The holidays are a fun and also a hectic time of year, especially with children. Research has shown that sharing holiday traditions with children can be beneficial to them understanding their community and customs as well as the community and customs of others.
All sorts of holidays are celebrated differently by people of all backgrounds. How can introducing these customs be beneficial and educational to your family? The introduction of holiday customs gives children a sense of identity in their community. It also gives them pride in family, and self-awareness as well as awareness of other cultures. Whichever holidays your family celebrates, it is always great to share in these traditions with your children. Here are some ideas for holiday traditions you can start with your family.
Baking. When it gets cold outside, it’s a good time to start baking warm and delicious treats. Most cultures have traditional desserts that are consumed especially around holidays- ranging from Christmas cookies to pumpkin pies to babka and challah bread to eclairs, macaroons, red bean buns, and more.
Donate. Holidays are a good time to give back. Choose a charity or donation center and encourage the kids to pick out old toys, gently used clothes, etc. they have grown out of to give back to charity. Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and Habitat for Humanity are some charities with donation centers you can visit.
Write Holiday Cards. Whatever holiday you celebrate, it’s fun to write cards and send out warm greetings for the season. Gather construction paper, scissors, glue, glitter and help your kids write or even make holiday cards of their own. You can model how nice messages to their friends, families, and loved ones can make wonderful gifts.
Holiday Meals. Holidays are usually an excuse to eat lots of yummy, traditional foods. What foods are traditional for your family and culture? Pick out some of your family’s favorite foods and make a meal to share with your loved ones.
Share stories. Now is a good time to have lots of good sit-down family bonding time. If your family has multiple generations, have grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins or even you yourself tell old family stories. This is a great way for children to feel connected to family members and their heritage.
Create/Set Up Decorations. Most holidays include fun and beautiful décor. Take some time to set up decorations with your kids. Setting up holiday décor further educates children to the meaning of the holiday. If your family is more creative, allow your kids to make decorations using a variety of materials, and put them up too. You can make a new decoration each year and showcase them each year so the children can track all of their years celebrating the holiday.