Mindful Holiday Traditions to Start with Your Family This Year

image of mom and daughter drinking cocoa in front of fireplace over words "Mindful Holiday Traditions to Start with Your Family This Year"

The holiday season can be the most wonderful time of the year. But it can also be a nightmare. With events to attend, gifts to buy, and family to reach out to, the holidays can quickly transform from magical to dreadful. If you’re worried this might be the case for you, try incorporating some mindful holiday traditions into this season for your family.

What Are Mindful Holiday Traditions?

You’re probably familiar with mindfulness and the practices that go along with it. But outside of breathing exercises and body scans, how can you bring mindfulness into your daily life? One way is through mindful holiday traditions.

Being mindful means being aware of the present moment. It’s possible to apply mindfulness to any area of your life if you practice being attentive to what’s happening around and within you.

Since the holidays tend to be a busy time, you can make them more mindful by making conscious choices to slow down. Slowing down can mean eliminating unnecessary events from your schedule. But it can also mean changing your perspective on the holiday activities you choose to do.

What if you chose traditions for your family that encourage you to be present together? Instead of rushing from one holiday party to another, plan activities that allow you and your children to focus on one thing at a time. This time together and the warm feelings that accompany it will be what your kiddos remember for years to come.

Not sure where to start with mindful holiday traditions? I have some ideas for you below!

Mom, dad, grandma, and two children sit around a table in a white kitchen that is decorated for the holidays with a wreath and garland. Two lit candles are held by candlesticks on the table.
Photo by cottonbro studio

5 Mindful Holiday Traditions

1. Make Handmade Holiday Decorations

There are so many gorgeous holiday decorations available to purchase. But there’s just something about homemade decor that really gets you in the holiday spirit.

Choose an age-appropriate holiday craft for you and your kids to complete together, like a dried orange garland or paper bag stars. Not only will your kiddos relish the time they get to spend crafting with you, they’ll also get to admire their handiwork all season long. And they’ll be just as excited next year when you pull their homemade decorations out of storage to put up again!

Did you know that between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, Americans throw away 25% more trash than any other time of year? That extra trash adds up to 25 million tons of waste. Making your own holiday decorations – especially ones that can be composted when they’re worn out – is also a way to teach your kids mindful consumption and environmental care.

Dad, mom, daughter, and son walk down a dirt lane at a Christmas tree farm. The mom and dad swing the daughter between them.
Photo by Any Lane

2. Take a Nature Walk

Many winter holidays began as a way to mark the change in seasons and celebrate the return of the sun at the Solstice. Honor these origins by taking your family for a nature walk and encouraging your children to point out signs of the winter season. You could even gather natural materials like fallen pinecones to include in your handmade holiday decorations.

3. Read About Diverse Holiday Traditions

Reading about holidays other than the ones your family celebrates is an amazing way to build empathy in your children. Increase their knowledge of other cultures and their understanding of diversity and inclusion by having conversations about what you learn. Need some books to start with? Check out our list of diverse holiday picture books to read to your children this winter.

4. Gift Mindfully

We’ve all become accustomed to the images of presents piled under a tree, and in many homes, that has become the norm. But many gifts will be used just a few times before they’re discarded, contributing to our global waste issue. Gifting mindfully can help with this issue.

This year, whether you’re shopping with or for your kids, focus on quality over quantity. Use holiday shopping as an opportunity to talk about your values and discuss what the recipient really wants or needs.

Woman in light blue sweater holds a stack of gifts wrapped in brown paper and red string.
Photo by Liza Summer

5. Wrap Gifts Sustainably

Another mindful holiday tradition that kids will have fun with is wrapping gifts sustainably. Instead of spending money on wrapping paper that will be used once and thrown away, choose wrapping methods that can be reused or recycled. You might wrap gifts in colorful bandanas or use scrap fabric to make gift bags. One of my favorite sustainable wrapping methods uses paper grocery store bags. I wrap gifts with them and add decoration with markers. Then, they can be recycled once the gift is unwrapped.

Which mindful traditions are you planning to start with your family this year? Tell me in the comments!

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image of mom and daughter drinking cocoa in front of fireplace over words "Mindful Holiday Traditions to Start with Your Family This Year"

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