Creating Holiday Traditions

Creating Holiday Traditions

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, don’t forget to focus on the traditions that bring joy and comfort to you, your children and other family members.

There are several ways in which celebrating your family’s own unique traditions are beneficial to you and your children. First, holidays typically mean the coming together of family and friends with the intention of sharing loving, happy feelings and rituals.

“The holidays are a great time to help your child connect to elders in the family,” says Regina Barros-Rivera, Associate Executive Director of North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center. “If your child has a hobby or activity that they can enjoy with their grandparents, they can create long-lasting memories.”

Cooking was the activity that bonded Barros-Rivera’s son to his grandmother, and the joy born of those early experiences has lasted throughout many years. “He’s 28 today and loves to join the family in preparing special holiday meals. His memories of my mother are forever special, and the moments for her were priceless.”

Another great way to build connections with significant others in the family is through storytelling. “That’s a wonderful way of giving rooted, positive foundations for present and future relationships,” says Barros-Rivera. Consider videotaping these conversations so you can hold onto them when the storyteller is no longer with you.

Although your family may have many holiday traditions in place, here are six ideas for creating new special memories that will carry over for generations, courtesy of

  1. Cook Together — Include your children in meal prep and baking for holiday gatherings. It’s a great way to have fun and teach kids about cooking and nutrition. While you’re cooking, you can practice math and reading skills—and demonstrate cool science concepts through various cooking techniques.
  2. Make Holiday Greeting Cards and Gifts — Have your kids write holiday cards or letters to family and friends. It’s a great opportunity for children to practice their handwriting, as well as their grammar, spelling and creative writing skills. Also, making gifts at home is a way to encourage creativity.
  3. Explore Your City — When you feel a bit of cabin fever, plan a family outing. Many local parks and zoos feature light displays and other festivities to celebrate the season. You can also visit a local museum and historic sites, or see a play at a local theater.
  4. Play Games — Playing board and trivia games during holiday get-togethers is a good way to enjoy quality time together. Look for ideas online. There are a variety of games—for all ages—that are fun and educational as well.
  5. Enjoy the Great Outdoors — Play with your kids in the backyard or at a local park. If it snows, build a snowman or hit the slopes! You can find fun outdoor games that promote physical activity.
  6. Read Every Day — Take your kids to the local library and borrow books to read over the winter break. And spend time reading together; it helps children develop their literacy skills and excel academically.

Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa or another holiday this time of year, everyone at North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center wishes you a wonderful holiday season!