8 Memorable Christmas Traditions to start with your family this year!
My daughter came home one December day with a ceramic pickle and was all, “OK, let’s get this on the Christmas tree!”
That tradition started 8 years ago and carries on to this day (learn more about it below). There are many easy (wacky, fun, meaningful) traditions that you can start with your family during the holidays. They don’t require a ton of money (they shouldn’t) or time (although it’ll be the best time you ever spent). Here, steal some of these ideas.
1. The Christmas Pickle
The tradition goes like this: Leave the pickle ornament out for Santa, who then hides the pickle ornament somewhere on the tree. In the morning, the first person to find the pickle among the branches gets an extra gift, or gets to open the first gift, or whatever tradition you decide to go with. So silly, but so fun. Hot Tip: You can get a Christmas Pickle ornament at the Dollar Tree for a buck.
2. Tour of Lights & Christmas Tree Hunt
When I was young, we’d get in our pajamas and my parents drive us around town to look at all the amazing displays of lights on people’s homes. It was really fun to see the elegant white lights and wreaths to the inflatable lawn ornaments to the houses outlined with colored lights. Make it even more fun by bringing along some cocoa and snacks. Extra credit: Count how many Christmas trees can you spy through the homes’ windows!
3. Build a Gingerbread House
You can find Gingerbread House kits almost anywhere these days–and they’re getting even more durable and easier to build (which is great if you have little ones, or adults with little patience). Do a little Googling and find a gingerbread muse for decorating. SKC has a foolproof gingerbread house that’s guaranteed not to collapse. There are a few events where families can build gingerbread houses together–check our calendar.
As a culture, we generally buy and have way more than we need. Spread the wealth each season by “adopting a family”, child, elderly person, animal and more– you can find these requests from your local church, grocery stores, area charities, elderly facilities, etc. Make it a point to shop as a family and deliver as a family. Visit uwgs.org/holidayguide for a fantastic and comprehensive guide of available opportunities. A magical teaching moment to share with your kids.
5. Santa Hide-n-Seek
Similar to some Easter Bunnies, Santa likes to hide one gift for each of the children. He leaves a note with a helpful hint as to the location of this one special treat. The kids really get into this one. Great time to make yourself a mimosa!
6. Take a Breakfast Break
I started this tradition when my kids were young because “Christmas morning” (the presents, the stockings, the everything) was over by 7am. Now, after the kids open their Santa gifts and stockings, we take a break and eat the largest, gooiest, sweetest cinnamon rolls we can bake. After breakfast, we finish up with the gifts. It helps the kids to not get overwhelmed and prolongs that magical and delicious anticipation.
7. Ice Skating at Puddle Dock Pond
Now that we finally have a local outdoor ice skating facility on the Seacoast, it’s time to incorporate it into your holiday traditions. Puddle Dock at Strawbery Banke offers skate rentals and you can warm up with some hot cocoa and other goodies at the The Figtree Kitchen Café. There are plenty of Public Skate times, along with Kids and Family Pond Hockey. See for info.
8. Make a Family Time Capsule
Think of this as your family’s #tbt! As a family, write up some thoughts about the past year (i.e. favorite adventures, current interests) and include hopes and goals for the upcoming year. Add in a few pics or small memorable items and then stuff it in a drawer (don’t forget which one) and open up next year. So fun to see how things have changed just over a year’s time.