Seasonal Traditions Remembered for a Lifetime
Today, I ask you to think about your favorite holiday tradition from your own childhood. I remember a few things from mine.
My mother's ability to transform our home into a magical celebratory space. White lights, homemade pine bough swags with gingerbread men, and red satin ribbons adorned every window, handcrafted Santa figurines could be spotted from room to room, and the sweet smell of sugar cookies baking in the oven wafted through the house. I loved this season in my childhood home.
I remember singing Christmas Carols with family and friends around the piano.
And then there is this hilarious little stuffed elf that my Dad brought out (he still does, in fact) every Christmas Eve. Whenever the Elf jingled, we'd get an early Christmas present.
These traditions meant so much to me as a child and I will cherish them for the rest of my life.
Creating seasonal traditions provide great comfort, joy, and a sense of belonging for your children. Children are at peace when there is a rhythm to life, a set of expectations, and joyful rituals that they can count on taking place every season.
One of my favorite traditions in our home is the Holiday Book Basket.
Each year we pull out a box of our favorite Christmas, winter, and Solstice books and put 4 to 5 of them in our book basket by the couch in our living room. Every night, the girls, and Damian and I sit on the couch by the tree reading our family favorites.
We read the same 4 to 5 books for about a week and then cycle in 4 or 5 more. It is so powerful to spend time with the same few books over a period of days. Your children really get to know each book, soak in the characters, and internalize the journey they take.
When you give your children time to thoroughly digest a few good books at a time, you'll see the stories emerge in their imaginative play. In our home, the Nutcracker is being read constantly and my little ballerinas are acting out the story, too. This is precious, precious simple joy for all of us.
What family traditions make your holiday experience precious? Do you want to infuse your holiday experience with new traditions that are simple and easy to stick with?
Here are a few simple ideas:
1. Sing Christmas Carols together before bedtime.
2. Make holiday cookies (healthy recipe coming soon!)
3. Decorate a gingerbread house
4. Put together a package of toys, food, and warm winter clothes for a family in need.
5. Cut out paper snow flakes and stick them in your child's bedroom window...
I could go on and on here. I ask you to choose a couple of simple, low-stress, low-budget, meaningful traditions you want to uphold in your home. Your children will grow to love these traditions and feel tremendous comfort in knowing that they happen every year.
You and your children will become closer through these repeated rituals. And you will feel delight and pride in knowing that you are creating meaningful experiences that your children will remember for a lifetime.
Harmonious Holiday Action Steps
1. Give yourself five minutes to sit and reflect on the most meaningful holiday traditions you remember and love from your own childhood. Reflect on the FEELINGS you felt participating in these traditions. Give your parents a call and thank them for the memories they made for you. Now, how do you want your holiday traditions to make your children feel?
2. Once you feel completely clear about how you want your holiday traditions to feel, fine tune the traditions you practice now to ensure you all are actually getting what you want out of them. AND/OR add in a new simple tradition that brings you whatever feelings you want to experience as a family (joy, peace, happiness, comfort).
3. HAVE FUN. DON'T TAKE ANY OF THIS TOO SERIOUSLY. MAKE YOUR JOY CONTAGIOUS & GIVE IT AWAY.
I'd love to hear about the family traditions you love or any AHA's you've had about the new traditions and experiences you want to create for your family. Share in the comments if you'd like to say hello!
To holiday traditions that your children will thank you for when they're grown,