Planning Your Christmas Traditions

There are a great many Christmas traditions during the holidays, big and small. They don't have to be a big ordeal, they just have to be something special to you. Some are rooted in religious beliefs, others are just there because that's what you've always done and they mean something to you.

Christmas traditions are special in that they get carried down over the years from generation to generation. They remind you of your past and connect you with your family, even when you can't be with them.

What kind of traditions do you have? What kinds of things do you like to do every year to make special memories?

Here are some things that my family enjoys doing:

Special Movies

We pull out the holiday DVD's and decide what we want to watch during the holiday season. It's amazing how some of those movies just never get old! And even more amazing, there have been some really fun movies that have come out in the past few years that we've put on our annual viewing list.

See the Lights

Another Christmas tradition for us is to make a special point to go for a walk down our street one evening after dinner to see all the holiday lights up close. The kids enjoy it and so do us adults. It certainly puts you in the holiday spirit to see the wonderful lights. If you don't live in a decorated area, you can always take a drive to somewhere that is.

Holiday Festival

Near us, there is a Christmas in the City celebration that goes on downtown. We've made that a new Christmas tradition starting a couple years ago. It's a wonderful display of holiday cheer. And my daredevil son loves the carnival rides that are set up the street as well. It's a great day of fond memories.

Visit Santa

We make a visit to see Santa sometime before Christmas as well. It's always nice to see his jolly face before the big holiday! Well, my little daughter doesn't think so... she ends up in tears, but I'm sure she'll come around!

Bake Cookies

Another Christmas tradition we share is to bake cookies. Even though we deal with a long list of food allergies, we find a way to bake some special cookies. It's so much fun cooking together as a family, and the kids enjoy helping and decorating them.

Cookies for Santa

Before bed, my kids set out cookies and milk for Santa. It's such a small thing to do, but I will never forget the first year my son did it. He was not quite 3 years old. He set it all out by the fireplace with special care and then he plopped himself on the floor. He said he was going to sit there and wait. We had to explain that Santa doesn't come until you're asleep in bed. It really was so cute. I have to say, having kids has totally increased the amount of holiday cheer around our house. They really make the holiday what it is for me.

Anything Goes!

What kinds of things do you enjoy doing every year? What kinds of things did you do when you were growing up that maybe you have not done in a long time? It would be fun to restore some old traditions to your holidays. Or start some new ones! What would you like to do for the holidays as a tradition?

Planning It All In

As you can see, even my small list of traditions can take up some time during the holidays. So to make sure we don't miss anything I do the following. I make a list of all the things we want to do during the holidays, including other "non tradition" things we might want to do. Then I sit down with the calendar and start plotting it all out to make sure everything fits. Don't over schedule the fun though because another important holiday tradition is just to relax and enjoy your family and friends.

Keeping Memories

You will certainly want to capture some of these events on camera or video to preserve them for the future. Be sure your camera batteries are charged up and you have plenty of film, memory or tapes on hand ready to go at any time, to capture those special moments. My kids are only two and four and I can't believe how many wonderful photos and videos we have of them and how quickly they change. Thank goodness for digital cameras!!!

I hope that these ideas help you with some of your own traditions and that you have a wonderful holiday full of memorable traditions!

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