When we think of Christmas we often think of the many traditions that surround the holiday. If you are part of a new family or wanting to change up your Christmas celebration by adding some meaningful traditions to your Christmas, there are numerous ideas to be found. Yet before you go completely changing your holiday celebration, keep in mind the following points:
•The size of your family. While many traditions that you may want to include in your family are worthwhile, some may just not be doable due to the size of your family. Traditions that are heavily labor intensive like charity work or even cutting down a fresh Christmas tree often require the stamina and help of several adults. If your family doesn’t fit this dynamic don’t be discouraged; it may one day, just not now.
•The ages of the family members involved. Children may not want to sit quietly through a lengthy Christmas pageant or sit back and watch hand-blown ornaments being put on the tree. If you want to include an adult type tradition into your celebration try to think of something similar for the kids. For example, while the adults unpack and hang Grandma’s heirloom ornaments, the kids can keep busy decorating sugar cookie ornaments that can be hung on another tree.
•The time involved in the new tradition. We all enter the holiday with the best of intentions but time is always at a premium: especially where families are involved. If the new tradition you want to include in your family celebration is something that may entail several hours, days or even weeks, perhaps just focus on that one alone and streamline everything else. Christmas should be a time of celebration in the joy of being together, not a rigid schedule of have to get done items.
•Finally, consider what is meaningful to you and your family. Look around at where you live-is there something in the surrounding area that is unique and special to your family? Consider your own personal heritage; many families enjoy learning about the Christmas traditions of their forefathers, especially if they have emigrated from another country. Most of all, relax if your new tradition doesn’t work out exactly as planned; it will only become another treasured Christmas memory.
So with that in mind here are a few treasured family Christmas traditions that perhaps can become part of your own Christmas celebration.
•This works especially well in families with young children. Starting on December 1st choose a Christmas story or poem to read every night until Christmas Eve when the perfect choice becomes “The Night before Christmas”. You could add singing around the piano and hot chocolate for a perfect finish!
•Consider having a unique food that is special to your family. Some families have said eating pizza or having a picnic by the Christmas tree is a special time for them. One California family reports donuts and hot chocolate on their patio is a unique Christmas tradition for them. No matter where you live or what the weather is, you can come up with a special holiday meal that has something that your family loves.
•If your beliefs include the religious observation of Christmas, try to plan special family traditions to reflect this. Many families say that attending worship services together is a highpoint of Christmas traditions while others simply include participants who dress up as members of the Nativity while the Christmas story is read.
•See if your family can participate in charity work as a Christmas tradition. Depending on the ages of your family, you may be able to work in a soup kitchen, volunteer at a shelter or hospital, or even visit those in a nursing home who are often forgotten at that time of year. It may be the tradition you come to cherish most of all.