My mom used to make homemade hot chocolate milk every Christmas. I loved the way the kitchen smelled and how hot chocolate tasted on a cold winter night. Every time I think of that it brings a smile to my face. It’s not just about the hot chocolate, well maybe a little, but I loved spending time with my mom and looking forward to a special treat.
That was one special tradition we had at Christmas, there were so many.
Maybe it’s hard to find time for starting new family traditions, and it can feel tiresome to think about what to do or buy but you realize that spending quality time over quantity helps the family unit with bonding. You know the value of family is your top priority. You don’t need to buy into all the commercialism the season brings. It’s all done at home with love and prayer.
I’m Dr. Vidaurre and as a mother, grandmother, and educational expert for over twenty-five years, I’d like to share with you some of my recommendations for at-home activities to do with your children. At Castle Blossom Press, we’ve done the research so you can read through it and get inspired this season.
What Are Family Traditions?
Traditions are activities you do with your family that increase connections, bring joy, and strengthen quality time. Traditions are not routine so it brings novelty and something to look forward to. Bonding within the family unit is the underlying reason why traditions feel so special.
“Traditions help us feel a sense of identity, a belonging. They connect us to past and future generations. They offer comfort and security and help us create memories with those we love.” ~Saul Levine M.D
A particular tradition in my family that we still do with our adult children and grandchildren is to watch an animated version of the Christmas story, the birth of Jesus.
Afterward, we discuss:
- Our thoughts about this world-changing event as it relates to each of us personally
- How it impacts us
- What we can give to Jesus
It’s beautiful to see how our children’s answers reflect not only their cognitive and emotional maturity but also their spiritual growth and maturity. We are blessed by the conversation as we each share our thoughts. Finally, we pray and worship Jesus.
Keeping traditions and starting new ones can enrich your family. These small moments can last a lifetime when filled with love, joy, and laughter.
New Traditions Can Be Started Easily
Pick a month, like December.
Decide how many, for example, 1 per week.
Pick something you prefer and get started.
This is a very popular decoration in most of Central and Latin America.
Sit down with your family, and grab some tissue paper and scissors. Commit to no electronics, just festive music in the background and start cutting. Show your children how you did it and if they make mistakes let it go, it's all about fun! While you have the tissue paper out make some flowers too!
Hot Chocolate Bar
Line the counter with things that can be added to hot chocolate like sprinkles, whipped cream, cinnamon, candy canes, vanilla, and anything your family might like. Then everyone gets to make their own creation followed by a family sit down and chat.
Want to make it more diverse? Have variations like champurrado
Here are questions to get your kids talking:
- Do you know whose birthday is coming up?
- Why do we really celebrate Christmas?
- What are your favorite 3 Christmas songs? Encourage your children to ask their siblings
- What are your favorite Christmas movies?
The public library puts out all the Christmas books on display, making it easier for your children to grab a bunch and read over their break.
Candy is everywhere during Christmas so experiment with them. Grab some candy canes
dress them up, glue them to make hearts, hang them on your Christmas tree, or use them as microphones to sing Christmas carols with each other.
Each weekend in December, a different family member chooses their favorite dessert to make as a family. Whether your family is baking gingerbread cookies or making cake your family will enjoy the festive mood in the kitchen.
Participate in Community Activities.
Check your church and city hall website or newsletter and pick some events to go to as a family. Your family can choose items to donate to local organizations like the fire department, shelters, or children in need.
Need to Feel Inspired?
Here Are Some Unique Holiday Traditions From Around the World:
- Make tamales
- Stuff red envelopes with kind words or money traditionally done for Chinese New Year
- Create homemade ornaments
- Paint Christmas cards for friends
- Attend a candlelight Christmas services at your local church
- Discuss and/or celebrate other holidays like Kwanzaa, Hanukkah
Fruit of the Spirit
As a family, focus on Joy this season. Talk about how it is a joyous season to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
What About New Year's Eve Traditions?
Since young ones will have a tough time staying up late, celebrate throughout the day. Turn on the TV and do a countdown at noon. Draw some posters and have an earlier dinner and party so your children can participate.
Traditions That Keep on Giving
Old and new traditions can give your family something to look forward to while embracing the real reason for the season, celebrating the birth of Jesus.
Whichever tradition you choose to start or continue, we at Castle Blossom Press wish your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
There are many other faith-based articles to read on our blog page.