If this year will be your first holiday season as a parent, it’s bound to be especially memorable. But, it can also feel a little daunting as you try to establish new traditions that can continue as your child grows. After all, what are the right traditions to choose?
Not to worry – we’ve collected some options for you to consider adopting or to serve as inspiration for your family. Don’t let the stress get to you! You can always build on traditions from year to year, or nix ones that didn’t feel quite right. You’re certainly not locked in — you’ll find the ones that are just right for your family over time.
1. Eat, drink, and be merry
Lots of families enjoy having some food-related traditions this time of year, such as special breakfast foods on Christmas morning (cinnamon rolls – yum!) or meals on Christmas Eve. Growing up, my Southern family always had barbeque on Christmas Eve, and it was something we looked forward to in a big way. Try creating your own special and unique family meals around the holiday.
2. Deck the halls
Consider developing traditions around getting your home ready for the holidays. You can make an event of getting your tree or maybe even finding a spot where you can cut one down yourselves, and then create a fun routine around its decoration. For example, a friend of mine says she and her family have breakfast for dinner, listen to Christmas music and drink hot chocolate while decorating their tree each year. Cute, right?
3. Incorporate your culture
Do you or your partner have cultural roots that you’d like to make part of your holidays? This could mean incorporating a bit of both your families’ traditions into one or even researching to find new ones that are specific to your heritages. You can always borrow traditions you like from a few cultures, and even create one all your own in the process.
4. Get moving
Holidays have a tendency to revolve around food, which is always important and fun, but consider emphasizing health during this time of year by scheduling a family hike or cross-country ski outing (depending on your area’s climate!) on or around the holiday events.
5. Give back
Make giving top of mind by finding ways to plug into your community this time of year, and then lock those in as traditions. Ideas include: purchasing gifts for a local child through the Salvation Army Angel Tree program or volunteering at a local Ronald McDonald House to give back to families who have sick children over the holidays.