Why It’s Not Too Late to Create New Holiday Traditions
When my big kids were little, I never thought much about creating lasting traditions with them. For the first few years, holidays usually involved traveling to grandparents’ for the big family experience. By the time we got home from the long travels, our celebration at home fizzled out. We didn’t have much else that we did consistently year after year.
When my oldest daughter was two, my husband started working in the oilfield. After that, we didn’t always celebrate much anyways until long after Christmas because we waited for my husband to get home from his hitch. By that point, I had my own business to run, and holiday traditions fell by the wayside. I tried to fit in whatever I could in between work commitments and being at the shop itself. About the only consistent thing we did was the elf thing. The kids loved their elf and couldn’t wait to see what hi jinx awaited.
However, that changed for good when my husband got a position as a manager at his current company. With my chronic illness, I no longer had the shop, and he came home every night for work instead of being gone for weeks at a time. Last year, my husband cooked a traditional Polish Christmas Eve dinner, something that his family did as a tradition. We tried cooking it in years past, but with him being gone and the one knowing most of the recipes, it wasn’t something I could really do on my own. We also added a few other things too: Christmas Family Jammies and Advent Calendars.
The whole thing with the Advent calendar started because I saw these really neat ones at my local Aldi filled with American Girl toys and Hot Wheels. I figured the big kids might find it a bit hokey, but I thought it would be fun. Miss Crankles was super big into discovering candy, so I got her a Disney chocolate calendar. They turned into super huge hits! Needless to say, I decided we should keep doing it. Several months ago, I spotted a Barbie one and set it back for Miss Crankles. Then I snagged some chocolate ones for the big kids. My son tries to act like he is too cool for EVERYTHING. However, he does not pass up the opportunity to get his daily chocolate. My older daughter turned it into a whole ritual. She and Miss Crankles get up and search for the elf. When they find the elf, they go to the Christmas Countdown snowman that I bought when Bubby was a baby and turn it to the correct number. Then she gets her chocolate and helps her sister find the correct date for hers. It is actually quite endearing, and I love it!
If you have followed me for a minute, you know we elf here and elf hard. With the big two phasing out of that stage, and Miss Crankles just starting, I get to start the whole process over again. However, we have a lot of fun with it. Miss Crankles does not like it when he does something naughty. I tried the whole “lipstick on the mirror” thing, and she yelled at the elf and threatened to call the North Pole on him. Needless to say, we have kept to simple and/or educational after that!
One tradition we started when Bubby was a baby was looking at holiday lights. We still do that as a family a couple times a season. If given the opportunity, we like to look at some of the bigger displays, like the Blaze of Lights in Bluffton, OH. However, we have a cute display at the Boardman Park here that we love to drive through as well.
My big kids usually got new jammies at Christmastime, but never coordinating ones. However, two years ago, I decided that I really wanted to get the kids all matching pajamas. Then last year, I couldn’t help but get coordinating ones for me and my husband. We officially turned into that dorky family that wears matching jammies on Christmas. I thought the big kids would find it silly. However, I was proved wrong this weekend when my husband and I came home with our selections for this year! The kids can’t wait to wear the new sets we picked. Last year was a Mickey Mouse theme. This year is all plaid. My husband and I have coordinating “Mama Bear” and “Papa Bear” ones. The best part was that even though it was a bit of a gamble, we got them all on sale and paid less than $50 for the whole kit and caboodle! While a lot of places have started to sell out, if you are looking for them, you can still get some on Amazon if you hurry!
These things sound so simple and maybe slightly cringy to some, but even though some of these are fairly new to our household, they are now things ALL the kids look forward to even though the older kids had several years without some of these. Making traditions is important, even if they are hokey or as simple as doing holiday cookies (which is actually on the schedule for this week here). They don’t have to be over the top, they just need to be something you all enjoy.
Do you have any holiday traditions? If so, what are they? If not, what do you want to try adding this year? As always, I look forward to hearing from you…either here or on social media!