I'll admit it, my husband and I are winter holiday fanatics--I get the warm and fuzzies just thinking about all the festivities we have to look forward to in the coming weeks. Colorful lights, sugar cookies, shopping--I'll take a heavy dose of all of it! Long before the birth of our son, we've been daydreaming about all the fun things we would do with our little one during the holidays, and now that the time is approaching, we're pretty much giddy with excitement. Since I've been planning for awhile, I thought I'd share some holiday traditions that you can start with even the youngest of babies.

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1. Expose them to celebrating with your friends or familia. Thanksgiving is next week, and though it might be a little more challenging, we'll be spending the entire day cooking and giving thanks with the best of friends as we do every year. Whether your group consists of friends or mostly family, this is a holiday for togetherness. Expose your little one to the frenzy and fellowship from early on and he or she will learn to look forward to it every holiday season.

2. Pick out the family tree. If Christmas is your thing--as it is mine--bring your baby along to pick out the tree. Even better, go to a local farm and cut down a tree. The process of choosing a tree and/or cutting one down will teach your child the importance of compromise and working together. We go to get ours the weekend after Thanksgiving and spend that evening decorating it while we listen to carols and drink tons of coquito.

3. Cheesy movie marathons. Cuddle up on the couch as a family and throw on the Hallmark channel or Lifetime or just queue up a few movies on Netflix. Every weekend is an opportunity to revel in more cheese. It may be corny, but it's a fun time spent together, and isn't that what the holidays are all about?

4. Catch some fireworks. For many of us, New Year's just isn't complete without fireworks. If you have a toddler or your kids are older, you can set some off at home (the law permitting) or even just light some sparklers. But if you have a tiny baby and want to avoid the loud noise and a later bed time, find a recorded display online--you might even be able to find a live-streaming version from the festivities in a country in another time zone.

5. Get dressed up. Or don't for that matter. Maybe you want to buy special outfits for the whole family to get decked out in, or maybe you want to get everyone a set of cozy new pajamas to spend the day in. Whatever you decide, make it an annual thing and be sure to take pictures.

6. Celebrate Nochebuena. Even if you don't want to open all of the presents on Christmas Eve, it's fun to open just one. And don't think you have to keep your kids up until midnight because it's traditional--this is about making your own traditions, so do it however you want to.

Image via Sean Dreilinger/flickr

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About the author

Shayne Rodriguez Thompson is a full-time wife, full-time mom, and freelance journalist trying to balance it all and looking forward to exploring the world with her son and husband. In her rare spare moments, she's a pop culture junkie and kitchen devotee who makes a mean cupcake!

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