Some winter day, far in the future, my son will sit around and talk about what the holidays were like when he was a child. I’m a sucker for nostalgia. One of my favorite quotes is from The Wonder Years: “The memories of childhood stay with you for the long haul. I remember a place… a town… a house… like a lot of other houses; a yard like a lot of other yards; on a street like a lot of other streets. And the thing is… after all these years, I still look back… with wonder.”
We have this superpower as parents to help create the memories our children take with them to adulthood. We are in the process, right now, of forming those “remember when” stories. Here are some traditions from my little family that you could start with yours.
1. Leaf Pressing and Tracing:
Kids of all ages can press leaves or trace them with crayons to create beautiful projects. You can display the growing collection each year as a Fall art gallery.
2. Jar of Thanks:
Decorate a small jar with your family, and then have each member write down what they are thankful for and put it in the jar. One person will read them all out loud while the rest try to guess who wrote it. Save the answers so you can look back at them for years to come.
3. Make Your Own Stockings:
This is a cheap and fun way to pass a cold day inside. Buy felt, pom poms, glitter, and hot glue. Then sit back and watch the magic happen. You can do different colors and themes each year. I did this with my mom as a kid growing up, and have continued the tradition. Last year we got carried away and even Molly the Adventure Dog got a stocking.
4. Old Fashioned Winter Night:
Have children open an old-fashioned toy like a slinky, yoyo, or tinker toy. Talk about the holidays when you were a child, and share memories of parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. If you really want to go all out you could watch an old black and white movie or string popcorn and cranberries. You could do this on the first day of winter, Christmas Eve, or the first night you get snowed in.
5. Sugar on Snow:
As a kid, I used to spend all my snow days with my good friend Ally. Her mother made sugar on snow, and I plan to do this on the first snowfall of each season. Basically, you make your own maple syrup and you pour it over a big bowl of snow until it cools. Delicious!