The Best Holiday Traditions to Start With Your Family

Looking for ways to celebrate the season with your little ones? Get inspired by the special traditions these parents have passed on to their little ones.

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Volunteering Christmas Day at the nursing home

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Volunteering Christmas Day at the nursing home

"I wanted to teach my son that Christmas should be a time of giving, not just getting. Over the past four years we've been donating our time at the wonderful Rose Blumkin Jewish Home on Christmas Day. We spend a couple of hours as a family interacting with the senior residents—sitting and talking with them, singing carols, playing games or just sharing a slice of cake. This year, our baby will be old enough to sit and play with some patient grandmas and grandpas. When we head home after our visit, we always feel like our hearts grew a few sizes and I know my son will continue to carry on this holiday tradition with his future family."

—Lisa J.

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Decorating our Christmas tree for two holidays

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Decorating our Christmas tree for two holidays

"As an interfaith family, my husband and I have started what we've coined as a 'Jewish Christmas tree,' meaning, a tree with ornaments that are primarily Chanukah colors (blue and silver). Our tradition—which technically started when I was pregnant—is to add a new ornament each year that relates to our son. When I was pregnant last Christmas, we bought a hand-painted ornament with Luke's due date. This year, we're adding one that will contain the hat he wore home from the hospital and, as he gets older, he'll pick a new one for our tree himself. We're also carrying out some of my own childhood Chanukah traditions with him."

—Robyn L.

3 of 8

Filling a Hanukkah stocking with candies and toys

Courtesy of Brook

Filling a Hanukkah stocking with candies and toys

"When I was little, my mom bought me a Hanukkah stocking. It was knitted in blue and white and had dreidels all over it. The first night of Chanukah, she would fill it with goodies for me to open, leaving my 'big' gift for the remaining nights. I passed on this Hanukkah stocking to my son Luke and will fill it with classic staples my mom used to put in mine—a dreidel filled with chocolate gelt among other age-appropriate toys. He's too young to eat the chocolate right now, but when he's older I know it will be something he looks forward to."

—Brooke L.

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Buying our tree right after Black Friday shopping

Courtesy of Alyssia

Buying our tree right after Black Friday shopping

"I met my husband four years ago when my son was three years old. It was important to me to start a new tradition that we could have as a new family. My little guy always loved Black Friday shopping, so we started this tradition of cutting down our Christmas tree together just after we left the stores. Now every year after our Black Friday shopping, we head out to Beverly Tree Farm where he gets to go into the barn, eat cookies, drink hot chocolate and sit by the fire. We just welcomed our first child together, so now the four of us continue to carry on the tradition. The little ones help dad cut down the tree and off we go. Then Sunday is our day for decorating it. It's our favorite time of the year."

—Alyssia H.

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Making Santa footprints for the kids to see on Christmas morning

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Making Santa footprints for the kids to see on Christmas morning

"In this day and age, it's hard to keep the kids from figuring out the truth about everything. But when my little ones were little, I would cut out footprints of boots and cover them in baking soda. Then I would make a path of footprints that went from our fireplace into the den by the tree and presents and, of course, by the dining room table where they'd leave out cookies for Santa to find. It was always one of the most exciting parts of Christmas morning for the kids."

—Nancy H.

6 of 8

Hunting for the best holiday decorations

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Hunting for the best holiday decorations

"To enjoy the beauty of Christmas as a family, we'd drive around looking for the best lawn decorations. We started Blake's first year of life, as it was too cold to play outside and it was a good way to get around safely as a family while staying warm. It gets us out in public together as a family without the distraction of technology and we all get so excited to find the best decorated house! Now Blake is starting to enjoy the lights and is mobile so it's growing even more fun. "

—Megan C.

7 of 8

Buying each child an ornament that's unique to them

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Buying each child an ornament that's unique to them

"My parents bought us a new ornament every year at the start of the Christmas season. My mom started it when my older sister was a baby and wanted to keep it going for me and my younger brother so that we all had our own set of ornaments to carry us through childhood and adulthood. The ornaments were always unique to our particular interests, for example, I used to do gymnastics so one year I got a gymnast ornament, and my brother used to play hockey so he got a little hockey player. Still to this day, even though we're married, in our 30s and starting our own families, my mom continues to buy us a new ornament each year. I'm pregnant with my first child and will do the same!"

—Kim B.

8 of 8

Baking my mother's infamous Christmas cookies

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Baking my mother's infamous Christmas cookies

"I've been baking my Grandma's delicious cookies ever since I was little, so it's something I really wanted to pass on to my children and nephews. Every year we get together and Grandma teaches the little ones the skill of baking, frosting and decorating with multi-colored sprinkles. Never in a million years would I have ever thought she could keep the attention of four kids under the age of 4, but she does. My Italian grandmother usually makes enough to feed the neighborhood and we do just that. Once they're all decorated, we wrap them up and hand them out to all of our neighbors and family friends. It's our way of spreading joy to all of those we know. My favorite part is that we teach the kids the concept of giving and spreading Christmas spirit by making someone else smile."

—Brooke T.

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