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Creating New Holiday Traditions with Kids


When my husband and I started spending holidays together when we were first dating, peeking into the holiday rituals of each other’s families seemed almost quaint. Oh! You get to open a present on Christmas Eve? Everyone tears into presents simultaneously? Well, in my family, everything waits until Christmas morning, and WE. ALL. TAKE. TURNS. Harrumph.

After we got married, but before we became parents, those little differences in celebrating didn’t really seem to matter all that much, but once our sons were born, family traditions suddenly carried much more weight. And when my mom, who had been at the center of our Christmas celebrations, passed away a year and a half ago, it seemed even more important to figure out which family holiday traditions we would continue to follow, which we could depart from, and which we should create anew.

Now, it’s just two-and-a-half weeks before Christmas, and I’m still trying to sort it all out. We’ve settled on our familiar routine of decorating the Christmas tree with my little brother, as I’ve done all of my life, to a soundtrack of several cheesy Christmas CDs. And Christmas Eve, I’m sure that my boys will put out homemade cookies and milk for Santa, along with cheese for the Christmas Mouse, like I used to as a kid (I have no idea where that last ritual came from). But I still want to incorporate something else -- a tradition that my kids will be excited to pass along to their kids -- like new pajamas for the whole fam on Christmas Eve, like my friend Michelle does, or watching a fave holiday movie right before the kids go to bed that night.

I love the ideas we’ve rounded up on below, but I’d also love to know: What holiday traditions have you decided to keep from when you were a kid? What new ones have you created with your kids?