When we think of holiday traditions, we typically think of the immediate family….mom, dad and kids, but here are 10 holiday traditions to start with grandparents. Including grandparents in traditions, especially with their grandkids has a two-fold affect. First, it makes the grandparents feel special and valued during the holiday season — a time when many seniors are prone to depression. Secondly, it creates a special bond between generations that brings priceless benefits to both parties.
Here are 10 holiday traditions to start with grandparents. Now, it might take some adaptations depending on the age of the grandchildren and dexterity of the senior, but if you’re open-minded and flexible you can make it happen. Even if you don’t live in the same area, many of these things can be done separately and shared via Facetime or other apps.
Bake and decorate cookies together
It can be the entire baking process from scratch, or you can buy pre-made cookies from a bakery and just have fun decorating. Added bonus? Take pics and post them to family members to vote on the best decorated cookie. Have prizes for prettiest, ugliest and most creative! (COVID Modification: Do this via a Zoom or Google Meet connection or depending on where you live, you might be able to socially distance outside.)
Make your own wrapping paper together
Get a large roll of either white or kraft paper, some markers and make an afternoon of doodling, coloring and decorating as much as you want of the roll! Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Toddler scribbles next to Grandma’s beautiful handwritten Christmas messages creates a fun holiday memory — especially when you see it covering the boxes under the tree. (COVID Modification: Do this via a Zoom or Google Meet connection or depending on where you live, you might be able to socially distance outside.)
Drive and see lights together.
This is an easy one. And to make it more fun, take turns deciding what music to play in the car. (COVID Modification: Go for the drive, show any homebound elders the lights via Facetime or similar apps while having conversation and voting on your favorites.)
Surprise for Mom and Dad
How fun would it be to have an annual tradition between grandkids and grandparents to come up with some kind of gift or fun surprise for mom and dad. While mom and dad are working feverishly behind the scenes grandparents and grandkids could be bonding over plans to do something special. This teaches the children to NOT forget about mom and dad and helps the grandparents do something special for both their children AND grandchildren. Let your imagination fly! (COVID Modification: This could be done over the phone and would spark great conversation between the generations.)
Make a commemorative ornament
Again, this will be interesting when the kids are really little, but what great momentos to look back on years later. Get creative every year. Maybe take turns on who comes up with the idea each year. (I secretly wish I’d done this one.) (COVID Modification: Do this via a Zoom or Google Meet connection or depending on where you live, you might be able to socially distance outside.)
Take an annual photo
Of course, this one really does require being in the same area — and the same room, but it would be fun to have a photo of every Christmas with just grandparents and grandkids. An easy tradition that most people probably do already. Maybe you put a creative spin to it. Like doing some silly pose every year, or in different iconic locations. Or crazy outfits. (COVID Modification: Still take the photo, but put Grandma and Grandpa’s faces on tablets or computers in the photo. It’s certainly one way to remember this holiday season.)
Be philanthropic together.
This is a great way for the older generation to teach the younger generation about giving. Do something (age appropriate) every year, like find a local non-profit and you each donate money. Or go to lunch together and secretly pay for another table. Have fun choosing which table to pay for. “Adopt a family” at your local church and shop, wrap and deliver the gifts together. (COVID Modification: Similar to buying gifts for mom and dad, a simple phone call discussion various organizations or charities could suffice. Again… creates great conversation between the generations.)
Game night with grandparents!
This would be a fun tradition. Brew up some hot cocoa, make a buffet of holiday snacks and just have a fun night of Candyland with the young ones, a heated game of RISK with the teens or a die-hard battle of scrabble with the adult grandchildren. (COVID Modification: Take it online at Chess.com or online scrabble.)
Decorate grandparent’s home for the holidays
This one may be difficult with the younger ones, but if Grandma and Grandpa are still able to do most of the work, younger ones could still be included and gain more responsibility as they get older. What a beautiful transition this could be also for older grandchildren to help less-abled grandparents make their homes feel special for the season. The time spent together will be cherished by both parties over the years.
Record a holiday video message together
What an amazing keepsake this will be later in life. Imagine every year, grandparents sit with their grandkids and record what they’re grateful for, or have a conversation about the holiday season and what it means to each of them. (COVID Modification: Simply use the record mode on Zoom or other similar services and you have your keepsake!)
Hopefully these 10 holiday traditions to start with grandparents have sparked your creativity. We encourage you to keep your older family members involved this holiday season — as best as you can given the current COVID-19 situation.
The Nursing Team is a family owned and locally operated home care agency based in Lee’s Summit, Missouri and serving the surrounding areas. If you need someone to take over some caregiving responsibilities during the holidays, so you can focus on the planning and inclusion of loved ones in activities, call us for a free consultation at 816.282.6998. We’d be happy to help you make their holiday memorable.