Old, new, tried-and-true: every year, families across the globe come together to ring in the holidays with their own unique blend of traditions. This season, in an effort to take a slightly different approach to celebrating, Sara Arrington, Tea mom and blogger of Little Bits of Us, is here to share her list of ten holiday traditions to try.
Happy December, friends! I can’t believe we are already here. I wont lie to y’all, as much as I love the holidays, I tend to find myself feeling pretty stressed this time of year. Like many families, this year we’ve decided to take a more ‘minimalist’ approach to gifts for our girls, Lilly and Piper. Taking a more simple approach has relieved so much pressure off of both my husband Austin and me, and is making us more mindful about how we spend this season. I began thinking about ways we can continue to create fun traditions with lasting memories, while shifting the focus from gifting to giving. Here are a few of our existing family traditions and new ones we will be incorporating this year.
ONE: Baking cookies is a popular family tradition this time of year, but last year we decided to bake cookies, not only for ourselves, but also for our neighbors. The girls loved getting their hands dirty making the cookies, but I actually think they loved walking around the neighborhood giving them away even more.
TWO: Instead of spending tons of money on the perfect holiday card to send to friends and family, take advantage of your little artists and make your own. I can promise you Grandma and Grandpa would rather hold on to something that was made special just for them.
THREE: Cutting down your own tree has always been one of my favorite traditions, but with Austin’s deployment schedule, this year was the first Christmas since having the girls that we were able to go out to get a real one. This mama may have shed a tear or two on the Christmas Tree Farm.
FOUR: This year, we will also be starting a new tradition to really show the girls the importance of giving. Taking the pressure off giving Lilly and Piper so much has given us the idea to take some of our freed up energy and resources and give to other children. The girls will be picking out gifts to give to a child in need.
FIVE: Last year, we took the girls on a Polar Express themed train ride. I can’t even put into words just how special that night was. Whether it be zoo lights, a train ride, or some other event, I truly think there is something so magical about taking a holiday-themed adventure with just your family.
SIX: Picking out festive pajamas or outfits for the holidays is also a fun tradition when you have little ones. This year, the girls are wearing matching darling tulle dresses and cozy bear socks from Tea. We’re big fans of their adorable clothing, not only as fun outfits for our girls, but as gifts for all the littles in our lives.
SEVEN: This year, Austin and I started our own tradition of making the girls’ Advent calendar on our own. Every day, the girls will have a new bag with a little surprise we picked out for them. I love that we were able to customize it to their personalities, and I hope when they are adults they look back and smile knowing the effort their mom and dad put into making December a special month for them.
EIGHT: Gingerbread houses! A fun and easy weeknight activity to do as a family, it can be as simple as picking up a kit from the store, or you can go all out and make yours from scratch. I mean, let’s be honest, I have no idea how that works, but that’s what Pinterest is for!
NINE: We love to take the girls driving around on Christmas Eve to look at the lights while we wait for the holiday festivities to begin at Grandma’s. Austin and I have done this since before we had kids, and every year as the girls get older, it becomes more and more fun. We usually take a cup of hot chocolate and a little snack in tow to make it extra special.
TEN: I also try and make a special meal every year for Christmas Day. Honestly, I haven’t found the perfect one to commit to our family’s traditions, but there’s just something about waking up to presents and a home-cooked breakfast that makes the day extra festive. Food carries such special memories and is one of the easiest ways to create a tradition.
Whether lighting the Kinara, spinning the dreidel or decorating the tree, tell us how you holiday! Take a moment to share your family’s favorite seasonal customs and traditions in the comments below.