His, Mine and Ours: How to Combine and Create Family Holiday Traditions
My husband and I are used to celebrating the holidays a little bit differently. Now we are figuring out how we want to celebrate with our children.
As a young child, I thought everyone celebrated the holidays the same way we did. It was the world I knew. It made sense to me. The reality is, there are lots of different traditions families participate in. My husband and I have been trying to sort out which traditions to keep or add. We didn’t grow up with drastically different ways of celebrating, so it hasn’t been too difficult, but we need to figure it out now that our oldest is 3-years-old.
Pre-kids, we mostly had to figure out the family visitation rotation since my family lives farther away. We never made a big deal about decorating or when to exchange gifts. Now we have an excited little girl who couldn’t wait to help daddy put the tree up and put the star on herself! So we considered the activities we enjoyed the most or wished we could have done as kids.
One of the traditions we are continuing from my husband’s family is St. Nick. It wasn’t something I was familiar with growing up, but it is quite common in the Milwaukee area. On the evening of December 5th, Saint Nicholas leaves little treats in your shoes (There is much more meaning and connection with the spirit of giving). For some families he is the same as Santa Claus, for others he is a different man.
One tradition we are continuing from my family is picking out one gift each to open on Christmas Eve. I can already tell my daughter cannot wait to open her presents, so this will be a fun way to spend the night before the total present craziness on Christmas morning. I think it releases and builds anticipation at the same time!
Some of the holiday traditions we are creating together include:
- holiday movie nights with hot chocolate
- making cookies and a gingerbread house
- making ornaments/decorations
- taking our yearly family picture
- adopting a family in need/donating new toys
We are still navigating how exactly to handle the whole Santa experience. For example, my husband received gifts wrapped in different paper than the rest and marked from Santa. Mine were in the same paper but without any tags; sometimes they were hidden around the living room for me to find.
As the kids grow older, our traditions will evolve and some will be passed down to their kids. We want the holidays to be happy, joyous and giving so we are focused on keeping and creating those types of traditions. What is your favorite family holiday tradition?
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