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Holiday Tradition Ideas

By Kate Reed

My family loves holiday traditions and while we’ve added new ones as a family some of our traditions were passed down from our parents! Here are some of our favorite ones.

Letters to Santa

Each child writes (or draws) their letter to Santa and we ‘mail’ it to the North Pole! These are great keepsakes for when they have their own kids so I save them. We type up letters back on with Santa templates found online and the kids receive them in the mail. We just slip them into a pile of mail but you could also have friends or family mail it! Or, try santasredletter.com to have an authentic letter sent to your child.
In need of a little more holiday magic this year? Check out USPS Operation Santa where families are paired with generous people who can fulfill their wish list.
There are also endless virtual programs to send Santa letters like this fun one from Paperless Post which benefits Toys for Tots.

Hot Cocoa Bar

Recipe (from Taste of Home)

Get your friends and family together for some Christmas cookie decorating, caroling, and a hot cocoa bar! We love to put a movie on the outdoor projector and sip cocoa around a fire.

½ cup sugar
¼ cup baking cocoa
Dash of salt
1/3 cup hot water
4 cups milk
3/4tsp vanilla extract

Topping ideas:
Whipped cream
Crushed peppermint or cinnamon candies
Toffee bits
Caramel and chocolate sauce
Candy canes for stirring
Pirouette cookies
Shaved chocolate

In a saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa and salt. Add water; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in milk; heat to serving temperature (do not boil). Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Whisk until frothy. Pour into a carafe for serving. Put some bowls out with all your toppings and enjoy!

Reindeer Food

While you can buy adorable bags of reindeer food ready to go, this is an easy craft to make with the kids. Mix some oatmeal and sanding sugar (sprinkles) and mix! Put it in a little baggie and save it for Christmas Eve. Sprinkle it on your lawn to guide the reindeer to your house. Don’t forget to leave some carrots out!

24 Books of Christmas

Pick 24 holiday books and wrap them up so that your children get to open one each night before bedtime! It’s a great tradition that doesn’t cost anything year after year if you repurpose books. But you can also try book swaps with friends or adding new holiday books each year.

Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve we load up the car and drive around all the neighborhoods to look at the decorations. We look forward to it every year! Then when we come home the kids get a new pair of pajamas and open one gift from under the tree. It’s such a simple tradition but it’s one of my favorites from my childhood.



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