Christmas traditions make holiday gatherings extra special and help to create lasting memories for all. You may enjoy popular traditions like leaving cookies out for Santa on Christmas Eve, going Christmas caroling, or baking treats throughout the season, but don't forget to try new and modern Christmas traditions in addition to the old ones you hold so dear.
Make Modern Holiday Memories
In many ways, technology has changed the way tried-and-true family traditions are carried out. Skyping with family members for a Christmas tale or reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas on a tablet instead of from a book have made old traditions new again. Technology has revived the old and 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 himself, 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:
- Message from Santa: This app for Android and mobile web allows kids to receive a phone call, text, or voicemail from Santa.
- Santas Naughty or Nice List: On this site, kids take a quiz 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 with the year's wishes and wants has always been a Christmas tradition. Children would write items on the list, write To: The North Pole on the envelope, and pop it in the mailbox. Only on Christmas morning would they know if their letter reached Santa and the elves. These days, the process of writing to Santa Clause has gone high-tech. Now kids can email their wish list instead of writing everything out, mail it, and receive a letter back! It seems communication between the children of the world and the Big Guy in the North has been vastly improved with advances in technology.
Track Santa's Christmas Eve Journey
Kids no longer have to lie in bed on Christmas Eve wondering where in the world Santa is on his journey to their house. With NORAD's Santa Tracking app, they can follow Santa in real-time as he leaves the North Pole and travels worldwide making deliveries. The app also features fun holiday games and educational information about what NORAD does during the rest of the year.
Sock Your Friends and Neighbors
This is one modern tradition 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 holiday treats, candy and/or small toys, books, or games. Next, add a prepared poem that instructs the recipients to enjoy the stocking's contents and to re-fill the stocking and "sock" a new friend or neighbor. Spreading kindness, gifts and cheer is one of the best parts of the holiday season! For example, your sock poem could read:
Happy Holidays and Season's Greetings.
Hope you enjoy some festive good eating.
Refill the sock with goodies and yums.
Give it to another for some holiday fun!
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 since its genius inception. 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 dedicated 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 discovered 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. Your elf isn't visiting your home just for fun and games, however. He/she is there to watch over children and report their good and bad deeds to Santa Claus.
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 that you shared with them during their childhood. Make Christmas magical by incorporating a few modern traditions into your family's holiday agenda.