Parenting Perspective: Creating holiday traditions with your little ones

December 10, 2010

But Sunday was the really magical day. We picked up my mom, aka: "Nana," then headed to the West Chester Railroad for the Santa Train. During the ride, we sang Christmas carols, drank hot chocolate and rubbed elbows with Mr. Claus himself.

Then we headed to a Christmas tree farm. Instead of our usual trip to a nearby nursery, to pick a pre-cut tree, we hiked through the masses of evergreens, picked what we unanimously agreed was the "perfect" tree, cut it down and hauled it home.

After a quick nap, which Greg and I needed more than the kids, we started decorating the tree and the rest of the house while the Nutcracker playing on the stereo. That night, at dinner, Luke and Emma declared it "The Best Day EVER!" and said we have to repeat it every year. Greg and I agreed. Without evening knowing it, we created out own family holiday tradition.

Child development experts say holiday traditions can help instill a sense of security in children by providing predictability. Believing that certain aspects of life are predictable can help a child feel secure. In addition, holiday traditions can build a fun sense of anticipation as Christmas day approaches, while strengthening family bonds and, over time, generating memorable links to the past.

Most Christian Americans already participate in holiday traditions like trimming a Christmas tree and taking photos with Santa, but this past weekend has inspired me to adopt a few more personal traditions for our family. Last year, we put together a messy, but fun gingerbread house. I just picked up another kit to put together this coming rainy Sunday. Yesterday, Luke and Emma created some handmade ornaments. I'm sure we'll be making a lot more in the years to come.

Whatever your family's holiday traditions are, remember to have fun, take a lot of photos and videos and take the time to enjoy the memories you are making with your family.

Happy parenting!


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