What makes Christmas time so enchanting? Is it the excitement kids feel as they see wrapped gifts show up under the tree? Is it the anticipation of seeing friends all decked out in the holiday wear? How about the weather – the cold air, white snow? Or maybe it’s the scents – fragrant pine, cookies baking, warm cider?
We all have our favorite family holiday traditions, those little things we do every year to celebrate the season. Sometimes we’re overwhelmed with tradition and we lose the fun, the joy of the tradition. If that’s the case, maybe you need to change things up a bit. Would you like to bring the magic back to your holiday season? Make new memories with one of these…..
12 New Holiday Traditions
Host a wreath making party. Of course I love this idea since I love making anything by hand. It could be as simple or complex as you have time for: everyone brings their own wreath form (wire, grapevine, evergreen, etc) and a collection of items to put in the wreath -you could pool items and share cones, ornaments, ribbon, berries, glitter, etc. Glue guns and wire certainly would be helpful. You’ll find that creativity flows when a group of friends gather to create together. Turn up the Christmas carols and serve cookies and hot cider……
Embrace other cultures. On Christmas Eve celebrate another culture by serving food from that country and learning about how they celebrate Christmas.
Take your neighbor or friends’ children shopping. And have them take yours – it gives everyone a fun break and allows the children to pick out a surprise for you.
Give your favorite book to a friend – even if it’s just on loan. Include a handwritten note saying why you enjoyed the book.
Include a mystery guest for a holiday meal. Do you know a friend or coworker or acquaintance who doesn’t have nearby family to celebrate Christmas with? Invite them to share your meal and traditions. You’ll create happy memories both for the guest and your family.
Be a Christmas photographer. With the ease of digital photography, we can take and print photos so quickly (almost like the days of polaroid cameras, remember those?). Take and display pictures of the children hanging their stockings (even if they’re 30) or of the family cooking Christmas dinner or of hubby putting the angel on top of the tree. If you have photos from years past, make a simple memory book and use it to reminiscence.
Give your children a special ornament each year. Or let them choose their own (that’s what I did) and you certainly end up with an interesting collection and social commentary. Then when they’re grown and have their own tree, you can gift them their collection of ornaments. My 2 boys’ ornament collection includes Spider Man, Super Man, Simpsons, and Ninja Turtle ornaments but also an occasional cute animal or nutcracker. I tried to encourage and direct, but ultimately I let them choose, consequently the whole super hero era…..
Celebrate by candlelight. One evening turn off all lights (except on the tree) and enjoy a quiet evening of story telling, sharing memories and doing it all in the glow of candlelight.
Hide and seek gifts. Wrap one present that’s a “trick” or challenge. Maybe it’s a box inside a wrapped box inside a wrapped box. I once opened 7 boxes to get to my gift! Wrap a gift that’s a note with a clue leading to another gift with a clue that eventually leads through the house and finally to the real gift. My kids loved these treasure hunt presents.
Use favorite old toys to decorate. As your children grow, save their favorite stuffed animals, cars, etc. Put them out around the tree so it’s warm and comforting and friendly and full of memories while waiting for Christmas morning to arrive.
Start Holiday Movie Night. Gather the family, make some popcorn, dim the lights, snuggle under those warm throws and watch the classic Miracle on 34th Street – or choose a holiday movie you haven’t seen before.
Enjoy outside lights. Set aside an hour or two one evening to take drive to nearby neighborhoods and enjoy the outside Christmas light displays. So many folks go all out in their exterior decorating and it can be quite a treat to see what they come up with. Vote on the favorite house of the night.
Share a Tradition
Every family has their own way to usher in the holidays. When your children are grown, what traditions do you want them to remember and carry on? What’s your favorite memory from growing up? Share your favorites in the comments – I love hearing about how others celebrate the season.