Creating Holiday Traditions

As a parent, I’ve come to appreciate some of the traditions I thought were a little monotonous in my younger years. I’ve carried on toting my kid dressed in his holiday PJs for a long drive in search of Christmas lights. We’ve continued to take off of work and decorate outdoors every Black Friday, without fail. When we decorate, I put out an old snowman blow mold and take a photo of my son standing with it. I carried this old snowman from Pennsylvania with me, and even though he’s a little out of his element in Georgia, I will continue to place him on the front porch every year. It’s important to me to keep these traditions alive for a few reasons.

After my Grandmother died, these traditions assigned a bit of holiday responsibility to my Mom. She knew my Grandmother would want us to celebrate, despite mourning her death. These traditions helped to push us through a hard time for our family. The traditions keep her memory alive throughout the decades. Traditions also leave something to look forward to, like the ugly, light-up sweater my Aunt Debbie wears every year. One year, we will miss the laughs from that raggedy old sweater.  Traditions don’t need to be elaborate or expensive. Small traditions, like always wearing new PJs on Christmas, provide comfort with expectation and regularity.

If you don’t have any traditions for your holidays, it’s pretty easy to start one! Just think of something your family would naturally enjoy doing, and repeat it every year.  Since creating my own family, I’ve started new traditions, too. As a couple, we put our son to bed early to get ready for Santa. We watch Christmas movies, sip holiday drinks and curse each other for buying a toy with so many pieces. I’ve also started inviting my niece and nephew over each year to decorate Gingerbread houses and sugar cookies. My hopes are these traditions will build a stronger family foundation for my son and give him vivid memories to carry on with his own family.

We asked our readers for some of their favorite holiday traditions. Here are some of the traditions they enjoy doing every holiday season:   

“Each Thanksgiving morning we watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade while eating a Jolly Jingle Breakfast, complete with pancakes decorated as Santa Claus. This is the same day we decorate our tree and our elves return!” –Linley, Phenix City, AL 

“We have a holiday picture ornament made every year after Christmas to have for the next year. We also purchase an ornament that reflects our children’s interests for the year. I look forward to seeing our decorated “timeline” trees when my kids are adults.” –Beki, Kennesaw, GA

“Even though my kids are still young, participating in the March of Dimes Night Walk at Fantasy in Lights is our tradition. Last year I was five months pregnant and pushing my then 1.5 year old in a stroller for the 7-mile trek. I look forward to taking them to play in the faux snow and snack on funnel cakes again this year!” –Brette, Columbus, GA 

“We started using Portable North Polar several years ago to get personalized phone calls or video messages sent to our kids. Since we move a lot with the Army, it has been wonderful to have this tradition follow us anywhere, no matter if Dad is deployed, TDY or home!”  -Diana, Fort Benning GA