Creating Christmas traditions

When I think of the Christmas season, I think of traditions and rituals. It’s those items I put on the “spirit list” to bring excitement and joy to the holiday. Almost as if it were a checklist. Hang the lights … check! Hang the stockings … check! Attend the kids’ winter concerts … check! Help a family in need … check! Make Christmas cookies with the family … to do!

As a child, we enjoyed making candy cane cookies, snowmobiling or sledding in the snow, and trips to the mall to see Santa Clause with our cousins. Once I was married and we started our own family … we started new traditions that have developed and grown along the way. Here is a small sampling of my favorites:

• While we decorate the tree and/or the house, a Christmas movie is playing in the background. This may distract us a bit, but we are able to laugh and spend time together.

• My husband and I each take the kids on separate shopping trips to buy for the other parent. This teaches our children to be independent thinkers and thoughtful for someone else (This perhaps, is my favorite tradition).

• Santa Clause brings one or two unique items on the with list, wrapped in Santa paper, with a hand-written note. The look on their eyes when they experience the magic of Christmas is priceless.

• Picking out a fresh Christmas tree and letting our son saw the trunk of the tree. His asperations of becoming a lumberjack suddenly come to life.

If you are looking for some new and fun traditions to start … here are just a few:

• If you have an Advent Calendar, write notes each day about what you love the most about each child.

• Turn your Elf on a Shelf into a Kindness Elf that helps around the house and notices when your kids do considerate things.

• Make hot chocolate and cookies and drive around looking at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve.

• Make reindeer food out of dried oats and glitter and have the kids sprinkle it in the backyard on Christmas Eve.

• Write a yearly letter to your kids and put it in a clear plastic, fillable ornament ball.

• Boogie trap the children’s bedroom doors by creating a web of green and red streamers the kids have to break through on Christmas morning.

• Make a red and green paper gratitude chain. Each night leading up to Christmas, each person writes what they are grateful for and adds it to the chain.

• Let the reindeer come and bring everyone a small gift the night before Santa arrives. They leave a note saying they wanted to figure out where the stockings were to let Santa know. They can remind kids to get to bed early so Santa can come.

Wherever the Christmas traditions lead you this year, the staff and Iowa River Valley Early Childhood Area Board want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May you be surrounded by family and friends, and may it be filled with a lot of love and happiness.


Carrie Kube is a director for Iowa River Valley Early Childhood Area Board. All thoughts and opinions expressed are that of the author and not the board and/or its community partners.