Oh Christmas! It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of the holidays and overcommit, overspend, and over stretch ourselves. Santa sessions, Christmas tree lightings, elf shenanigans, baking, shopping — it seems everyone has their tried and true Christmas traditions. While our family is big into Christmas decorating, we don’t have any special events or activities that we plan each year with our kids. We are a fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants kind of family when it comes to the holiday season. While I think it works best for us, I must admit that I adore seeing everyone share their traditions, and I especially love the amazing ideas families come up with this time of year. Undoubtedly, you will have already seen or heard some of these before, but maybe you’ll learn something new you might want to incorporate in the future.
Kindness Elves (in lieu of Elf on the Shelf)
Surprisingly, I hadn’t heard of this one until a former contributor shared photos of her elves (it’s also a book). Unlike Elf on the Shelf where one of Santa’s elves is sent to make sure the children aren’t being naughty, the kindness elves only share ideas and/or notice things that are joyful. They not only praise children for acts of kindness they may witness, but they also suggest ideas to perform acts of kindness.
“The Four Gift Rule” aka Want, Need, Wear, Read
A way to simplify holiday gift giving for everyone; each person/child gets a gift he/she wants, something needed, something to wear, and something to read.
Not that kids don’t already get plenty of gifts on Christmas morning, but some parents just like to ramp up the excitement. In the examples that I’ve seen of a Christmas Eve box, parents will gift new pajamas, a Christmas book, a Christmas movie, popcorn and candy and settle in on Christmas Eve to unwrap and then enjoy the holiday fun.
If you’re not super into the idea of giving more gifts like a Christmas Eve box, but still want to make the night special, this might be a fun new tradition for you. The idea is to create your very own Polar Express adventure. Leave your kids some tickets under their pillows on Christmas Eve to redeem for a magical evening.
Give to Get
I saw a post circulating Facebook regarding a person who had made personalized wooden crates for their children to donate their unused toys. In order for Santa to bring them toys, they must make room for the new toys by donating them to help other kids who may not have as much.
A reverse advent calendar is similar to the above, but each day you add an item to a box (food or hygiene items), and then on Christmas Eve, you can donate it to a nonprofit, like a food bank or homeless shelter.
Parents are always looking for a way for their kids to give back during the holidays, but sometimes they are just too young to volunteer at non-profits. But here’s an idea for you: You could also do this as a similar reverse advent calendar where you perform 24 or 25 random acts of kindness leading up to Christmas.
Jolabokaflod: “The Christmas Book Flood”
As an avid reader, here’s a tradition I can get behind. In Iceland, people give and exchange books on Christmas Eve and then spend their evenings reading books.