Holiday traditions allow us to build strong bonds with our family and connect us to our family history. They give us a sense of pride and belonging. They also give us a way to show what is important to us. For many of us, our dogs have become an important part of our family. So it is no surprise that we want to include them in our traditions. Join us as we show you 12 ways you can include your dog in your family’s holiday traditions or maybe start a new one.
12 Holiday Traditions To Share With Your Dog
1. Find A Christmas Tree
Finding the perfect Christmas tree in the woods is a family Christmas tradition for many. Of course if you are lucky enough to own your lot of land with evergreens you can take your dog with you. But even if you don’t, many Christmas tree farms will allow your leashed dog to take part in the experience. Just call ahead to make sure they allow dogs.
Of course if you have a hardy working breed like the Newfoundland, you may want to look for a place that will allow him to pull his own weight. Plow Farms in Plowville, PA does just that. In what has become an annual tradition, Newfoundlands pull wagons for people who are looking for their perfect tree on the farm. The dogs which are part of the New-Pen-Del Newfoundland Club are trained and certified to pull the wagons. This allows the dogs to do what they were bred to do and brings joy to all those who are visiting. You can learn more about the Newfoundlands of Plow Farm at Dogster.com.
2. Family Ornament
Getting a Christmas tree ornament that represents our family is an annual tradition in our house. Every year we go to the mall to pick out an ornament that we all agree represents our family for that year. One year we were all penguins on a sleigh. Another year we were people with a dog. It really doesn’t matter. What’s important is that there is one space representing each of us including Bella, our dog. We make sure to have it personalized by adding our names and the year. When it is time to decorate the tree we pull out all the family ornaments from over the years. It’s a fun way to remember past Christmases.
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Collecting Christmas ornaments is one of our favorite holiday traditions. You can find an assortment of dog related ornaments here including personalized family ornaments
3. Wear Matching Outfits
Have a little fun this holiday season by wearing matching sweaters or pajamas. With a wide selection of clothes and accessories available for dogs it’s easy to twin with your dog. You can even get the whole family involved.
4. Bundle Up and Go for a Walk in the Woods
This is a no cost tradition that is sure to please your pup and it’s good for you too. Whether you live in the city or in a rural area find a safe park that allows dogs and go for a hike in the woods. Remember to bundle up to stay warm and watch for signs that your dog is cold. When you get back to the house you can all enjoy a much deserved cuddle by the fire.
5. Get a Family Picture with Santa
A long standing tradition for parents with kids is now available for our canine kids too. All over the country pet stores, rescues and even your local mall are offering the opportunity for your pup to take their picture with Santa. Check out this list to find a place to take your pup.
6. Bake Holiday Treats
Baking cookies and other holiday treats has always been a holiday tradition in our family. This year you can include your dog by making a holiday treat just for him. Here is a fun recipe by Kol’s Notes for Peanut Butter Gingerbread Dog Treats
7. Go to a Christmas Parade with your Dog
Many towns across the country hold an annual Christmas light parade for the local residents. Since the parades are outside and generally not that crowed, it is a great way to include your dog in on the holiday fun. Just remember to make sure your dog is warm enough. Since the temperature will get cold at night you may want to cover them with a warm sweater or coat.
8. Hang up a Stocking for Your Pup
Hanging the stockings by the chimney with care has been a Christmas tradition for centuries. Get your dog in on the act by getting (or making) his very own Christmas stocking.
9. See the Holiday Lights
Looking at other people’s Christmas decorations has been a tradition in our family for as long as I can remember. Whether you drive around to see the lights or walk around your neighborhood, bring your dog along to enjoy the sights and sounds.
10. Advent Calendar for your Dog
Advent calendars were first used in the 19th century as a way to count the days till Christmas. They mark the 25 days before Christmas by offering a small surprise in a box for each day. To create a dog advent calendar simply hide a dog friendly treat in the pouch of an advent calendar you already own. If you don’t have one already, you can purchase a readymade advent calendar made for dogs or make your own by wrapping up your dog’s favorite treats in a box and numbering them.
11. Donate to a Local Animal Shelter
So this tradition really doesn’t involve your dog but you can donate to a local shelter or rescue group in honor of your dog. Animal shelters need help no matter what time of year it is, but while you are in a giving mood why not include your local animal shelter to the list. I am sure they are on the good list for helping a countless number of dogs and cats like Molly.
12. Become a Foster Parent for a Homeless Dog
Animal shelters and rescue groups all around the country use foster homes to manage the influx of surrendered dogs after the holiday season is over. You can help these dogs by agreeing to foster them while they look for a forever home. For anyone that is thinking about adding another dog to their pack, it is a great way to decide if you are ready. Plus it will give your dog a playmate for a while. For the dogs it gives them a temporary loving home. It also increases their chance of adoption by introducing them to more people than they would meet in a shelter. Contact your local shelter to see if they have a program in place.
Hopefully you have found a few new holiday traditions to share with your dog. But remember the best holiday tradition for you and your dog is a good snuggle.
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