I found there was a true shift in Christmas when I had my first baby. For the first time, I felt like the grownup instead of the kid, and it changed how I viewed the holiday (in a good way). My focus was on making it special for this new little person and seeing things through their eyes.
I wanted to have some traditions that we could do year after year that added to the magic and the meaning of the season without adding a ton of work for myself in an already chaotic time.
So here are some meaningful traditions you can start this year and keep up with for many more Christmases to come.
Create or buy a special ornament for your baby each year. That could mean a collection of baby's handprints or footprints on ornaments, special keepsakes, or simply having your baby pick out an ornament every year.
Start a collection of Christmas books and read a new one each night leading up to Christmas. It doesn't have to be just Christmas books either; it's also a fantastic time to learn about other faiths and holidays like Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Diwali and the Luna New Year.
Take a family photo in front of the Christmas tree to capture how everyone changes each year. This was a family tradition I stuck with where I took a photo of us on the front porch (better light than inside) and then had it printed on a custom ornament. One year, my younger son secretly flipped the bird in the photo and I printed it on our holiday cards. Ah, memories.
Light Drive or Walk
Take a family stroll or drive around the neighborhood to admire the festive decorations. We always got hot chocolate and did a night drive.
My friend has a tradition of giving her kids a book and new pajamas on Christmas Eve. You can also get matching family pajamas for everyone – including the family pets.
Begin a tradition of watching a classic holiday movie together as a family. I find this also pairs well with other activities where attention spans wain, like cookie decorating or gingerbread house making. Here's a list of movies that won't scare younger viewers.
Create a memory jar or scrapbook to document special moments throughout the holiday season. This way, you can just bring it out during the season and have fun looking back at the previous years.
Plant a Tree
If you live in a place with a lot of space, plant a Christmas tree sapling in your yard each year to grow alongside your baby. Obviously, this depends on where you live and what the weather is like, but you get the gist.
Begin a tradition of exchanging heartfelt letters with your family on Christmas morning. It's especially powerful for kids to hear kind words spoken about them and between their parents.
Donate gently used toys or clothes to those less fortunate. Over the years, it will help your kids remember the giving along with the getting.
Begin a tradition of giving back by volunteering as a family during the holiday season. If you don't have a place in mind, simply google "volunteering near me" for organizations that could use your help.
Choose a charitable cause or organization to support annually and involve your kids in fundraising efforts. Even if it's cutting a check for the local food bank, let your kids grow up seeing you do it every year.
What traditions did you grow up with?
Are you going to continue them with your kids? Let me know in the comments!
Also check out: 35 Best 'Baby's First Christmas' DIY Photoshoot Ideas