Hello! Are your children on Christmas break? We’ve been enjoying lots of fun traditions that lead us up to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Here are 4 simple Christmas traditions for kids and how they can help build language, transmit culture and help make this special holiday period a magical time full of fun family memories.
We scoured Pinterest for inspiration, used Speculoos cookies since we can’t find any Graham crackers here in France and used royal icing to stick it all together! My 13 year old son told me afterwards, “Mom, this was the best family activity ever! We got to be creative and we were all together!”
Language: Lots of sugar and candy vocabulary and learning to follow directions: “Hold it this way.” “Use lots of frosting.” and “Make sure it’s stable so it holds all the candy.”
Culture: This is a tradition from my American upbringing and although you can now find gingerbread house kits in grocery stores here in France, it remains an all-American tradition ingrained in my childhood memory that I wish to pass on to my children.
Mini yarn hats
Gabi and I had a blast with these. They are so cute and so much fun to make. They’re easy too! This is the video tutorial we used.
Language: vocabulary about yarn, colors, length and once again, learning to follow instructions: “Make it this long.” “Cut it here.” “Loop it through here.” “Trim the pom-pom with the scissors.”
Culture: This was a new activity for us but since my daughter loves to craft, it is a way that we create our own new family culture.
I used to know how to make snowflakes when I was a little girl, but when Gabriela repeatedly asked me to show her how, I was at a loss. This Martha Steward video was the perfect solution.
Language: paper, scissors, fold, cut are the simple vocabulary words needed. Directions include, “Fold it this way.” “Make sure you crease it good.” “Make lots of different cuts to make it prettier.”
Culture: I used to love making these as a little girl. They are part of my childhood memories growing up in the United States.
Gabriela also reminded me very diligently that this was something we had to do this Chrismtas. I finally worked up the courage yesterday. I’ll admit, this one is a bit more labor intensive, but so worth it! There may have been a few tense moments that were quickly melted away by all our jokes and laughing.
Language: vocabulary includes all ingredients to make cookies and icing as well as the primary colors and color combinations to make secondary colors. Lots of listening and following directions: “Roll out the dough.” “Press the cookie cutter on top.” “How long do we bake them for?” “Don’t let them burn.” Spread the icing carefully.” “Careful not to put your elbows in the icing!”
Culture: This is also an All-American activity that reminds me of my childhood memories of Christmas, especially of preparing plates of cookies to take to neighbors. My children are 1/2 French and we have been living in France for almost 9 years now and so it is especially important for me to pass on my American culture to my children. However, I realize I’m not passing on many Mexican or Peruvian traditions. I’ll have to remedy that next year!
If you’d like to follow all our behind the scenes fun, you can find us @trilingualmama over on Instagram.
What are some of your favorite winter traditions?