Family traditions are special rituals that are enjoyed and anticipated by all family members.
They can be passed down from generation to generation, or can be started at any time to be carried on into the future. Traditions create memories and give us something to look forward to.
Think about the holidays of your own childhood. You may have fond memories of a special meal or treat, putting up decorations, or an activity the whole family did together.
There are many different ways you can make holiday memories with your children.
Here are some ideas that you might try once, or that may become family traditions.
• Help your children make Christmas gifts, cards and ornaments. Mark homemade decorations with your child’s name and the date and store them carefully so they can be displayed in future years.
• Build and decorate a gingerbread house together. You can buy a kit, or you can build your own using graham wafers and icing.
• Bake cookies or other festive treats. Children and adults will often request the same goodies year after year.
• Serve the same meal every Christmas Eve, or a special breakfast every Christmas morning.
• Use leftover turkey and vegetables to make an annual Boxing Day soup.
• Teach your children the Christmas songs you loved as a child, and sing as you bake, decorate the tree or wrap gifts. Sing with enthusiasm; it is sure to get everyone in the holiday spirit!
• Bring the family together before bedtime on Christmas Eve and read "The Night Before Christmas". Choose other winter or Christmas related stories for the days leading up to Christmas Eve.
• Purchase or make a new Christmas ornament for your child every year. Take a photo of her holding it in front of the Christmas tree and pack the photo and the ornament away together.
• Find a way to give back during the holidays. Donate food or toys to an organization that helps families in need. You could also volunteer your time as a family.
• Take an evening drive to look at Christmas lights.
• Cuddle up and watch a favourite Christmas movie.
• Open one present on Christmas Eve. A pair of new pajamas is a great choice, as children can wear them right away.
Christmas does not have to be elaborate or expensive. When your children are grown, they are not likely to remember many of the gifts they received.
What they will remember is the warm feeling of the special times you spent together.
Shawna Munro works at the Elspeth Reid Family Resource Centre, a facility of Child and Family Services of Western Manitoba that offers
parenting information and support.
» 255 Ninth St., Brandon
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 19, 2013