We celebrate Christmas at our house in a variety of ways. A few of those traditions are decidedly “Dad’s.” Here are some great ways that dads can start traditions for their families.
Several years ago the gift I got for Christmas was a Santa Suit. Not a cheap one–a really nice one. Since then, I have been the official Santa of our little town. On the day after Thanksgiving, I light the tree on the courthouse square in front of hundreds of families and we all sing “Oh Christmas Tree”. Sometimes I play santa for small groups or corporate parties. Some actually pay quite well. Dads: The world needs more Santas. Get a suit and spend some time with kids telling you their Christmas wishes. Be Santa–you’ll never regret it.
Since my teenaged daughter’s first Christmas, I have given her a silver charm on Christmas eve. Each charm represents something that occurred the previous year–a cheerleader’s pom-pom, a pacifier when her baby brother was born, etc. Last year I gave my infant son his first pocket knife. He will get a pocket knife from me every Christmas eve from now on. My youngest daughter, born early in November, will get something each Christmas eve too. I still need to figure out what that will be. Lavish or simple–give a special gift on Christmas eve.
My family knows that each Christmas morning our house will be filled with the smell of pancakes, bacon and other breakfast treats. Even if you’re not a culinary genius, Dads should fix a Christmas breakfast/brunch for the family. Pop-tarts or Crepes–make them breakfast.
Each Christmas Eve, I gather my kids in my lap and read Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit From Saint Nicholas” also known as “The Night Before Christmas” at bedtime. I hope that this tradition plants “visions of sugar plums” in the dreams of my children as they drift off for “a long winter’s nap”. Old or new–read them a story.
Two Christmases ago my wife and I spent our Christmas morning preparing and delivering Christmas meals to the less fortunate. It was the first Christmas morning in my life that I wasn’t at home with family. There was something very special and important about spending our Christmas morning with those who don’t have enough. This year we packed up a shoe box with toys and some useful items to be shipped to children in less-affluent areas of the world. (This program is called Operation Christmas Child and sponsored by Samaritan’s Purse.) It’s easy to incorporate a charitable Christmas tradition that includes little kids. It’s important to teach them to give. Give a little or give a lot–but teach them to give.
These traditions are all about creating special times with your kids and teaching about the spirit of giving–two of my favorite parts of the holiday season. Merry Christmas!