with her family. Another friend's family tradition includes a Sweedish Christmas Eve dinner with lutefisk (a dried salted whitefish.)
This year think about your holiday tradition and if you don't have one maybe start one.