Holiday traditions are more than just rituals: they strengthen the bonds within the family and contribute to a family identity.
When you add a few fun and novel Christmas traditions, you set yourselves apart as a family. You mark yourself as a unique, festive family. Each year, when you return to these signature traditions, there is excitement and shared memories (and generally lots of smiles and laughter).
That is not to say that the traditional traditions should go by the wayside. Not at all. Everyone loves Grandma’s stuffing recipe, arranging the Nativity set, and opening the box of Christmas pyjamas. But by adding a few new traditions this year, you’ll add some excitement and anticipation this holiday season.
These 5 new Christmas traditions run the gamut from sentimental to educational to laugh-out-loud funny. You know your family. Which one (or two or three) would you like to try this year?
1. Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt
Whether you add this game to a whole day of family fun activities or are just trying to sneak it in after dinner to get some time together, any amount of family time is well worth it. You will create memories that will last a lifetime and will pass on new family traditions that your kids can continue when they’re grown with their own kids!
How to Play the Holiday Scavenger Hunt: Christmas Decorations Edition
First you have to decide if you want to play in teams or individually. When you have smaller kids it’s easier to play on teams so they are not struggling to keep up. But with older kids it’s more competitive to play individually against one another.
Then you can make it more fun by playing for a prize. It doesn’t have to be a physical prize, but it can be if you have something cool to compete for. If not, make up something fun like the winner gets to pick a Christmas movie to watch or gets to pick where to go for a fun treat afterwards.
Once you’ve decided on how you want to play, print out a scavenger hunt for each team or each person.
Pile everyone in the car to take a nice slow drive around the neighbourhood to see who can check off the most decorations. Whoever is driving is going to need someone to help check off their list though!
Another fun way to play is by bundling up and walking around the neighbourhood. Even if you don’t live in town, drive to the closest neighbourhood, find somewhere to park so you can walk around.
2. Christmas Story time
Go to the library and borrow 25 Christmas story books. Wrap them up in exciting Christmas paper. Each night have one person unwrap a book and read it together. This tradition can be enjoyed long after the kids are reading themselves. You may even decide to buy some of the best books and keep them until this time each year.
3. Bake and decorate Christmas cookies
Baking Christmas cookies is a very common tradition for many families at Christmas time! You can easily turn this fun event into a science lesson by learning about chemical and physical changes. Be sure to compare and contrast the different processes between baking and decorating cookies.
Easy recipe idea here: https://www.recipetineats.com
4. Create and decorate gingerbread houses
Your kids may really enjoy creating and decorating gingerbread houses this Christmas! You can make this a learning experience by studying engineering topics such as structural design, or environmental topics such as the best type of homes for different world biomes. If you want to ensure that your gingerbread houses will be a success, you may consider using a gingerbread house kit like those found at the supermarket.
5. Santa Tracker map
For a wonderful geography lesson on Christmas Eve, follow along with Norad’s Santa Tracker website.
This excellent site shows Santa’s path as he flies around the globe delivering gifts. Often you’ll see his sleigh flying past iconic buildings and monuments such as the Eiffel Tower or the Great Wall of China.
My kids love checking in on Santa’s progress every few hours all throughout the day on December 24th.
Be sure to have a globe or map handy so your kids can follow along!