Create Family Holiday Traditions

by Nancy Schneider, PHEc, M.Sc., C.I.M.

I don’t know about you, but for me, the holidays always seem to sneak up. December seems so far away and then all of a sudden it’s Christmas!

Now is the time to start planning ways to get your children involved in the preparation of the holidays. If you don’t currently have any traditions you may want to take the time to create some. Traditions help to have everyone involved in the holiday season, and provide some structure to a very busy time.

Here are some suggestions of ways to involve your children in preparing for the holidays, and create your own family traditions.

Family Photo

Photos let us reconnect with family, see how everyone has changed, and give us a snapshot in time memory. Taking a photo every year provides an annual record of how people look. It is fun to look back at these and see the hair styles and clothing choices.

To make the photos even more special, how about letting the children take turns planning the family photo. This can include choosing the setting, props and perhaps even the clothing (or at least suggest colours or styles).

Not only will you end up with some very creative photos, but you’ll also have some very proud children as they display “their” photo.


Adopt a neighbor

Everyone knows at least one person who is by themselves or has family far away. This may be a neighbor, someone from a group you belong to, or perhaps a single parent from your child’s class. Why not “adopt” them for the holidays? Encourage the children to make cards, gifts, or perhaps even some baking. Sharing these gifts during December (not just on Christmas) will bring joy to you, your family, and the person receiving the gift.

You can continue with the same person year after year, or choose to “adopt” a new person each year. That is a decision your family can make together.


Create an ornament

Every year in early December have each child create an ornament. Make sure you put the year on it as well as the child’s name.   The ornament need not be just for a tree, but can be a wreath, candle holder, or anything else you think of. You may want to do different ornaments for each child, or work on similar ones for all.

When the child is older and moving out, you can send the ornaments with them! They will have a wonderful collection of ornaments, but also of Christmas memories with their family.

These are just a few suggestions of ways you can create traditions for you and your family. Following traditions will help your family deal with the hustle and bustle of the season.

Happy Holidays!

 Nancy is a Professional Home Economist and has held management, administrative, and instructional appointments with the University of Manitoba. Her educational background includes child development, communication, human resources, and management. She has experience working with pre-schoolers and their families, university students, as well as adult learners.