Monday, December 17, 2012

Making Christmas Memories with your Toddler

With little Nathan at 20 months, it is much more fun this year as we celebrate Christmas. He is curious, anxious and, if I'm reading "toddler" correctly, he senses all the excitement in the air.

If you are a new parent or in need of a few ideas for Christmas traditions, below are 5 ideas to add a little more fun to this wonderful season!

  1. Decorating the Tree. Maybe it came from my mother, but setting up and decorating the Christmas tree is a big deal to me. I always have Christmas music playing and each of us - as a family - put our ornaments on the tree. This year, little Nathan hung his own "Baby's 1st Christmas" ornament from last year. My husband hung ornaments from his childhood and so did I. It's a special tradition we share.
  2. Christmas movie night. I love Christmas movies. Each year, I buy one new holiday film to add to our collection. This year, Nathan and I had a special night where we watched Polar Express with milk and cookies! Each year we, as a family, sit down with The Nativity Story. Maybe you will want to make Grinch punch and watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas or possible make snowflake cookies while viewing White Christmas. Movie nights are always fun and special.
  3. View Christmas lights. This Christmas, we plan to take an evening and go for a drive to view the Christmas lights. Do some research and find a place to go! Some towns have their own little village/community where they host a Christmas light display! Children always love it.
  4. A Christmas Eve breakfast. On my Dad's side of the family, we always celebrate Christmas Eve with a big breakfast. All the aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents come together and we cook a festive and hearty breakfast each and every Christmas Eve. Among all the food, one significant tradition of ours is always fried cheese and salmon. But make it your own! Maybe your breakfast is chocolate chip pancakes in the shapes of Christmas trees. Or apple spice oatmeal. Use your imagination!
  5. Explaining Christmas gifts. Children are very interested in the wrapped packages under the tree. Nathan has thoroughly examined the bows and the ribbons. It's important - even at his young age - to explain WHY we give gifts. Christmas is not about receiving toys and clothes and goodies. It's about GIVING...because God so loved, He gave. Begin a tradition where you sit down with your children and explain gift giving to them. Then help them come up with a special gift to give to others.

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