Imagine the excitement when a gift arrives from Mrs. Claus postmarked from the North Pole. It is Mrs. Claus’ special golden spatula for making cookies that Santa is guaranteed to love! Mrs. Claus includes a note, Santa’s Favorite Sugar Cookie recipe, two 3″ cookie cutters of Santa and a reindeer, a candy cane themed oven mitt with a message from Mrs. Claus, and a bakers hat and “Baking for Santa” apron!
Establishing traditions with your children is one of the best gifts you can give both them and yourself. As a mom of 2 young adults who are now in college, I look back and think how grateful I am for all the traditions that we established as a family. My kids now talk about doing these same things with their children one day, and I have to say nothing will warm your heart more than those words. Traditions became such a natural part of family that I often found my kids saying, “We did that…,so now we always do it, right?!” It would make me chuckle, but I quickly realized that they enjoyed these traditions as much as I did.
Children crave routine and what better routine than establishing something meaningful that they will carry into their futures with their own families. A tradition can be anything. It could be something tried and true or something that you create yourself. I will share a few of my traditions below to give you some ideas to work with:
1) I create a family photo book of memories from the year, each year. It captures memories of all the momentous times throughout the year. I include everything: family outings, milestone events, renovations to our home, extended family, friends, awards, holidays, etc. Basically, anything that is meaningful, no matter how big or how small. I will say, I find it very important to include friend photos as well since these are not just your family’s memories, but also your children’s memories. The kids would often tell their friends, “You made it into the book!” like it was a special honor in our family. Each child gets a book, and I make one to keep. I wrap them, and we open them on Christmas Eve. It is a special night each year as we revisit all that happened during the year. We laugh, smile and reminisce. The beauty of this tradition is that your children will always be able to look back and reflect on each year of their lives.
2) I made Mother’s Day all about my kids. I celebrate being a mom by spending the day with them. When they were little, we would rollerskate, go bowling, etc. It got to the point that they would ask, “What are we doing for Mother’s Day?” because they knew it was “our” day.
3) My daughter and I Black Friday shop together every year. This may not sound like a tradition, but it became one the day we talked about the reality of Santa. Instead of it being a sad day, I made it a right of passage. I told her, “This is exciting. Now, you can go Christmas shopping on Black Friday with me!” She lit up the moment I told her. At that time, stores were open all night, so she was super excited to be allowed to stay up all night and go shopping. She loved being the “big kid” who shopped with mom on Black Friday. She will be 20 this year, and she still looks forward to this day every year. So do I. She tells me, “Someday, I will have a daughter and we will take her as well once she learns about Santa.”
As you can see, traditions can be anything that create a warm and lasting feeling. The best part is, they create an anticipation for the future that bonds your family.