Creating Holiday Traditions: Interview With Kathy Peterson

Susie McGee
Kathy Peterson, lifestyle expert and TV personality

Kathy Peterson is a celebrity design/lifestyle expert, author, national TV personality and more. She recently took some time to offer tips to our readers on creating holiday traditions that last.

What is your experience regarding this topic?

Growing up I was always the creative one making handmade gifts for my family, friends, teachers, etc. It's something that has stuck with me for a long time. In all my TV appearances, my TV show---Town & Country Crafts with Kathy Peterson, my books, articles and columns I always try to inspire people to discover their own creativity. Hopefully they'll be able to take the creativity and channel it into a family tradition.

As far as cooking together, now that the kids are all gone, my husband and I enjoy entertaining during the holiday season, so together we've started to cook appetizers together taking about a week before the party an hour each day making treats for our guests (especially if it's a big crowd we're entertaining we do this about 5 days a head of the party). It's great bonding time and something I look forward to each season. Also, we always make sure to include and celebrate the holiday with widowed friends that might not have family close by or no one else to celebrate with.

What are some common holiday traditions that many families celebrate?

Traditions might be finding the perfect tree and decorating the tree on the day before Christmas, or cooking the same exact meal on Christmas, opening presents at a specific time/day, opening presents one each day of the 12 days of Christmas, telling family stories, passing on or gifting with family heirlooms, or meeting the family at a special holiday location each year.

Do you have any new holiday traditions you'd like to share with our readers?

One holiday tradition I loved doing with my nephew years ago when he was young was making sure each year we took a photo of ourselves kissing under the mistletoe. It started when he was about 3 (me holding him) until he was about 12. Looking back at the photos brings great joy to me. It's the simple things that can really be special especially if you can capture the moment! Now I look forward to doing this with his own children!

What are some easy holiday traditions that kids can involve themselves in?

Make personalized ornaments, cook or bake a special treat with grandma, gather up last years holiday photos and scrapbook together with the family, teach your children the benefits of giving to others, encourage children to "re-gift" unopened gifts to a less fortunate child, get kids involved in a volunteer group during the holidays, teach them how to craft holiday cards, etc Also, it might be fun to ask friends from another religion to come celebrate and learn more about your own holiday traditions or visit friends home who have different religious traditions.

How can families celebrate different religious beliefs together, such as Christmas and Hanukah?

I have many friends with blended religions as a family ---and I think it's great that each religion is celebrated in a traditional style. For Christmas always have a tree filled with ornaments, etc. For Hanukah, celebrate each day by lighting the candle on the menorah, etc. Blending and celebrating the religious holidays together as a family is a wonderful experience for children to better understand different cultures and beliefs.

Do you have any other advice you'd like to share?

Be sure to connect with your older relatives. Ask them to share what they did as a child with their own family way back when. Then maybe carry that tradition into your own celebration.

Final tips include:

  • Handmade gifts are better than purchased gifts. Start a tradition with your children by helping them discover their own creativity while giving and making something handmade for someone else.
  • Personal purchased gifts is okay too. Simply add your own personal design or touch to the item
  • A family that cooks together---will really enjoy the holidays much more. Bring the family together in the kitchen throughout the holiday season and have everyone concoct their favorite recipes.
  • Make personalize holiday ornaments or Christmas cards using photos, trinkets and other memorabilia each year
  • If your child receives an overabundance of toys, etc for the holidays, encourage them to re-gift the un-opened box to another child who is less fortunate.

For more information on Kathy, check out her website.

Creating Holiday Traditions: Interview With Kathy Peterson