Childhood Holiday Traditions Worth Bringing Back for Baby

Moms share their childhood holiday traditions they plan to resurrect now that they have kids of their own.
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profile picture of Erin Walters
Updated October 16, 2017
Retro photo of mom holding baby while decorating Christmas tree.
Image: Sally Barnes / Getty Images

Once you have a baby, the holiday season takes on a whole new layer of fun, doesn’t it? And those “silly” traditions you grew up with (and decided to ditch as an adult) somehow start to seem sort of, well, meaningful. Sure, some holiday habits are better off kicked to the curb (like anything involving tofurkey or singing rodents). But a lot of that stuff you looked forward to growing up might be just as exciting for your kids too. Here are just a few of the traditions new moms say they plan to resurrect for their wee ones this holiday season.

“We plan to go to a Christmas tree farm and cut down our own tree. We always did this when I was a kid, and I’ll have those memories forever. I want to start that tradition with my son.” —teamkirsch

“Latke Madness. Because families with kids + a TON of latkes = a good time.” —DiscusCoach

“We’ll be giving our daughter Christmas ornaments each year so that when she grows up and has a tree of her own, she’ll have all those ornaments to decorate it with. My parents did that for me, and when I left home it was like having a little bit of home with me at Christmastime.” —Amesbury

“When my mom and her sisters were small, my grandparents didn’t have much money, so they stuffed stockings with a can of olives and an orange. My mom carried this tradition on with us, and I still look forward to my can of olives. It’s silly, but I hope my girls appreciate it as well.” —Timeg

“We celebrate Yule instead of Christmas, on Dec. 21. It’s part of a Celtic tradition and celebrates the rebirth of the sun. We decorate with candles to symbolize the growing light, and while we have a tree up, we decorate with things that the sunlight brings, like dried fruits and flowers.” —burgle

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“Santa will leave magic dust (aka glitter) everywhere he walks in the living room. I always thought it was neat to see where Santa was in our house when I was younger. I hope my daughter feels the same way!” —DrinknDerive

"Instead of leaving milk and cookies for Santa, we always left Santa a Fosters beer. Yeah, I know it’s weird! I would even leave Santa notes saying to wait until he got back to the North Pole to drink it so he wouldn’t ‘drink and fly.’ " —Ambsies

“My mom used to make reindeer and sleigh tracks in the field next to our house—a lot of effort, but my sister and I loved it!” —kmeek19

“We make sugar cookies, use Hanukkah cookie cutters and then ‘paint’ the cookies—the kids do all the painting.” —jlw2505

“Christmas lights in our bedrooms—my mom always let us string them up and sleep with them on. We thought it was SO cool.” —loveyoubean

“‘Santa Mouse’ would leave a Christmas book on my bed every day leading up to Christmas, and Mom and I would read them. Then Santa Claus would take them back when he visited so Santa Mouse could bring them to me the next year. I still have all those old books, and Santa Mouse will visit my daughter too.” —Anonymous

“My mom would go all out on Christmas morning and make a big breakfast: ham-and-cheese quiche and sausage crescent wraps and bacon. It made the whole house smell so delicious. Forget gingerbread and pine—to me, Christmas smells like quiche and sausage!” —sasky

“Our big thing was Christmas Eve. We each chose a dish and we would be the ones to prepare said dish (with help when we were younger). In between courses (we’d start at 4ish and finish at about 10!) we would play games—Balderdash, Pictionary, Charades and now Cranium and loads of others.” —Dishylo

“My husband and I recently watched a documentary on Eastern European holiday traditions. My family is primarily Polish and Slovak, and for the holidays I remember my grandparents always having certain foods—pierogies, stuffed cabbage, kielbasa. After watching that documentary, I was flooded with memories about those meals and traditions that my family did. We’ve decided that every year Christmas day will be full-on Slovak/Polish food day in our house! My mom is coming the week before to help me make my grandpop’s recipe for pierogies. We’re making filled cabbages, kielbasa, pork, and I may even try to recreate my grandpop’s haluski recipe (cabbage, noodles, butter). We’re inviting all our family to come and eat buffet style. I’m hoping that this can be a new tradition for our family and next year my daughter can help with the pierogies!” —Notwifezilla7

“We have a holiday tradition of wrapping up small gifts with layers and layers of wrapping paper in a large ball. We play music and pass the ball around the room, and when the music stops the person holding the ball unwraps a layer and gets the gift. It’s a fun way to get everyone involved and play a game together.” —Joanna M.

“The treat I most associate with Christmas is braided Finnish coffee bread, or pulla. My mom baked it every year using my grandmother’s recipe—it’s a cardamom bread topped with a light, sweet coffee glaze. I started making the bread with my mom when I was younger, and the first part of the process is scalding milk with cardamom pods that has the most amazing smell, which instantly puts me in the holiday spirit. We lived overseas throughout my childhood, but the smell of baking pulla followed us around, even when that meant my mom had to bake it in the industrial kitchens of a University in China in the early ’80s (we didn’t have our own oven). This is the number one thing I’ll be doing for our family, with my son learning to help as soon as he has the strength to knead the bread!” —Liz W.

Updated October 2017

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