A lot can happen in the span of a year. People move, get married, have babies. People come into our lives, and go out of them. We start new jobs, and leave old ones behind. We adjust to new ways of life. But, even in a season of perpetual change, what often remains are our traditions.
What comes to mind when you think of your holiday traditions growing up? Was it putting up the tree the day after Thanksgiving? Maybe it was St. Nick dropping off goodies on December 6th. Or was it watching It’s a Wonderful Life every year on Christmas Eve?
Whatever your traditions were, there’s something magical about recreating them with a family of your own. But there’s also something to be said about creating new traditions. So where do you start?
Combine Your Childhood Traditions
Growing up, my family’s Christmas Eve tradition was to go out to dinner at Outback Steakhouse. As a military child, I lived in what felt like a million different cities, but Outback seemed to be the one thing they all had in common. We had to have gone more than 10 years in a row after my dad joined the Air Force, and although years have passed since my parents last went to an Outback on Christmas Eve (now opting for fancier local restaurants in their permanent town), it’s a tradition I look back on fondly.
My husband, on the other hand, grew up eating Chinese takeout at home on Christmas Eve. It was a tradition inspired by his grandfather who didn’t celebrate Christmas but gave a nod to the day by ordering out and then going to a movie.
Today, we’ve combined our two traditions. This year will be our 4th year dining out at P.F. Chang’s. It’s something that we look forward to every December and over time, I hope our little ones will come to do the same!
Put a New Spin on Old Traditions
Every year right around the start of the holiday season, my dad would leave my mom and I to go deer hunting with his brothers. She would make a big deal out of the time when it was just the two of us and we would celebrate with a holiday movie, Coca-Cola in the glass bottles, and all the popcorn and chocolate we wanted. The Santa Clause, Home Alone, and Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer were our go-tos.
As the years passed, the movies changed (here’s looking at you, 2003. Elf is now in the permanent rotation of our holiday movie selection), our family grew with the addition of my brothers, and my dad joined in on more of the movie nights. We changed the official date of our yearly event to the day after Thanksgiving. It became the cherry on top of a full day spent hanging Christmas lights, putting up the tree, and decorating the house.
Today, with 3 small kids of my own and my parents living half the year in another state, I’ve kept the tradition loosely alive.
Instead of a Christmas movie the day after Thanksgiving, my toddlers get to enjoy a Christmas book. They get tucked in with a reading of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! – during which my husband does his best Boris Karloff impression. Then, when all is quiet, my husband and I sneak downstairs to watch the latest cheesy holiday movie on Netflix.
It’s a new twist on an old tradition that one day, as our kids’ attention spans grow, we will introduce to them – bottles of Coca-Cola and all. :-)
Start with Something Brand New
If you’re looking to start from scratch with creating a holiday tradition, we can help, too! Our holiday Kids Journals are fun for kids to do year after year.
They’re packed with simple prompts about plans for the holiday season, favorite memories, traditions, and more! We love using these journals as an annual holiday party activity, or as a tradition to kick off the holiday season.
Share with Us
What are your favorite holiday traditions? We’d love to hear how your family celebrates the holiday season or what you did as a kid. Send us a DM on Instagram @TesseraMemoryBooks or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And when the holiday season comes to an end, don’t forget to record the highlights in your Christmas Memories Book. With pages to record 8 years of memories, it’s the perfect keepsake to capture the magic of the holiday season! Need memory keeping tips? Check out our blog post on How to Organize Holiday Memories.