Enjoy family Christmas traditions together during this most wonderful time of the year. Start one or more of these Christmas traditions with your children so they can enjoy them with their own kids.
1. Teach the True Meaning of ChristmasOne of the most valuable lessons you can teach your children is the true meaning of Christmas. This tradition can get everyone in the Christmas spirit early on.
Read books about the true meaning of Christmas, attend plays or visit a live nativity scene. Taking the time to teach kids the true meaning of Christmas makes the day more about the many blessings your family has received rather than everyone being focused on presents, presents, presents.
2. Bring Home an Elf on the ShelfThe Elf on the Shelf is fun for both kids and their parents. Most families bring out the elf on Thanksgiving night or shortly after. Once you read the story book that comes with your elf, parents place the elf in new places every night. Each morning, your children go on the hunt for the elf and they can find him doing everything from playing with your kids' toys to taking a bubble bath in marshmallows.
The point of the Elf on the Shelf is that your elf flies to the North Pole every night to report to Santa Claus about your children's behavior for the day. Then he flies back to your home and sits in a new spot to watch your kids the next day. He flies away on Christmas Eve and doesn't return until the next Christmas season.
3. Help Others During the HolidaysChristmas is a great time to get your family involved in charity work. Donate your family's time to local charities to help ring the bell at the kettle to raise money, pack food boxes to be distributed to families in need or serve meals on Christmas at the local soup kitchen. Clean out your closets and get your children ready for new Christmas presents by donating their gently used toys, clothes they no longer wear and your family's household items to a local charity.
If time and goods aren't a possibility for your family this year, encourage your children to dig into their piggy banks and everyone can chip in to make a monetary donation. Or buy gifts that give back at Christmas so your loved ones get a beautiful gift and the proceeds go to charitable causes.
4. Pick Out Your Tree at a Christmas Tree FarmEven if you don't have a Christmas tree farm close by, it's worth the time to take your family on a drive to one. This Christmas tradition is full of great memories for your entire family.
Not only can you pick your Christmas tree from the very place it grew, you can also have someone take your family's picture every year at the farm. As your children grow, you'll have a wonderful keepsake of your kids as you've all picked out the perfect tree.
5. Decorate TogetherFrom the tree to the outside of the house, make sure everyone gets involved in decorating for Christmas. Even little ones can help decorate the tree. Just get shatterproof ornaments and hooks that are covered in a rubbery-like material to protect fingers from sharp edges.
For the outside of your house, kids can help you untangle those strands of outdoor lights. They can then be a good helper from the ground as you climb the ladder to hang the lights.
6. Encourage Family Reading TimeWith so many Christmas books available, you could read a new one every day to your kids. Block off time every day or night to read a Christmas book together with your children.
A book a day gets everyone excited about Christmas weeks before the big day arrives. Be sure to get books that are age-appropriate for younger readers so everyone can take turns reading.
7. Go to a Christmas ParadeEveryone loves a parade, especially at Christmas. Many cities have an official Christmas tree lighting followed by a parade.
Circle the date on your calendar so you can watch the program, which usually features local students singing, playing instruments and a special word from your city's mayor or governor. The tree lighting follows and then kids can enjoy the city's parade, complete with candy and Santa's grand arrival.
8. Look at LightsPick a night or two that your family will drive around and look at Christmas lights together. Not only is this a Christmas tradition kids will remember as they grow into adults, it's also a good activity right before bed.
TV stations usually feature houses with Christmas lights or even entire neighborhoods that have decorated their homes for Christmas. Call or watch your favorite station to find the best places to visit for Christmas light viewing so you're not driving around all night only to find a handful of houses that are lit up.
9. Make Christmas PicturesThere's no better time to get the family together for a family photo than at Christmas. Book a session at the local portrait studio to get photos of everyone in their Christmas outfits. Or simply get the whole family to the mall to get an annual family photo with Santa.
With your family's busy schedule, it's hard to get everyone together for a family photo. Having an annual photo tradition at Christmas guarantees you'll have at least one family photo with everyone each year.
10. Cook and Bake TogetherThe big meals. The yummy sweets. You probably spend a lot of time in the kitchen around Christmas time. Bring your kids into the kitchen to cook and bake with you this Christmas. All that time in front of the stove is more fun with little helpers and kids love to help.
Younger children can help stir. Older kids can measure the right amount of ingredients. Your kids will take great pride in the food and sweets they've helped prepare and you'll get some quality time with your family at the same time.