Credit: Thinkstock

As loving parents, we all want to make sure our kids enjoy the holidays for more than just receiving presents. We want to make a lasting impression on their lives and give them extra special memories of this time of year that they can carry with them forever.

We recently scoured Pinterest to find six of the best holiday tradition ideas that you can try with your child this year. Some are quick and simple while others require some thought, imagination, and a tad of creativity, but they all can make this season just a bit brighter for you and your family.

RACK ‘Em Up
It always feels better to give than receive, so try getting the whole family involved this season with a RACK (Random Act of Christmas Kindness) a day, thanks to TSJ Photography. This blogger’s family started on December 1 and made it their advent calendar to complete a single RACK every day, but you could start closer to Christmas or just do one a week — it’s up to you! These kind gestures could include anything from taping quarters to toy machines around town, handing out free $5 Starbucks gift cards at the mall, or volunteering to ring the Salvation Army bell for a few hours. Not only are these wonderfully selfless acts a great family pastime, but they also teach kids the joy of giving back.

Spooled You!
Jot down your child’s Christmas wish list on a narrow strip of paper, wind it around a painted thread spool, and hang it on the tree with the child’s name and year. As the years go by, have fun looking back through the Giga Pets, Furbies, and other fads of Christmases past. Get the how-to at Spoonful.com.

Planting Magic
Take a cue from East Coast Mommy and set out “magic elf seeds” along with your milk and cookies for Santa this year. Give each child a Tic Tac to “plant” in a bowl of sugar, and on Christmas morning they’ll find that’s grown into a yummy candy cane or cookie! Be sure to plant a few more than you’ll need, because the reindeer get hungry, too!

The Minivan Express
Create the adventure and whimsy of The Polar Express with this fantastic idea from Confessions of a Home Schooler. Hide “Golden Tickets” in your kids’ beds for them to find at bedtime — and remember that once you’ve received a round-trip ticket on the Minivan Express, there’s no time to waste! Everyone jumps into the car in their jammies, grabs their bag of popcorn and mug of hot cocoa, and you’re off to spend the night looking at the neighborhood lights, coloring Christmas scenes in the back seat, or caroling with the fam. Download your own Golden Tickets here.

Christmas Book Advent
We remember our parents holding “book fest” nights where we’d read several books in a row right before bed, but this is even better for the holidays. (Thanks to Six Sisters’ Stuff for the idea!) Here’s how it works: Wrap a bunch of holiday-themed books in fun wrapping paper and have the kids unwrap one book each in the evenings leading up to Christmas. They get a present to unwrap each night and it’s always a fun surprise to see which book they choose!

Credit: Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Elf on the Shelf
Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas time without the notorious Elf on the Shelf. This mischievous Elf always seems to get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, and kids LOVE waking up to find them struggling with the toothpaste, roasting marshmallows in the fireplace, or looking guilty from drawing moustaches on the family portrait. These antics can be naughty or nice, simple or complex, but no matter what the Elf has done overnight, it will never fail to put some magic back into your child’s holiday. Head over to Elf on the Shelf Ideas to inspire more Elf antics.


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