Sweet Traditions To Start With Your Family

Nothing says the holidays quite like quality time with your family. Make it fun and memorable by starting seasonal traditions with your people.

Santa Baby

Make it an annual tradition to get a photo with Santa (tip: go early in the season on a weekday when littles are fed and rested). Start a book with a photo from each year, and add a copy of the annual letter to Santa when they reach that age. Your kids will thank you when they grow up and have this to flip through (and chuckle at) each year!

Spread Joy

Let’s be honest: The Elf On The Shelf is one more thing for parents to forget to do (and really, it’s just a bribe for good behavior). But the Kindness Elves are the antidote – they leave a new, simple way each day for kids to spread kindness and gratitude during the month of December (no hiding necessary).

Book Advent Calendar

The one thing kids do not need around the holidays is more sugar. So skip the traditional advent calendar and opt for 24 holiday-related books instead. Hit up a second-hand bookstore or, you this top-rated list on Amazon. Wrap each one, number them, read one a day, and re-wrap each year.

Movie Night

Choose a different age-appropriate holiday classic (A Charlie Brown Christmas, Frosty The Snowman, Home Alone, A Christmas Story, How The Grinch Stole Christmas) each year, snuggle up with hot cocoa & popcorn, and you’ve got yourself an annual night to remember.

A Throwback DIY

Spiced orange pomander balls really take us back to our youth. They happen to be super easy, require no real craft skills (or gear), and make for lovely, fragrant decorations during the holidays. Plus they are basically foolproof, making them fun for all ages. Follow these simple instructions.

 

Adopt A Family In Need

It’s never too early to teach littles the concept of helping others, and the holidays are a perfect opportunity. Adopt a family in need, then shop for gifts and wrap them up together – bonus if you can actually hand-deliver them to the family. The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program is nationwide, but a quick search will find other options in your area.

The Fifth Night of Hanukkah

Eight nights of gifts is a lot of loot. Turn the fifth night into an evening all about giving back. Find a local charity via JChoice, then shop for gifts and take them together.

Keep Tabs On Santa

We start dangling Santa in return for good behavior around Halloween (don’t judge). Santa’s Magic Phone (download the app) is a parent’s direct line to the big guy – give a call to report good and bad behavior, and receive a call or text back with a personalized response. It works like a charm to keep the magic alive and the kids in line.

Cookie Decorating Party

Invite a few friends over, bake cookies (we love Foodstirs’ organic mix) in festive shapes, and decorate (partial to India Tree’s dye-free options). Heat up some apple cider, and spike it for the adults – it will make the inevitable mess easier to clean up.

The Magic of Hanukkah

Oh, Hanukkah, oh, Hanukkah come “light” the kid-friendly menorah, play dreidl, and teach them what it all means with fun books they can understand – Hanukkah (a touch & feel board book), Elmo’s Little Dreidel, Happy Hanukkah, Curious George.

 

‘Twas The Night Before…

Tracking Santa on Christmas Eve via NORAD mesmerizes toddlers and even manages to sway skeptical big kids into believing. Bring the message full circle with a family reading of The Night Before Christmas before bed.

Christmas Light Drive

Pile the fam in the car, crank the Christmas music,  and scope the neighborhood for the best holiday lights. Pure magic!