The holidays are a time when family comes together, traditions are carried on, and we share gifts & love with one another. Now that YOU are a parent yourself, it’s the perfect time to reflect upon the traditions you enjoyed as a child…and create new traditions as a family (perhaps combining the experiences of you & your partner or perhaps starting anew!). Here are some “family traditions” that may inspire you.
Read Holiday Stories
You may choose to read books for each of the 12 days of Christmas…or perhaps draw book titles from a jar for each night in December. No matter how you introduce these classics, children enjoy hearing stories of Frosty, Old St. Nick, and the Grinch. Here are some holiday favorites for your collection:
• Twas The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
• A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
• The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
• Seven Candles For Kwanzaa by Andrea Davis Pinkney
• Inside-Out Grandma by Joan Rothenberg
• How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
• The Twelve Cats Of Christmas by Kandy Radzinski
• The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry’s
Make a Gingerbread House
Gumdrops, lollipops, chocolate chips, jelly beans, and peppermint candies. A gingerbread house is a perfect way to express your creativity, have fun with your child, and get messy together! You can put it together fast from graham crackers and store-bought icing (or buy a kit), or you can make it slowly, cutting in shapes according to a pattern or patted into a special gingerbread house mold. Those quick treats need to be eaten soon before they fall apart, but old-fashioned gingerbread houses are a tradition that can last through the holidays. Whatever way you pick to enjoy this yummy craft, know that your gingerbread has a spicy and delicious history. (More on Kidoinfo)
Learn How Holidays are Celebrated Around the World
There are lots of great books which provide information on how Christmas, Kwanza, and Hanukkah are celebrated throughout the world. Check out your local library or book store or search the internet!
Make Your Own Ornaments
There are so many different kind of ornaments you can make…and what a perfect Christmas present for a friend or family member. One idea is to make photo ornaments. You can use online photo sites like kodakgallery and snapfish to create glass or ceramic ornaments, or make your own ornaments at home using popsicle sticks or yarn to frame a picture. You can make one for every year—decorating your tree with images of your growing children. Homemade Christmas decorations can also be made from a simple dough of flour, salt, and water. You cut out different shapes then air-dry or bake your ornaments in a slow oven. Everyone can decorate these ornaments together!
Give Back to the Community
Why not donate your gently used toys or volunteer at a soup kitchen? This will teach your children about the true meaning of the holiday season. Perhaps your child would be happy to know his once-loved train is going to a little boy who will gladly enjoy it every day. Your children will take pride in doing good for others…and it will create a little more space for new things that will come their way. (More on Kidoinfo)
Kristen Kardos, MA Ed., and Kathy McGuigan, MSW, the co-founders of RI New Moms Connection, provide affordable, accessible pregnancy and new mom groups throughout Rhode Island. In “Tips for New Moms” they share their knowledge, resources, and helpful ideas for moms just beginning their journey into parenthood or moms who may need a little refresher.
Editor’s Note: Although “Tips for New Moms” is written with the new mom in mind—to support women in their journey through motherhood—it is certainly not the authors’ intention to exclude dads. Every new parent will find their tips, resources, and insights helpful. I invite all moms and dads to share ideas on how they manage their new role as a parent with Kidoinfo in the comments below.