Creating Special Holiday Spirit for Toddlers

Holiday Traditions That Boost Holiday Spirit

Online videos and on television we see lots of sentimental images this time of year.  It is almost a June Cleaver (Leave it to Beaver TV series in 1957-63) kitchen where a cute dusting of flour tops little noses baking with Mom or Gram.  I don’t know about you, but our kitchen was a lot messier when baking with under three crowd.  Even the under 10 crowd made a pretty loud crew and a spectacular mess.  As long as everyone comes out of it with holiday spirit and fingers intact, its all good.  And it’s a wonderful memory.

Whipping up holiday spirit for toddlers
Whip up some holiday spirit for your toddler

Baking Holiday Cookies 

This time of year is special.  People are usually just a little kinder, a little more friendly…until the last week.  Maybe that’s why it’s time to get out the flour, sugar and vanilla and spend a little cookie time with your own cherub.  Baking and decorating holiday sugar cookies is a fun way to hand down an easy seasonal tradition.  Whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanza or just finished Hanukkah, put on your choice of music, gather the ingredients and nab your cherub to boost the holiday spirit in your own home.  If you have a support group, call someone in to share the moment, and help you keep track of grabs for breakable bowls or open flour containers.  Whether or not you have back up, be sure to prep as much as you can to make shorter work of the mixing and baking.  The decorating is really the fun part, but don’t sweat it if several cookies end up a mess of abstract artwork.  Your little tyke is developing fine motor skills.  This is about building traditions, not about pastry perfection, June. 

Recruit a little Decorating help

Decide which parts of your seasonal decorating can be done by a toddler.  Maybe you can hold yours while they tape up sparkly garlands.  Leave the bottom branch of the tree for munchkins to hang non-breakable ornaments.  Or maybe you like to put out pinecones on tabletops.  Hang a colored holiday picture on the fridge.  A friend of mine has a manger set with lots of bigger sheep (not part of the set.) She laid down the sheep and had her little helpers wake them up and put them where they should be as part of the scene.  Every step develops the holiday spirit for your little one.

Take Some Time to See the Lights

It is easy to become jaded about the commercialism of Hanukkah and Christmas.  Keep in mind that for your little ones, everything is new. That is why so many parents channel their inner child and keep the holiday enchantment, even as they stay up all night to stuff stockings and arrange presents in festive wrapping.  If you are looking to add to the wonder, try the twinkling lights strung all over town.  Go for a walk or ride to share with your child the holiday light show in the neighborhood.  Lights add holiday magic regardless of your age. 

Reuse Your Family Traditions With Your Own Twist

Some parents help leave signs of Santa’s visit, like a bite missing from the cookies your toddler left for Santa. Patty uses family ornaments and shares stories of where or who they came from, before adding new decorations. Sarah reuses decorated cloth bags their family has been reusing for years and adds to the seasonal “green”ery.  Hanukkah is usually celebrated at sundown, but making up little Hanukkah bags for the children to find each morning when they wake makes the holiday their own.  No matter how you decide to celebrate, it is a great time to focus on family and we wish you all the joys of the season.

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