The holidays are all about traditions: sharing ones established in years or even generations past, as well as creating new ones with growing families. They can surround everything from decorating to gift-giving to enjoying special foods and meals, and each year they are both familiar and different, helping to make new memories that can be shared year after year. We asked our PBK parents to tell us about some of the most cherished traditions they look forward to with their children each holiday season.
Incorporate some of the traditions of previous generations, including international ones.
My mom is French, so we follow the traditional reveillon dinner on Christmas Eve. When we were kids, the dinner was held immediately following midnight mass. Every year my mom makes French onion soup from scratch that is so good, I refuse to ever eat anyone else's. She also makes a buche de noel for dessert. Now that we all have small children of our own, the dinner is served earlier, but is just as delicious. Somehow, the kids still end up going to bed way after their bedtime, with the benefit being that they actually sleep in the next morning. As a family, we protect Christmas Eve fiercely, as it is typically the only time we spend as an entire family, and it represents some of our fondest memories from childhood. I look forward to continuing to share this tradition with my boys.
Chris Norris - Vice President of Inventory Management
Father of Aidan, 8, and Liam, 4
Decorate early and make an event out of it!
My husband's birthday falls on November 30th, but since Christmas has always been my favorite holiday, it is hard for me to wait to start pulling out decorations and trimming the tree. Every Thanksgiving weekend after we have my husband's birthday celebration, we get our tree. We live in San Francisco where there is a Christmas tree lot on almost every corner. For the past five years, we have prepped the kids' wagon, put on our personalized Santa hats and walked down to the Christmas tree lot singing carols! The kids love it and we get a lot of people joining in. We pick the perfect family tree, eat candy canes then strap the tree on to the wagon and walk back home. It is my most cherished memory of the holiday season!
Michelle Hummel - Vice President of Direct Marketing
Mother of Soren, 5, and Emerson, 9 months
Give favorite books as special keepsake gifts.
I try to use special occasions (such as the holidays/Christmas) as an opportunity to build my son's library, in a sentimental way. I try to pick one or two meaningful storybooks (like a classic that I loved) each Christmas to give to him as gifts, and then my husband and I write a message inside the book for him. That way we have a sentimental item that means something forever. I also encourage the grandparents to do the same with books they love.
Marina Lee - Website Manager
Mother of Max, 21 months
Encourage your kids to think generously.
Every year we always donate as many toys as Santa brings. So if Santa brings four toys (which is the going rate at our house) we pick four things that we donate to children less fortunate. This has made our son realize that there are many who are less fortunate and it feels as good to give as it does to receive (OK, maybe not to a 3-year-old, but it does get better).
Leigh Oshirak - Vice President, Public Relations and Marketing Communications
Mother of Jack, 6
Choose ornaments that commemorate special family experiences.
Throughout the year, we buy a few new ornaments – such as a souvenir from a vacation or anything else that represents somewhere we went with the kids. Then we make a special event out of decorating the tree. We talk about the ornaments, share memories from years past and make brand-new ones.
Jenni Zaidi - Director of Online Marketing
Mother of Adam, 6, and Mina, 2
Involve every member of the family in trimming the tree.
As a family we go to a tree farm in nearby Half Moon Bay, California, to cut our fresh Christmas tree. We all join in on choosing the perfect tree. That evening we put on Christmas music and decorate the tree as a family. It's not a perfect tree, but sharing in the decorations makes it eclectic and fun. I love the nonbreakable ornaments from Pottery Barn Kids. Each child has a stocking with their name on it and we hang them as well.
Nancy Guettier - Vice President of Visual Merchandising
Mother of Genevieve (shown), 6 , Julian, 4, and Jude, 3
Host a gingerbread house-decorating party.
My older son's birthday is December 20. One year, we hosted his birthday party as a gingerbread house-decorating theme. We had all his friends over for a building party, which was quite fun. My younger son enjoyed it so much that each holiday he still invites a few kids over to build gingerbread houses.
Audrey Gerber - Vice President of Brand Marketing
Mother of Robby, 13, and Gavin, 11