5 Holiday Traditions to Bring Your Family Closer Together

5 Holiday Traditions to Bring Your Family Closer Together

By Lauren Redding at Three Little Ducklings | threelittleducklings.com


Last year, in anticipation of the month of December, I planned a full calendar of activities. I made a list of 25 Christmas activities (one per day) that we could do, including making ornaments, baking cookies, and creating crafts.


By day 4, I had given up. I had lost my patience with the messes and the planning. In my efforts to create a magical holiday season for my kids, I had lost the magic for myself. I looked around and realized that in my overplanning of fun and activities, I had actually overlooked the most important thing: intentional time with my family. My kids weren’t going to remember all the things we made or bought, but they would remember when I spent purposeful, quality time with them.


Here is a list of six activities that can bring your family closer together this holiday season.


1. Let your child pick a gift for each family member

When my oldest daughter was three, my husband took her shopping to pick out a gift for me. She chose kitchen scissors. About a month before, mine had broken, and she remembered that I needed new ones. I was surprised that my young daughter could pick out such a kind and thoughtful gift. These gifts don’t have to be expensive. You could pick out a favorite candy or a silly pair of socks with their favorite animal on them. Have your child help you wrap the gifts. Teaching your child how to gladly give gifts fosters a giving heart.


2. Decorate a gingerbread house together

This is a great activity to foster teamwork (or maybe friendly competition) with your family. Your kids will be so excited to show off their beautiful gingerbread creations. You could buy a kit or just DIY with graham crackers (or even Pop Tarts!) instead of gingerbread. Use icing in quart sized bags and cut a very small corner off to more easily pipe it onto your gingerbread house. You could use whatever you have in your pantry, like animal crackers, raisins, pretzel sticks, marshmallows, candy, and fruit snacks. Your kids will have the best time decorating (and eating) their houses. If your kids are young, make one house together as a family, but if your kids are older, you could make it a family competition. Make sure to include prizes for “Most Creative,” “Most Icing Used,” or “Most Candy Eaten.”

3. Sing Christmas carols together

Most nights leading up to Christmas, we all sit around the living room and sing Christmas songs. We each get a turn choosing a song. Sometimes the kids just listen to Mom and Dad sing, and sometimes they know the words and can sing along. They have learned a lot of new Christmas songs from this family time.This is a really sweet tradition with kids of all ages. Turn on the Christmas tree and light some candles to make it extra magical.


4. Interview family members on video

This would be a great New Year’s Eve activity. Create a list of questions to ask your kids (and grown ups too!) Begin with some introduction questions like name and age. Next, ask some questions about “favorites” like favorite color, song, and movie. Then, ask about highlights of the year. Younger kids might not be able to recall things from earlier in the year, so you could prompt them with questions like, “What did you dress up as for Halloween?” or “What is your teacher’s name?” I also like to ask my kids to sing a song or count to ten. They’re still young, though. With older kids, you could ask more age-appropriate questions like, “What was the highlight of your year?” or “What is a New Year’s Resolution for this year?” It’s so cute to look back on these, and your New Year’s Eve tradition could be to watch last year’s videos!


5. Come up with a family word of the year for 2021

Instead of a traditional resolution this year, think of a word or phrase that you want to be your family “motto” for the year. Your kids might not be able to be part of this conversation, but keep them in mind when coming up with the word. Do your kids need to work on sharing? Maybe your word could be, “Giving.” Does your life feel crazy with your kids running around you 24/7? Maybe your word could be, “Calm.” Then, make a plan. How can you make this word your focus this year? How can you use it in the lives of your kids? How can you use it in your personal relationships? Teach the word to your kids, explain what it means, and tell them that it is important to you. Parenthood is overwhelming, but focusing on one word makes it seem more manageable and helps you really figure out what is important to you.


I hope you can use these ideas with your family, and have a happy holiday season!

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