Celebrating Christmas with my children is a joyful event for me each year. Like many moms, I love sharing wonderful holiday traditions with my kids and I try my best to foster their natural excitement for Kris Kringle, sleigh bells and—let’s face it—all the beautifully wrapped presents under the tree!
Each family keeps the holiday enchantment alive for their toddlers and preschoolers in their own personal way. Are you ready to begin special traditions for your own budding family or looking to add a little sparkle to your holiday cheer? Enjoy some of these merry ways other moms have kept the Christmas magic brewing for their little ones.
Surprise Them with Holiday Cheer
Jennifer James of Chapel Hill, North Carolina considers it a thrill for her husband and her to create an extra special Christmas in their house, and it all begins on Thanksgiving afternoon. After a big family dinner, Jennifer’s parents take her girls, Annlyel, 6 and Aila, 3, to their house for some “special time” with Grandma and Grandpa. Back at her house, Jennifer and her husband bring out all of the Christmas decorations and put up their tree. “When we bring them back in the evening, the tree is up and waiting for them,” Jennifer explains. “We only use silver and white ornaments and lights so it really shimmers. The girls love it!”
Focus on Family Time
Despite the craziness of shopping, decorating, baking, and cooking that often proceeds Christmas, sharing family time together creates lasting memories unique to the season. Lisa Kaeser of Garrett Park, Maryland has continued a tradition that began when she was a child. Every Christmas Eve, the Kaesers have a family picnic in front of the fireplace. “We listen to carols and I do a Christmas reading,” she explains. “It's a wonderful way for us to wind down from what has been a crazy time, and at least gives us a fighting chance of getting to sleep,” Lisa says.
Answer Tricky Questions Carefully
Most parents anticipate that, at some age, their child will ask the much-dreaded question: “Is there really a Santa Claus?” Because it’s anticipated, we are usually prepared to reflect that question back to them by asking, “Honey, what do you think?” and encouraging them to sort out their own feelings about the jolly old elf. But, what about those other, less anticipated, inquiries?
On Christmas Eve when I was tucking my then three-year-old daughter, Abigail, into bed she asked, “Mommy, how do reindeer fly?” I thought I was responding creatively when I explained that they run very, very fast and leap into the air. But then she hit me with, “But they don’t have wings so how do they stay up there?” I struggled, not knowing quite what to say and, at that time, it didn’t occur to me to reflect the question back to her. Instead, I did what I usually do. When in doubt, I try to attribute the unknown and unexplainable to magic, and then I quickly dashed out of the room before she could hit me with another question!