Fun and festive holiday traditions
It’s that time of the year again—holiday season is upon us. It’s time to break out the Christmas tree ornaments, the menorah, or, if you celebrate Kwanzaa, the kinara. These celebrations are full of different family traditions passed down through generations, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for some new ones! If you are just starting your own family and have little kids, this is the perfect time to come up with some unique holiday traditions of your own.
Christmas Tradition Ideas
There are hundreds of fun and festive ways to celebrate Christmas—maybe you’ll find one or two new traditions to bring into your family this year.
Christmas Lights Tour
A free and kid-friendly activity is going on a Christmas lights tour in your neighborhood. Some people go crazy with the decorations, and it can be amazing to see the houses that go all out. Your kids will love it, they’ll stay warm in the car, and you can even bring along some hot chocolate in a thermos. This is a unique Christmas tradition your family won’t soon forget.
Festive crafts are a great way to keep the kids entertained, and what better way to channel Christmas joy than to make your own ornaments. These handcrafted ornaments will become cherished mementos when your kids are all grown up. Check out this mom’s blog for some awesome ornament ideas.
Another family favorite is setting up a miniature holiday village display in your home. Kids love to play with the little figurines, and it’s a nice decorative touch that embodies the holiday spirit.
You can buy items like magnetic ice-skating rinks that allow figurines to look like they’re skating. You can get fancy with lights and assorted foliage. If you’re crafty you can DIY a lot of these fun little scenes—like a sledding hill made out of Styrofoam, fake snow made out of pillow stuffing, and assorted village signs.
Each year you can buy or make a few more items to contribute to your ever-growing Christmas village! For more ideas on how to make your own village, check out this blog.
Elf on the Shelf
Elf on the Shelf is a more widely known tradition, but if you haven’t partaken in this whimsical activity, read on! All you need is a small Christmas elf—the idea is that each night you place the elf in a new spot and in the morning the kids have to find the elf. Some families get super creative and make entire displays each night featuring the elf. It’s fun, free, easy, and very cute. Check out Good Housekeeping’s list of Elf on the Shelf ideas.
Get Extra Sleep on Christmas Morning
Do your kids wake you up at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning? Do you have to pull yourself out of bed at 5 a.m. and spend the rest of the day exhausted, running on empty? Here are a few suggestions to get an extra few hours of sleep on that very exciting morning.
- Early Christmas Stockings—Sneak into your kids’ rooms after they fall asleep on Christmas Eve and leave their stockings hanging on their bedposts. When they wake up they can open up their small stocking stuffers, which will give you time for a little extra shuteye. Gift them some small, fun and interactive toys to keep them busy.
- This tip is a little sneaky—set the clocks back an hour after the kids go to sleep. That way when they wake up, they’ll think it’s far too early to get up and hopefully fall back asleep. This, of course, only works if they don’t have their own smartphones or tablets.
And if all else fails, pop a Mybite Energy to get your morning going. You don’t want to be dragging on Christmas, and energy vitamins are an easy way to keep some pep in your step. An added caffeine boost will help you keep up with the kids.
Chanukah Family Traditions
Crafts are a great go-to when trying to get your kids in the holiday spirit. When it comes to Chanukah, you have eight whole nights to come up with creative and fun traditions.
DIY Menorah & Dreidels
In the days leading up to the holiday, you might make a DIY menorah with your kids. Some creative menorah ideas include a Hot Wheels theme and a Menorasaurus—a dinosaur toy fashioned into a menorah. Check out this blog for further instructions!
Another fun Chanukah related craft is to have the kids make their own dreidels. This can be a functional dreidel, a two-dimensional art project, or an edible treat! If your kids are more into painting, then these watercolor dreidels will make a beautiful addition to your holiday décor. If you’d rather make a sweet Chanukah treat with the kids, check out this recipe for festive marshmallow dreidels.
Keeping with the craft concept, making homemade gifts for family and friends for the holiday can become an unforgettable tradition. DIY your own candles, jewelry, artwork, greeting cards, or painted ceramics with the kids, and let them hand out their gifts each night!
Passing Down Recipes
Passing along old inherited recipes is a meaningful family custom your kids will love at any age. Having grandma show the kids how to make Matzoh balls will have a lasting impact—a memory they will cherish for years to come.
If you’re looking for a healthy modern take on a classic, look no further than this latke recipe. The key to reducing fat and calories is to bake the latkes at a high temperature. This will keep the latkes crispy and delicious, while still being more health-conscious.
Creative Kwanzaa Customs
Kwanzaa is also a family-oriented holiday and therefore very easy to get the kids involved. Incorporate the traditional colors green, black, and red into different crafts such as placemats, collages, and handmade cards.
Make a flag
Your kids, no matter what age, can make a flag with the traditional Kwanzaa colors. Here’s how: Cut an 8" by 11" paper in thirds and have your child finger paint one strip red, one black and one green. When the strips dry, help them tape or glue them onto another sheet of paper. Display the flag on the wall, fridge or as part of your Kwanzaa centerpiece. Check out further instructions here.
The same website above also gives instructions for a fun, kid-friendly game called Mbube. To play, choose one lion (or mbube in Zulu) and one impala. Blindfold both and gently spin each one around, then tell the lion to catch the impala. As the lion stalks the impala, the other players chant “Mbube, mbube!” — faster and louder as the lion gets closer to its prey, slower and softer as it moves farther away. Once the lion catches the impala, let your “animals” switch roles, or let two new critters take a crack at playing. For more information about the game check out this site.
New Years Traditions
Finally, a holiday everyone celebrates—the beginning of a new year. It’s a reminder to take stock of the past year and reflect, which might be a little heavy for the kids to comprehend. A great way to get them in the spirit is by having a “chosen family” day, and performing random acts of kindness.
Make a Gratitude List
Some meaningful activities to ring in the New Year include making an “I Am Thankful For…” list. For the gratitude list, have your child add an item to the list each day leading up to the New Year—on January 1st go over their list with them and allow them to reflect on what they chose to write.
"Chosen Family" Day
A “chosen family” day is a holiday gathering for the friends you’ve deemed your “chosen family.” Not everyone is close with their family, and some dread the holidays because of the drama reuniting with the family causes. Ending the year with a drama-free, fun-loving gathering of friends and loved ones will launch you into 2020 feeling warm and fuzzy.
Random Acts of Kindness
Another way to end the year on a high note is to perform some random acts of kindness. This sets a wonderful example for your kids, teaching them the importance of generosity and kindness.
Maybe next time you’re in the Starbucks drive-thru line you pay in advance for the person behind you. See someone struggling with their grocery bags? Offer to give them a hand. Of course, these are things you should consider all year-round, but the holiday season can be a tough time for some people, so go out of your way a little more than you usually would.
Baking is a fun and kid-friendly activity that can be turned into part of your kindness campaign. Have a daylong baking marathon, and then package and deliver the baked goods to various people in the community. Have your kids drop them off to neighbors, the local fire and police station, and staff at your community hospital to say thank you for their past year of service.
Family Ice-Skating Adventure
If you’re looking for some physical activity after eating a few too many baked goods, take the family ice-skating! Even if you live in a warmer climate, there are often seasonal pop-up rinks. It’s a good source of exercise while being fun for everyone involved.
Be a Resolution Role Model
When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, be a role model to your kids. Oftentimes we make a bunch of difficult to attain resolutions, and then beat ourselves up for failing to achieve them. Model healthy change instead of failed resolutions. Set reasonable and compassionate goals for yourself and take it one day, and one step, at a time. Making small positive changes will add up to a significant change. Modeling this for your kids will set them up with healthy expectations for their resolutions and prevent them from feeling like they’ve failed.
Making Healthy Resolutions
If one of your resolutions is improving the health of your family, or keeping everyone on their A-game, consider adding a multivitamin or wellness supplement to the mix. Mybite Hers, Mybite His, Mybite Kidz, and Mybite Calcium will keep the whole family covered, and are specialized to cater to the different needs of women, men, and children. Kick off 2020 feeling better than ever with these tasty chocolate vitamins!
Whether you already have a bunch of holiday traditions, or you’re looking to try something new, remember this season is about spending time with your loved ones. Try to stay present and enjoy this time, especially if you have young kids. Time really does fly when you’re having fun. Happy Holidays from Mybite!