Lifestyle

Holiday Traditions

Check out these simple ideas for holiday traditions to start this year, and tips for reducing stress if Christmas isn’t perfectly planned.

yearly holiday traditions

Do you like the ever-changing hustle and bustle of the holiday seasons or prefer if everything stayed the same year after year?  I’ve been on the hunt recently to gather as much information as I can about some basic holiday traditions, and I’m sharing the results (plus I’m adding on to my list of must-do Christmas activities!).

I’ve been feeling a bit anxious about Christmas this year.  Not necessarily stressed/worried, but not as calm as I would like to be… if you know what I mean?  This is the first year that our little Zachary has started getting into the Christmas spirit, and I want to instill great holiday traditions that we can replicate each year.  I’m a bit stressed thinking that I have to get everything perfect, but am trying to remember to give myself some grace (he’s only 2 and a half after all…).

Either way, I polled my newsletter subscribers (you can sign up from my newsletter here!) with a few questions, and some of the answers were a bit surprising :)

I even made this shareable fill-in-the-blanks graphic for Insta-stories and had some fun responses there too!

Ready to hear the results?

Holiday Traditions about Gifts

Opening Gifts

In my family, we always opened gifts on Christmas morning (because duh, Santa comes the night before!).  My brother and I were allowed to open our stockings before waking up our parents (I think they wanted as much sleep as they could get, ha!).  The Husband said that they always opened gifts on Christmas eve (which I couldn’t believe), but his mother reassured me that they only started doing that when they were older.

My super-scientific-survey had results that showed that more people open gifts on Christmas eve, which I could hardly believe!

Along the same line, I also asked if kids opened gifts separately from the adults (ie: like us who opened our stockings ahead of time).  Results were split between letting kids open something ahead of time (whether it was the stockings or only one present) and opening gifts all together as a family.

Gift Traditions

There are some families who gift the same thing each year (like matching holiday PJs), or even a full Christmas Eve Box.  Basically, something that the kids can open (possibly ahead of time) and that they can look back on, whether it’s photos of the PJs, or an ornament for the tree.

Survey Results:  None of my email subscribers does yearly gift traditions!

(Oh, and apparently everyone gets their spouse/significant other something, whether it’s big or small – so I can’t skip it this year, ha!).

Holiday Traditions about Decorating

I also took the opportunity to poll everyone about their holiday decorating style.  Whether that means putting decorations up at all, decorating multiple trees, changing the style each year, etc.

Survey Says: Most people err on the side of less décor and try to stick with the same holiday colours/themes year after year.  Christmas trees are filled with sentimental or family ornaments, but there may be an extra tree in the house too!

Did you enjoy hearing about the different basic holiday traditions?

holiday tradition graphic

The Holiday Traditions I Want to Start

Growing up, we kind of had similar things in the stockings each year, but definitely no holiday PJs or anything like that.  This year I am vowing to start the tradition of having an ornament to commemorate our year.  Basically, something new we can add to the tree as a family, but not a new ornament for each child/family member.  (Mathematically speaking that would be like 50+ ornaments by the time the kids are old enough to have their own trees).  We did do a handprint ornament for each first Christmas, and still have to do Élise’s this year.

I think the stressful part about the holidays for me is that I wanted to make sure we were always at home on Christmas morning so we could open presents there.

I don’t care what my Husband or the survey results say, opening gifts from Santa on Christmas eve is just wrong, ha!

But I’m learning to relax a bit on the location (since our family is far away it’s sometimes hard to coordinate travel to see them).

Yearly Holiday Tradition Ideas

  • New Christmas ornament
  • Family PJs (or socks if you want to be different)
  • Opening gifts on Christmas morning (or eve!)
  • Opening one special gift / stocking ahead of time
  • Decorating the tree together
  • Volunteering or donating to a special cause
  • Putting up the special ornaments
  • Christmas eve game night
  • Visiting neighbourhood light displays
  • Attending local events (ie: Santa parade, tree lighting)
  • Family photo (we do this ahead of time to send out)
  • These other must-do Christmas activities

holiday traditions to start

While I did the survey and fill-in-the-blank graphic to ease my own Christmas concerns, I thought it would be fun to share the results. Hopefully, someone else finds this information helpful as well, especially if you’re trying to combine two different family holiday traditions and create your own.

Speaking of which, do you have any special holiday traditions you do that you look forward to each year?

Oh, to reduce some of my stress/worries I’m just trying to remember that there’s always next year in case things don’t go perfect :)  (But really, the kids are still in the too young to remember stage, and I figure that once they are older they can help dictate/decide what we do each year!).

Nicole Q-Schmitz name signoff

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