What’s Old Is New Again:  Special Traditions Are Making a Comeback This Season And In the Year to Come

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Today’s parents have a lot of balancing to do in order to keep their families safe, happy, and physically and emotionally healthy.

And this year, many of us have faced additional challenges that have made it difficult to do anything but get through each day – and however we’ve coped, chances are, it’s been difficult to keep all these changes from affecting our kids.

Now, as we approach the end of this year, it is more important than ever to let our faith, hope, and love shine brightly by creating and practicing special traditions, no matter what burdens we are carrying.

Even in “normal” times, every family experiences highs and lows.

Financial difficulties, job loss, illness, the death of a pet – or worse, a family member.  These trials are part of life, but they influence our well-being and the environment we create for our family.

It has always been human nature to look with promise and optimism at the year ahead, as we somehow think a fresh start in January will miraculously change our lives.

It may… or it may not.  But that is why it is especially important that we savor the simple times in life and create and practice new traditions that give our kids structure, security, and stability.

Now, at the end of another year, we may focus on Christmas traditions – but the fun things we do to celebrate our Savior’s birth are not the only traditions we should keep.

Families – and especially children – rely on the fun and hope that practicing traditions can bring.

And what better reason to create traditions for all the ordinary days of the year, along with those special holiday traditions we adhere to every year?

Of course, there are the usual Christmas traditions most of us do with the kids:  Decorating the tree, baking cookies, wrapping gifts, setting out the Nativity.

But what about getting creative with these traditions and coming up with new twists that suit your child’s interests and personalities?

For example, each year, you could choose a new theme for the holidays as a family – perhaps something that revolves around a favorite part of the year.

Did you get a new pet this year?  Think about decorating a tabletop tree with pet-themed ornaments and photos of the kids and pet together.  Or bake those traditional sugar cookies, along with some vet-approved pet treats with a recipe found online.

Maybe you traveled to a new place this year with the family and decided to return every year.  Decorate with souvenirs and photos of your trip, from trees to tabletops, strewn with greenery and memories.

Many of us started new hobbies this year – or spent countless hours playing board games or doing puzzles.  These can be fun themes for your holiday celebrations, as well.  How about a holiday game night on Christmas Eve or New Year’s, complete with recipes that complement the theme (Candy Land, anyone?)?

Or make your cookies extra big this year and then cut into a “puzzle” once cooled.  The kids can assemble them before eating.

Maybe you even added a new baby to the family.  There are so many ways to involve the older kids in creating new traditions to welcome a new member of the family.

And all of these end-of-year holiday traditions can translate into the rest of the year, as well.  In fact, what better way to ring in a new year than by coming up with some new traditions for the ordinary and extraordinary days ahead?

Writing letters to family far away, or even a pen pal… making scrapbooks over the course of the year to gift a favorite neighbor or beloved grandparent… creating a family dinner night where everyone makes a component of the meal all by themselves (just like a potluck dinner in-house)…

These are just a few fun activities that will bring so much joy that they can be made into new traditions that will stay with you and your children as they grow.

The great thing about creating traditions is that it doesn’t have to cost a lot – in fact, the best traditions cost nothing at all, except maybe a little time.

Homemade salt-dough ornaments, cardboard and paper table centerpieces, decorations cut from scraps… these can all be made with things we have on hand at home.

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And what’s old is new again.  Parents are embracing sentimental traditions that they enjoyed as children, passing them on to their own kids – especially as we’ve been home more this year and reconnected with ourselves and our families.

Write down recipes, take photos of activities, and have the kids do journal writing about their favorite traditions and experiences over the year.

Another tip when it comes to all those decorations, centerpieces, arts and crafts, and drawings you have piling up (and feel too guilty to discard!) is to take a photo of each work of art and create a scrapbook or journal.

These can be grouped by school year, by holiday, by vacation, or any theme at all.  You’ll have a reminder of all the great handmade items, and the memories of the tradition they were a part of, without all the boxes and piles of projects taking up the house!

These, too, will become cherished heirlooms for the future – the written words and pictures that bring back memories – or introduce cherished traditions to the next generations.

We often think about traditions in terms of holidays, birthdays, or special events – and that’s a wonderful part of it – but finding traditions in the ordinary moments can create a lifetime of comforting memories for our children.

So, this holiday season – and in the new year to come – think with purpose and intention about the things that really matter to you and your children.

Get creative (and get creating!) and cherish every moment of the journey.

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