Celebrate Together: Holiday Traditions For Kids

The winter holidays are an amazing time for families to come together to celebrate! Whether you celebrate one particular holiday, multiple, or none at all, the end of the year offers a perfect opportunity to create and celebrate family traditions. The team at New Jammies worked together to share our favorite family traditions, in the hopes that we spark new celebrations for yours!

Have you tried one of these traditions? Have a unique tradition of your own you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!

Egg Carton Penguins from OneLittleProject are a great kid-friendly DIY decoration!

  1. Create DIY decorations. Many winter holidays involve a wonderful amount of decorating. Instead of spending tons of money on store-bought decor, set some time aside each year to create homemade holiday decorations together. There are tons of online guides for easy, kid-friendly DIY projects, like these adorable Egg Carton Penguins from OneLittleProject. The point of this tradition isn’t to be the best at arts and crafts — it’s to enjoy the laughs, the fun, and the time spent in each other’s company.
  2. Perform random acts of kindness. The holidays are a great time to teach children that a little kindness goes a long way. Make it a tradition to surprise strangers with random acts of kindness, like compliments, free hugs, or small gifts. One of our teammates says, “When I was a kid, my dad took my sister and I to a grocery store to buy a bunch of bouquets of carnations. Then, we went to the city center and handed out flowers to random holiday shoppers just to brighten their day. It became a quick tradition!”
  3. Pose for family photos. Holiday cards are an excellent way to update friends and family on the year gone by. They’re also a great addition to any scrapbook or family photo album! Many photographers offer discounted holiday photo packages during the fall and winter. For bonus points, have everyone dress in matching outfits!
  4. Make a countdown calendar devoted to learning. If you celebrate a winter holiday on a specific date, you can create a countdown or advent calendar of your own with your own traditions. For example, you can celebrate learning with a countdown calendar made of books! Each night, read a different book with your kids, focusing on a different holiday, historical figure, or culture. It’s a great way to learn more about the world around us, and share some wonderful family time!
  5. Surprise the neighbors. Many families enjoy baking cookies as part of a holiday tradition. You can take this tradition one step further by sharing the bounty with your neighborhood. There’s nothing quite like surprising your neighbor with a fresh-baked loaf of bread, still hot from the oven!
  6. Start a gag gift tradition. If you celebrate a gift-giving holiday, gag gifts can be a fun, inexpensive way to celebrate the end of the year. Another New Jammies teammate shared this great tradition from her family: “When I was a baby, we had a family friend known as Grandpa Sam. He was so much fun at the holidays. Anytime he opened a gift, he would yell ‘YOWZERS!’ He also had a knack for picking out gag gifts that people would inevitably find useful. For example, a pair of lotion-lined gloves from a dollar store that turned out to be a great cure for wintery dry skin! Today, my family still picks out small ‘gag’ gifts for each other, and as soon as we open them, we all yell ‘YOWZERS!’”
  7. Build your own hayride and look at the lights. Depending on what your neighbors celebrate, many neighborhoods are full to bursting with holiday decorations and lights. Get your family in on the fun by loading everyone in the car, jamming to a playlist of your favorite holiday music, and driving slowly through the neighborhood to look at the lights.

    Hosting a holiday PJ party? Set up a backyard photo booth with wintery decorations, props, costume pieces, and more!

  8. Have a holiday PJ party. This is a great tradition for neighborhood kids, extended family, and adults alike! Instead of an ugly sweater party, have everyone show up in their favorite pajamas. Guests can play games, bring food, and stay up late watching holiday movies. At the end of the night, the kids can have a group sleepover!
  9. Host a neighborhood potluck. This is a wonderful tradition for neighborhoods deeply steeped in culture, where many families celebrate different holidays. Ask everyone to bring a dish made from a family recipe, or a traditional recipe from their family’s country. Spend the night learning about different cultures through delicious food, traditional songs, and party games! “I have been having an annual holiday open house party in the day which is nice because people can stop by during a wider time range,” says New Jammies founder, Nicole Johnson. “It is nice for families because if kids have different nap times or other weekend obligations they can arrive and leave at their convenience.”
  10. Give back. The holidays give us an opportunity to build a volunteering spirit in kids from a young age. Nicole’s family participates in Toys for Tots by choosing a few names from a local tree each year to pick out presents for other families. And at New Jammies, we work with various organizations and fundraisers throughout the year to keep them well stocked in comfy, organic cotton jammies! Find a cause you believe in — hosting a food drive, volunteering at a soup kitchen, making and handing out gifts for a senior home — and make it a family tradition. By participating each year, your kids will see the direct impact of their hands-on volunteer work.

What are your favorite holiday traditions? Let us know in the comments!

February: Plant the Seeds of Greatness

January always seem to be the month of new beginnings, making goals, and looking ahead to creating better and healthier habits.   The changes start internally, but hopefully have a lasting effect on our well beings and that of our family, friends, and world around us.   Not surprisingly, by February many of us have moved back into our normal routines and our goals have gone by the wayside.   Or perhaps we were so overwhelmed from the holidays, we never had a chance to focus on ourselves, but were simply in recovery mode.   So I was surprised to find that February is known as the “Plant the Seeds of Greatness Month” and I’m excited I am given another chance to look at the future and perhaps plant my seeds this month.

 

“Awake, arise, and assert yourself, you dreamers of the world. Your star is now in ascendancy.”
― Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century

At New Jammies our motto is Eat Right, Play Right, Sleep Tight.   These are three areas of our lives that are essential to good health and overall well being.    I’d like to take a look at a few steps we could take to improve these areas and help plant your seeds of greatness.

Eat Right

  1. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store.  Our basket should be filled with less packaged/processed goods and more whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, meats, and fish.
  2. Add a new organic or local product to your list.   It can be hard to buy all organic and/or all local due to numerous factors including availability and budget.  Pick one of your regularly purchased items and commit to making sure it is organic, GMO free, or locally produced in a sustainable manner.
  3. Eat your veggies.   Try a new vegetarian or vegan recipe to add to your rotation of regular meals.  There are so many resources now for inspiring vegetarian meals, the world is your oyster. (mushroom, that is..)

Play Right

  1.  Keep it fresh. Get out and try a new activity you’ve never done before.   It seems like there are never ending new options for exercise these days.   Maybe if your a road runner, hit the trail.   You’re a downhill skier: skin uphill.   You’re a yogi, try pilates.    You’re a mountain biker: try road biking.   You love the gym: try a new class, an outdoor group sport (frisbee), golf, or a hike in the woods.   You’ll work your mind and your muscles in a different way and probably feel like a kid again.
  2.  Get outside.   The days are getting longer.   Take your routine outside, even if it means bundling up.
  3.  Just do it. Period!  As parents we often put our children, partners, work, and just sustaining our day to day life before taking time for ourselves.   Commit to one, two, or more days a week to just do an activity for yourselves.   This might mean getting up earlier or asking a spouse, friend, or relative for help, but a healthy body is a healthy mind for us to be the best we can be.

Sleep Tight

  1.  Value Sleep.   This is the time our body and mind needs to heal and be re-energized for a new day.  ” Research shows that poor sleep has immediate negative effects on your hormones, exercise performance and brain function.” (Healthline-17 Tips to Better Sleep)    Don’t take it for granted and set yourself up for the best sleep possible with a few tips highlighted here.

A. Reduce screen time before bed.

B. Don’t drink caffeine late in the day

C. Think before you drink that relaxing glass of vino or beer.

D. Don’t eat right before bedtime.

I’m sure a lot of these ideas are not completely new to you, but repetition creates good or bad habits.  Sometimes we need a reminder of the good to stay on the right track.    As a parent I constantly think, “Am I doing the right thing for my children” but sometimes we have to step back and do the right thing for ourselves.  If we plant the seeds of greatness for our future, I am certain our children, family, and community will feel the long term effects of our flourishing garden.