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!

Sleep Tight: New Children’s Books Perfect for Bedtime

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New Jammies loves those sweet bedtime moments with the kids, reading them to sleep after a relaxing bath and cozy pair of footies. Books are key in developing vocabulary, learning words, and forming bonds.

In welcoming 2017, we’ve found a host of cute books to help kids wind down after a fun day of play and learning. Check out these new titles that will be favorites when it comes to making memories during the nightly bedtime routine.

I'll Hug You More1. I’ll Hug You More
In her latest addition to her “I Love You More” books, New York Times bestselling author Laura Duksta wants kids to know hugs can say a lot, including “hello,” “thank you,” and “I’m sorry.” “But underneath it all, every hug says ‘I love you,'” she says. Duksta learned valuable lessons about love, compassion, and understanding for humanity, as well as for herself, when she lost all her hair at age 11 to Alopecia Areata. In its review of Jan. 1 release, Publishers Weekly described “I’ll Hug You More” as, “Cheery, multi-textured illustrations highlight the sheer versatility of hugs one can give a small hippo offers a one-handed, behind-the-back number as it eats cereal at the breakfast table, a ladybug uses all six limbs to cling to its parent, and two snakes entwine in a cozy, circular embrace … [Duksta’s] reassuring message comes through loud and clear.”

Super Happy Party Bears2. Super Happy Party Bears (Volume 2)
Arriving Jan. 17, this second book in Marcie Colleen’s witty chapter book series is described as, “filled with full color illustrations and adorable animals.” The author is a former classroom teacher and current educational consultant for the Picture Book Month initiative. She also creates teacher’s guides for picture books and middle grade novels and is a advocate for using children’s fictional literature in the classroom. Illustrator Steve James has 10 years experience in the art industry (animation, greeting cards and video game artwork). Super Happy Party Bears is his first children’s book. The book’s description, from publisher Macmillan, says it all: “The Grumpy Woods dislike Wallace Woodpecker only slightly less than the Super Happy Party Bears. They find his pecking preposterously loud, but the bears think Wallace is beating a nice rhythm — it’s great for early-morning dancercise. The bears convince Wallace he has great skills to offer the woods, and they give him ideas for unsolicited handy work. Instead of endearing him to the neighbors, it annoys them even more. Can the bears really help this noisy neighbor?”

Pete the Cat3. Pete the Cat: Five Little Ducks
Written and illustrated by #1 New York Times bestselling children’s book author James Dean, “Pete the Cat: Five Little Ducks is a cool adaptation of the classic children’s song “Five Little Ducks.” “Fans of Pete the Cat will love rocking out to this classic tune with a groovy twist,” says publisher HarperCollins, regarding the newest book in the Pete the Cat series, which comes out Jan. 24. James Dean’s art has sold in more than 90 galleries and shops across the U.S., and he has devoted his paintings to Pete the Cat for 15 years, turning his natural love for cats into his life’s work. He has also published “Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes” and “Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes.” Visit him online at www.petethecat.com.

By the Light of the Moon4. By the Light of the Moon
Published in the fall of 2016, By the Light of the Moon by Tom Percival is a gently emotional story to reassure fears about moving, with stunning artwork and a wonderful magical element. In the book, main character Ivan’s old house had always been so warm and friendly, but he finds out his new one is not. In the book, publisher Bloomsbury says, “Ivan finds his new house strange and can’t sleep. He lies awake and then sees a shimmering light come down. The light turns into a creature called a Moji, and it takes him on a magical nighttime adventure, up high into space, bounding through magical forests and down deep into the oceans. Ivan has never had so much fun! And the magical Moji shows him that soon the new house will feel like home.”

Be Who You Are5. Be Who You Are!
The end of 2016 also saw a new children’s book by New York Times bestselling author Todd Parr, “Be Who You Are!” the follow-up to his beloved classic, “It’s Okay to Be Different.” With nods to everything from race to gender expression to economic background, he encourages kids to be proud of who they are inside. “Be old. Be young. Speak your language. Be Who You AreBe proud of where you’re from. Just be who you are!” “Todd’s collection of work occupies a unique space in the children’s book market, addressing topics in a way that feels wholly necessary, inclusive, and appropriate with a sensibility that’s wacky, kid-friendly, and fun. The time is right for a book about acceptance in all forms, and we have no doubt this will resonate with many fans new and old,” says the publisher, Hachette Book Group, for its youth division, Little Brown Books for Young Readers.

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.