Each holiday season, there are some Christmas traditions that we observe as a family. Most of these traditions began when our boys were small, and now they are both in their twenties. How did we manage to keep the boys interested in these family rituals as they grew older? Thanks to the changes we made over the years to keep holiday traditions fresh, and the fact that the boys are good sports about humoring their mom, we kept these traditions going, year after year. If you are struggling to keep your kids involved in family holiday traditions, here are some ideas that may help.
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Out With the Old and In With the New Activities
Starting the first day of December, one person in our family gets to draw a slip of paper from a numbered pocket Christmas calendar. Each slip has an activity on it. The family HAS to do whatever the activity is. Often, it’s something my husband or I planned ahead of time, such as choosing a Christmas tree or baking cookies. When the boys were very young, the activities related to things the boys were excited about, like reading a particular Christmas storybook. An Advent calendar like this one with pockets would be just right.
Changing the Activities as the Years Passed
As the boys got older, the activities on the slips evolved to reflect the boys’ changing interests. Concerts were added, for example, and certain activities were retired. One of the things I love about this tradition is that it can be adapted easily to changes in the family. Also, the activities do not have to be fancy or expensive. We were able to keep this holiday tradition fresh for quite a while by changing up the items on the slips. Most recently, since our youngest is home for a few months, we had him place the slips in the pockets. He randomly placed, without looking at the slips, the activities that did not require any pre-planning, so he could “be surprised”. Love it!
Try it in Your Family with This Free Printable
Since the pocket calendar is such a great activity, I made a free printable to go along with it.
Along with the pre-printed activity slips, there is a blank grid for you to add your own activities. I hope you get the chance to try the calendar. In addition to being a fun family tradition, it helps keep us on track with the activities we enjoy each year. If it’s on the Christmas pocket calendar, we won’t forget about it!
Mix It Up a Bit
Years ago, my mom gave us an advent calendar with little stuffed nativity figures that could be stuck onto a scene with velcro. When the boys were little, naturally they were excited about taking turns to put up a nativity figure each day, and placed each figure in the “right” place. In our family, one child drew the advent calendar activity slip and the other child put a nativity figure on the calendar. The boys would switch the next day. This calendar is very similar to ours.
It worked well for us until the kids were in middle school, then we had to change it up. The guys decided to get creative with the placement of the figures in the scene, and we ended up with some non-traditional, even gravity-defying scenarios. It was worth it to have the boys still involved and it was one way to keep the holiday tradition fresh.
Think Outside of the Stable
The boys spent a few years helping me put the porcelain nativity figures in place on our coffee table. Then they abandoned the idea and let me complete the task by myself. I needed to keep the holiday tradition fresh and capture the boys’ interest once again. To do that, I put them in charge of moving the wise men around the house on their journey. That was a big hit!
Over the years, the wise men have moved across windowsills (as pictured above). They’ve also hopped on the Christmas train and ridden around the tree. They have also been known to wade through the “snow” in the alpine holiday village on their quest to find the Christ Child. Sometimes we forget about the wise men for a few days. It’s interesting to see where they end up. Someone always makes sure that they reach the stable on Christmas Eve!
For More Holiday Inspiration, Check Out These Posts:
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- 31 Best Christmas Books for Kids
What Are Some of Your Favorite Family Holiday Traditions?
Whatever your family holiday traditions, I hope that this post has given you some good ideas. Keeping them fresh will allow them to last longer. If you have some ways to keep your family involved in your favorite traditions, please share. I’d love to read about your ideas in the comments section below. If your holiday traditions involve food, and you like what you’ve read today, please consider subscribing and becoming part of the Fluxing Well tribe. You will receive fresh ideas every week, plus access to a library of free printable resources. The resource library includes a free cookbook filled with the best easy recipes from the Fluxing Well website.
I hope you have a wonderful season celebrating your favorite family traditions!