It’s been a little while since we’ve had some mom talk around here. But the Real Talk, Real Mom series is still going strong. As a first-time mom, I’ve loved participating in these posts because I learn so much from all the other women involved – and from everyone who comments! I’m sure this time around will be no different. This edition’s topic is all about family traditions. With the holidays quickly creeping up we felt it timely. How do you create your own family traditions? How do you navigate that extended network of kin? What do you want your child to associate with the holiday season? Not exactly the easiest of things to figure out!


The pic above, though not necessarily holiday-season related, does speak to the formation of family tradition. We’re currently on our first official family vacation in Hawaii – a family narrative I would love to continue!

But I have also started to think a lot about the holidays as this is the first year some of it will actually register for our little guy. From Halloween (do you trick or treat with an 18-month old?!) to Thanksgiving and the rest of the entire holiday season it’s now on me to create the sense of wonder, excitement, joy and celebration I so remember enjoying as a child. Having gotten relatively lazy about holiday traditions in the last few years sans baby (I think pizza was eaten on Christmas eve one year), I’m ready to fully invest this time around.

It helps that we have our new house to ground the creation of our own holiday traditions. I’ve always been very clear that Christmas is spent at home – our home. With blended families everywhere the eye can see, trying to visit all the extended relatives during the holiday season means you’re spending more time on the road then in anybody’s presence. That isn’t fun for anyone. Standing firm on that decision has certainly simplified the holiday equation.

So with negotiating the immediate needs of extended families off the table, the question becomes how do you create your own rituals? In my short time as a mom I have already discovered the power of storytelling. Our little guy loves to hear things recounted over and over. Books also help. I’m thinking this will be the first year we read The Polar Express.

But I’d love to hear from other, more seasoned parents. How did you go about creating holiday traditions with and for your littles? Will an 20 month old get the whole concept of Santa Claus? This is where I turn to you, experienced parents. I would so appreciate any and all advice you have for helping create a wondrous experience for our tiny human.

I’ll certainly be turning to the rest of the awesome moms in this series to get their advice. Check on their posts on this topic below.

A Daily Something / Ave Styles /  FreutcakeParker EtcThe Effortless Chic / Sacramento Street /

And if you haven’t checked out the Real Talk, Real Mom series yet, we’ve talked Sleep, Feeding,Travel, Career, Self-CareCo-Parenting and Growing Your Family #realmomseries

What do you think?

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  1. I may not be a more seasoned parent (only a few months behind you) but we are taking the twins trick-or-treating, doing Santa, and everything else! It may be more for the parents at this point but I’m still really looking forward to the holidays with babies. 🙂

    1. Agree Leah – I think you just bring them along. We’ve just mailed in the holidays for a few years being so busy – this is the first year I have to really think about how we want to make a point of slowing down and celebrating.

  2. My son is the same age as yours ; we are doing a small amount of trick or treating (a street near us shuts down for it) . And we are doing Santa. I think hes still too young to completely understand, but likes some of the activities (like corn mazes, pumpkin picking). It is a lot to think about what traditions you want him to grow up with; I’m glad you posted this because my husband thinks I’m crazy when I bring it up 🙂

    1. Thanks for the tips Lauren. It really does matter to put some thought into it, yeah? I’d like to do pumpkin picking too. And then maybe some sort of holiday performance – he’s probably a bit too young but I’d like to try it out!

  3. I am concerned about your feeling that Christmas must always be spent at home… i.e., your OWN NEW HOUSE. If you have close relatives or friends in the same city, where commuting is not a big deal, why would you not want to spend time with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins? Life may seem like a long, long time into the future for you, but I can assure you it is not, and spending Christmas with family and friends is a wonderful, important thing! I speak as a woman married for 42 years. Grown children and grandchildren.

    There were absolutely times when I was a young mother that spending time at home with my own young family would have seemed easier, but life is not about always doing the easy thing. My parents are gone now. The memories our family shares from our times spent altogether at Christmas are not. My sister who lives far enough away that she and her family had to fly to be with the rest of the family, still comes to visit at Christmas.

    The holiday traditions you mention are best created and shared with extended family members. Maybe they can travel to your new house… or take turns?

    Good luck navigating this challenging but wonderful time of life!

    1. Thanks for the tips Toni. I wish I had extended family close but sadly we do not. Travel isn’t always in the cards. But I certainly love the idea of big family gatherings. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!