5 Toddler-Friendly Holiday Traditions

Hurricane Harvey floods may have caused us to tweak a few of our traditions, but a bit of holiday spirit and creativity can fix any situation. Here are 5 holiday traditions I’ve started that are toddler-friendly that we can enjoy for years to come. 

1} Decorate your home & tree.

The first Christmas I had with my daughter, she was just a few months old. I still have fond memories of the experience because she was set up on her “throne” {rolling bassinet and boppy} facing the tree as I decorated, accompanied by our sweet napping animals and holiday tunes.

This year, thanks to Hurricane Harvey, we continue to be displaced as our home is remodeled, so instead of decorating my home and tree, we went shopping for a “Lila-size” tree to decorate. It was a lot of fun letting her wander around the trees at H-E-B and then pointing at the pretty ornaments from the shopping cart. I ended up selecting small red jingle bell ornaments that Lila “helped” me hang. Her motor skills aren’t quite that precise, so after a couple tries she just ran around jingling the bells. It was very cute. We also found some Texas-themed wrapping paper that has been a big hit.

2} Merry Tex-mas!

Speaking of Texas-themed wrapping paper, every year we travel out of state to visit family for the holidays. Because our immediate family lives in Texas and also travels, it’s a pain to pack up presents just to fly them back again. We celebrate Texmas one weekend we are all free. Us Texas folk exchange our presents, sometimes leaving one or two for real Christmas, and take loads of photos. It’s been especially fun with Lila Sophia {now 13 months} in the mix. As she gets older we’ll be saving a few items for Santa to leave her Christmas morning.

3} Donate to others.

Donations may consist of our time or actual gifts, depending on what all is going on at the time. This year I found an Amazon wish list and donated a couple sweaters to homeless teens, as well as some cans of cat food to a rescue organization. Of course, a one year old doesn’t quite grasp this concept yet, but since she has acquired parrot-like tendencies {see mimicking}, we are hoping that kindness towards others – animals included – will stick.

4} Celebrate with extended family.

In my entire life, as far back as I can remember, my family has been celebrating Christmas Eve together. All of the families get together for a big Cuban dinner. Afterwards, when the “adults” {our parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles}, were younger, there was lots and lots of dancing as well. In our more youthful days, us “children” would get to open one or two gifts on Christmas Eve. As we grew older, and the dancing decreased, we started opening more and more presents on Christmas Eve. Now that a new generation is being introduced to the family, we are waiting until morning again to open gifts. I hope to continue this Miami Christmas Eve tradition for many years to come as our families grow in both states.

5} Holiday photos – with Santa and without.

As I mentioned before, Lila Sophia was 2 months old our first Christmas together, and we opted out of Santa photos {new parents and fear of germs}. This year my sister talked us into it. After waiting in line for an hour plus a missed nap … you can guess how that went. Family photo it is! I’m sure I’ll continue this tradition in one way or another, but did you know that some Santa photo spots take reservations?? Ya, I did not. #newb

I’ve been shooting my own holiday photos throughout the year, with the help of my favorite letter board. It’s silly – but a lot of fun. And watching the proportions of Lila Sophia and the sign change is cool, but also makes me want to shout, “Stop growing!”

As Lila Sophia gets older, we’ll add more traditions to the list. For example, I plan to do some baking for her daycare teachers this year, but I’m so looking forward to the day she will be able to help me make and wrap treats teachers treats for the holidays too!

What are some traditions you started or continue with your children?

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