Creating New Traditions This Holiday Season

For many youth sports families, the holidays usually present the challenge of balancing sports activities and family events. But 2020 has altered the “normal” for everyone; some of you may be facing no sports at all or at least a reduction of competition this holiday.

If you are left wondering what you can do as a family to make things feel “normal,” or if a youth sports vacuum has your kids feeling a bit down, it’s time for your family to create some new traditions.

Here are some ideas for how you can make the holidays memorable, despite the pandemic cloud which hangs over us all.

Make a Family Holiday Wish List

Hold a family meeting and have everyone say one activity they’d like to do as a family during the holidays. It might be driving around to see lights, baking cookies, watching a certain festive movie, or just playing a family game of basketball —be sure everyone contributes an idea and put it on the calendar.

Sponsor a Family

One of the best ways to get your kids’ minds off of what they are missing out on if they can’t play sports is to do something nice for someone else. There are tons of charities who give gifts during the holidays. Pick one and get your kids involved in the giving. I remember one Christmas when our family played Secret Santa to another family. We filled a box with presents and goodies and secretly delivered it to their front door. We never saw their response, but the joy my kids had in giving was all the response I needed to see!

Have a Family Campout

This can be done in the backyard, weather permitting, or in living room “forts.” Make indoor or outdoor s’mores, tell stories and jokes, and play games. It will be a night they will never forget!

Hold a Family Tournament

You may be able to take the child out of sports, but for many, you may not be able to take the sports out of the child. Holding a family tournament will give them a chance to compete at something, even if it’s not their sport of choice. This can be done in one night, or spread throughout the holiday season. Pick a game, any game—board, card, outdoor, gym—and make a bracket with every family member participating. Announce the prize at the beginning to get the kids motivated.

Create a Family Fitness Challenge

As a family, decide on what your fitness challenge should look like. Here are some sites with ideas for organizing one: VerywellFamily, SimplyWellBalance, and TheActiveFamily.

Make a 2020 Tree Ornament

To top it all off, have each family member design and make a tree ornament that signifies 2020 to them. No doubt, this will be a year that we all remember and as you make the ornament, talk about their highs and lows for the year.

I suppose there are two ways you can look at this 2020 holiday season. You can see all the things you couldn’t or shouldn’t do, OR you can see the fun new things you tried and experienced that might never have happened. This Holiday, choose to see the glass half full!

Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at

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