The twinkling lights, the letters to Santa, the stories and carols are all part of the tradition that marks Christmas as a very special time.
In every part of the world, kids prepare a plate of cookies for Santa’s snack when he visits their homes on Christmas Eve. It’s hard for children to sleep that night anticipating his visit, but good little boys and girls know he won’t come until they’re tucked snugly in bed with eyes shut! The tradition of leaving cookies for Santa is believed to have started at the time of the Great Depression by parents wanting to inspire their children to share with others, especially during a time of great need. Now kids happily leave cookies and milk for Santa…and often a carrot for his reindeer to share, knowing in the morning there will be just a few crumbs on the plate, and an empty glass signifying that the jolly old man enjoyed his treat!
Traditions are important, and the ones you share with your children will eventually be passed on to their own families in the future. Why not make leaving cookies for Santa a special event? Choose a time to bake cookies together and let the little ones decorate the cookies they’ll be leaving for that jolly old elf. Santa doesn’t care if the cookies are slightly misshapen or garishly iced – he knows they were made with love and laughter! Play Christmas carols and holiday music while you work together, and fill your kitchen with sugary aromas and lots of giggles. It’s a little messy and a lot merry to build this tradition together. Allow the kids to stir the ingredients and sneak a taste. Let them decide on a pretty plate and glass for Santa’s snack, and help them write him a note to leave with the treat – something they can work on while the cookies bake. Smaller children can draw him a special picture to tuck in beside the plate.
Share your own childhood Christmas memories while you work, and talk about other family traditions special to these holidays. Children will remember fun activities you do together every year and look forward to continuing them. You can even talk about adding some new traditions to your family’s Christmas: new pajamas for everyone for Christmas Eve, searching for and cutting your own fresh tree, or sleeping around the Christmas tree one night during the season! Soon everyone will be contributing ideas and you’re sure to find one that’s simple and fun, destined to become another anticipated family tradition! It’s much more than simply making cookies with your children – you’re making cherished memories!