As we find ourselves amid the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s only natural to become nostalgic for seasons past. Some of my fondest memories revolve around simple – and sometimes wacky – or unique family traditions. My family had a party at my grandmother’s modest, tiny house every Christmas Eve, and her kitchen was filled with family, homemade food, music, and laughter. We kids stayed awake way past our bedtimes dressed in our most sparkly holiday ensembles. We were tucked in at 11 pm only to be awakened at midnight to discover the bounty Santa had left for us. We were alerted to Santa’s departure by the sound of jingling bells as he drove off in his sleigh guided by his reindeer into the night.

Traditions are more than just sources of fond memories. Rituals can introduce children to other family members they may not know and their family history. They also provide the perfect opportunity for building positive emotional connections between your children, family, and the holiday. Like me, my children looked forward to midnight on Christmas Eve every year.

Whether you celebrate Kwanzaa, Christmas, Hanukkah, or something completely different, family traditions don’t have to be grand or even handed down through generations to make them impactful. Starting your own holiday customs is fun and a great way to get in the holiday spirit. It’s also a perfect opportunity to involve the entire family by giving everyone a voice about what the holiday means to them.

Every season gives us a chance to carry on, update, or start new family rituals. Blending holiday traditions may be the perfect way to do all three!

From my family to yours, here’s hoping you find joy this holiday season and that your celebrations are truly memorable.

Erica Jensen
Executive Director

Children’s Scholarship Fund Baltimore

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