The winter holidays are an amazing time for families to come together to celebrate! Whether you celebrate one particular holiday, multiple, or none at all, the end of the year offers a perfect opportunity to create and celebrate family traditions. The team at New Jammies worked together to share our favorite family traditions, in the hopes that we spark new celebrations for yours!
Have you tried one of these traditions? Have a unique tradition of your own you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!
- Create DIY decorations. Many winter holidays involve a wonderful amount of decorating. Instead of spending tons of money on store-bought decor, set some time aside each year to create homemade holiday decorations together. There are tons of online guides for easy, kid-friendly DIY projects, like these adorable Egg Carton Penguins from OneLittleProject. The point of this tradition isn’t to be the best at arts and crafts — it’s to enjoy the laughs, the fun, and the time spent in each other’s company.
Perform random acts of kindness. The holidays are a great time to teach children that a little kindness goes a long way. Make it a tradition to surprise strangers with random acts of kindness, like compliments, free hugs, or small gifts. One of our teammates says, “When I was a kid, my dad took my sister and I to a grocery store to buy a bunch of bouquets of carnations. Then, we went to the city center and handed out flowers to random holiday shoppers just to brighten their day. It became a quick tradition!”
- Pose for family photos. Holiday cards are an excellent way to update friends and family on the year gone by. They’re also a great addition to any scrapbook or family photo album! Many photographers offer discounted holiday photo packages during the fall and winter. For bonus points, have everyone dress in matching outfits!
- Make a countdown calendar devoted to learning. If you celebrate a winter holiday on a specific date, you can create a countdown or advent calendar of your own with your own traditions. For example, you can celebrate learning with a countdown calendar made of books! Each night, read a different book with your kids, focusing on a different holiday, historical figure, or culture. It’s a great way to learn more about the world around us, and share some wonderful family time!
- Surprise the neighbors. Many families enjoy baking cookies as part of a holiday tradition. You can take this tradition one step further by sharing the bounty with your neighborhood. There’s nothing quite like surprising your neighbor with a fresh-baked loaf of bread, still hot from the oven!
- Start a gag gift tradition. If you celebrate a gift-giving holiday, gag gifts can be a fun, inexpensive way to celebrate the end of the year. Another New Jammies teammate shared this great tradition from her family: “When I was a baby, we had a family friend known as Grandpa Sam. He was so much fun at the holidays. Anytime he opened a gift, he would yell ‘YOWZERS!’ He also had a knack for picking out gag gifts that people would inevitably find useful. For example, a pair of lotion-lined gloves from a dollar store that turned out to be a great cure for wintery dry skin! Today, my family still picks out small ‘gag’ gifts for each other, and as soon as we open them, we all yell ‘YOWZERS!’”
Build your own hayride and look at the lights. Depending on what your neighbors celebrate, many neighborhoods are full to bursting with holiday decorations and lights. Get your family in on the fun by loading everyone in the car, jamming to a playlist of your favorite holiday music, and driving slowly through the neighborhood to look at the lights.
- Have a holiday PJ party. This is a great tradition for neighborhood kids, extended family, and adults alike! Instead of an ugly sweater party, have everyone show up in their favorite pajamas. Guests can play games, bring food, and stay up late watching holiday movies. At the end of the night, the kids can have a group sleepover!
- Host a neighborhood potluck. This is a wonderful tradition for neighborhoods deeply steeped in culture, where many families celebrate different holidays. Ask everyone to bring a dish made from a family recipe, or a traditional recipe from their family’s country. Spend the night learning about different cultures through delicious food, traditional songs, and party games! “I have been having an annual holiday open house party in the day which is nice because people can stop by during a wider time range,” says New Jammies founder, Nicole Johnson. “It is nice for families because if kids have different nap times or other weekend obligations they can arrive and leave at their convenience.”
- Give back. The holidays give us an opportunity to build a volunteering spirit in kids from a young age. Nicole’s family participates in Toys for Tots by choosing a few names from a local tree each year to pick out presents for other families. And at New Jammies, we work with various organizations and fundraisers throughout the year to keep them well stocked in comfy, organic cotton jammies! Find a cause you believe in — hosting a food drive, volunteering at a soup kitchen, making and handing out gifts for a senior home — and make it a family tradition. By participating each year, your kids will see the direct impact of their hands-on volunteer work.
What are your favorite holiday traditions? Let us know in the comments!