This is my favorite Christmas tradition. Hands down. It’s absolutely the highlight of the entire holiday season. I didn’t grow up with any Christmas traditions so creating our own has been exciting and rewarding.
My boys are currently 5, 3, and 2 so presents and “holiday magic” is what they love. (As they should.) We do work hard to downplay “stuff” and emphasize the gift of family time, the birth of our Savior and opportunities to serve others. But gifts, plastic treasures and tearing wrapping paper is their focus. We have to deliberately slow them down and purposefully interject wisdom and truth into their little minds.
So that’s why we do “Christmas Letters from Dad” on Christmas morning.
My husband writes a letter to each of his sons detailing ways he’s proud of them and shares how he prays for them. It’s in his handwriting and we keep each letter in a binder with the holiday decorations.
Truthfully, they don’t care about these letters right now. But when they are grown and we are gone … I have a feeling they will love these letters more than any toy they received decades earlier. Even with the lights, presents and distractions they straighten up and listen when it’s their turn. (Well maybe not the 2yo yet but he’s getting there.)
I wanted the letters handwritten because so much is typed and impersonal these days. A handwritten letter is simply more precious than an email.
Watching their little eyes beam as they hear their father speak about them is truly magical. My husband shares specific memories, challenges and areas he’s observed in their life. It’s truly one of the sweetest moments of the year.
Let’s be honest – it’s really a gift FOR me from my husband at this point. He admits it’s not something that comes natural but he enjoys reading the letters Christmas morning.
So if you’re looking for a holiday tradition consider a Christmas letter! I’ve included a template for both Moms AND Dads. I personally don’t write the letters because I wanted this to be a “Daddy only” moment in our home. I keep our letters in a binder with each letter inside a protective sleeve. I will go through and scan the letters because I can’t stand the thought of losing them. (And by “scan” I mean use the app “CamScanner” because it’s faster and not 1998.)
Whatever holiday traditions you do, please enjoy your family and take the time to invest in what matters. Your children may want toys but they crave the gift of your time and words. They need to hear from you. Even if you don’t think they’re listening. Write down words of encouragement and start this year.