It’s that time of the year, a happy chaos filled with tree hunting, decorating, parties and of course shopping for gifts on Santa’s list. But let’s take a moment, step back a little bit, to think about how we can make the holidays more meaningful for our children, so it’s not just about presents under the tree.
Traditions are a beautiful way to create your children’s future memories. You aren’t only bringing back memories of your own holidays past, but you are helping your children build up their own store of holiday memories that they will someday share with their own children.
1. Tell stories of your family’s holidays when you were growing up
Ask your children, even very young children, to tell their stories. Their few years may not seem like very long to old, old parents like us, but every year for a child is a rich store of memories. Some children love to start marathon storytelling session with “I remember when. . . .” Try to stretch their memories by telling them your stories, your parents’ stories, and any older family stories you know.
2. Choose decorations together
Ask everyone to brainstorm, plan, make, and decorate. We enjoy ourselves more when our opinions are needed and valued. Children can become attached to particular decorations. They can use the years of accumulated extras to decorate their own rooms. Everyone needs evergreens and fairy lights.
If you have a guitar, piano or another instrument, play music together and teach your children holiday songs. If you aren’t so musical, put on a recording or your favorite holiday YouTube channel or iTunes download and sing along. Some beautiful holiday songs are 50s/60s lounge jazz versions of classics. Perhaps this isn’t what you would normally listen to, but it may bring back childhood memories of your parents’ cool jazz stations when you were growing up. Find your favorites and sing and dance to those holiday songs.
4. Go outside
Revel in the cooler weather. If you live in colder climates, play in the snow, build a snowman, build a slide, chase the dog. Run around until you are so cold you can’t laugh anymore, then come back indoors for a warm drink. In warmer climates, find the street with the most lights and take in its colorful splendor, let the young kids stay up a little later; have a holiday themed picnic on the beach.
5. Fill your house with holiday smells
Whether you light a pine or bayberry candle, keep a pot of wassail (yummy hot apple cider recipe) on the stove spreading that spicy apple, cinnamon and clove scent, or make your own peppermint cookies, smells are very evocative. Scents will help all of you make and bring back memories.
Of course there are so many more wonderful ways to create special meaning for the holidays. What are some traditions you do for the holidays season? What memories and values do you want to share with your family?
About the Writer
Sarka Kocicka is co-founder of MumRadar and lives in California with her husband and two daughters, age 3 and 1. Born in Brno, Czech Republic, Sarka migrated to Toronto and later Vancouver, where she met her husband and moved around the world – New York City, Tampa, Seoul, San Francisco, Singapore, Australia, Bali and recently back stateside to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sarka is a yoga teacher, writer, drummer and lover of wine, channeled into the wildest adventure balancing parenting and the MumRadar mobile app. She is thrilled to be part of the MumRadar community, helping mothers all over the world connect, share and make motherhood fun.