Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Eid al-Fitr, Bodhi Day, or the winter solstice, holiday traditions are a fun way for families to bond and create fond memories together. The traditions you choose are limited only by your imagination in the way you and your family carry them out. The following are a few fun traditions to consider.
Customs for gatherings
Storytelling. Choose a theme such as ‘my most memorable holiday season’ or ‘the best thing that happened this year,’ and ask each person to share a memory. Record the storytelling, then play it in future years as part of your family’s memory-sharing tradition.
White elephant. Rather than exchanging gifts or drawing for a gift exchange, hold a ‘white elephant.’ Each guest brings a wrapped gift that anyone can use. Everyone then draws a numbered slip and takes a turn choosing either a wrapped gift or taking an unwrapped gift from another participant. If a player loses their gift, that person gets to choose another wrapped gift or take a gift from someone else. For complete rules and variations on this fun gift exchange, visit whiteelephantrules.com.
Just for two or the whole brood
Cozy escape. Escape the holiday hustle and bustle and enjoy a holiday retreat. Try a cozy cabin in the woods or another scenic setting. Enjoy your togetherness near a roasting fire, flipping through family photo albums, enjoying holiday music, doing crafts and other relaxing activities.
Holiday countdown. Take a 3" by 3" strip of ribbon and cut 24-paired slits from top to bottom. Thread each pair with narrow ribbon and tie a sucker in each. Beginning December 1, remove a lollipop each day through to Christmas Eve, or the eve of the holiday you celebrate.
Romantic evening. Couples often forget to take time out for each other during the busy holiday season. Plan an evening for two and reserve a table near a fireplace or a different romantic setting. When you return home, light some candles and your tree, listen to holiday or soft music, and exchange a special gift with each other. Then spend the evening reminiscing and sharing your dreams for the future.
Cut your own tree. Take the whole family to a tree farm and make a day of it. Look for the perfect tree that complements your home or that fits your family’s taste.
International customs. Pick up a book on holiday customs around the world. Each year, choose a different culture or nationality for your theme, and then decorate and try new traditions accordingly.
Shopping date. Make a date with your partner and assist each other in selecting your holiday attire. In advance, decide on the formality so you choose complementary outfits and your shopping trip together remains agreeable.
Just for you
Pamper yourself. Decorate the bathroom in holiday candles, fragrance, and holly. Throw on some holiday or other relaxing music. Enjoy a long bubble bath and give yourself a full salon treatment. Include a manicure, pedicure, deep hair conditioning, facial mask, and body buff.
Traditions for all
Stockings for adults. Fill stockings for your partner, parents, or grandparents to discover. Stuff them with treats, beauty products, lottery tickets, and other inexpensive or usable items.
Help a family in need. Deliver a box of groceries or supply a family with gloves and hats for the winter. Ask your children to make room for their own new gifts by donating good, unwanted toys. Offer the toys to the family in need to leave from Santa or wrap the gifts yourself and leave them on the family’s doorstep.
Take a horse-drawn carriage ride. Don’t forget blankets and your favorite hot beverage for warming your lips and hands.
A special ornament. Buy a new tree ornament each year that signifies something important, such as your baby’s first Christmas or solstice. If it’s your first season in a new home, find an ornament that represents it.
Homemade wrapping paper. Get a roll of brown Kraft paper, and cut holiday shapes out of sponges, dip them in holiday-colored paint, and stamp the shapes onto the paper. Use glitter and glue to add to the festive look.
Holiday tradition tips
Discontinue holiday traditions that have lost their appeal and usefulness or those that create too much stress. Talk to your family members or friends who share in the holiday tradition, explain your feelings, and ask for their input; they may feel the same way. Even if they don’t, you can try to reach a compromise that satisfies everyone.
Don’t overdo it. It’s easy to get carried away with customs. Be selective and choose those that mean the most to you and your family. Most holiday traditions require some investment of time, energy, or money. Taking on too many can cause stress and cause the traditions to lose their appeal.
When you choose holiday traditions, divide the responsibilities. Women often take sole responsibility for holiday activities, which can be overwhelming and interfere with their ability to really enjoy the season. Try not to strive for perfection and recruit other members in the family to help in the preparation.
By keeping these tips in mind and being flexible, you and your family can enjoy holiday traditions for years to come.
Kimberly is a freelance lifestyle writer. She also writes content, blog posts, and more for businesses in a variety of industries. She is also an expert in on-page SEO. Find her at kimberlyblaker.com.
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