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Creating Holiday Traditions: Add A Personalized Touch to the Season

Posted by Dr. Ann Gatty

Family holiday traditions help you build some annual activities your children can enjoy each year and anticipate ways they can be creative in their level of participation.  As your children mature, they can take a more active part in some of these traditions.  Here are some examples of holiday traditions you may wish to start with your family.

  • Have the kids create an annual personalized greeting card that you can reproduce.  They might produce a drawing, collage or photograph.  As they mature, the cards can reflect different aspects of their lives and become cherished mementoes to save in their scrapbooks.  You might have them help with signing and addressing the cards.
  • Decorating your house or Christmas tree can reflect the growth of the children.  Give each child an annual decoration or ornament that signifies some aspect of the past year that is representative of their activities or accomplishments.  Make certain to write their names on the back so that your children can take them when they leave your nest to start their own household.
  • Offer special foods for the holidays.  Include a cookie treat, desert, or main dish that you only offer during the holidays.  It becomes something that the family looks forward to and the children can be involved in creating the gourmet delight.  Cookies seem to be the all-time favorite kid’s activity, but there may be foods that represent your ethnic heritage or that represent a family heirloom recipe that would be great holiday traditions.
  • Delegate household responsibilities.  Assign one task to each family member to prepare the household for the holidays.  Kids can help by cleaning their rooms, or helping with outside decorations, organizing the pantry with you, or helping prepare the guest room—the list goes on and on.  Having the kids become involved in holiday preparations is a great way to teach responsibilities and teach family cooperation.
  • Donate to a charity of your choice.  Choose one charitable organization each year to support during the holiday season.  Have the kids get involved in the process.  Maybe you are collecting for a monetary donation, collecting gently used clothes for a shelter, or volunteering at a food bank activity.  There are lots of ways your kids can learn about giving back.  Make it an annual tradition to get involved.
  • Make plans to visit one holiday program as a family.  You know that families have crazy schedules to maintain throughout the year, between sports, school, work, and social gatherings.  Carve out one day when the family can enjoy a holiday program together.  The program may be different each year, and a chance for kids to be involved in the selection, or you may find one event becomes an annual tradition of its own.

Holiday traditions add a great contribution to the season.  The traditions provide memories and opportunities for families to personalize the holidays and provide opportunities for children to learn a deeper meaning to the holiday spirit.  What traditions do you include in your family holiday activities?


About Dr. Ann Gatty

Ann Gatty, a life coach, inforpreneur, author and organizational strategist. She has taught in classrooms and organizational training sessions and now works as a life coach for professional and personal development. Dr. Gatty has developed curriculum for college courses, organizational training and personal development. From her work and personal experiences, she finds a continuous need among women, of all walks of life, to find a life balance between professional goals and personal responsibilities. Ann Gatty hosts a website,, which offers stress management strategies, life skill development, and a means of finding your true passion in life. She has also authored Discovering God’s Recipe for a Healthy Body, Heart and Soul. Ann Gatty earned a Ph.D. in Instruction and Learning from the University of Pittsburgh, School of Education. She is married, the mother of two young adult boys, and shares her home with her husband, two Great Danes and a Bassett Hound.

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