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Christmas Traditions are important to kids because it creates memories and experiences of their childhood that they carry until they have grown and have families of their own. It is all about teaching and instilling in them the true meaning and value of why we celebrate it- Togetherness with the family, Giving to others, and Being thankful for Him.
If you are thinking of starting one, here are some holiday traditions you can celebrate with the kids and entire family.
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This is probably the most common tradition among Filipino families. Let your kids experience Simbang Gabi and encourage them to complete the nine-day series of masses, which starts on December 16 and ends on Christmas eve. It usually begins as early as 4 or 5 o’ clock in the morning, but some parish church celebrate at 8 o’clock in the evening so, the kids do not have to wake up early. Treat them after with traditional Filipino delicacies, bibingka and puto bumbong.
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Set Up a Nativity or “Belen”
Make a Nativity scene or “Belen” with the kids. As you set it up, tell them the story of Baby Jesus’ birth and the importance of each one- Mama Mary, Joseph, The 3 Wise Kings and also the Star of Bethlehem. You may also provide the kids with materials and let them creatively craft their own Nativity scene each year.
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Christmas Crafting and Decorating
Boost the kids’ Christmas spirit by letting them make the Christmas ornaments and involving them as well in decorating the home. View my post HERE about some DIY Christmas Decoration Ideas at Home.
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Symbolic Christmas Ornament
Choose a Christmas ornament for your kids each year. It can be something that reminds you of him or a symbol of their accomplishment that year. Give the ornament every Christmas eve and hang it in the tree each year. When they leave home and start their own, let them take their ornaments with them.
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Hang Christmas Stockings
Place small gift surprises for the kids such as candies and small toys in the stockings. If they have been good during the holidays, they will surely get a surprise each day until Christmas eve from Santa’s Elves.
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Write a Letter to Santa Claus
Make your kids believe in Santa Clause and create magical childhood memories. View my post HERE about Writing a Letter to Santa Clause and how to effectively pull-off some classic Santa tricks.
Make an Advent Calendar
Start counting down the days of Christmas through an Advent Calendar. Instead of gifts, plan activities for the kids to do or write down bible passages and inspirational messages for them to read daily until Christmas eve. View my post HERE about Making an Advent Calendar.
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Christmas Gift Tradition
Have a fun tradition of giving one type of Christmas gift every year for the kids. They will always know that it’s a new t-shirt or a toy collection, but they will be excited about what kind they will get.
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Noche Buena Food Tradition
Choose a family signature dish that everyone loves to eat every Christmas. Pass on the recipe to your kids and encourage them someday to even make their own version of it.
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Bake Some Christmas Treats
Have fun in the kitchen with the kids as your helpers in baking cakes and cookies for Christmas eve or as gifts to relatives and friends. You can even sell these baked goodies and donate the money to charity. View my post HERE about Homemade Food Gift Recipes for Christmas.
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Christmas Movie Marathon
Let the kids watch holiday movies on Christmas eve day like The Grinch and Santa Clause. Keep them entertained while waiting for relatives to arrive or while you prepare for the Noche Buena feast. Another idea is to watch every year a Metro Manila Film Fest movie or a holiday cartoon flick.
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Read books to the kids about Christmas before going to bed. This is a great way to start teaching them about why we celebrate it.
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Teach the kids classic Christmas songs and carols. Instead of travelling to different homes, let them perform and sing on Christmas eve or during holiday reunions together with cousins and friends.
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Family Christmas Photo
Have your family photo taken every Christmas day. You can go to a studio or simply take photos of the kids at the same place that you go to every holiday. These can be great remembrance of past Christmas celebrations and to see how much everyone has grown and changed. You can even make Christmas cards and gift tags with these photos.
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Make a Thank You List
Teach the kids to be thankful for all the blessings they receive every year. Write them down on paper and share with each one in the family. More importantly, remember to say a thanksgiving prayer for Him.
It’s Better to Give than to Receive
Teach your kids the value of giving every Christmas. Donate old clothes and toys to charity or bring joy by visiting an orphanage. Learn not only to be thankful for your blessings, but also to share them.