For most of us, our earliest holiday memories only go back to maybe 4 or 5 years old. However, we see pictures from holidays of years past that warm our hearts. Family traditions during this season are important to children. They keep us connected and give us something to cherish and look forward to each year. Kids thrive on structure and routine to a certain extent, and so, keeping with tradition is great for our little ones. That’s not to say we shouldn’t be flexible or change things up from time to time. Life is all about adapting and trying new things.
My family has only a few standing traditions to date, as people have moved on and times have changed. And of course, with a baby in the mix, some activities have been altered a bit. As a child from a split household, I’ve been on both sides. There were things we stuck to each year and new festivities as well. I am grateful for both and value all of these memories dearly. But back to the tradition point here – when do you start? Babies don’t remember Christmases, so why all of the hype and effort? Honestly, a lot of it is for us, let’s face it. And that’s okay. We can bring baby in on traditional holiday events even if they may not be aware of what it all is. They will grow to know and love it and appreciate the effort we’ve made.
Whether you attend parades, tree-lightings or bake dozens of goodies as my family does, there is something so special about including the little ones. Their first and second Christmas may be tougher as you chase them around and try to keep them from the cookies, but soon you’ll find that they start to get into the activities as well. Example, my two and a half year old, Ladybug, was really interested in baking cookies this year. She mainly played in the flour and helped with the cookie cutters, but it was so much fun! Tree decorating on the other hand, she wasn’t totally ready for. And that’s okay. I love these traditions so much that nothing can ruin it for me. So the cookies don’t look perfect or the tree has lights only on one side…who cares? The important part is sharing the joy with my baby girl.
Baking, making ornaments, watching classic Christmas movies, or even volunteering can be great traditions to start early on with your kiddos. Find something your child is drawn to and run with it. You are never too young for some holiday cheer!