Christmas is my absolute favourite time of year (like many, obviously) and I plan on introducing Eleanor to all my family traditions. Christmas is all about maintaining traditions and I actually get upset when plans get changed (I once had a little tantrum when my mom changed up her mashed potatoes).
It’s the little traditions that will create memories for a lifetime. For me, it is decorating the tree with my mom each year, waking early to open gifts (I am at my parents’ house by 8:00, still clad in pjs), watching holiday movies like White Christmas and Rudolph, hanging my grandfather’s sleigh bells on my door and singing Christmas carols with my large family (and even in that big group, no one can carry a tune).
This year, we have already embarked upon our holiday journey, starting with the Hamilton Santa Claus parade. I wasn’t sure if Eleanor would be interested, but she and her other toddler buddies loved the bands, floats and Christmas characters. My plan is to make this an annual outing with friends.
It’s never too early to introduce your child to your traditions, or start some of your own. Here are a few ways to get going:
1. Decorate together. Forget the ultra-fancy tree with the perfectly placed ornaments. Let your toddlers add their special touches—even if it means random clumps of tinsel on the bottom foot of the tree.
2. Tell stories and sing songs. Sit around the tree and make up stories about the ornaments or sing Christmas carols. Keep this going as your child grows.
3. Purchase an annual ornament. It will be a special gift each year and when your children are grown (sniff) they will already have an ornament collection to take to their new home.
4. Bake! Even little ones can help with the Christmas cookie baking. You provide the shortbread or gingerbread shapes and then let your kiddo go crazy with icing, sprinkles and other decorations. Sure, it will get messy; but that’s part of the fun.
5. Have a family breakfast. It’s hard to pin down kids on Christmas morning, but if you can, have the whole family sit down for a big breakfast together. It’s an opportunity to put the new toys down for a moment and have some quality family time.
As I am finishing this post, I am even more excited about the holidays and what they have in store for Eleanor. I can’t wait to see her excited little face on Christmas morning!