One of my favorite things to do with my child is make “bucket-lists” for the seasons. We typically do one for the summer time and one for the holidays. The “bucket-list” idea has been a tradition of ours each year, which encompasses many OTHER traditions that we have continuously looked forward to each year. Here are some of our favorite holiday traditions:
1. Elf on the Shelf
My daughter’s all time favorite (and my absolute least favorite) is our Elf on the Shelf, Ella. The endless nights of making sure to remember to move the dang elf haunts me throughout the holiday season; however, the look on her face when she discovers Ella doing some silly is priceless. A Christian alternative to Elf on the Shelf is Shepard’s Treasure It’s ultimately the same concept, except it’s a Shepard instead of an elf. I think it’s a great way to keep Christ at the center.
2. Matching Pajamas
Having matching pajamas for Christmas Eve is a must. How fun is it to wake up Christmas morning and take all the cute pictures in family matching pjs? Target, Etsy, Amazon, and many other websites offer matching jammies for the whole family.
3. Cookie Decorating Party
Cookie decorating is a tradition that started with my group of friends. Over the years, it sort of got out of hand when we began to make cookies that were slightly inappropriate for the young ones, but we had a blast doing it and made some really great memories. Grab a pack of sugar cookie mix, icing, sprinkles, and any other edible decor you can find and go at it! The kids love it.
4. Gingerbread House Competition
This is a tradition I have with my sisters. Every year, we get gingerbread house kits and try our best to build them without them falling. Usually if they can simply stand on their own, then we considered it a success. If there’s a group of people, pick a judge, a prize and make a competition out of it.
5. Drive around to see Christmas lights
Shadrack christmas lights is the ultimate destination for the best lights around. It’s located in Gonzales and is a spectacular event for the whole family. Or simply stick to local neighborhoods to drive around while listening to your favorite Christmas tunes. Don’t forget your hot chocolate!
6. Christmas Movie Night
Elf and the Polar Express are my family’s favorite Christmas movies. Pick a night that everyone can join, get in your favorite pajamas, have your favorite snacks close by and enjoy an evening of Christmas fun. You can even have themed decorations if you like to be extra – “I just like to smile; smiling’s my favorite!”
There are many ways to give to others throughout the holiday season. You can give through your child’s school, food drives, your church, Operation Christmas Child, give to your neighbor, Salvation Army, and many other local organizations. Maybe you can pick one family each year to bless during the holidays. Teaching your children to give and having them actually be a part of it will make an impact on them that will stick with them forever.
8. Book Unwrapping
If your kid loves books as much as mine does, this is a definite winner. Wrap 25 books, new or old, and unwrap one each night to read before bed. Something about unwrapping the book makes reading it even MORE exciting than just grabbing it from the shelf.
9. Fancy Outing
Choose one fancy outing each year. The Red Stick Moms Blog Donuts with Santa event should be at the top of your list every year (tickets sell out quick)! This year, my daughter and I will attend the Holiday Princess Tea at the Old Governor’s Mansion. Celebration in the Oaks is one of my favorites. The Nutcracker Ballet or a Christmas play / concert, and of course, seeing the lobby of lights at The Roosevelt are all special outings that are unforgettable.
10. Polar Plunge
“3 … 2 … 1 … JUMP!” This is for my thrill seekers who love a good adrenaline rush. Wait until the weather is freezing and jump in the pool. It’ll be fun, they said. This is not my cup of tea, but the youngsters love it. A quick dip in the pool is an exciting rush and something good to get on video!
11. Birthday Cake and Card to Jesus
Let’s not forget the reason for the season. Have your kids make a birthday card and cake for our Savior, Jesus Christ. Sing happy birthday to him on Christmas Day, because let’s not forget, he is the ultimate sacrifice!
12. Reindeer Food
Reindeer food typically consists of oats and glitter. You can add whatever sparkly goodness you want to the mixture to make it your own. Spread it on the lawn on Christmas Eve to make sure Santa and his Reindeers don’t miss your house!
13. The Reindeer Run
I love this tradition because it’s active, fun, and a pretty view of Downtown Baton Rouge. The Reindeer Run 5k is at night and the route passes by the beautifully lit state capital. After the run, there are tons of fun activities such as the Festival of Lights featuring Santa Claus, live music, fireworks, free outdoor ice skating and much more.
14. Make a New Ornament
Ornament making is a special tradition if you love your tree to be full of homemade ornaments. If not, you can gift it to your grandma who does! I personally love homemade ornaments the most and look forward to making a new one with my daughter each year. Don’t forget to add the date!
15. Go Ice Skating
We never skip a year to go ice skating at the River Center. I brought my daughter at a very young age because I was instilled with the love of ice skating at a young age myself. Luckily, she was a natural. Every year, we skate and then head to Coffee Call for beignets and hot chocolate, afterwards.