Christmas Tradition is one of those bedrock moments that create family memories. In this fast paced world and with families living so far apart it is hard to keep family Christmas traditions alive. Don’t let that stop you from cultivating really meaningful traditions that transcend time and locations. I will give you some great and easy tips that will make your family smile for years to come. You are only young once, and children adore the mystery in Christmas. It does not take and should not take a lot of money for you to have a very meaningful, fun filled Christmas season.
Tip #1 – Start reading a favorite Christmas story every night before bed. There are so many to choose from. You can feature both spiritual and cultural masterpieces for your children in quiet moments that impact their tender little hearts. Imagine being curled up on the couch with your family, the glow of the lights of the tree, hot cocoa, snuggling with your children and reading tales of mystery every night of the month. Who knows what they are thinking of as you share with them the traditions that have been repeated for centuries?
Tip #2 – Wear red. During the month of December wear red clothing as often as you can. Red is the symbolic color signaling “preparation”. Use it as a teaching moment to remind your children of the true meaning of Christmas. We are preparing our hearts for a marvelous gift.
Tip #3 Put jingle bells on their shoes (if you can handle the noise). There is one thing for sure young children love jingle bells. This will keep their little hearts all a flutter. Another benefit, you will always know where they are.
Tip #4 – Give each child a special new ornament every year for Christmas. Sign their name and date it on the bottom. This can be something you give them when they leave the house and start a family of their own. In our family, our parents give our children their ornaments. It is a special treasure they can’t wait to get from their grandparents on each side. Once your children are old enough you can set up a small tree in each of their rooms to showcase their very own ornaments.
Tip #6 - Do family fun crafts every year. Pick a night that is marked on the calendar for Family Craft night. String garland, make ornaments, or create an advent wreath for your dinning room table. There are as many ideas available as there are days in December so pick one of your favorites every year and make something together as a family. Maybe for your family it is baking and decorating Christmas cookies. What ever you decide, make it fun and don’t stress out about the outcome. It is about enjoying the moment and not having picture perfect crafts.
Tip #7 Make it Sensory. Include all of your senses. Did you know if you include 2 or mores senses in any given task, your brain is hundreds of times more likely to remember it than if you didn’t? That is why Christmas is so memorable with all of the sights, sounds, scents, hugs, and singing. It is a sensory extravaganza. Including many senses allows your child’s brain to really grab hold of the moment. Play Christmas music in the background as often as you can and cook wassail on the stove to infuse your home with scents.
Tip #8 – Be Generous. Make giving a family affair. Bake fresh breads and other treats that will be deliver to friends and neighbors. Enjoy the process of preparing, wrapping and presenting this heart felt packages. Allow your children to create the cards and insert a family picture with your newest contact information with every delivery. It will keep the connection all year long. Make a few extra to deliver tot a local nursing home. Show your children that it is better to give than receive and it will stay with them for a lifetime.
Tip #9 –Create a Christmas memory book. What do you do with all of the pictures and newsletters you receive starting after Thanksgiving? Start a photo album that you ad to every year. This will be a fun pastime that you can include your children in after every trip to the mailbox. They will be excited to see all of the changes their friends and family go through over the years. Make sure you have your own newsletter or thoughtful card ready to go out and add current contact information or website/email addresses that will help your friends and family stay connected all year. Be sure to take a family picture. This is the perfect time of year to update you family’s portrait. It can be funny, or serious, professional or artistic just record the moment. Make that picture the beginning picture of every year you add in your memory book.
Tip #10 – Throw a party. Open your home up to friends and loved ones, neighbors and colleges. Let your children be an integral part in the planning of the event. It doesn’t need to take tons of money, just a little forethought. Make it a potluck or experiment with a progressive dinner. Inviting people into your home allows your children to participate in a larger sense of the season. Make your home a haven that busy travelers can rest in. Use this time to build into your families relationships with those you are connected with. It will be a gift that lasts throughout the year.
These tips take a little time and preparation but the memories gained will far out weigh the work put into them. Remember, these are memories that will last a life time. Slow down this Christmas season and savor every moment, because in the end, your children will rarely remember what they got for Christmas. They will remember what you did as a family and your thoughtful Christmas tradition.
Amber Bishop is the co-founder of http://www.smartmoms-smartbusiness.com and http://www.smartmoms.freeforums.org online resources for work at home moms. She is also the owner of http://www.homeschool-diva.com She stays home and home schools her three children while building a successful home based business.