Holiday Traditions

Christmas cookies, ornaments, greenery

The holidays are such a wonderful time of year and part of what makes them so special are traditions. Some traditions are common worldwide, such as gathering with loved ones, eating a large meal, and exchanging presents. Other traditions are specific to a particular country or region, like Spain’s yule log and Italy’s Christmas Panettone, while some are specific to a single family. If you are looking for ways to make memories with family and friends, here are some new traditions you could start this year.

  • Get Baking. There are many ways you can turn baking into a holiday tradition. Spend a day baking with your family members or a group of friends. Try out a new recipe, stick to the standard favorites, or have a cookie swap.
  • Indoor Camping. A break from the usual routine is always exciting to youngsters, so trade the beds for sleeping bags for a night and sleep under the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree. Sing carols and read your favorite holiday stories by flashlight to make it extra memorable.
  • Leave Santa and his Reindeer a Surprise. Santa and his herd will be tired from his busy night, so leave cookies, milk, carrots, or other refreshments out for them. That way they’ll be sure to have the energy to make sure everyone has a Merry Christmas.
  • Go Sightseeing. Find out which areas and homes near you have the best holiday lights and head out on a tour to visit them all. On the way back home, let everyone vote on which was their favorite.
  • Share a Favorite Recipe. Do you have a favorite recipe that you have been using for many years, or have you discovered an amazing new one this year? Make an annual tradition of including a recipe in the cards you send out, or attaching it to the presents you give.
  • Write a Letter. Recording your memories on paper is a great way to reflect on the previous year and to make note of any special achievements, funny stories, or memorable occurrences that have happened. Have everyone in the family write one and collect them all in a book, adding new letters each year. In the future, they will serve as great snapshots of your family at a particular point in time. These are also nice to have when remembering those who are no longer with us, so think about what you would like the future generations of your family to know about their ancestors.
  • Annual Movie Night. Grab your pajamas, heat up the cocoa, and watch your favorite holiday movies.
  • Gift Challenge. Have a $10 gift exchange, where you must find or make a certain number of presents and can not spend more than $10. Exchange these gifts on Christmas Eve.
  • Retro Christmas. Host a party and only serve food and drinks that were popular at a particular time in history. Bonus points if appropriate clothing attire is required and all music played during the party is from that era.
  • Ornament Tradition. Have at least one new ornament hanging on your tree each year. This can be an ornament that signifies a special moment from the year, such as buying a house or somewhere you traveled to or can be your child’s latest school photograph or art project. This way every year you are reminded of that particular point in time when you hang the ornaments on the tree.
  • Marshmallow Fight. Snowballs can be hard to come by in Texas, so have a marshmallow fight instead. Give everyone some ammunition, ranging from miniature marshmallows to the extra-large ones, and fire away. If this seems too messy, set up a skill game, such as corn hole, and take turns playing by tossing marshmallows instead of beanbags.
  • Find the Gnome. Hide a holiday decoration, such as an elf or gnome, and have everyone search for it. You can make it as difficult as you like and leave clues that must be deciphered to find his location. Have a treat for the person or team that finds it.
  • Nutcracker Karaoke. Play a popular song or holiday tune using a nutcracker. Pull the lever on the nutcracker’s back to sound out the song, no words or humming allowed. Have everyone try and guess what song is being cracked.

Hopefully, these ideas have inspired you to start new traditions and continue the ones you already practice with your loved ones this holiday season.

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