8 Easy Christmas Traditions You Can Start Today!

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8 Easy Christmas Traditions You Can Start Today!

When we were children the entire holiday season seemed to move in slow motion until Christmas Day. Now that we're adults, it seems that things have sped up and if we even stop to blink it is New Year's Day! Family traditions are a perfect opportunity to help your little ones enjoy and savor the season while at the same time providing adults an opportunity to slow down and treasure special moments that might otherwise slip away. If you're looking for ideas to create the perfect winter traditions then read through our recommendations for the best winter activities; Your new favorite tradition might be closer than you think!

1. Start an Advent Calendar 

One of the best winter traditions to start, advent calendars are calendars with small pockets or drawers to place trinkets, treats, or notes to mark each day in December until the 25th. This little tradition will help your small children countdown the days to Christmas in a fun and memorable way plus they'll look forward to waking up each morning to a new treat, note, or small gift to enjoy leading up to Christmas Day. This tradition is particularly useful for curious children that are just beginning to learn about the passing of time, dates, and counting; rather than having to ask how close Christmas is each day they can go to the calendar with you and learn exactly how many days they must wait until the 25th of December. 

2. View Neighborhood Lights

No holiday would be complete without delightful or over-the-top Christmas light displays. Almost every town, no matter how small, has a specific house, neighborhood, or downtown district with a full array of holiday lights. Buckle your children into the car, add some blankets for coziness, and drive around your town or city to explore the best light displays that you can find. Hot chocolate for older children is a fun addition, but if you're worried about spills in the car save treats till you're back at home. If you plan to make this an annual tradition, go to the same house or neighborhood each year, it will be exciting to see old displays come to life again or to experience light displays as they change throughout the years. 

3. Watch a Christmas Movie

Every year, set a date to watch a holiday movie. This is a great tradition to share with family members or close friends. Let the older children camp out with blankets or pillows near your Christmas tree and laugh along to their favorite Christmas movie, while adults can enjoy from the couch and hold younger children on their laps. You can choose to watch the same movie every year, let your children pick the movie, or surprise them with a movie of your choice each time. This tradition is one that you can make entirely your own!  

4. Make Sugar Cookie Cutouts 

Create sweet memories that your children will look forward to every year with sugar cookies, cookie cutters, frosting, and lots of sprinkles! Bigger kids can help measure, roll, and cut cookies, while little ones can help by sampling frosting, holding cookie cutters, and by taste-testing the finished product. Toddlers also enjoy helping hold measuring cups and picking sprinkle colors. You're tiniest helpers can observe and enjoy the bright colors, delicious smells, and general excitement. You can choose to use the same cookie cutters each year or make an exciting event out of shopping for new ones with your children; either way, this tradition is sure to be a hit with your entire household. 

5. Participate in  a Giving Tree

Most communities host some form of a giving tree or angel tree where families can choose to adopt other families or a child and purchase gifts or necessities by picking a name off of the tree. A child that is old enough to enjoy the concept of receiving gifts may be old enough to start teaching about the joys and rewards of giving. A giving tree is a great opportunity to perform an act of kindness and to foster a giving mindset in your children. Let your children help you shop for gifts or necessities for your recipient. Explain that it's good to help others and why giving is important. If your child is too young to understand what a giving tree is, let them participate by picking out wrapping paper and bows, as they grow older siblings can explain the process and begin to teach the younger children all that they've learned. 

6. Make a Christmas List

Whether you choose to introduce the concept of Santa Claus to your children or not, creating a Christmas wish list is a fun tradition that suits all ages. Make it a whole event by brewing hot chocolate (and maybe coffee for mom or dad), using colored paper and markers, and even letting those too little to write try their hand at a list. If you believe in Santa Claus at your house, seal, stamp, and postmark your letters and send them off to the north pole. Alternatively, you can hang the Christmas lists on your refrigerator. Keep each list and enjoy watching your child's preferences change and mature as they grow older. Someday your little one might want to show their Christmas lists to a child of their own. 

7. Wrap Jammies and a Book 

Christmas Eve is often a day of excitement an unrest in a household with small children. Channel that energy with a fun Christmas Eve tradition that encourages a tear-free bedtime by purchasing annual matching pajamas and a new book to read every Christmas Eve. Unwrapping a present the day before Christmas is such an exciting feeling and each year you can pick a book that perfectly suits the age range of your children. If you want to go all-out with this tradition, include parents by purchasing everyone in the house matching pajamas that are cozy, silly, or maybe both. 

8. Purchase Annual Ornaments 

Picking out an annual ornament is special because not only is something that you can do with your children, it's also an opportunity to bookmark any important or memorable things that happened that year. For instance, if your little one finds a new passion riding a bicycle or takes their first steps, you can go together to pick out an ornament that commemorates that achievement or moment. If your two-year-old has a cute talent or really enjoys a certain food, purchase an ornament that will remind you of that adorable time. Write the date and event on the back of the ornament and when you decorate a tree each holiday season take time to read the ornaments and remember the special moments you captured every year. 

No matter the tradition, your holiday is sure to be filled with unforgettable fun and memories that will last a lifetime. If you read a tradition from our list that you love, we're delighted! Part of the fun behind a good tradition is doing something that you love with your own style thrown in, so go ahead, it's not too late to start a new tradition right now that you and your children will look forward to reviving every Christmas for years to come. 

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Thanks for reading! If you have a Christmas tradition that you do with your family, comment below! We'd love to hear about them!


10 Holiday Dangers to Avoid with Infants and Toddlers

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Parenting and raising children is a challenging and rewarding undertaking. From the first trip home from the hospital to baby's first day of school, there are so many dangers to avoid, risks to minimize, and well, things to worry about!

Before diving into festivities this holiday season, refresh your knowledge on ten holiday-related dangers to infants and toddlers that can be minimized with a little foresight and planning.

1. Food Allergies

Visiting Grandma's house, shopping at the mall, and family outings usually involve food, snacks, or treats of some sort. While you have control of the food in your own home, when you're out and about watch out for foods that may trigger an allergy in your infant or toddler. If your child already has an allergy that you're aware of, make sure to share that information when you go to a new house or leave little ones with family or friends. 

2. Lights, Outlets & Extension Cords

Tis' the season to be merry and bright but use caution when stringing up your favorite set of twinkle lights: little eyes are watching and bright lights are tempting for toddlers and infants alike.

Teach toddlers to stay away from cords and plug-ins, and make things as safe as possible when you can by keeping cords and lights out of reach.

✔︎  If you have a crawling or walking baby in your house, keep an eye out when they're around lights or outlets. Bonus points for using outlet covers wherever possible!

3. That Dazzling Tree

Your Christmas tree is probably the centerpiece holiday decoration in your home and is likely the main attraction for children as well.

It's never too early to start teaching children how to behave carefully around a Christmas tree, but be prepared to watch your tree carefully. 

✔︎  Watch your tree when children are around and be strategic when decorating while you have little ones in the house.

Want to make sure your safety knowledge and practices are on point? Download our FREE Newborn Visual Safety Cheat Sheet!

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4. Small Parts

Presents, an important source of Christmas joy for children, are also a source of danger at times. If you have a wide-range of ages in your household, likely many Christmas gifts that are unwrapped and strewn around the house on Christmas Day will contain small parts that are easily ingested by infants and toddlers.

✔︎ If a toy has small parts, make sure that those parts stay up high and out of reach. Let bigger kids gather their gifts on a table or in a separate room or keep your little one nearby while dangerous toys are easily accessible. 

5. Ice & Snow

If you decide to leave the house with an infant in tow or a toddler following behind you, watch out for icy patches and snow on the way to your car. Falling on the ice is scary, but the same type of fall is even scarier if you're holding a precious infant or if your independent toddler falls or slips trying to manage on their own.

✔︎ Check the path to the car before you venture out and take your time on your way to the car to make sure that you get there in one piece. 

6. Winter Coats

Most parents are aware that it is dangerous to buckle a child into a car seat while wearing a big winter jacket: the big coat means that the buckle is not snug, and even a small accident can jolt your child out of the car seat.

✔︎  It's a hassle, but you can avoid the risk by forgoing a large winter coat in favor of a light fleece jacket plus a blanket over the seat, or by warming the car up before you hop in so you can take the coat off before you drive. 

7. Ornaments

Ah, yes. Ornaments get a mention all of their own for so many reasons: ornaments often have small parts and pose a choking risk, many are breakable and shatter everywhere when they break, and plastic ornaments that fall harmlessly and are left could be tripped-on by little feet.

✔︎  Check your tree often for fallen or missing ornaments, keep glass ornaments out of reach of your little ones, and watch for stray ornament hooks that always appear to multiply as soon as they hit the floor. 

8. Drinks

Christmas parties and holiday events usually involve adult drinks in some form or other. It's always a good idea to be sure of the whereabouts of your children, but it's especially when adult drinks are present, to avoid accidental ingestion.

Most parents and childcare providers know that toddlers are practically professionals at finding food and drinks when grown-up heads are turned for less than a second. While most incidents are laugh-worthy, accidental ingestion of alcohol is always best to avoid. 

9. Crowds

Families venture out more in December to see sights, shop for gifts, and visit family and friends. More frequent outings, especially to crowded shopping centers and events, increases the risk of losing your child while out.

✔︎  Don't overstress, just consistently do a headcount and make sure that children stay nearby. Staying aware of the risk and remaining diligent at each destination is the best plan to avoid any danger on this front. 

10. Illness 

While you may be in the sharing mindset this season, some things are better kept to ourselves, like coughs, sniffles, and other seasonal sicknesses, namely the flu. 

✔︎  Before you head out, fill your bag with your go-to illness busters (think hand-sanitizer, essential oils, tissues, and cough drops) and remember to wash hands often and you'll be good to go!



Happy holidays from Kathy and Kate at Parenting Resources!