Hey, Christmas is just around the corner. Thanksgiving dinner is still warm and the leftovers are still being consumed. But it is now time to start thinking of the most wonderful time of the year. Yet not just Christmas itself but I want you to think of traditions, especially if you have young kids. These traditions stick with them and become an incredibly important part of their world and how it operates.
That is why today I wanted to talk about 12 different Christmas traditions that you can and should incorporate into your holidays. These are often old traditions that will seem silly for today but then there are others that are good for kids to perform because they learn that not all people are as fortunate as you and you don’t want to turn away from them.
Reading The Christmas Carol
Maybe you have seen the many different iterations of the classic movie. Charles Dickens Classic A Christmas Carol is one of those stories that just demands to be read aloud. Though many people these days watch some version of it on television. My favorite version is the George C Scott Christmas Carol yet you may like the Micky Christmas Carol. Either way, this story is all about Christmas. You have heard it. Scrooge is a mean old miser till he is visited by his old dead Business partner. After that, we find out why Scrooge is the way he is and what happens if he doesn’t change.
You can read this story as many people back in Charles Dickens time did. That was their entertainment. They didn’t have radios, and much less the internet so as a means entertain everybody they would read a book. A Christmas carol is a book set just for that.
The total amount of time if you read straight through and don’t stop for breaks is around 1 hour and 25 minutes. It is as long as a movie. So why not get a copy. brush up on your dramatic reading and make reading the Christmas Carol a tradition. Your Children will look forward to this time each year.
You can get a free copy of the Christmas carol.
Reading Twas The Night Before Christmas
This is a tradition that has been incorporated into many households all over the US of A. That tradition is on Christmas eve before the kids go to bed they are read A Visit From Saint Nicholas by Clement Moore or More commonly known as The Night Before Christmas.
This poem is short and sweet. it captures the mystery and magic that embodies Santa Clause. So spend 15-20 minutes as you read this poem to a bunch of excited kids who can’t wait to see what Santa brought them.
The Christmas Jar
There are folks who are nowhere near as fortunate as you. Yeah, this year may have been tough on you financially. Yet when you look back with gratitude you see that you have been blessed. While other folks have had an even more difficult time. maybe a neighbor lost their husband and father and they are struggling to stay afloat.
So a tradition that helps teach kids sacrifice and humility incorporate the Christmas Jar. What you do here is you get a pickle jar. It doesn’t have to be Huge but your normal 32 oz Best Maid pickle jar will do the trick. Throughout the year fill that jar up with money. Coins bills whatever you have left over for the day.
Get the kids involved too. When they have change ask if they want to contribute to the Christmas jar. As they join in they will become invested in making sure the best person gets the jar.
Once the jar or jars, can have more than one, are full you and the family as a unit decide who needs the money the most. Once you decide to use the week before Christmas to plant the jars on their porch. Don’t knock or wait around. The magic in this is being completely anonymous. This helps them save face because the recipient doesn’t want to be seen as a beggar. Yet they know that there is still good in the world and can give them hope that they will be able to make it through this trying time.
This tradition is so magi-esque that you will see the kindness in your kids grow with each passing year so maybe you want to try it out.
So what does a roving band of drunks threating to hang around a person house till they get figgy pudding have to do with Christmas? Well, this is a middle ages tradition that at the time could often degrade into bouts of violence. Yet you can still make it fun and kids safe while you go Wassailing.
You have heard the song in passing
So now your memory has been refreshed and you now have this some stuck in you head. which is awsome i know.
What wassailing is in a nut shell is A group of merry makers would go door to door and sing drinking wassail or mulled wine. They would sing to the lords of the manor and these lords, in turn, would give you food and drink.
This tradition sometimes delved into someone carrying a punch bowl and if the lord didn’t’ give something the crowd would get rowdy. Which is where the verse
So bring us some figgy pudding
so bring us some figgy pudding
So Bring us some Figgy puding and bring it right here.
We wont go until we get some
We wont go until we get some
We wont go until we get some So bring it out here.
So as you can see this was a tradition that wasn’t looked too kindly in England. So why again should you bring up a tradition of public drunkenness? Because it is where the tradition of Christmas carols come from. In other words, this was a long way of explaining get your kids out into the cold let them sing songs to other people in your neighborhood. Because it is fun. And if you wassail you can get a little toasted too if you like.
The Kissing Bough
This is the origins of the mistletoe that everyone knows of today. Before we just stuck a sprig of this parasitic plant up the people in the middle ages would actually weave a ball of mistletoe and hang it from the ceiling. They would then kiss under it as a means of saying I am here in good faith.
So hang it up and let the kids see mom and dad kiss under the mistletoe. because kids ned to see that mom and dad are affectionate to each other.
Let the Kids Direct the party -aka Saturnalia
This tradition actually dates way-way back to Roman times. WHere there was lots fo merry men and such going of with the celebration of their god Saturn. Now the original partying was more mardi gras style and they would elect someone of low status to be “King” This party was called Saturnalia.
So in your household, the lowborn status will more than likely be the kids. Therefore each year, you could select one child to be the party organizer. Let them get as creative as possible. You may just find out that you have a party planner in the family.
Now here is one that the cake artist will cringe and go running to their beds. you take a decorated cake and you travel to a friends house and you throw it at their front door. Now, this is supposed to ensure that they have plenty to eat for the following year.
So you might want to let them know that you are about to assault their front door with a baked good.
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Now, this is a southern tradition though some folks want to say that it is a German tradition. But anyhow this is fun. You take the Christmas pickle and it is the last ornament that is hung. Then one all the kids go to bed you hid the pickle somewhere on the tree. The first kiddo to find it gets some money, and they get to hide the pickle next year.
Why this started I really don’t know. I wonder who thought a cucumber ornament was a good idea. Of course, there are several different food-oriented ornaments like apples, oranges pineapples and the such so cucumbers why not. I’m just glad it morphed into a fun game you can involve the kids.
Presents With Poems
This takes some creativity but writes a poem that hints at the gift and who it is too. This makes the gift giving a fun challenge and can be quite funny if you guess wrong.
and example would be
To the one who likes to laugh and giggle
Here is a gift to cause a wiggle
Though it is found in an Alley it can take all you got
And Cause the old man said Thanks A Lot
No idea? It is a bowling ball for the person who likes to giggle.
Ok sorry, that’s all I could come up with on a short notice. But you get the idea.
There is a tradition in Victorian England of telling ghost stories. This is evident in the Christmas carol. There are 3 ghosts. in that story.
But what brought my attention is the song “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.
There is a verse that goes
There’ll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting
And caroling out in the snow
There’ll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories of
Christmases long, long ago
Scary ghost stories? Why are they telling ghost stories? It was Victorian England so who knows the full reason why but if you are interested and want to have some stories for this season you can stock up at the Paris Review they have 5 Christmas ghost stories you can share.
True White Elephant Gift Party
This is a fun party that you can have with the kids or without. This is a game where each person brings a gift and then the presents are put in a pile. Each person then gets a number. The number corresponding to the gift then unwraps the gift.
The next person in line then can either take that gift or take from the pile eventually everyone is laughing and having a good time trying to steal one gift or another. The rules are often switched up and depending on how adult you want to get. There it the naughty Santa to liquor exchanges. There are also kid-friendly sock or Toy themes. So the opportunities are limitless. For all the different rules Visit White Elephant gift Website
You remember these with the salt dough. These are great activities for the kids to design their own personal ornament that can last a surprisingly long time. OUr kids made ornaments back 15-16 years ago and we still have several of them.
Made dough orniments with my buddy Judah pic.twitter.com/4QWVNzLbuy
— Kelly S. Rushing (@KRKellKellyO) December 13, 2013
Visiting a Nursing Home
This one helps kids with empathy. If you go to a nursing home and ask the staff often they can tell you who doesn’t get many if any visitors. Take the time to read the newspaper or a book to these folks. If they are able to talk and hold a conversation then express interest in who they are and what they did when they were younger.
— Amy West (@misswestsays) October 15, 2018
This can often be a sad experiance but also a tremenouse character building experiance. So even if they dont want to do anything bring them along without the phones and eventually they will start helping with the bingo or something there at the home. The residents at the home need your kids as much as the kids need the old folks.
Work a Soup kitchen or Food Bank
Again this tradition is about serving those who are in need. If you have a food bank or a soup kitchen volunteer a day or two leading up to Christmas. Let them see how the other half lives. That way they are able to understand gratitude and that that are people who need their help.
So there you go 12 Christmas traditions you can start at your house this year. These will help build memories and influence the traditions they form as they venture out on their own.
Merry Christmas folks and have a happy holiday.