One of the most beautiful things about the holiday season are the traditions. Think about it… traditions are EVERYWHERE. Just putting up the tree every year is a tradition. Maybe you even put it up on the same exact day with the same exact routine (Christmas music playing, eggnog at the ready). Anyone have a childhood stocking they hang year after year? Or Christmas movies you watch without fail every December? Or a special cookie recipe made from scratch passed down from your grandma?
All these details knit together create a season chock full of traditions - defined as “long-established customs or beliefs that have been passed on from one generation to another.” This means your kids will also be baking those same cookies from scratch in the years to come!
There’s just something about the familiarity of traditions that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy. Unless, of course, it happens to be 2020 and there’s a global pandemic and well… a lot of your traditions include crowded gatherings and trips to busy places.
One of my favorite things to do over the years is go into New York City at the holidays. I love the hustle and bustle of the crowds around the tree at Rockefeller Plaza, the beautiful windows on 5th Avenue, and to take in a Broadway show. Nope - not going to happen in 2020.
That’s okay - I have two little ones now who are better suited to take in the lights and ride the carousel at the Turtle Back Zoo. We kicked off a new tradition with our toddlers last year. Wait - I don’t think that’s going to happen either.
That’s okay - I love it when my extended family comes together from all over the country to celebrate Christmas Day together. Christmas parties are so festive! Yep, definitely not going to happen.
Then he slithered and slunk, with a smile full of ambition,
Around the whole room, and took every tradition!
Ice skating! Caroling! And Shopping Trips!
Neighborhood Parties! Work Shindigs! Trips On Cruise Ships!
And he stuffed them in bags. Then the Grinch, very nimbly,
Stuffed all the traditions, one by one, up the chimney!
Yes, the coronavirus is our Grinch! And it “stinks, stank, stunk.” This year we may all miss out on some of our prized traditions, but what’s most important is how you navigate this with your kiddos.
5 WAYS TO NAVIGATE NEW CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS
#1) Grieve Lost Traditions Together: It’s okay to be disappointed. Your feelings are legitimate. Missing out on favorite traditions in a year full of missing out is hard. It’s real. Talk about what you won’t be able to do this year with your kiddos and why. Be honest. Be ready to listen.
#2) Make New Traditions Together: I suggest creating a plan with your kids, because anticipation is half the fun! Do you want to drive around and look at Christmas lights while listening to Christmas music? Or go all out and attend a drive through lights experience (like this one)? Do you want to have a cookie baking contest? How about a porch-drop cookie swap with neighbors? Do Secret Santa with your immediate family? There are so many possibilities!
#3) Let Your Children Contribute Ideas: Your kids will be 10x more excited about the new traditions if they have a voice in the process. This could be democratic - everyone votes. That may be great for teens. Or, for younger kids, make sure everyone feels like a winner with each family member getting one “new tradition” to add to the family calendar.
#4) Pay Special Attention To Christmas Eve & Day: The loss of large family gatherings and special outings on Christmas itself will be especially hard. What would be new and fun in 2020? Family PJs for everyone! A french toast mega-breakfast! A new board game to play together!
#5) Remember The Reason For The Season: All of the traditions I’ve mentioned so far are secular, and that’s 100% fine. They’re great! But, let’s remember that Christmas is a joyous celebration of Jesus’ birth. We celebrate the wondrous moment when God entered our world to make things right. So, make time for worship as family. Make time to express gratitude for the peace, joy, and hope of this holy season.
And show yourself some grace! Parents - you do NOT have to make the holidays perfect. You do NOT have to try to make up for a terrible year with a glittering over-the-top Christmas. This is NOT about faking happiness or excitement - but it is about working together as a family to Reimagine Christmas and create new traditions that you might find become family favorites passed down from generation to generation.
Parents… want more resources for you and your family all year long? See all Liquid Family has to offer at LiquidChurch.com/Kids
For more personal reflections from our Reimagine Christmas blog series, check out these articles:
- Telling The In-Laws You’re Not Coming For Christmas by Suzi Soares
- The Gifts Your Kids Really Need This Christmas by Karen Veenstra