Christmas traditions make holiday gatherings special and create lasting memories. You may enjoy traditional traditions like leaving cookies out for Santa, going Christmas caroling, or baking treats, but new and modern traditions have taken hold.
Make Modern Holiday Memories
In many ways, technology has changed the way tried and true family tradition are carried out. Skyping with family members or reading The Night Before Christmas on a tablet instead of from a book have made old traditions new again. But technology has also led to several new holiday traditions.
Visit Santa's Workshop
Thanks to the Internet, kids can "visit" Rovaniemi, the official hometown of Santa Claus. In Santa's Office they can view the Arctic circle via live video cameras, write a letter to Santa, or read Santa's blog.
Northpole.com allows kids to experience all the fun and fantasy of Santa's workshop. They can create a Countdown to Christmas Calendar that includes an activity to do on the site each day including:
- Create a free personalized book
- Hear or read stories and print out coloring pages
- Write and send a letter to Santa
- Pick up a personalized letter from Santa
- See if they're on the naughty or nice list
- Check out the weather at the North Pole weather station
Personal Phone Call
Delight your kids with a personal call from Santa. Through DialMyCalls.com, you provide your child's name, choose a message, and pick the day and time you want the call to occur. Each household can send up to three calls for free and additional calls may be sent for a small fee.
Interact With Santa and His Elves
Make talking online with Santa an annual tradition for your kids. Several websites and apps offer interactive, real time video chats or texting with Santa or his elves. Consider using one of these interactive options:
- My Santa Talk: This app for Android and mobile web allows kids to talk to Santa anytime. They can share their Christmas lists and talk to him about happenings at the North Pole.
- SantasGoodList.org: On this site, kids can chat live with one of Santa's elves and find out if they're on Santa's "nice" list.
- Santa's Video Calls: If you have an Internet connection, you can book a video call with Santa through this website for a fee. Calls are placed through Skype and last around three minutes. Be sure to book in advance since availability is limited due to Santa's busy schedule.
Email a Christmas Wish List
Writing a letter to Santa has always been a Christmas tradition but the process has gone high tech. Now kids can email their wish list and receive a letter back.
Track Santa's Christmas Eve Journey
Kids no longer have to lie in bed on Christmas Eve wondering where Santa is. With NORAD's Santa Tracking app, they can follow Santa in real time as he leaves the North Pole and journeys around the world making deliveries. The app also features fun holiday games and educational information about what NORAD does the rest of the year.
Sock Your Friends and Neighbors
This is one modern traditions that has little to do with technology but relies on the kindness and goodwill of the season. To anonymously "sock" your friends and neighbors, first fill a Christmas stocking with candy and/or small toys, books, or games. Next, add a prepared poem which instructs the recipients to enjoy the stocking's contents and then re-fill the stocking and "sock" a new friend or neighbor.
Elf on the Shelf
No list of modern Christmas traditions is complete without Elf on the Shelf. This flexible, felt covered scout elf has become the saving grace of parents everywhere. The elf's purpose is to be the eyes and ears of Santa Claus in homes around the world. The elf comes with a rhyming book and there is also a website that features games and activities for kids and helpful resources for parents.
What makes this tradition special is the personalization and high jinks the elf gets into. An elf might be found making snow angels out of flour in the kitchen, having a tea party with stuffed animals, hanging out with action figures, or sleeping on a bed of marshmallows. The possibilities are only limited to your imagination.
Traditions Bring Families Together
Old and new Christmas traditions bring families together. They help maintain a link between family members of all generations, even when they live far apart. Years from now, your kids probably won't remember what presents they received for Christmas, but they will remember the traditions. Make Christmas magical by incorporating a few modern traditions into your family's holiday agenda.