Until we bought our house last year, we were always travelling to see our families at Christmas, and we didn’t get to set those traditions for our own family. Now that we have “planted roots”, I want to set up some fun activities for our kids to do. Last year, we started Elf on the Shelf, which my kids just went nuts over. They love it, and have already started asking when Alfie is coming back.
I gathered a list of 10 really fun Christmas traditions that I found all over the web to show you today, in case you are like me and wanting to start some new traditions with your little families. Here they are…
If you have never heard of OCC, you need to get involved. Every year, our church fills about 500 of these shoeboxes to send to children in third world countries and parts of the world who are not as fortunate as we are. This year, my daughters class also filled shoeboxes as a class project. They are filled with goodies and toys, and are usually the only Christmas gift these children receive. It truly is the perfect example of what Christmas is supposed to be all about – giving and sharing and helping others experience joy. What better tradition to start?
2. Write a Soldier
If you belong to a military family like I do, you know how hard it is to be apart from your family at Christmas. My husband was in Afghanistan during Christmas of 2009, and he said the Christmas cards that rolled in from complete strangers were a total morale boost. They may be soldiers who are supposed to be tough, but being tough when you are alone for Christmas is hard, even for soldiers. So give them a boost, would ya? They will truly, truly appreciate it.
3. Write a Family Newsletter / Yearly Wrap Up
4. Hope Notes
Ashley of Under the Sycamore has a fun tradition for her family – before they pack up their stockings for the year, they each write one “I hope…” note for each member of the family and place it inside the stocking. This note is something that they hope will happen by the next Christmas. For instance, my I hope for Stella would be “I hope you are potty trained”. Then, when they unpack the stockings the following year, they get to read the things that everyone hoped for last year. I can see this being really fun!
Grandparents have to be the most sentimental of anyone… does anyone else’s parents get all mushy hearted when your daughter or son picks out something special just for them? The trouble is how to keep all of those special mementos and keepsakes. A great keepsake that has a purpose would be a handmade ornament, made especially for them by their grandchildren. I know my grandparents would go gaga over that! (If you need ideas, click on the link in the title – last week, I shared 10 fabulous ideas for ornaments that kids can make!)
This is one of those traditions that will require very little work, but adds to the magic of Christmas. Leave a special key on your doorknob so that Santa can get into your house if you don’t have a chimney. Michelle over at The Piccadilly Post even wrote a great poem that she has shared with you to use. Super cute!
Wrap up 25 Christmas books and place them under the tree. Each night, have your children pick out the story that matches the day, and read it as the bedtime story. I love that this advent calendar gives the gift of quality time AND reading, rather than more stuff and chocolate (which they get more than their share of on Christmas). Placing the emphasis on togetherness is something I really look for when considering traditions.
8. Christmas Eve Package
Leave a package on your doorstep every Christmas Eve filled with goodies you can use that evening – pyjamas for the whole family, a new Christmas book, and a copy of a Christmas movie (or popcorn to go along with an old favourite that you already own). What a great way to spend a snuggly evening together as a family!
9. Elf on the Shelf
I saved this one for last because it really did emphasize the true meaning of Christmas and it really touched my heart. Delia Creates shared this tradition that her family does every year – in the morning, before the kids are even allowed to touch the tree, they sit in a quiet place as a family, and each give a gift to God for the year. For instance, my gift could be “I will complete my daily devotionals all the time, not when I’m not too tired”. (Eek… guilty.) Then, the whole family places their gifts in the envelope for the year, and places it in the box for next year. They also get to read the gifts that they gave God in the previous years, pray together as a family, and sing a hymn. Isn’t this an amazing idea? Even if you aren’t religious, you could adapt this to be a gift to your family or loved ones.
What about you? Are you looking for new traditions? Do you think you’ll adopt any of these? And do you have any other fun ones that you would like to share?