Starting a new family is an exciting experience, but it can also be a stressful one, especially around the holidays. The holidays are a time when you’re used to being with your parents, continuing the same traditions you knew as a child. When you and your spouse make the decision to prioritize your growing family, there is a process of compromise that follows. Each of you must decide which traditions to carry on from your old family into your new family dynamic and which traditions to let go of. It takes compromise and communication to do this effectively and to explain your new plans with both of your extended families—especially if those new plans involve staying home on Christmas day, for example, rather than traveling out to see them.
One great way to make the holidays really feel like they belong to you as a couple and aren’t just pale hand-me-downs of the holidays your parents put together is to start some new traditions within your home. While you’ll certainly want to carry on some of the holiday traditions you both enjoyed when you were younger, starting new traditions with your budding family can make the holidays feel unique to you and add a little extra touch of magic to the season. If your young family is looking to start some new traditions, here are some great ideas to get you started.
The holidays are supposed to be the season for giving. One great holiday tradition to start with your family is to use the holidays as a chance to donate together. Collect old clothes, toys, and books, and bring them to a local homeless shelter so that they can go to someone in need. This is a great way to help teach your children the importance of charity. It’s also a great way to purge your house of unnecessary excess, especially since you’re likely to be bringing more items into it this time of year.
New Year’s Present
Often, presents are given for holidays like Christmas and Hanukah, but they’re not often given on New Year’s Eve. Consider making a single, small, sentimental gift on New Year’s Eve a family tradition—a way to ring in the new year by celebrating the old year. Something like a personalized bracelet with a cherished memory from the previous year can serve as a reminder to your family that your history together is the cornerstone of your future together.
The Elf on the Shelf
The Elf on the Shelf started as a Christmas book back in 2005, and since then the accompanying tradition has really taken off. The ideas is that you hide a small elf in your house every day for your children to find (but not touch!). Every day the elf is supposed to move to a new location. This is a great way to keep your children’s excitement up in anticipation of the big event.
Making Ornaments Together
The holidays are supposed to be all about being together as a family, so finding exciting new family time activities for the holiday season is a must. Consider making a new set of holiday ornaments together each year. Pinterest has some great DIY ornament ideas, and you can choose how complicated to make each year’s ornament depending on the ages of your participants. This is a nice way not only to spend time together but also to add to your ornament collection each year without spending a fortune.
The Pickle Present
This German tradition involves hiding a pickle in your Christmas tree on Christmas morning. Whichever child finds the pickle first gets an extra present that year. To make the game fun, especially if you have children of different ages and skill levels, make the pickle present something that really gets enjoyed together, such as a family game to play later in the day .
Christmas Eve PJs
Sometimes, it’s hard for kids to wait until Christmas day to open their presents. Consider this tradition, where everyone gets to open one present on Christmas Eve: new, cozy PJs. On Christmas day, you can even have a pajama day where everyone stays in their new PJs while opening presents and playing family games together.
Traditions are a great way to make your holidays extra special. It’s especially important to decide on some traditions when your family is young so that they grow with you as a family and continue feeling magical and important year after year.