Some families send awkward Christmas cards and others bake up a storm of insanely easy Christmas cookies, but when it comes to landing on a new family tradition, it can be hard to know where to start. Luckily, Christmas traditions are all about fun and getting into the holiday spirit. And with a new baby at home, this is the best time to try out a few new ideas — like making some DIY Christmas yard decorations — and begin building memories your little one will look back on as she grows up. If you’re stumped on where to begin, try working one of these 12 ideas into your holiday season this year.
1. Write a letter from Father Christmas. In J.R.R. Tolkien’s Letters from Father Christmas, the famed Lord of the Rings author wrote beautiful letters from Santa and sent them to his children every December. Take a cue from the fantasy legend and craft a handwritten note to your baby from Father Christmas. Your baby won’t know what’s going on for her first Christmas, but as she grows up, this will be a tradition to look forward to (and back on!) every year.
2. Send a special delivery from Santa. Personalized Santa sacks are all over Etsy, but you can DIY your own bag with a burlap sack, some stencils and paint. On Christmas Eve, stuff the bag with special presents from Santa, and make sure it’s the first or last gift that is opened on Christmas morning. Be sure to snap photos of your baby with the bag for proof that Santa has made his way to your house every year since her very first Christmas.
3. Designate a closet clean-out and donation day. Begin a tradition of giving back and getting organized every December. Take the time to go through your closets — even your baby’s! — and donate the clothes that she’s outgrown and the baby supplies you no longer need or never use. Do the same for your belongings, and bundle it all up for a local charity. Repeat this tradition every year as your little one grows older to keep the spirit of giving part of your holiday tradition.
4. Wear holiday pajamas. This is a tradition the whole family can snuggle up to. Pull out your holiday PJs right after Thanksgiving, and wear them until New Year’s Day. It’s a fun way to get your baby into the holiday spirit — well before she has any idea of who Santa Claus is.
5. Make a Christmas photo card. Make a magazine-worthy creation with the help of a site for holiday photo cards, or print them from a big-box store or major pharmacy photo center. Either way, say Merry Christmas with a photo of your baby or the whole family! Pro tip: Print enough cards so that you can save one for your family every year, and frame them for added holiday decor around the house.
6. Throw a themed, kid-friendly holiday party. If you’re having a hard time hitting the Christmas party circuit this year with your new baby, invite everyone over to your place instead. Take it up a level and theme your party out (ugly Christmas sweaters, anyone?). Dress as your favorite holiday movie character or whatever else you come up with — just make it an annual thing!
7. Read a holiday story to your baby. Whether it’s your fave childhood book or even a new classic, read a Christmas story with your little one just before bedtime on Christmas Eve. Pick up that book year after year and make it your family’s Christmas tradition.
8. See a holiday movie or show. Watch a holiday classic as an official kick-off to the Christmas season. This is a tradition that can grow as your child gets older. Start with a movie at home while your child is still a baby, and build on the tradition as she’s able to sit through a two-hour movie or live theater show.
9. Take a family holiday picture. Take a photo of your family in front of the tree, the mantel or another fave spot. Try to keep the photo location the same year after year, and you’ll have a one-of-a-kind keepsake to look forward to every Christmas.
10. Give a keepsake gift. Start a collection for your baby and add to it every year. Ornaments are a great way to get this tradition started, beginning with baby’s first Christmas ornament. Every year, buy or DIY an ornament that represents your child’s past year. By the time your baby is graduating from high school, you’ll have a big collection to look back on.
11. Sign up for a volunteer day. Create a holiday tradition that involves giving back in a bigger way. Volunteer your time to a favorite cause and bring your baby along for the experience. As she gets older, you can choose more kid-friendly activities and let her take part in the experience too.
12. Make a special Christmas morning breakfast. Whether it’s a huge stack of pancakes or cinnamon rolls and cocoa, make Christmas morning breakfast another part of the festivities. Your baby may not be able to gobble it all down this year, but your recipes will only get better with practice. Start now and have it down by the time your little one is old enough to sit at the table.
What holiday traditions are you looking forward to sharing with your baby? Tweet us your ideas @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)