Family holiday traditions – we all have them, right? You may have some that have been going on for so long, you don’t even how they started. And perhaps your family is growing. Maybe there’s a younger generation of kids or grand kids and you want to start some new traditions just for them. Bethany Hardy, writing for shared some thoughtful ideas on new traditions that will bring meaning to the holiday for you and your kids. And we’ve added one of our own that we love.

Write an annual letter to your child

The holidays are a special time to write your child an annual letter with your observations as their parent (aunts and uncles can do this too). You can include a special message of encouragement or love that will be cherished for a lifetime.

Have a secret Santa gift exchange for charity

If your family usually picks names for a secret Santa gift exchange, here’s something new you can try. Instead of buying a present for the recipient, make a gift donation to a charity of the recipient’s choice. Items like toys, personal items or clothes will go to people who really need them the most.

Leave a legacy

During your holiday celebration, or even on New Year’s Day, plant a tree in honor of your family. This is could be at home or somewhere in your community like a sidewalk tree. Make it a ceremony, where everyone in the family plays a part in planting the tree. Take pictures of the tree when it is planted and each holiday through the years to document how it grows.

Participate in a community service project as a family

You can easily find local options for volunteering in your community, whether it’s helping at a soup kitchen or an animal shelter. Research options, vote on them as a family, set a date and go. Your community will be grateful for your service.

Play as a family

A very powerful way to connect as a family is to play. Whether it’s a game outside in the snow or a fun board game in the warmth of your home, you’ll have a great time creating lasting memories as a family. Plus, depending on the game, your kids will develop new educational and life skills that will be useful as they grow.