It’s no secret that winter is not my favorite season. In the Midwest, it’s so cold, snowy, and long. So, so long. It can feel like it takes forever for Spring to finally get here. One great way to make it through the long, cold days of Winter are with some fun Winter family traditions!
Why start family traditions in Winter?
Winter is a fantastic time to start some new family traditions. Why? Because as busy moms, finding time to do new things can be super difficult. Winter, however, gives us some of our time back.
During the Summer, there are so many things to do. It goes by so fast and the list of activities and events we want to do just doesn’t feel like it can even be squeezed into one season. When it comes to Winter, however, we have a lot more time to play with.
It might not feel like it because the days are so much shorter, but we have a lot less to do in the Winter than any other season. While Summer has all of the warm weather activities like trips to the lake, camping, picnics, hiking, etc, Spring and Fall aren’t much better.
Spring and Fall are filled with kids sports seasons, the start and end of the school year and all the things that come with it, and all of the Spring and Fall activities that can ONLY be done for a short season, such as apple picking and pumpkin farms!
Winter, on the other hand, tends to feel busy, but really isn’t. Once the holidays are over, we mostly just hunker down and wait for Spring. The shorter days and colder weather makes us feel like we have little time, but it’s just as much time as any other time of year. And it’s less jam-packed with activities.
Winter is perfectly primed to do some of those things that may be Winter only, but it’s also a great time to do things you just don’t have time for the rest of the year!
Why Winter family traditions are important.
There are several reasons why Winter family traditions are important. Personally, I think family traditions in general are important, which is why we have family movie nights and special Christmas traditions. But Winter does has a few special reasons to get some traditions going that you can look forward to.
First, traditions give you something to look forward to. I can think of no other time of year when absolutely nothing is happening and everyone is just waiting. Waiting for the weather to change or the next holiday mostly.
Having some traditions in that time between the end of the holidays and the day when you can stop hibernating and start going outside again gives you something to look forward to that is closer than three or four months away. Because, seriously, that’s how long it takes Spring to get here after the holidays!
Speaking of hibernating, the second reason you need some Winter family traditions is that it will helps ease cabin fever. It gets you out of the house, mingling with others in the community, and actually enjoying the time, instead of very slowly and painfully waiting for it to pass.
Finally, Winter traditions can help Winter be a little more fun! Since there isn’t as much to do, Winter can be so boring, which is why it feels sometimes like it never will end. In addition to having something to look forward to, and getting you back out of the house, traditions just give you something to do in general.Rather than doing the same thing every day, which is part of why Winter is so boring, it mixes things up just a little.
It’s a reason to say to the family, “Today, we are doing something DIFFERENT!”
12 Winter Family Traditions
Tree Lighting Ceremony
This one actually would be around the holidays, but it’s a great holiday tradition to start because it’s generally before things have gotten really busy and chaotic with the holiday itself. We actually started this one this past Christmas and it was freezing and busy and there were a few ultra-crabtastic moments, but it was also so fun and worth it. Can’t wait to do it again next year.
Ice/Snow sculpture festivals
Lots of communities have outdoor festivals in January or February celebrating Winter. They usually revolve around, or at least include, ice or snow sculptures. In our area, there are at least three towns that have downtown Snow festivals like this. And folks, these sculptures can be downright AMAZING.
Create annual goals AFTER New Year’s
Instead of crafting your new year goals on or before New Year’s Eve, consider waiting until January. Once the holidays have ended and been all packed up, then sit down as a family one evening and make it it’s own event. Pop some popcorn, make some hot chocolate, sit in front of a fire…however you want to do it. And have everyone discuss and decide on a few goals for the new year.
Find or help start a Winter carnival!
Some communities have Winter carnivals that you can either attend or volunteer at. Most of the time they are tied to some form of charity, like a church. Zach’s first daycare was actually at a church that held an annual Winter carnival.
Winter carnivals can be small or really huge, depending on the size of the community and how many people volunteer. See if there is one in your area to check out. If not, is there an organization you’re a part of that could benefit from one? See if you can start it! You’ll be helping your organization, creating a new tradition, and helping the rest of your community get through the struggle of Winter, too!
This one is totally not for me, but some people love it. My sister-in-law has done it. For anyone who doesn’t know, this is when people decide to jump into freezing cold water, often for charity, in the middle of Winter. It’s quite popular, and many people describe it as “exhilarating,” so no judgement here. Just be sure this is something you really want to try, and can safely do, before “jumping in.”
For those who don’t mind being outdoors in the frigid temps but are opposed to jumping into frigid waters, a Winter 5k might be more your style. Our community has a Winter run series that consists of a race each month from October through March. We did the New Year’s Eve one once. It was the year I decided that I hate running regardless of the weather. See if there are any 5k’s in your area that are put on in the Winter!
Celebrate Spring Equinox
The Spring (Vernal) Equinox is the astronomical beginning of Spring and occurs near the end of March, around the 21st. Around here, it’s still fairly cold and the potential for a snow storm is still present. However, it is finally starting to feel like warmth is just around the corner, and that is cause for celebration! There are lots of ways to celebrate the beginning of Spring. Research a few ways that sound fun and special for your family and make a point to welcome Spring each year with your new tradition.
Go Ice Skating
Ice skating is a great family activity that many people just don’t think to do very often. There are lots of indoor and outdoor rinks that pop up in the Winter and they’re definitely worth checking out. Maybe you can even find a really special place nearby that can become you go-to ice skating rink for your new ice skating tradition.
Bake and do a cookie exchange-AFTER the holidays
Baking cookies is great. Cookie swaps are great. But most people do them at the holidays when we’re already so busy and there are so many treats all around us. Why not wait until the holidays have passed and the treats are gone to do a cookie exchange? Set a day for special cookie baking as a family and swap with friends and family in late January or early February when everyone needs that pick-me-up right when the season starts wearing on.
See a play
There are tons of local theaters, and we enjoy seeing plays, but we never go because we never have time. Find a local theater, maybe even a children’s theater to add a little extra interest for the kids, and make it a tradition to see one play every Winter! Turn it into a whole day with lunch or dinner and a show for an extra treat.
Go on Vacation
This one is my favorite Winter family tradition. Go on a vacation to somewhere warm. Our favorite vacation is a family cruise, but it can literally be anywhere warm. I love going in early February to give us something to look forward to for about a month and we end up leaving right about the time I’m ready to go crazy from Winter.
Purge and Donate
No one wants to sit inside on a beautiful Spring, Summer, or Fall day and clean out closets. But in the Winter, what else do you have to do? Make a point to plan a weekend, or at least one day, where everyone goes through what they’ve accumulated that year, what hasn’t been used regularly, and what doesn’t fit. Then purge it all. Find a thrift store or charity and donate it to a good cause. Then, after a full day of productive release of junk, enjoy a relaxing evening with pizza as a movie (because no one wants to cook after that).
If you need some fun things to look forward to every Winter, then a new family tradition is what you need. Hopefully,you have some new ideas to try this year. I know I love our traditions that we have year round, but Winter ones are definitely necessary. Because fun times with my family are what get me through when I just can’t bear it anymore. So if you need a little help getting over that post-holiday Winter slump, I hope this list helps!