Several years ago, I sat my husband down and told him I was concerned our family did not have enough holiday traditions. I imagined our children as adults in therapy, where a counselor would gently inform them that all their troubles could be traced back to lackluster childhood holidays. (My husband tried his best to keep a straight face.) So then I tried to force holiday traditions, which led to cranky kids and frustrated parents.
The traditions our family loves now developed naturally, almost by accident, as the best ones often do. Here are some of our favorites:
• Tree lighting – We always kick off the season at the Wayne tree lighting. When Santa rolls down North Wayne Avenue atop a firetruck, all seems right with the world.
• Elf on the Shelf – Definitely a high-maintenance tradition, but my kids are obsessed. Don’t even ask how many times I’ve woken up in a panic, realizing I forgot to hide our elf. (My husband never has this problem.)
• Giving back – Every holiday season we try to do something charitable as a family. This year we “adopted” a child via the Upper Main Line YMCA’s Angel Tree.
• Christmas Eve at Christopher’s – We randomly stopped by Christopher’s for dinner one year after church and had such a fun time (as much fun as you can have dining with small children) that it’s become a tradition.
• Book at the end of the bed – Santa always leaves a book at the end of your bed before he heads back up the chimney, the theory being that when the kids wake up super early on Christmas morning, the book will keep them occupied until a reasonable hour.
What are your favorite holiday traditions? We’d love to hear! (Leave a comment below)