Thanks to Orajel for sponsoring this post.
We make a big deal out of celebrating a baby’s first Christmas, but I really feel like the first toddler Christmas is the big milestone. For the first time toddlers are really excited about being a part of the festivities and they really get into each tradition.
My toddlers are 2 this year and Christmas feels brand new to them.
If you want to focus on holiday traditions that are perfect for your toddler (or toddlers, in my case), we have some ideas for you. Most of these are perfect for older kids too so you can carry on the traditions as your kids grow or include older siblings.
Wrap Christmas book for each day of December.
Opening presents is always fun, especially for toddlers who have recently discovered how the gig works. My family has a collection of holiday books we keep under the tree during the holiday season. Make things even more excited by wrapping your holiday books and opening one “gift” each day of December.
This makes a really fun countdown and your toddler will look forward to this each day. Read the book together throughout the day or as a bedtime story. You’ll both love this holiday tradition!
Pull out kid-friendly nativity sets.
One tradition my older kids have loved that we are now enjoying with my twin toddlers is playing with kid-friendly nativity sets. We have several that are completely kid-proof so my kids can play with them all they want.
We put a few under the tree early in the season so my kids get plenty of opportunities to play with them. We’ll often use them as props to tell the Christmas story. My toddlers love how interactive it makes the holidays for them and I love that we can spend time together without worrying about the toddlers breaking anything.
Drive around and look at Christmas lights.
I love seeing how creative people get with their holiday decorations and my kids always love seeing the lights. We make it a family tradition to drive around our community and see who has a great Christmas display. My toddlers bring their blankies and usually fall asleep in the car but they love watching the lights until they get too tired.
Bake cookies for neighbors. I try and use any opportunity I can to teach my kids to serve others and the holidays is the perfect time to do that.
Include fun treats in your Christmas Stockings.
Christmas stockings are definitely not a tradition unique to my family but it is still one of our favorites. We have a rule that everyone opens their stocking first on Christmas morning. We take turns going through our stockings and we have the toddlers go last so they can get a feel for what is going on before they dive into their own stockings.
We always include a few things the kids need in their stockings, so every year the kids get a toothbrush. For my toddlers, I love the Baby Orajel™ tooth and gum cleanser sets. They have some of my kids’ favorite characters. This year, they’ll be finding the My Little Pony sets in their stockings.
Making a big deal out of receiving a new toothbrush really helps toddlers get excited about brushing. In previous years when my older kids were toddlers, they would often drop everything and ask to brush their teeth as soon as they discovered they got a new toothbrush.
Have a toddler-friendly Christmas tree.
Let’s face it, Christmas trees are not overly toddler-friendly. They are covered in breakable things and top-heavy. Not a good combo for toddlers. Toddlers love being involved in decorating the tree though and it is an important holiday tradition in most homes. There’s a few solutions to that.
Have a smaller toddler-friendly tree. You can find very small trees that you can let your toddler completely decorate on their own. I haver a countertop tree I’ve used for years but you can also find slightly larger trees that you can stand on the ground that are just your toddler’s size.
Use sturdy tree decorations. We have a lot of cute, but very breakable Christmas ornaments. Those don’t work well with toddlers. Save the extra breakable ornaments for another year and look for shatterproof ornaments, fabric ornaments, or make some homemade ones with your toddlers.
Don’t forget the most important tradition of all . . .
With all the sweets during the holiday season, good dental hygiene is more important than ever, especially for toddlers who are working at developing good brushing habits.
Work dental hygiene into your holiday traditions. We always recommend singing a song while your toddler brushes (or you brush for them) to make sure you get enough brushing time in. During the month of December, we swap out the alphabet song for Jingle Bells. My toddlers love it and it adds a fun, festive element to our dental routine.
You’ll appreciate your toddlers having clean and healthy smiles when it comes time to take photos for your Christmas cards!
What holiday traditions do your toddlers love?