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I’m so happy the holidays are literary weeks away. As a mom, what matters is spending time with family and seeing the smile on the little ones face. Whether you are a single-parent or not, I will share memorable Christmas traditions to start with your kids. Christmas is about family and making memories that will forever be in your heart especially a kid. I grew up in a Latino household, and I love my Dominican heritage, but it’s obvious that American celebrate Christmas totally different from Latinos.
Christmas in our household was about celebrating Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) with family, music, good food, coquito, and opening gifts. Growing up in a low-income single parent home we didn’t have the privilege of getting a lot of toys or having Christmas traditions as we’ve seen on tv. We celebrate the holiday the Latin tradition, our abuela (grandmother) and tias (aunt) wake up at 4 am and start roasting the pernil (pork shoulder) and cooking up a feast for dinner party celebration. We, eat, dance wait for the clock to strike midnight and open up the gifts. That was our tradition but looking back those memories are in my heart, especially the family members that are no longer with us. No matter where you’re from or how you celebrate the holiday season, the most important is spending it with family.
I know some of you are not that close to their families and that’s ok. You can start your own tradition with your own little family, whether is only two of you are three. We still celebrate the holidays the Dominican and Puerto Rican way how our parents and great grandparents did but slowly we’re shifting into our own way. In additional to our latino roots we started several Christmas traditions over the years introducing it to our son when he was a toddler. If you are looking for ideas to start Christmas Tradition here are a few basic memorable Christmas tradition to start with your kids.
1. Elf on The Shelf
This little guy it’s an awesome way to kick off the holiday season with your little ones. They come to visit from the North Pole on December 1st every year until Christmas day. How you want to plan the arrival of the Elf is solemnly up to you, with a full North Pole breakfast or goodies. We arrange his arrival on Thanksgiving morning with a letter from Santa. On the letter we make sure that Santa request for the old toys to be placed in a box for donations.
This year the elf arrival will be big and fun for my little one, because this might be the last year in which he believes in Santa and the Elf. I want to make this Holiday season memorable for the little guy. On Thanksgiving morning The Elf will arrive with a BIG North Pole breakfast and a gift. A Santa Cam will be with the Elf when he makes his arrival. Santa has to keep an eye on all the kids to see if they been naughty or nice.
3. Advent Calendar
Create your own Advent calendar and fill it with fun treats. I started doing this two years ago and I love it. It’s a fun way to get your family, especially the kids involved in the countdown to Christmas. My only regret, I wish I would have started this years ago. I create little boxes and fill it with goodies, nothing big. I usually got to Dollar Tree, and find cute adorable things to fill the advent boxes. My kiddo gets an Advent calendar from his Elf on the Shelf.
7. DIY Ornaments
Every Year we create a special personalized ornament for that year. What I love about this family tradition is that after we take the ornament off we keep it in a special adorable box. My hope is that my kiddo will cherish this box of personalized ornaments so he can pass the tradition to his kids.
9. Magical Christmas Time
If you happen to be in NYC during the holidays, I have to say it’ beautiful and a magical Christmas time. To all my new Yorkers, there is so much to do to in the big apple, make it part of your holiday tradition. You can start your holiday tradition with the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center you can not only see the tree and not go ice skating at the Rink Rockerfeller Center and visit Macy’s Santa Land at Herald Square 34th Street. You will feel like you are at the North Pole, there’s a mailbox in which your kiddo can mail their letters to Santa and take pictures with Santa. One of my favorite that you can’t miss is the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes. You can walk two blocks and find yourself in 5th avenue. Another amazing even you can’t miss is, Saks 5th Avenue Holiday Window Display. You also have to visit the famous toys store, FAO Schwarz, American Girl Store, The Lego store. Once in New York you can’t miss the New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show, Wollman Rink in Central Park, The Christmas House of the Garabedian Family, Dyker Heights Holiday Lights and if you have little girls you have to give them the American Girl Doll experience at the American Girl Store. It will be pricey but if you can budget yourself, this is an experience your little girl will cherish for ever. If you don’t live in NYC or plan to visit, no worries just check your local listing of your Christmas events taking place in your town.
10. Holiday Christmas Books
I love buying holiday Christmas books for my kiddo because I want to give him a lifelong love of reading books. I know we live in modern times where you can download books into the ipad, but I still want him to actually read the softcover book. When he comes home with the school scholastic order forms I stock up in holiday books. I also have him take out books from the public library. He loves to read and he reads a Holiday book every day until Christmas. If it’s easier for you to download books into a tablet or iPad, do it. I’m still an old fashioned mom and I don’t want him attached to an iPad for reading and entertainment.
11. Gift Giving
Although my son still believes in Santa I’ve taught him that is not only Santa that brings gifts to kids. I want him to learn the true meaning of giving Christmas gifts instead of receiving. In his school, they hold a Christmas sale and it gives the kids an opportunity to buy gifts for their loved one. We give him a budget and let him figure out how to budget his money and let him buy gifts. He budgets his money and manages to buy a Christmas gift for mom and dad, both grandmother. Take your kids to either Dollar Tree, TJ Maxx or Target and give them a budget to buy gifts for their siblings or grandparents. The cool thing is that you can have them wrap it and put it under the tree. It’s a cool way to show your kids that Santa is not the only one that gives gifts to kids, mom and dad also give gifts to each other.
12. Christmas Movies Marathon
Watch your favorite Holiday movies. You can check your local TV listings for the movies schedules or Netflix, Hulo or Amazon. Here are some of our favorites Christmas movies:
- “Home Alone”
- “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
- “A Christmas Story”
- “Miracle on 34th Street”
- “The Polar Express”
- “The Santa Clause”
- “Dr. Seuss How the Grinch Stole Christmas”
- “A Charlie Brown Christmas”
- “Original Christmas Classics”
- “Mickey’s Magical Christmas”
- “National Lampoons Christmas Vacation”
- “The Elf on the Shelf Presents: An Elf’s Story”
- Just grab the popcorn and hot chocolate and make it a memorable movie night.
Treat your kiddos to an extra special gift to get them more excited for Christmas. For this Holiday tradition you will need a box. Any box will do, I got an Elf on the Shelf Christmas Eve Box at PartyCity, but you can use any cute boxes, you can check Dollar Tree. The Christmas Eve Box, is a little pre-gift to open on Christmas Eve filled with holiday themes goodies inside. You can pack whatever goodies you like for your kids. Here’s what we put in ours:
- Holiday Pajamas
- Santa Hat
- Christmas Movie DVD
- Christmas Book
- Christmas Bag (Santa Stop sign, Key, cookie plate, Reindeer food and milk bottle)
- Coloring Books
- Activity & Puzzles Book
- Hot Chocolate
- Toy for the toddlers
- Holiday Socks
You can check the Elf On the Shelf site, here, they also carry adorable accessories to make your Christmas tradition extra special.
14. Matching Family Pajamas
Matching Family Pajamas it’s the highlight of my Christmas morning. Getting pajamas for everyone to wear makes opening presents so fun. I pick the theme of the pajamas and wrap them up for my husband and for my kiddo I put it in his Christmas Eve box. One great thing to add is the book “The Pajamas Elves”, it’s a story on how kids are given special magical pajamas made by Santa elves. The magical pajamas make kids sleepy so Santa can deliver toys without getting caught.
15. Tracking Santa
On Christmas Eve, your kiddos can track Santa Claus and his Reindeer’s as he leaves the North Pole to deliver presents to kids around the world with NORAD. It’s a great entertainment for kids to see how close Santa is.
Christmas is about creating memories and family traditions. As a family you create traditions that makes your family happy.There are many traditions you can try with your family. What holiday traditions do you have for your family? What new traditions you have done? Love to hear all about it.