Holidays with your family are made much sweeter with a few family traditions. Over the years we have incorporated a few Christmas traditions that we love, and I’d like to share a few more. The best part is that these are free! In my opinion, traditions don’t need to be expensive or grand, but simple and sweet. When you think about the best memories of your childhood, they are usually the times that you were most connected to the people you care about. It’s the hygge!
Here are five of my favorite Christmas traditions for families:
If you have a collection of Christmas books already, this will be especially easy for you. Wrap up Christmas books and put them in a basket. You could do the 25 days leading up to Christmas, or just 10 – whatever you want to do. Each night, have one of the kids pick out one of the books and unwrap it, cozy up on the couch and read it together.
Get extra Christmas books if you need them from the library, I found some great ones to check out at the little library at our preschool.
Your Own Polar Express Ride
My friend Ericka told me about this tradition and our kids love it. Make or print out little “tickets” (find free printables here, here and here) for the Polar Express and leave them on your kids’ pillows before bed. Have hot cocoa or candy canes on hand, and maybe some extra blankets in your car. When your kids find the tickets, pile in the car and head out with your treats to do a little Christmas light tour in your town.
Many cities will have a list of the most popular houses or streets to view Christmas lights. Local residents look here for Vancouver, here for Portland. Some of the drive through displays will have a small cost, but there are plenty of areas that provide a show for free. You can always just drive around and find them too!
Read the Story of St. Nick
Santa can be very confusing for kids. I love the true story of St. Nick, a man with much that saw people in need, and gave anonymously. I am all for using the Elf on the Shelf and Santa as tools, a little Elf
threat reminder can go a long way in guiding good behavior 😉
However, I want my kids to know and understand the legend of St. Nicolas. It’s such a good way to help shift the anticipation of Christmas into giving to others, not just receiving.
There is a wonderful, simple and short story of St. Nicolas here. Gather around and read it to your kids and discuss!
You’ve Been Elf-ed!
Start a little neighborhood holiday tradition. Prepare a little basket of treats and print out one of these “You’ve Been Elf-ed” signs to attach. Deliver the basket to one of your neighbors, ring the bell and run!
The printout will explain that the recipient should leave the sign up to let others know they’ve been Elf-ed, and to carry on the tradition to another home. Kids always delight in these kind of surprises, and it’s a good way show them how to do something fun and expected for others.
What ever happened to good ole’ fashioned caroling? My childhood dentist used to invite all of his patients to join him in caroling every year. He handed out candy canes and printed out lyrics, it wasn’t terribly organized but it was so much fun.
Gather together a few friends and family and go door to door caroling! Or, see if you can go visit the VA or a retirement home. Wouldn’t it be fun?
What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?