NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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5 Meaningful Holiday Traditions for Kids

5 Meaningful Holiday Traditions for Kids


            Families can lose themselves amid the chaos of preparing for the holidays. All too often, the stress can stay with you long after the guests leave and the last new gift is put away.

If you tend to equate the holidays with endless to-do lists, why not take a new approach this year? Following are a few ideas of ways to create meaningful traditions that your children will appreciate more than any stocking stuffer. Best of all: most of them are free.

An annual letter to your child.

            Write a yearly letter filled with your observations as his/her parent as well as current events, family happenings and hopes for his/her future. The holidays are an equally appropriate time to mark your child’s growth.

Secret Santa gift exchange for charity.

            This year, when you draw names to determine who’s buying for whom, turn the tables. Instead of buying a present, make a donation or spend time volunteering for a charity of the giftee’s choice.

Make a family walk an annual event.

            Whether you have a houseful of in-laws visiting or it’s just you & your spouse, walking is a great way to spend time with each other, let off steam, and work off those extra Christmas cookies! Set aside time to get outside and stretch your legs with the family. We have many opportunities in our area to appreciate the sights, smells and sounds of nature.

Ornaments that reflect you. 

            Use your family’s interest to decorate the Christmas tree instead of the latest color scheme.  Look for ornaments that reflect your children’s interests that year. It might be a zebra ornament for the toddler who loves visiting a zoo, a toy car for the teen with the new driver’s license, etc.   When your family decorates the tree, talk about all the fun things they've done and all of their interests and hobbies.

Family Board Game Marathon –

             Board games are a great way to connect for all ages.  In place of a goal of who wins (and who loses!), have several different games out and in place during the Christmas season.  Five minutes of re-charge time playing together can be a needed break for everyone.

Christmas treats for furry friends

            According to an old Norwegian holiday legend the animals in the manager had voices on Christmas Eve.  Many families put their own spin on this popular legend each Christmas Eve by leaving treats out for the neighborhood wildlife, pets and all of their favorite animal friends to give thanks. This can be as simple as filling up the bird feeder, pine cones rolled in peanut butter, or popcorn garlands

Holiday Reading 

            Catch up on your holiday classics each night with the family until Santa finally makes his annual journey down the chimney. Take a trip to the library and gather up all of your Christmas favorites or save these timeless tales in a special place, specifically for the holiday season.  Make sure that everyone has a turn throughout the month to pick the book of their choice and a chance to read aloud.

            The great thing about the holiday season can be the opportunity to spend valuable time with our loved ones, show our appreciation for one another and overall, give thanks.

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