BY KRISTA EHRET
The Christmas season is, by far, the number one time of year when traditions reign supreme. We all have fond memories of times spent during our childhood and it only makes sense that we'd want to pass those on to our own kids. However, as families blend, grow and evolve, sometimes we have to create new traditions to either replace or coincide with the old.
Here are some of my favorites from past and present:
Baking Christmas Cookies.
I love to bake, and the holidays are the perfect excuse for Lyla and me to gather around the stand mixer as much as possible. She loves mixing, stirring, and whisking anything that I hand her way and then using the cookie cutters to stamp out the fun shapes. Obviously, the most fun part is the decorating. While messy, it's totally worth it to watch her little face light up. I've baked for many years, so the new tradition comes in as I get to share the fun with my daughter. The nostalgia shows through as we use my late grandmother's vintage cookie cutters. Baked goods make the perfect gift for friends and neighbors as well. FYI: I do not let the two year old help with gifted treats as we have a few years to go before her kitchen hygiene skills have been perfected to a satisfactory level for others. Try to do the “real” baking when the babes are out of the house so they don't feel like they're missing out.
Getting the kids involved in the true spirit of the season is very important and a great tradition to start. They are never too young to learn the beautiful art of selflessness and charity. Going caroling, adopting an Angel Tree angel, visiting the animal shelter, participating in school toy drives, whatever you can get them involved in, do it. Kids love helping others and performing simple acts of kindness, especially this time of year, will make the holidays that much better.
Candy Cane Hunt
A friend told me about this one and I think it's adorable! It's essentially an Easter egg hunt, but with candy canes. You hide the candies either inside or out and then give the kids a set amount of time to find as many as they can. Whoever finds the most gets a prize. For older children, you could have teams and turn this into a scavenger hunt with clues to find the next candy cane.
Reading The Night Before Christmas
This is an oldie, but goody. On Christmas Eve at bedtime, turn off the TV, have everyone in the house gather around, and let someone read this book aloud.
Best Lights Award
I've never done this, but we plan to start this year. You tell the kids that it's bedtime and have them get into their jammies. Then as a surprise, load the family into the car (warmed and ready with hot cocoa and Christmas carols). Drive through your neighborhood and select the house that offers the best light and decoration display. Place a $5 or $10 gift card in their mailbox with a card that they are the “Jones'” family's 2019 favorite and this is a thank you for spreading such cheer.