Let’s set the scene. It was my first holiday season as a mom. I was going to DO.IT.ALL. The advent calendars, the holiday crafts, the festivals, the parties, the themed everything. “We must start traditions, and we must start them now!” was my motto. Insert reality. My daughter was just 6 months old that first holiday season. She couldn’t participate in any crafts, all of the parties were after her bedtime (or during her naptime), and I was tired. So very tired.
If I’m being honest, I felt like the ship had sailed on creating lasting traditions. How ridiculous, right?! A few years into this motherhood thing and I’ve learned that holiday traditions can ebb and flow based on the season of life, don’t need to be the exact same every year, and don’t need to be complicated to count. Right now, I am in a season of parenting very little children with a lot of physical demands and an early bedtime. That means our holidays are really simple, but still filled with so much magic and joy.
The simple holiday traditions that work for us include:
- An advent calendar. While my kids are still too young to fully grasp the concept of the countdown to Christmas in this way, I have really fond memories from my own childhood of opening the advent calendar each day and wanted to incorporate this into our home from the beginning. I was handed down an adorable advent calendar from my childhood and we were also gifted this one that has been a hit with my daughter.
- Holiday light display at a local historic mansion. We stumbled into this tradition after going during my daughter’s first holiday season and have continued going every year since. The mansion has a wonderful display of lights and a scavenger hunt for the kids. It’s a fun, low-key local activity that gets us outside.
- Christmas Jammies. Another tradition from my own childhood (thanks Mom!). Nothing complicated here—we all wear holiday pajamas on Christmas morning. There is just something special about the whole family wearing festive pajamas while we hang out and open gifts. Bonus points if they are matching!
- Some other fun holiday activity. Super vague, I know! But, that’s the point. Last year it was Christmas lights at the zoo (which was AWESOME!), but who knows what it will be this year.
That’s pretty much it for established holiday traditions thus far. It might expand in the future, or it might not. Of course, this list isn’t entirely exhaustive of all the holiday activities we participative it, but it gives me some simple anchors to hold onto without getting caught up in the pressure to do more.
There is so much magic in the season just simply because there is. If you need permission to do less this holiday season, here it is. Find those traditions that work for you in this season and leave the rest.