Looking for a new family tradition? Try these 50 Easy Holiday Traditions That Spark Joy. Here are some great tips to make the season merry and bright with a little help from #TalkEarly. This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
50 Easy Holiday Traditions That Spark Joy
We as a society are desperate to spark joy in our lives. And for some, that starts with cleaning out the old and starting anew. Does this bring me joy? Keep. Does this bring me joy? Toss. With the holidays quickly approaching, I’ve been thinking “does this family holiday tradition spark joy?”
We all have family traditions. But around the holidays, the heightened stress, pressure and obligation of fulfilling all those family tradition check boxes can be consuming your holiday joy. In fact, my 6-year old daughter came home from school the other day visibly upset. When I rushed over to see what was wrong she cried in my arms and wailed “I have a school and project, but can’t complete it because we don’t have any holiday traditions!”
Poor, girl. It saddens my heart to think my daughter was so upset over family traditions – thinking that our family doesn’t have any. But at the same time, I’m also proud of the fact that she thought our traditions are just common everyday things that ALL families do this time of year. So sweet, when you think about it that way.
That conversation sparked this post. Because we do have holiday traditions, lots of them. But obviously, I haven’t been doing a good job of communicating and showing her what those holiday traditions look like. So whether you have lots of family holiday traditions, looking to add some new ones or cleaning the slate and starting over this season, I hope these 50 Easy Holiday Traditions spark joy in your lives, and conversations with your kids. These traditions don’t cost a ton of money or clutter your life with more “stuff.”
50 Easy Holiday Traditions to Spark Joy in Your Family
It doesn’t have to cost a ton of money or require more “stuff” in your life to have a good tradition. These 50 Easy Holiday Traditions focus less on clutter and more on doing, giving and being present during the season. Pick one or do them all. These easy holiday traditions definitely spark joy in my heart:
- Eat a family holiday meal together. Prepare a special (or even funny) dish each season that means something to your family.
- Make a passed down family recipe, one that’s maybe new to you or one that the kids haven’t made before.
- Support your local arts by seeing a holiday production, like The Nutcracker or A Christmas Carol.
- Host a gingerbread house making party.
- Organize a cookie baking party. Share recipes to make, and let the kids have at it!
- Go see Christmas lights. Rate your favorites and turn up the holiday tunes!
- Get a group together for caroling! Share your gift of song (or just a joyful noise) with neighbors.
- Deliver fresh baked cookies around the neighborhood.
- Volunteer together. Pick a charity/organization and serve together as a family
- Read one holiday story a night. You can even make a Christmas Book Tree to amp up the fun!
- Make a yearly holiday playlist with your family. Everyone gets to pick a song!
- Make a joke tradition! Tell a new holiday joke every day.
- Watch a holiday movie or show together as a family.
- Start an advent calendar tradition. Pick one to do together every year.
- Pick out a Christmas tree together. Add in some treats and goodies to look forward to.
- Write letters to Santa.
- Retell holiday memories. Maybe you have stories surrounding an ornament purchased, decoration or just one from childhood.
- Donate old toys to charity. Let your kids let go of items not sparking joy and allow them to drop off.
- Have a holiday dance party!
- Try holiday karaoke! Your family may love grabbing a microphone and singing festive songs together.
- Adopt a child/family for holiday gifting. Let your kids pick out the items!
- Donate gently used clothing to a local shelter. Perfect time to spark joy in your closets!
- Deliver treats to emergency response staff. Our firefighters, police officers and medical teams will be working hard over the holidays.
- Start a food drive. Collect canned goods and nonperishable food items to donate to your local food bank.
- Start a book drive. Great time to pick up gently used books to donate to a local library, school or shelter.
- Wear matching family pajamas! Definitely a new tradition for us this year!
- Read The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve.
- Read The Christmas Story on Christmas Eve.
- Leave cookies and milk for Santa on Christmas Eve.
- Sprinkle reindeer food (oats and sprinkles) on your lawn on Christmas Eve.
- Open one gift on Christmas Eve (or even all gifts!).
- Send videos or live chat with loved ones over the holidays. Great time to reconnect.
- Volunteer at your local senior center. Spend time with those who may not have anyone visit for the holidays.
- Go to Christmas Eve service together. Have fun dressing up!
- Take family photos. This is the one time a year you have guaranteed pictures of your family!
- Send holiday cards to military overseas.
- Send holiday cards to family and loved ones. Include a special note/drawing from the kids.
- Have a special Christmas morning breakfast.
- Open gifts at the same time every year.
- Host a holiday party or game night.
- Do holiday shopping together! Make it a fun filled day with a meal, treats, or special outing.
- Make your own holiday decorations! Break out the paper and glue and craft together.
- Track Santa’s progress via NORAD. Your kids will love seeing where he is next.
- Start an Elf on the Shelf tradition.
- Write a holiday thankful list together. Each family member shares what they are thankful for.
- Pay-it forward together! Find ways to help a stranger throughout the season.
- Collect and donate supplies to a local animal shelter.
- Plan a family trip together.
- Make a holiday meal for a family in need.
- Invite a family over for dinner that you’ve never had over before.
- Host a Christmas evening party. Great way to decompress and enjoy the season.
The One Holiday Tradition We Don’t Talk Enough About
Let’s face it, the holidays are super stressful. It’s easy to get in the habit of pouring an extra glass of wine or having one too many beverages to decrease stress levels. But our kids are watching us, especially during the holidays. It may be tempting to give our kids a sip of our drinks. After all, it’s the holidays! What could happen?
We tend to think present and not future. Have you considered what example are we setting for our kids? Are we talking about how alcohol affects our bodies and our families? Are we discussing responsibility and designated drivers in front of our kids or behind closed doors?
We need to talk about alcohol with our kids. Do the research, like in this infographic above. Most 6-year-olds know that alcohol is only for adults. Between the ages of 9 and 13, children start to view alcohol more positively. Many children begin to think underage drinking is okay. Some even start to experiment. 6 and 11 – the exact ages of my kids. This infographic is talking to ME. In our family, we don’t talk enough about alcohol and responsibility. But we need to #TalkEarly about “sipping” and how it affects them long term. And how alcohol affects our kids’ development.
Work through the scenarios before they happen. Think about their responses and your responses before the situation happens. Then consider these talking points:
- Does allowing kids to have a sip take the appeal away? Does it make alcohol seem more dangerous or more alluring to them?
- Is it okay to allow kids to try alcohol in the secure environment of their homes? What about outside of the home?
- Does sipping teach kids how to drink responsibly? Or does it affect future long term drinking habits in a negative way?
- How does holiday traditions, cultural norms and family meals affect kids, family and alcohol?
- Are we sending mixed messages to our kids by allowing them to sip? Are we telling them that it’s ok to break some laws but not others?
My Easy Family Holiday Tradition | Better Communication
Given this year’s holiday meltdown, I’ve realized that I haven’t been good about communicating the importance of our family holiday traditions with my kids. And that has to change. Being vocal about what traditions we are partaking in, what they mean to us and answering the whys and hows – I want my kids to KNOW and be a part of every family holiday tradition we do.
Since that day, I’ve been more conscious of talking with my daughter and son about what makes our family traditions special and unique. I want their input on what works and what doesn’t work for our family, so that the holidays are NOT stressful for them.
The holidays are a time when communication is key. Talking with the other parent, having a game plan, opening communication and sticking to YOUR rule book – that’s what will create a safe environment for your kids. In any situation. Period.
It’s been an amazing year as a #TalkEarly ambassador. Communicating better with my kids has always been the focus. And while i’m not perfect by any means, the tips and conversations started because of this partnership – will have lasting effects on our family. For that alone, I am thankful this holiday season. Let’s talk early, often and openly with our kids. Head to Responsibility.org for more tips to build a lifetime of conversation with our kids about alcohol and responsibility.
I’ve been compensated as a #TalkEarly blogging ambassador for Responsibility.org for 2019. Even though this post is sponsored, I love the mission. All opinions are my own. Be sure to follow Raising Whasians for more parenting tips, easy family recipes, kids crafts and travel.