The Magic of Christmas
How do you celebrate Christmas?
The answer to this question will vary depending on what side of the world you live on but the one consistent thing is that it is usually filled with fun family traditions.
My mother went out of her way to make sure that my Christmas was always great. It wasn’t about how many presents were under the tree or how tall the Christmas tree stood. Instead, she made sure I knew Christmas is about family. It was the one time I was guaranteed to see my extended family and be able to play with my cousins. It was magical!
To this day, my best childhood memories involve reflecting on our Christmas traditions, some of which we still do today.
Now, I’m the mother and I want to make Christmas special for my daughter too! The only problem is how do you make it special for an infant or toddler who isn’t aware of what is going on?
Here’s the thing, they don’t have to understand exactly what’s happening to enjoy it. Repetition is crucial for them and helps them learn what to expect. As you know, traditions are a form of repetition. Why not use family traditions as a way to help your infant or toddler learn what to expect at Christmas time?
You don’t have to wait until your child can talk to start coming up with ideas for new family Christmas traditions. In fact, Christmas traditions can begin as early as pregnancy.
Keep reading, and you’ll get ideas you can use to create Christmas traditions to start with baby immediately!
Best Christmas Traditions for New Families
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Christmas Traditions to Start During Pregnancy
1. Yearly Christmas Ornament
This is another tradition that can start regardless of how old your child is. I happened to be pregnant during the Christmas of 2016 and decided to start my yearly ornament at that time. I found a 2016 picture frame ornament at JCPenney’s and decided to use the ultrasound picture in there.
Your yearly ornament can be one that you make or one that you purchase from a store. Places like Michael’s and Kirkland’s carry fabulous yearly ornaments.
If you happen to be expecting this holiday season, this ornament will be perfect for you!
Christmas Traditions to Start with a Baby
1. Wearing Matching Pajamas
This is a tradition you can start no matter how young or how old your child is. It’s a lot of fun and makes for great photos through out the years. You can find pajama sets at Macy’s, Target, and of course Amazon. Take it back to your childhood and get the footed pajamas. They are sooooo comfortable as an adult.
2. Yearly Hand Print on a Tree Skirt
I hate that I didn’t think to start this with my daughter last year. Instead of doing an actual hand print, I traced her hands. Now, I’m thinking that the hand print may have been easier. Trying to get an 18 month old to keep her hand still while I traced it was quite an ordeal. Then, I used my acrylic paint because you want it to last a long time. You can put the paint in a paper plate to make clean up easier.
3. Family Photo
A picture is worth a thousand words and a Christmas family photo is no different. Not only will you get to see how your children grow throughout the years, but you get to see yourself evolve as well. This is a great way to document each holiday season.
You can either hire a photographer, go to a portrait studio like JCPenney’s, or a purchase your own DSLR camera and stand. If you decide to invest in a camera, at least you can have it for other occasions as well.
Christmas Traditions to Start with a Toddler
1. Toddler Christmas Tree
Babies and toddlers are naturally curious and love to explore. They don’t understand that the pretty ornaments on the Christmas tree are not balls that they can throw across the room. In order to keep them safe and save your sanity, it may be advantageous to get them a tree of their own.
As, they get older another option is getting a small artificial tree that they can decorate themselves. It will be fun to see what they come up with!
2. 25 Wrapped Books
Everyone loves opening gifts, especially if they can open one every night! Babies and toddlers especially love ripping paper so this will be right up there alley! This tradition involves individually wrapping 24 books and then letting your child open one each night leading up to Christmas. You can decide to use all Christmas books or even a combination of Christmas books and other children’s books.
Of course after they unwrap the book, you have to read it to them! Toddlers love being read to and will enjoy the new books each night.
You can buy books from discount stores like Ross, Dollar Tree, and Ollie’s. You can also get a children’s book subscription and use some of the books for this purpose. Whichever way you choose, this is a great activity to ignite a love for reading and give you extra cuddling time with your little one.
3. Baking Cookies For Santa
Baking cookies for Santa is a fun tradition to start with your little ones. This is a popular tradition that has been around for decades in the United States. There’s a great debate over which cookies are Santa’s favorite but we all know the real truth; Santa loves whatever cookie Daddy loves!
The most popular cookie that Santa receives is chocolate chip, followed by oatmeal raisin and sugar cookies. Don’t worry, I have included a link to a recipe for each along with what you will need to pull it off! Your little one is going to have so much fun. This tradition is sure to go down in hist-or-rey!
Of course if you don’t want to go through the hassle of baking homemade cookies, you can always buy Pillsbury’s ready to bake cookie dough. They have them for the chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and sugar cookie. You get to avoid the mess and your child still gets to bake with mommy!
What do you need? If you’re new to baking or even if you’ve baked before, check out this list:
What you’ll need:
4. Christmas Eve Box
A Christmas Eve Box is a box that contains the items you will need for your Christmas Eve activities. This can range from matching pajamas, new slippers, a Christmas book, a game, reindeer food, a “nice list” certificate from Santa, a house key for Santa, and or the ingredients to Santa’s cookies.
I love the idea of not having to wait until Christmas to have something to open but still preserving your actual Christmas gifts.
For this, you can make your own box or buy a personalized box that can be used every Christmas Eve.
5. Angel Tree
Each year the Salvation Army organizes an assistance program for the holiday season providing kids ages 0-12 with gifts. An individual or group can choose to sponsor an Angel, providing them with items that they want and need from their Christmas list.
Since the Christmas season is about giving and sharing, this is a perfect opportunity to teach your children about helping others while nurturing the seed of generosity and empathy for others. Check with your local Salvation Army if you are interested in sponsoring in Angel .
6. Capture the Magic
There’s this app called Capture the Magic – Santa & more that allows you to capture Santa in a picture in your home. It is such a neat idea and will help dispel the rumors that Santa doesn’t exist!
Making Christmas Special
As a mom, the holidays may not be what they once were but they can be even better. You get to create an experience for someone else and develop memories that they will come to cherish as adults.
This holiday season, remember to focus on experiences rather than presents. When adults reflect on their childhood, it’s not the gifts they remember most. They will remember the time they spent with loved ones and the memories that were created on different occasions.
Remember that as you use a mix of new Christmas traditions and old Christmas traditions to come up with the perfect blend to start what will become your new family Christmas traditions.
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What’s your favorite Christmas tradition? Share with us in the comments below!
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