Easy Holiday Traditions

I didn’t grow up with a large number of holiday traditions, but the ones we had as a family were solid and still hold up today. Our daughter was born a week before Thanksgiving last year, so we were just trying to survive the holiday season with a newborn last year and didn’t have the time to think of traditions. Now that we somewhat know what we’re doing this year, it was important for my husband and me to start some traditions of our own as a family.

Traditions don’t have to take a ton of work or be elaborate Pinterest creations, but create a sense of community and collectiveness within a family. Plus they create memories for years to come! Below are some easy traditions we’re hoping to incorporate this year or as our daughter gets older.

  • Pick one present and open it on Christmas Eve: Growing up we traditionally opened presents on Christmas morning, but we would always be allowed to pick one to open the night before. We were allowed to pick any present to open and I remember carefully scanning the gifts under the tree leading up to Christmas to make sure I picked the perfect one.
  • Open presents in order of youngest to oldest: This is something that I did growing up and we still do today. It’s nice to allow each person to open their gifts while everyone waits in anticipation for their turn.
  • Angel tree/gifting to those that have less: Our church has an Angel tree with tags of children who have parents incarcerated and their gift wishes. We would always grab tags of a couple children and give back. You could also call a local school and ask about a family in need or participate in a toy/clothing drive. There are lots of opportunities to give back at the holidays.
  • New Pajamas and a movie: I’ve seen this done many different ways. Some parents choose to give the new holiday pajamas and movie on Christmas eve, while others give them eatraditionsrlier in the month so the child(ren) can enjoy them the whole season. I like the idea to give them early. We’ll just be doing pajamas this year and will incorporate a movie as she gets older.
  • Elf on the Shelf: Everyone loves to hate this tradition. I think it’s adorable, and our elf Helene joined the family this year. While my daughter is too young to get the idea yet,
    we still enjoy having her hang out around the house. I don’t plan on getting as crazy as some of the Pinterest posts though!
  • New Ornament each year: My mom has always given us an ornament that represents something in our life for that year or something we enjoy. My daughter’s nursery is elephant themed, so I’ve continued this tradition buying her an elephant ornament each year.
  • Read a different holiday book each day in December or the 12 days before Christmas: There are so many great holiday themed children’s books. I’ve found a couple in the dollar spot at Target, but you could even check some out at your local library. I’ve even heard of some parents wrapping each book to have their child unwrap each night.traditions1
  • Cookie decorating/baking: While I’m not a huge baker, there is something about the holidays that requires one to bake. Ginger snaps, sugar cookies, and fudge all remind me of my childhood, and being in the kitchen creates memories that last a lifetime.
  • Having a special Christmas morning breakfast: I usually am the cook in our house, but my husband makes an awesome breakfast casserole. Since we were married he’s made it every Christmas morning. It’s usually one of the few times that we have it during the year and I always look forward to Christmas morning breakfast all year.

Do you have any to add to this list? I’d love to hear!

Elizabeth Kreher
Elizabeth is a personable, outgoing mom living in Cedar Rapids and working as a high school counselor. She met her husband, Ryan, in high school, but were friends for several years. They started dating while they were both at the University of Iowa and have been married since 2009. After enjoying 5.5 years as a married couple with only a dog to be responsible for, they added to their family in November 2014 when their daughter Elin was born. They welcomed their second daughter, Myla, in October 2016. In her free time, Elizabeth enjoys being outside, reading, traveling, attempting to be crafty, running, cheering on the Hawkeyes and spending time with family and friends. She’s loved seeing Cedar Rapids through the lens of a mom and all our city has to offer for families.


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