‘Tis the season to be jolly! The holiday season is here. For most families, this festive time of year means bright lights, extra baking, and time well spent with loved ones. Creating new holiday traditions can help bring families closer together. More than likely, you have fond memories of the holidays from your own childhood. Now think about your child and your growing bond as an adoptive family. This season is the perfect opportunity to make new traditions that are special for you and your child – cherished traditions
that can continue every year forward. Below, Adoptions With Love shares some tips for adoptive families looking to spark inspiration and
create new holiday traditions this season.
Talk it Out
Before making any choices on traditions, you should have a talk (or two). First, sit down to talk about holiday traditions with your significant other. Do you want to dedicate a special day for baking and decorating cookies, or building gingerbread houses? Would you like to let each person in the family take a turn at playing Santa on Christmas morning, or lighting the menorah during Hanukkah? Festive activities such as this can be fun for the whole family. Just like studies show that planning a vacation is half the fun –- talking about new holiday traditions can be just as exciting as seeing them through!
Consider Your Childhood Traditions
As you discuss and plan out these new traditions to start, consider your own family traditions that you took part in growing up. What were your absolute favorites? What would you change? Try to imagine yourself as a kid, and what interests your child now. What do you think your child would love? What would you love to see continue in your new little tribe?
Honor Baby’s Heritage
Perhaps your child has a different ethnic background than you and/or your partner. This poses an even greater opportunity for some new traditions to come into play. Nothing can help a child find a sense of belonging like celebrating his or her culture. Learn about some classic holiday traditions within your child’s heritage, and incorporate them into your own family’s festivities.
Celebrate the Past
The holiday season falls at the end of the year. As the New Year nears, it is often a great time to reflect on the year that was. Perhaps your adoption was finalized this year. Perhaps your new child gave you his or her first “mama” or “dada.” (Side-note: Babies typically say “dada” first, since the hard ‘d’ is easier to pronounce, so do not take offense if baby is only saying “dada,” mamas!) Whatever has happened, take some time to look back on these important milestones. There is a reason so many people like to send family letters with their holiday cards. It is all about family, and family is the reason for the season!
Look Toward the Future
Just as you should take stock in what has happened over the past year, this is a great time to look ahead to the next year. What are some family goals? What do you hope the New Year brings? You can make this a family activity. Have everyone write down some ideas for 2019, and share them with the whole family!
As Andy Williams once sang, the holiday season is “the most wonderful time of the year.” It is extra special because of the spirit of giving. The support for homeless shelters, toy drives, and food banks is at all-time high every December. Since children are naturally giving, take this opportunity to encourage that generosity. Take your child to a soup kitchen to volunteer, or “adopt a family” and buy some much-needed coats and mittens to help keep others warm. As the Grinch himself discovered: “‘Maybe Christmas’, he thought, ‘doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!’”
These are just a few ideas you may consider when creating new family traditions this season, as a newly adoptive family. No matter your religious beliefs, rituals are a great way to celebrate your culture and faith, while reflecting on your family’s values. Whether your family decides to wear matching sweaters and sing carols around a piano, spin the dreidel, or simply order some takeout in place of cooking for a big gathering – it will be special because it is the tradition you start and enjoy each year together. Think of NBC’s “This is Us” and all the fun, non-traditional traditions they created over the holidays! At the end of the day, what you actually do is less important than making sure you do it as a family! Happy Holidays!
Adoptions With Love is here to help hopeful adoptive parents in MA create happy, loving families through the beautiful gift of adoption. If you are interested or have any questions, don’t hesitate to call us at 617-964-4357. If you are a family waiting to adopt a child, be sure to read our tips on What to Do While Waiting to Adopt during the holiday season.