When we think about Christmas, we often think of family. For children for whom the idea of “family” may not be so simple, it might be difficult to think of how to establish healthy holiday traditions. While those things are important to all children, there might just be various ways of going about it for children who may have been through a difficult or traumatic time. Memorable and healthy annual traditions can still be made possible, but you may be wondering what you can do to implement them with your own children or the children in your care, regardless of the personal situation they may be experiencing.

Here are 5 unique ways to create some new annual traditions for you and your family:

Quality Family Time

Children who have gone through traumatic personal experiences can often feel isolated, alone, and detached from the world around them. Developing healthy interpersonal relationships is an important step towards healing and community that can help children overcome those feelings, and it is especially important during the holiday season. Growing and strengthening those connections can help foster and enhance a child’s social skills, sense of family, and feel part of the community around them. Start with simple activities like holiday card games or even a group bonfire can help you get connected with those you care about this festive season.

Child Inclusion

Exclusion is a common emotion many children feel, especially those who have struggled with forming or maintaining family relationships. One should never underestimate the power of including children in the large and small events of your family’s life.

Whether you’re decorating, cooking, sending a holiday greeting or working on a family project, get your kids in on the fun and delegate to them different tasks to complete.

Not only will this get their creative juices flowing, but it’ll allow them to feel like a helpful and integral component to the family.

Teach Kids to Give

Giving is an act that children can learn by witnessing the giving acts of others. Kids who have experienced unfortunate personal circumstances often have the greatest sense of appreciation for others who may be in need. Why not infuse that philanthropic spirit into the holiday season? By completing activities together like volunteering at a soup kitchen or working a food drive, kids can learn the importance of giving back all while interacting with their own family members and others in their community.  

Get Creative

Implementing a yearly holiday crafts session will definitely get your child’s creativity flowing! Children’s minds are wired to express their emotions through unique and artistic outlets. So, inspiring them with some mentor-mentee holiday crafts may be the perfect annual tradition. To take things a step further, you can use these creations as stocking stuffer surprises to be opened during the holiday! It’s fun. It’s interactive. It’ll keep the kids’ minds churning with new and bright ideas!

Exploring Healthy Holiday Recipes

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and this rings true especially during the holiday season. Try exploring new foods as a family, including veggies, fresh fruits and other healthy options that feed your body, mind and spirit!

Cooking is perhaps the best group tradition one can implement. Just choose a yummy recipe, get the kids in on it, and it will become a yearly memory before you know it!

Holiday Traditions: Love and Laughter

Seeing a bright smile on a child’s face is perhaps one of the happiest sights of the holiday season, and this time of year is just another opportunity to help kids know that they are loved, appreciated and important. There is no better way to go about this than including them in some healthy annual traditions.

It’s never too late to invent some unique traditions for children to start this festive season. Before you know it, they’ll become a staple part of your family and surrounding community for years to come.