25 Holiday Traditions to Start This Year

  1. 25 Holiday Traditions to Start This Year
  2. 7 Ways to Make the Holidays Extra Special for Your Kids
  3. 25 Holiday Traditions to Start This Year
  4. Holiday Tradition Ideas
  5. 1 Take a holiday trip to the library
  6. 2 Download Christmas audiobooks
  7. 3 Try an Icelandic tradition
  8. 4 Read The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve
  9. 5 Play “I Spy” with the Ornaments on Your Tree
  10. 6 Gift your child an ornament every year
  11. 7 Keep special ornaments safe
  12. 8 Start a silly ritual
  13. 9 Remember their inanimate friends
  14. 10 Play tourist in your own town
  15. 11 Watch the same holiday movie every year
  16. 12 Write a letter to Santa
  17. 13 Make your own Advent calendar
  18. 14 Spice up the air
  19. 15 Let it snow–in color
  20. 16 Raid your pantry for this Hanukkah project
  21. 17 Craft a cute surprise
  22. 18 Adopt a family through a charity
  23. 19 Make an ornament for a cause
  24. 20 Create holiday cards for hospitalized children
  25. 21 Bake a signature sweet
  26. 22 Enjoy a fancy lunch
  27. 23 Use food as a tribute
  28. 24 Whip up reindeer food
  29. 25 Start with a surprise
  30. 25 ways to make the holidays a little EXTRA
  31. Eight ways to make holidays magical for your child
  32. Leave signs of Santa’s visit
  33. Give traditions your own twist
  34. Reuse the stuff of holidays past
  35. Surprise the youngsters
  36. Channel your childhood
  37. Let Kids Take the Spotlight
  38. Be generous
  39. Bend the rules
  40. How to make the holidays more fun for your child
  41. Simple swaps to reinvent holiday traditions
  42. Key takeaways
  43. About the author
  44. Reviewed by
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  46. Explore related topics
  47. Discover what’s possible when you’re understood
  48. Wunder: The first community app for parents and caregivers of children who learn and think differently

25 Holiday Traditions to Start This Year

25 Holiday Traditions to Start This Year

If you’re looking to add some extra joy and excitement to your holiday celebrations this year, why not start some new traditions? Traditions have always been a way to connect with the past and create lasting memories for the future. They can range from simple activities like hanging ornaments on the tree to more elaborate events like attending a winter festival. No matter what traditions you choose, they’re sure to bring your family closer together and make the holidays even more merry and bright.

One fun tradition to start is choosing a new ornament each year. Each family member can take turns picking out an ornament that represents something special from the past year. This can be a great way to remember the places you’ve visited, the milestones you’ve reached, and the things that have brought you joy. As the years go by, your tree will become a beautiful collection of memories.

Another tradition to consider is wrapping presents together. Instead of waiting until the last minute to wrap all your presents, set aside a special time to do it as a family. Put on some holiday music, pour some hot cocoa, and enjoy the process of folding paper, tying bows, and adding personalized tags. Not only will this make the task of wrapping gifts more enjoyable, but it will also give you a chance to spend quality time together.

For a fun and silly tradition, consider creating a goofy holiday recipe. Ask each family member to come up with their own unique recipe using unconventional ingredients or unexpected flavor combinations. Then, take turns trying each other’s creations. You might discover a new favorite treat or, at the very least, share plenty of laughs in the process. Just make sure to have some traditional holiday cookies on hand as well.

If you’re looking to spread some holiday cheer beyond your family, consider starting a tradition of giving back to your community. This could be as simple as baking cookies for your neighbors or as involved as volunteering at a local soup kitchen. Teach your children the importance of kindness and giving, and show them that the true spirit of the holidays lies in helping others.

Finally, don’t forget to document your holiday traditions and memories. Take pictures, write in a holiday journal, or create a scrapbook. These tangible reminders will allow you to look back on all the joy and love that filled your home during the holiday season. They will also be a cherished keepsake for future generations.

So, whether you’re starting a new holiday tradition or continuing one from years past, remember that the most important thing is to spend time with your loved ones and create cherished memories. No matter what traditions you choose to incorporate into your holiday celebrations, they’re sure to make this time of year even more special. Happy holidays!

7 Ways to Make the Holidays Extra Special for Your Kids

The holiday season is a time for making memories with your loved ones, especially for your children. Here are seven unique ways to make the holidays extra special for your kids:

  1. Create Meaningful Traditions: Start a new tradition that is unique to your family. It could be something as simple as baking holiday cookies together or going on a Christmas lights tour around your neighborhood. These traditions create lasting memories for your children that they will treasure for years to come.
  2. Write Letters to Santa: Sit down with your child and write a letter to Santa Claus. Encourage them to not only ask for gifts, but also to express their gratitude for the blessings they have received throughout the year. This activity teaches them the importance of gratitude and giving.
  3. Decorate a Giving Tree: Set up a small tree in your home and hang paper ornaments on it. Each ornament can have a name and a wish written on it. Encourage your child to choose an ornament and fulfill the wish, whether it’s purchasing a toy for a child in need or donating food to a local food drive. This teaches your child the joy of giving and helps them understand the true meaning of the holiday season.
  4. Plan a Mystery Gift Scavenger Hunt: Create a fun and suspenseful game for your child by hiding small gifts around the house and providing them with clues to find them. Each clue can reveal a piece of a puzzle or a riddle that leads to the next gift. This activity adds an element of excitement and wonder to the gift unwrapping process.
  5. Dress Up in Holiday-themed Outfits: Get the whole family involved in dressing up for a special holiday dinner. You can wear matching pajamas, dress up as elves or reindeer, or even wear holiday-themed sweaters. This adds a fun and festive atmosphere to your celebrations and allows your child to express their creativity.
  6. Visit a Local Christmas Market: Take your child to a nearby Christmas market or fair. This gives them an opportunity to see unique crafts, taste delicious food, and experience the joyful atmosphere of the holiday season. They can also learn about different traditions and cultures.
  7. Make Homemade Gifts: Encourage your child to create homemade gifts for their friends and family. It could be a handmade card, a painting, or a craft project. This allows them to express their creativity and teaches them the value of handmade and thoughtful gifts.

By incorporating these seven ways into your holiday celebrations, you can make the holidays extra special for your children. Remember, the holiday season is about more than just the commercial aspect. It’s about creating meaningful memories, giving back, and spending quality time with your loved ones.

25 Holiday Traditions to Start This Year

25 Holiday Traditions to Start This Year

When it comes to the holidays, there’s no place like home. It’s the perfect time to gather with loved ones and create lasting memories. Whether it’s watching holiday movies or taking a trip to see the festive lights in town, these traditions are sure to bring plenty of cheer.

  1. Leave a special treat for Santa and his reindeer on Christmas Eve.
  2. Wrap small gifts for neighbors and leave them on their doorstep.
  3. Have a movie marathon with all your favorite holiday films.
  4. Make hot chocolate from scratch and top it with marshmallows and whipped cream.
  5. Create homemade ornaments to decorate the tree.
  6. Bake delicious holiday cookies and share them with friends and family.
  7. Visit a local food bank and donate non-perishable items.
  8. Start a collection of holiday-themed books to read with your children.
  9. Have a fancy holiday dinner where everyone dresses up.
  10. Make a gingerbread house from scratch and decorate it with colorful candies.
  11. Take a trip to a nearby town and explore their holiday festivities.
  12. Hold a family cooking competition and see who can make the most delicious dish.
  13. Decorate your home with twinkling lights and festive decorations.
  14. Take a drive around town to see the best holiday light displays.
  15. Write letters to Santa and put them in the mailbox.
  16. Have a special holiday meal with traditional foods from your cultural background.
  17. Make handmade gifts for friends and family.
  18. Visit a local bakery and treat yourself to some delicious holiday goodies.
  19. Volunteer at a local charity and make a difference in someone’s life.
  20. Watch a holiday-themed play or musical.
  21. Create a holiday playlist with all your favorite songs.
  22. Have a family game night with holiday-themed board games.
  23. Take a day to relax and enjoy some self-care during the busy holiday season.
  24. Make a countdown to Christmas calendar and mark off each day.
  25. Take the time to reflect on the year and set goals for the next one.

Whether you’re looking for new traditions to start or trying to hold on to old ones, these 25 holiday traditions will help you get into the holiday spirit and create lasting memories with your loved ones.

Holiday Tradition Ideas

If you’re looking to create unique and memorable holiday traditions for your family, consider these ideas:

1. Build a Gingerbread House: Spend an afternoon creating a gingerbread house with your loved ones. Use candy, icing, and other sweets to decorate it.

2. Tree Decorating Party: Invite friends and neighbors over to help decorate your Christmas tree. Listen to holiday music, eat festive treats, and have a merry time together.

3. Gift-Giving Angel: Before the holiday season, choose a family in need and anonymously leave presents for them under their tree. It’s a wonderful gesture that will make someone’s holiday special.

4. Holiday Recipe Exchange: Have friends and family share their favorite holiday recipes and then gather to cook a dinner together. Share stories and create new memories while enjoying a delicious meal.

5. Letter to Santa: Have the kids write letters to Santa, expressing their wishes for the holiday season. Then, drive to the local post office to mail the letters to the North Pole.

6. Surprise Advent Calendar: Create an advent calendar with surprises for each day leading up to Christmas. Open a new door every morning for a small gift or an activity to do as a family.

7. Handmade Ornaments: Get creative and make ornaments together as a family. Use items like paper, felt, or even salt dough to create unique pieces for your tree.

8. Holiday Lights Tour: Take a drive around your neighborhood or to different holiday light displays in your area. It’s a magical way to enjoy the festive decorations.

9. Goofy Family Photos: Dress up in silly or matching outfits and take goofy family photos. You can use them for holiday cards or just for fun.

10. Tissue Paper Surprise: Wrap small surprises in pieces of tissue paper and hide them around the house. Have a scavenger hunt to find them all.

11. Story Time: Each night before bed, gather the whole family to read a favorite holiday story. It’s a nice tradition that brings everyone together.

12. Cookie Exchange: Organize a cookie exchange with friends or neighbors. Everyone can bake their favorite cookies and swap them for a wide variety of delicious treats.

13. Adopt a Needy Family: Reach out to a local charity or organization and adopt a family in need. Provide them with gifts, groceries, or other necessities to make their holiday season a little brighter.

14. Elf on the Shelf: Get an Elf on the Shelf and have fun hiding it in different places around the house. The kids will enjoy finding it every morning.

15. Chocolaty Countdown: Create a countdown to Christmas with daily chocolates for each family member. It’s a delicious way to mark the days until the holiday arrives.

Whether you choose one of these holiday tradition ideas or create your own, the most important thing is to spend quality time with your loved ones and create lasting memories. Remember, it’s not about the commercial side of the holidays, but rather about the true meaning of the festival – spreading love, joy, and kindness.

1 Take a holiday trip to the library

If you’re looking for a cozy and educational way to get into the holiday spirit, why not take a trip to your local library? It’s a great opportunity to explore the wide variety of holiday books, movies, and music they have to offer.

Here are some tips to make your library visit extra special:

Treat it like a festive outing: Make it a fun and magical experience for the whole family. Dress up in cozy sweaters, wear Santa hats, or bring along some holiday treats.
Take time to explore: Set aside a few hours to really dive into the collection. Let each family member pick out their favorite holiday book or movie. Don’t miss out on the chance to learn about different holiday traditions from around the world.
Get crafty: Check out some holiday crafting books and try your hand at making homemade decorations or gifts. It’s a great way to get creative and involve the whole family in the holiday preparations.
Join in on library activities: Many libraries host special holiday-themed events and activities for all ages. From storytime with Santa to gingerbread house building contests, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Expand your reading list: While the library is a great place to find holiday classics, don’t be afraid to explore other genres as well. You may discover new books that become beloved holiday reads.
Make a wish list: If you come across a book or movie that you really love, jot it down on a wish list. This way, you can easily purchase or borrow it at a later time.

Visiting the library during the holiday season can be a wonderful way to unwind and embrace the magic of the season. Whether you’re looking for a new holiday read, gathering inspiration for decorating your home, or simply enjoying the peaceful atmosphere, the library has something for everyone. So, grab a warm drink, settle down in a cozy reading nook, and let the holiday stress melt away.

2 Download Christmas audiobooks

If you’re looking for a cozy way to get into the holiday spirit, downloading Christmas audiobooks is a perfect option. It’s an opportunity to escape the daily hustle and busy schedule and immerse yourself in a world full of festive stories, magical tales, and heartwarming narratives.

There are lots of websites and platforms where you can find a wide variety of Christmas audiobooks. Whether you’re a fan of classic holiday tales like “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens or prefer modern stories like “The Christmas Cookie Club” by Ann Pearlman, you’re bound to find something that suits your taste.

So, gather your favorite snacks, whether it’s pasta or cookies, get into your comfiest nightgown, and settle down in a cozy corner with your headphones on. Let the soothing voice of the narrator transport you to a world filled with laughter, joy, and heartwarming moments.

If you have children, downloading children’s Christmas audiobooks can be a great way to spend quality time together. You can listen to festive tales like “Carl’s Christmas” by Alexandra Day or “The Angel Tree” by Daphne Benedis-Grab. It’s not only a chance to create lasting memories but also to instill in them the love for reading and the holiday spirit.

For those celebrating Hanukkah, you can also find audiobooks that tell the story of this meaningful holiday. From explaining the history and traditions of Hanukkah to delightful children’s books like “Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins” by Eric A. Kimmel, there’s something for everyone.

Downloading audiobooks is also a practical choice during the holiday season. If you have a long car ride to visit family or friends, audiobooks can keep you entertained and help pass the time. They’re also useful for organizing events, holding cooking sessions, or even wrapping presents. Just press play, and let the festive mood surround you.

So, give yourself the gift of Christmas cheer this year with a collection of downloaded audiobooks. It’s a chance to relax, unwind, and immerse yourself in the magic of the holiday season.

3 Try an Icelandic tradition

Icelandic holiday traditions are full of unique and interesting customs that can add a special touch to your celebrations. One tradition worth trying is the Icelandic Yule Lads. These mischievous characters visit children in the 13 days leading up to Christmas. Each day, a different Yule Lad leaves a small gift or treat in the child’s shoe.

These Yule Lads have names like Spoon Licker, Door Slammer and Sausage Swiper, and their antics can be a source of delight and intrigue for children. Some families even leave a shoe outside their door each night to make sure the Yule Lads don’t miss their visit.

Another Icelandic tradition is the Yule Cat. This mythical creature is said to roam the countryside and eat anyone who doesn’t receive new clothes before Christmas Eve. The Yule Cat is said to belong to Gryla, the mother of the Yule Lads.

Icelandic Christmas dinner traditions also include some unique dishes. One popular tradition is to enjoy a Christmas Eve meal consisting of seven different types of fish. This tradition stems from the Catholic tradition of not eating meat on Christmas Eve. Another traditional Icelandic dish is “hangikjöt,” which is smoked lamb.

One of the most famous Icelandic traditions is the Northern Lights. This natural phenomenon lights up the sky with vibrant colors and can be seen from many places in Iceland. It is a truly magical sight that is sure to awe and inspire.

If you’re looking to incorporate a bit of Iceland into your holiday celebrations, you could try making some traditional Icelandic treats. Some popular options include “kleina,” which are twisted doughnuts, and “laufabrauð,” which is a type of deep-fried bread that is cut into decorative patterns.

Author’s advice: If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could even try hosting an Icelandic-themed holiday party. You could decorate with Icelandic flags and traditional ornaments, serve Icelandic food and drinks, and even play Icelandic music or watch Icelandic shows or movies. It’ll be a unique and memorable party that your guests won’t soon forget!

4 Read The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve

4 Read The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve

Greetings from our magical collection of holiday traditions! One of our favorite traditions is reading “The Night Before Christmas” on Christmas Eve. This beloved poem, written by Clement Clarke Moore, captures the essence of the holiday season and fills our hearts with warmth and joy.

Under the soft glow of the twinkling Christmas tree lights, our family gathers together in our cozy living room. The rules are simple: everyone must wear their comfiest pajamas or nightgowns, and no one is allowed to peek at their presents until tomorrow morning.

Homemade hot cocoa, complete with marshmallows and a sprinkle of winter magic, is served in mini mugs. As my husband, Carl, prepares the drinks, the kids draw cards and write letters to Santa, expressing their heartfelt wishes for the coming year.

Taking turns, we sit in a circle and read the classic tale aloud. The story of Santa Claus and his reindeer visiting children around the world brings a sense of wonder and excitement to our hearts. We listen as Elizabeth, our youngest, reads a paragraph, her sweet voice filling the room with joy.

After reading “The Night Before Christmas,” we continue the festive spirit with other holiday activities. We decorate gingerbread houses, bake cookies, and watch movies like “Elfie’s Winter Adventure” or “The Perfect Christmas Tree.” The kids take turns hanging ornaments on the tree, carefully placing each one in its perfect spot.

Without fail, our family tradition of reading “The Night Before Christmas” on Christmas Eve brings us closer together and reminds us of the true meaning of the holiday season. It’s a time to be thankful, to cherish our loved ones, and to spread joy and happiness to everyone we meet.

So, if you’re looking for a new tradition to add to your plethora of holiday festivities, we highly recommend reading “The Night Before Christmas” on Christmas Eve. It’s a simple yet meaningful activity that will create lasting memories for years to come.

Remember, the best part of any holiday tradition is the love and togetherness it brings. So, gather your family, cozy up in your fluffiest pajamas, and let the magic of “The Night Before Christmas” fill your hearts with joy and wonder.

Happy holidays!

5 Play “I Spy” with the Ornaments on Your Tree

One of the wonderful ways to create lasting memories with your family during the holiday season is by engaging in fun and interactive traditions. One such tradition is playing a game of “I Spy” with the ornaments on your Christmas tree. It’s a simple and enjoyable activity that can be enjoyed by members of all ages.

To start the game, gather everyone around the Christmas tree. Take turns being the spy and give clues about a specific ornament on the tree. For example, you could say, “I spy with my little eye, something round and red.” Other family members then take turns guessing which ornament you’re referring to. The first person to guess correctly gets to be the next spy.

This game not only brings joy and excitement but also allows family members to appreciate the many ornaments that have sentimental value. As you play, you’ll start to notice the unique stories behind each ornament and its significance to your family.

It’s a nice idea to write down the wishes, memories, or funny stories associated with each ornament. You can keep a journal or add a small note to the ornament itself. This way, every year when you decorate the tree, you can remember the special moments that each ornament represents.

This activity can also be a great opportunity to teach your children about the meaning behind the ornaments and the cultural traditions they symbolize. For example, an ornament in the shape of a dreidel could represent Hanukkah, while an angel ornament could symbolize the Christmas story.

To make the game even more interesting, you can have a friendly competition by keeping score of who guesses the ornaments correctly. At the end of the holiday season, the person with the highest score could receive a small prize or special recognition.

If you have neighbors or friends who celebrate different holidays, invite them to join in the fun. You can take turns visiting each other’s homes and “spying” the ornaments on their trees. This way, you’ll not only build a sense of community but also learn about different holiday traditions.

Don’t forget to snap some photos during the game! Create special memories and share them on social media with a dedicated hashtag like #OrnamentSpyGame or #TreeTreasures. It’ll be a fun way to look back and remember the magic of the holiday season.

Playing “I Spy” with the ornaments on your tree can become a cherished tradition that everyone in your family looks forward to each year. So, gather around the tree, unleash your inner detective, and let the holiday fun begin!

6 Gift your child an ornament every year

When it comes to creating holiday traditions, there are endless possibilities. One unique idea is to gift your child an ornament every year. This article on our website will show you how to start this special tradition and make it meaningful for your family.

When your child turns one, you can begin this tradition by choosing an ornament that reflects their interests or passions at that age. Whether it’s a cute stuffed animal or a miniature version of their favorite character, the ornament will serve as a reminder of this special time in their life.

As the years go by, your child’s collection of ornaments will grow, each one holding its own memories and stories. Looking back at the decorations on the tree will bring back wonderful memories of Christmases past.

Not only does this tradition allow your child to have a unique ornament for themselves, but it also instills the joy of giving. They can help pick out an ornament for a child in need or donate to a local charity. It’s a wonderful way to teach them about the spirit of generosity.

While choosing ornaments, there’s no rule that says they have to be traditional. Let your child’s imagination run wild and look for ornaments that reflect their personality. Whether it’s a goofy reindeer with antlers or a cute elfie, the ornament should make your child smile.

Another fun idea is to get ornaments that represent their favorite activities or hobbies. If your child loves baking, find an ornament that looks like a gingerbread house or a cookie. If they enjoy playing sports, look for an ornament of their favorite game.

If you celebrate different holidays, you could expand this tradition by gifting an ornament for each holiday. For example, a menorah for Hanukkah or a music note for a love of playing instruments. This way, your child can create their own special collection of decorations.

When it comes to gifting the ornament, there are no hard and fast rules. Some families choose to give it on Christmas morning, while others give it on the first day of winter. Some even hide it for the child to find, like a treasure hunt.

Make sure to write the date and a small note on the ornament to remember when and why it was given. And don’t miss out on the opportunity to reinvent this tradition as your child gets older. Let them have a say in choosing the ornament or even let them make one themselves.

Creating this tradition can sometimes feel commercial, but it’s important to focus on the memories and the joy it brings. It’s not about the cost of the ornament, but rather the sentiment behind it.

So, if you’re looking for a unique holiday tradition that will be cherished for years to come, consider gifting your child an ornament every year. They’ll love seeing their collection grow and will be reminded of the love and thoughtfulness that went into each one.

For more tips and creative ideas for holiday traditions, check out our other articles on our website. Happy holidays to you and your family!

7 Keep special ornaments safe

1. Listen to professional advice: There are many professional organizers and decorators who share their tips on how to store fragile ornaments. Take their advice and use it to protect your most treasured pieces.

2. Take turns: If you have multiple family members who love decorating the tree, take turns handling the delicate ornaments. This way, everyone gets a chance to be gentle with them.

3. Start in December: Don’t wait until the last minute to start organizing and storing ornaments. Begin in December, so you have plenty of time to carefully pack them away.

4. Create a safe storage area: Invest in a sturdy box or container specifically designed to hold fragile ornaments. Place tissue paper or bubble wrap between each ornament to prevent breakage.

5. Use a labeled system: Attach labels or take pictures of each ornament before storing them. This way, you’ll know exactly where each one belongs, making next year’s decorating process much easier.

6. Keep favorite ornaments separate: If you have certain ornaments that hold a special place in your heart, keep them in a separate box or bag. This way, they won’t get lost among the rest.

7. Wish for surprises: Encourage your family members to create their own unique ornaments to add to the collection. These special homemade pieces add a personal touch to your tree and make it a true representation of your family.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your special ornaments are kept safe and sound for many holiday seasons to come. Happy decorating!

8 Start a silly ritual

One of the most memorable holiday traditions you can start is a silly ritual that will bring laughter and joy to your celebrations. Whether it’s a goofy dance party or a funny costume contest, creating a lighthearted tradition will help you and your family create lasting memories.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Dress up as reindeer and wear antlers during the holiday meal.
  • Have a “silly greetings” party where everyone wakes up early to come up with the most ridiculous greetings for each other.
  • Organize a “surprise swap” where family members can secretly pack a silly gift, such as a strange piece of clothing or a funny toy, and exchange them during the celebrations.
  • Create a silly photo booth with props and costumes for friends and family to enjoy.
  • Hold a silly talent show where everyone can showcase their unique skills and talents, no matter how nonsensical they may be.

Another silly ritual you can start is to have a “goofy game night” where you and your loved ones play wacky board games or invent your own silly games to play together.

One fun tradition is to choose a silly nickname for each family member to use during the holiday season. This adds an element of fun and brings a smile to everyone’s face each time they are called by their funny name.

Another idea is to have a “silly candle lighting” ceremony, where instead of a traditional menorah, you use a funny or silly candle holder to celebrate the Festival of Lights.

One family even started a silly ritual of having a “silly breakfast” on Christmas morning, where they serve over-the-top, fancy breakfast items like chocolate-covered bacon and pancakes with candy on top.

Remember, the key to a successful silly ritual is to let your creative juices flow and not take things too seriously. It’s all about having fun and creating magical moments with your loved ones.

9 Remember their inanimate friends

During the holiday season, it’s not just about the treats and gifts for the family. It’s also a time to remember and appreciate the inanimate friends that have been a part of our lives. Whether it’s the stuffed animals that were built with love, or the gingerbread houses that were painstakingly crafted, these inanimate friends hold a special place in our hearts.

Reinvent the holiday season by involving these friends in your festivities. Instead of a stressful focus on buying and wrapping gifts, take a moment to celebrate the inanimate friends that bring joy to your children’s lives all year round.

One way to do this is by hosting a festival of inanimate friends. Set up a special area in your home where all the stuffed animals and other toys can gather. Create a calendar of events for them, just like you would for your family. Give them their own joyful celebration, full of activities to keep everyone entertained.

For instance, you can have a “stuffed animal sleepover” where the children tuck in their favorite toys and leave them to have a magical night of fun. When they wake up in the morning, the inanimate friends can reveal what mischief they got up to during the night.

Another fun activity is to hold a “gingerbread house competition” for the inanimate friends. Let the children use their creativity to build a gingerbread house for their favorite toy. Set some ground rules for the craft, such as using pasta for the roof or making sure the house can stand on its own. The competition can be judged by the children, with prizes awarded to the most innovative designs.

If you want to get even more creative, have the inanimate friends put on a talent show. Encourage the children to help their toys prepare a performance, whether it’s dancing, singing, or playing music. Let the inanimate friends take the stage and show off their hidden talents.

Remember, the holiday season is about more than just the gifts under the tree. It’s about creating cherished memories with your family, and that includes the inanimate friends that have been with you through it all. So this December, make sure to take the time to celebrate and appreciate them. After all, they’ve been there for you and your children on this magical journey.

Author: Elizabeth Tilsner

Source: New York Times

10 Play tourist in your own town

One of the best ways to get into the holiday mood is to explore your own town like a tourist. When you take the time to appreciate the beauty and attractions in your own backyard, you might be surprised at how much there is to see and do.

Start by taking a look at the official website of your town or city. They often have a list of festivals and events happening during the holiday season. Choose a few that sound interesting and mark them on your calendar.

Another idea is to go on a food tour of local restaurants and cafes. Try out different cuisines, sample holiday treats, and enjoy meals with your friends and neighbors. You might discover new favorite spots to visit even after the holidays are over.

When was the last time you went to the movies? Instead of always watching at home, why not go to a local cinema and watch a holiday classic? The big screen and surround sound will make the experience even more enjoyable. And don’t forget to buy some popcorn and candy canes to complete the movie-going experience.

If you have children, it can be a fun adventure to build a gingerbread house together. Get a kit or make it from scratch. Spend a long morning decorating with icing and candies. Your child will have a blast, and you might learn a new craft or two in the process.

Play a game of treasure hunt with your family or friends. Create clues that lead to hidden surprises around your town. It’s a great chance to explore new places and reveal hidden gems that you might have missed before.

Have you ever considered going on a photowalk? Grab your camera or smartphone and take a stroll through your town, capturing the most picturesque spots. You’ll end up with a collection of beautiful photos that can serve as a memory of the holiday season.

While you’re out and about, don’t forget to stop by the local shops and support small businesses. They often have unique and handmade gifts that you won’t find anywhere else. Plus, it’s a great way to avoid the stress of big shopping malls.

Consider volunteering for a local charity or organization during the holidays. There are many people in need, and your help can make a big difference. It’s a wonderful way to give back to your community and spread some holiday cheer.

If you’re feeling adventurous, take a road trip to a nearby town or city that you’ve never been to before. You never know what interesting sights and fun activities you might discover on your journey.

Last but not least, be a tourist in your home. Spend a day doing all the things that tourists would do, such as visiting museums, landmarks, and other historical sites. You’ll gain a new appreciation for the place you call home.

So, let’s start playing tourist in our own towns this holiday season. While it might not be as expensive as a trip abroad, it can be just as fun and fulfilling. Plus, you’ll have the added benefit of being able to sleep in your own bed at the end of the day!

11 Watch the same holiday movie every year

One of our favorite holiday traditions is watching the same holiday movie every year. However, times have changed and we’ve built a collection of movies that we find useful for creating a cozy atmosphere during the holiday season. Building this collection has been a fun process, and we always make sure to pack the holiday movies when preparing for our December celebrations.

One movie that we watch without fail every year is “Home Alone.” It brings back wonderful memories and is a true family favorite. Whether it’s the goofy antics of Kevin trying to hold off the burglars or the heartwarming moments between the boy and the old man next door, this movie never fails to bring a smile to our faces.

Another movie that we love to watch is “Elf.” It’s a hilarious and heartwarming tale of an elf named Buddy who travels from the North Pole to New York City in search of his real father. The movie is full of funny moments and quotes that we still use throughout the year.

Watching these movies has become a tradition that we look forward to every year. It’s a time to relax, enjoy some popcorn and hot cocoa, and just take a break from all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. We’ve drawn inspiration from these movies when decorating our home, whether it’s by adding a “Home Alone” ornament to our Christmas tree or by incorporating quotes from “Elf” into our holiday greetings.

Watching the same holiday movie every year also allows us to remember the past and cherish the memories we’ve shared with our loved ones. It’s like a trip down memory lane, and we feel grateful for the time we’ve spent together. It’s a special way to bond with our children and create lasting traditions that they can pass down to their own families.

As our daughter grows older, we imagine that our holiday movie collection will continue to grow. It will serve as a reminder of the wonderful memories we’ve created and will also serve as a way to bring everyone together during the holiday season.

If you’re looking for some advice on choosing holiday movies to watch, we recommend listening to the recommendations of friends and family. They may have some hidden gems that you’ve never heard of before. You can also explore local resources, such as professional movie reviews or online film communities, to discover new movies you might enjoy. Whether you prefer classic holiday films or new releases, there are many options to choose from.

In conclusion, watching the same holiday movie every year is a tradition that brings joy and nostalgia to our family. It’s a time for us to relax, bond, and create lasting memories. If you haven’t started this tradition yet, we highly recommend giving it a try. You never know, it might become one of your favorite holiday activities!

12 Write a letter to Santa

Writing a letter to Santa is a fun and magical tradition that children (and even adults!) can enjoy during the holiday season. It’s a special way to express your wishes and desires to Santa Claus himself.

Whether you’ve been naughty or nice this year, taking the time to sit down and write a letter to Santa can be a joyful and learning experience. It’s a chance to reflect on the past year and think about what you really want for Christmas.

When writing your letter, be sure to introduce yourself and let Santa know who you are and where you live. It’s also a good idea to mention any good deeds you’ve done throughout the year, as Santa loves to reward kindness.

You can use this opportunity to list specific presents or toys that you would like for Christmas. Be sure to include enough details and information about the specific items so that Santa knows exactly what you’re asking for.

In addition to presents, you can also ask Santa for other things, such as good health or happiness for your family and friends. It’s also a great time to express your gratitude for the things you already have and thank Santa for the gifts he’s brought you in the past.

Once your letter is complete, you can choose to send it to Santa in the mail, or you can leave it out for him on Christmas Eve. Some families even have a special tradition of burning their letters to Santa in the fireplace on Christmas night, as a way of sending their wishes up to the North Pole.

Writing a letter to Santa doesn’t have to be a stressful task. Here are some tips to help make the process easier:

1. Set aside a dedicated time and space for writing the letter. This will help you focus and make the experience more enjoyable.
2. Encourage your child to be creative and use their imagination when writing the letter. They can draw pictures or include little doodles to make it more personalized.
3. Provide resources and materials for writing the letter, such as fancy paper, colorful pens, and stickers. This will make the process more fun and exciting.
4. Help your child organize their thoughts and make a list of the things they want to ask for. This will make the letter more structured and easier for Santa to understand.
5. Don’t forget to leave out some milk and cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve. It’s a traditional way of showing gratitude and hospitality.

Writing a letter to Santa is a wonderful way to celebrate the holiday season and create lasting memories. So grab a pen and paper, and let your imagination soar as you write your letter to Santa!

13 Make your own Advent calendar

If you’re looking for a fun and creative way to countdown to Christmas, making your own Advent calendar is a perfect idea. Not only will it add a touch of personalization to your holiday traditions, but it will also hold a special meaning for your family.

Whether you’re a crafty person or not, creating your own Advent calendar is easier than you think. All you need are some basic supplies and a little bit of imagination. Elizabeth, the author of this article, says that she and her husband went on a drive to purchase the necessary materials for their Advent calendar. They found everything they needed, from mini bags to ornaments, at a local crafts store. This excursion added an extra bit of adventure to their holiday preparations.

Once you have all your supplies, the first step is to think about the design of your Advent calendar. You can make it as simple or as elaborate as you like. Some people prefer to make a traditional calendar with doors to open each day, while others choose to create a hanging display with pockets or small bags. Based on your personal style and preferences, you can use glue, felt, or even repurposed materials to build a unique and festive calendar.

After you’ve finished constructing your Advent calendar, the next step is to fill it with treats and surprises. You can include small toys, candies, special notes, or even miniature decorations. Make sure to think about the interests and preferences of each family member, so that everyone has something to look forward to each day. Remember, the key is to make each day feel special and magical.

Once the calendar is complete, hang it in a prominent location in your home. This will make it easily accessible and serve as a visual reminder of the countdown to Christmas. Elizabeth suggests hanging it in the living room, where everyone can see it while watching holiday movies or preparing gingerbread cookies. This way, the Advent calendar becomes a central part of your family’s holiday traditions.

Each night before bed, someone in the family can take turns opening a new window, bag, or pocket. This creates a sense of anticipation and excitement, making the countdown to Christmas even more special. You can listen to your favorite holiday music or cozy up in your matching family nightgowns while unwrapping the daily surprise from the Advent calendar.

By making your own Advent calendar, you not only create a beautiful and meaningful decoration for your home, but you also cultivate a sense of togetherness and joy within your family. It’s a perfect way to bring everyone closer and add a touch of magic to the holiday season.

So, this year, why not avoid the commercial Advent calendars and create your own? It’s a fun and creative project that will make your holiday season even merrier and happier.

14 Spice up the air

If there is one thing that isn’t nicer than the stressful and fast-paced days of December, it’s the magical smells that fill the air. Susan, the author of this article, understands this well. “Smells can really create a festive and joyful atmosphere,” says Susan. “They can truly bring the holiday spirit to life.”

One way to spice up the air is by baking holiday treats. Whether you whip up a fancy recipe or simply bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies, the delicious aromas will waft through your home and make it feel cozy and inviting. Plus, you’ll have plenty of treats to share with loved ones, or to enjoy while watching your favorite holiday movies.

Another way to add festive scents to your home is by creating your own holiday potpourri. Simply wrap up spices like cinnamon sticks, cloves, and orange peels in a cheesecloth, and let it simmer on the stove. The warm and spicy aromas will instantly make your home feel cozy and inviting.

If you’re feeling crafty, you can also make your own scented candles or room sprays using essential oils. Not only will these add a pleasant aroma to your home, but they also make great homemade gifts for friends and family.

Organize a family trip to a local Christmas tree farm and have fun picking out the perfect tree. Take lots of pictures as you chop it down and watch the children’s excitement as they see their favorite ornament being placed on the tree. This is a great way to spend quality time together and create lasting memories.

For Hanukkah, why not try your hand at making your own dreidel? You can purchase a dreidel-making kit or find instructions online. Making your own dreidel adds another personal touch to the holiday celebration and gives you the chance to learn more about the tradition.

Lastly, don’t forget to open your advent calendars each day. Whether they’re filled with candy, healthy snacks, or little gifts, advent calendars are a fun way to count down to Christmas. Plus, they can be a great tool to help children understand that Christmas isn’t just about presents, but about the joy of giving and spending time with loved ones.

15 Let it snow–in color

Another unique and magical tradition to start this holiday season is to create your own colorful snowflakes. Instead of sticking to the traditional white snowflakes, let’s add some vibrant colors to brighten up the winter season. This can be a fun and creative activity for the whole family.

Gather some colorful paper, scissors, and glue. Cut out different shapes and designs to form your own colorful snowflakes. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and create unique patterns. You can even add glitter or sequins to make them sparkle.

Once you have created your colorful snowflakes, find a special place in your home to display them. Hang them on a triangle-shaped string or attach them to a wall, creating a beautiful snowflake gallery that will fill your home with joy and festive vibes.

While you’re busy crafting, don’t forget to enjoy some delicious holiday food. Cook your favorite meal together as a family and savor every bite. Food always brings people together, and sharing a special meal during the holiday season creates meaningful memories to cherish for years to come.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, why not try cooking a traditional holiday recipe or trying out a new and healthy dish? Before you start cooking, make sure to organize all the ingredients and follow the recipe step by step. Get the children involved and let them be your little helpers in the kitchen.

The smell of a freshly made meal will fill your home with a magical and joyful atmosphere. Sit down with your loved ones, hold hands, and say a heartfelt prayer or share your own words of gratitude. This is a perfect moment to express your love for one another and appreciate the blessings that the holiday season brings.

In addition to colorful snowflakes and a delicious meal, take some time to write heartfelt greetings to your friends and family. Purchase or make your own holiday cards and use this opportunity to express your love and gratitude. Sometimes, a few words can mean the world to someone and brighten up their day.

When it comes to presents, consider wrapping them in colorful and festive paper. Get creative with your wrapping by adding ribbons, bows, or even little ornaments. The anticipation and excitement of unwrapping a beautifully packaged gift make the holiday celebrations even more special.

Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy the winter wonderland outside. Bundle up, put on your warmest coat, and take a walk in the snow. Let the snowflakes fall on your face as you create snow angels or have a friendly snowball fight. Embrace the true magic of winter and make the most out of this season.

So, let it snow in color and reinvent your holiday traditions. Start new and exciting rituals that will bring you closer as a family and create cherished memories. Remember, it’s not about the challenges that come our way, but how we face them together and find joy in the little things.

16 Raid your pantry for this Hanukkah project

If you’re looking for a fun and budget-friendly Hanukkah project, why not raid your pantry for some inspiration? This project is a great way to get creative while using items you already have on hand. Plus, it’s a fun activity that the whole family can enjoy!

For this project, you’ll need some triangle-shaped crackers or cookies, like graham crackers or animal crackers. You’ll also need some edible glue, which you can make by mixing powdered sugar with a little water. If you don’t have powdered sugar, you can make a sticky paste by mixing regular sugar with a little water.

To start, gather your triangle-shaped crackers or cookies and lay them out on a clean surface. Get your edible glue ready by mixing powdered sugar with a little water, or by making a sticky paste with regular sugar and water.

Now comes the fun part! Use the edible glue to attach the triangle-shaped crackers or cookies together, forming a pyramid shape. You can get creative with your design and make the pyramids as tall or as short as you’d like.

Once your pyramids are complete, let them dry for a bit to allow the glue to set. During this time, you can keep yourself entertained by looking up pictures of other Hanukkah ornaments online, or by taking turns sharing fun facts about Hanukkah.

When the glue has dried and the pyramids are strong enough to hold together, you can decorate them with edible ornaments. Small candies, dried fruit, or even healthy snacks like nuts can be used to fill the pyramids and make them look festive.

Now that your Hanukkah pyramids are complete, you can display them proudly in your home. They’ll be a great conversation starter and a fun reminder of the time you spent together as a family.

If you’re feeling generous, you can even make a few extra pyramids to give to neighbors or friends. Simply wrap them with colorful paper and add a festive bow. You can even attach a note explaining the meaning behind the pyramid and the Hanukkah tradition.

This Hanukkah project is not only a way to get creative and have fun, but it’s also a meaningful way to incorporate the spirit of giving into your holiday celebrations. By sharing your homemade pyramids with others, you’re spreading joy and creating lasting memories.

17 Craft a cute surprise

One fun holiday tradition to start this year is crafting a cute surprise for your family and friends. Get creative and draw upon your talents to create unique handmade gifts that will bring joy to your loved ones.

If you’re feeling crafty, you can make ornaments, holiday decorations, or even personalized stockings. There are many DIY ideas and tutorials available online to guide you through the process. For instance, you can make a triangle-shaped advent calendar and fill it with little surprises or clues that lead to a bigger gift.

Gather your crafting supplies like glue, scissors, and colorful paper. You can use recycled materials or purchase new ones from a local craft store. If you want to involve the whole family, let everyone take turns coming up with ideas and helping to build the surprise.

One idea is to create a “12 Days of Christmas” surprise, where you give a small gift or treat each morning leading up to Christmas. Another option is to write down different activities or challenges on slips of paper and make a homemade “activity jar” that you can draw from each day.

For instance, you could have “bake cookies together,” “watch a holiday movie,” or “visit a local Christmas market.” This way, everyone in the family gets a chance to do something fun and festive each day leading up to the holiday.

A fun twist on this tradition is to make a “goofy gift exchange” where you pick a silly item to give to each other. It could be something as simple as a funny hat or a goofy nightgown.

Make sure to involve the kids in the process and let them put their own creative touch on the surprises. Not only will they have fun, but they will also learn the value of giving and sharing during the holiday season.

Remember, the most important thing is to spend quality time with your family and friends during this merry season. Start a new holiday tradition this year and create lasting memories that they’ll treasure for years to come.

18 Adopt a family through a charity

One meaningful way to spread holiday cheer is to adopt a family in need through a charitable organization. Before the hustle and bustle of the season begins, take some time to research local charities that facilitate this heartwarming tradition.

Along with your own family, you can bring joy to another family’s holiday season by providing them with much-needed support. Whether it’s providing warm winter clothing like scarves and gloves, or filling a dinner basket with all the ingredients needed for a delicious holiday meal, there are many ways to help.

Instead of stressing over finding the perfect presents for your own loved ones, think about how you can make a difference in the lives of others. Imagine the smiles on the faces of a family when they receive a box full of wrapped presents, each one carefully chosen with love.

If you have children, involving them in this tradition can be a valuable learning experience. Teach them about the importance of giving back and show them that the joy of the holidays isn’t just about receiving gifts, but also about spreading kindness and goodwill.

One way to involve your children is by allowing them to pick out the gifts for the adopted family. Take them shopping and let them choose toys, clothes, or other useful items that they think the family may enjoy. This not only teaches them about empathy, but also helps them understand the importance of gratitude.

Another way to get children involved is by writing a letter or drawing a picture to send along with the gifts. These heartfelt greetings will surely brighten the spirits of the family receiving them, and it’s a great way for children to express their creativity and kindness.

Adopting a family through a charity is a wonderful way to reinvent your own holiday traditions. It shifts the focus from materialistic gift-giving to the spirit of giving and sharing. It allows you to step outside of your own bubble and connect with those who are less fortunate.

Not only is adopting a family through a charity a way to help others, but it can also bring your own family closer together. Working as a team to gather and wrap gifts, bake cookies, or create a handmade ornament can create a sense of unity and deepen the bond between family members.

Imagine the magical smells that will fill your home as you bake cookies and sip hot chocolate together. Picture the joy on your child’s face as they hang the ornament they made on the tree, knowing that it will be cherished for years to come.

In addition to the warmth and love shared between family members, adopting a family through a charity is an opportunity to connect with your community. It’s a chance to meet new people and learn about different experiences and traditions.

Whether you’re a single parent, a hardworking couple, or a family full of children, adopting a family through a charity is an activity that can be enjoyed by all. It’s a chance to give back and make someone else’s holiday season a little bit brighter.

So, this year, consider adopting a family through a charity and discover the joy that comes from selflessness and kindness. You may be surprised by just how much better it feels to give than to receive. Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

19 Make an ornament for a cause

One fun and meaningful holiday tradition to start this year is to make ornaments for a cause. Instead of buying ornaments for your Christmas tree, gather your family and friends together to create unique ornaments that can support a cause or raise awareness for a charity.

You can start by gathering all the materials you’ll need, such as colored paper, glue, scissors, markers, and any other craft supplies you have on hand. Then, start brainstorming ideas for the ornaments. You could create angel ornaments to support a local children’s hospital, or draw gingerbread men with messages of kindness to raise awareness for mental health.

Once you have your ideas in place, it’s time to start creating the ornaments. Get everyone involved in the process, from young children to adults. Let each person’s creativity shine as they decorate their own unique ornament.

As you work on the ornaments, play some holiday music in the background to create a festive atmosphere. You can also take breaks to enjoy some hot cocoa or favorite holiday treats. The whole activity should be a fun and interactive experience for everyone involved.

When the ornaments are completed, you can choose to keep them for your own tree or gift them to friends and family. Consider selling some ornaments and donating the proceeds to a chosen cause. Or, you can donate the ornaments to a local festival or event where they can be sold to raise money for charity.

An additional option is to use digital tools to create virtual ornaments. This can be especially useful if you have friends or family members who live far away and can’t participate in person. They can create their ornament digitally and send it to you to print and hang on the tree.

Whatever cause you choose to support with your ornament-making activity, it’s important to remember that the purpose behind this tradition is to help others and spread joy during the holiday season. It’s a wonderful way to give back to your community and make a difference in the lives of those in need.

So, this year, gather your loved ones, put on your favorite holiday tunes, and get creative while making ornaments for a cause. You’ll not only have a beautiful collection of homemade decorations, but you’ll also feel the joy of giving and making a positive impact.

20 Create holiday cards for hospitalized children

Sending holiday cards is a commercial tradition that has been around for decades. While it’s nice to receive professional-looking cards from family members and friends, let’s not forget about those who may need a little extra holiday cheer.

Creating homemade holiday cards for hospitalized children is a mini tradition that can brighten up their day. These cards don’t have to be fancy or expensive, but they always show the true spirit of the holiday season.

Whether you’re skilled at drawing or just want to spread some holiday cheer, creating homemade cards for hospitalized children is a nice way to give back. While they may not be able to unwrap gifts under the tree, receiving these cards can bring a smile to their faces.

Use your creativity to design cards that will bring joy to the children’s hearts. Draw pictures of Santa Claus with his long white beard or create winter scenes that capture the magic of the holiday season. You can also include joyful holiday greetings or stuffed them with a handwritten note.

If you want to make the cards even more special, consider decorating them with stickers, glitter, or even adding a mini gingerbread ornament. The options are endless, and any effort you put into creating these cards will be greatly appreciated.

Once you’ve created your holiday cards, you can send them to your local hospital or reach out to organizations like the Elizabeth Tilsner Fund in New York, which collects and distributes cards to hospitalized children.

By taking the time to create holiday cards for hospitalized children, you’re not only bringing some holiday joy to their lives but also teaching them the importance of giving back and spreading kindness to others. It’s a tradition that can have a lasting impact and create fond memories for years to come.

21 Bake a signature sweet

Giving homemade baked goods during the holiday season is a thoughtful gesture that many people enjoy. Whether it’s a batch of your famous chocolate chip cookies or a unique recipe that you’ve perfected over the years, sharing your signature sweet treats can bring joy to others.

One helpful tip is to create a list of all the baking ingredients you’ll need and gather them in advance. This way, you won’t have to make multiple trips to the grocery store and can save time in the process. In the morning, turn on some festive holiday music to set the mood and start baking.

If you’re not sure where to start, there are many digital resources available with full step-by-step recipes to guide you. You can also leverage past family recipes or write down your own to create a personal touch.

Once your sweet treats are out of the oven and have cooled, wrap them in fancy packaging or put them in cookie tins. This adds an extra element of presentation and makes your baked goods feel more special. You can even draw or create festive greetings to include with your gifts.

Don’t forget to keep a few for yourself to enjoy! Share them with your neighbors, serve them at holiday gatherings, or bring them to work to share with colleagues. Baking and sharing your signature sweet treats can become a cherished tradition that brings joy to everyone.

Staying organized throughout the baking process is key. Keeping track of baking times, temperatures, and any other special instructions can ensure that your treats turn out perfect every time. Make sure to set timers and double-check the details.

If you have children, involving them in the baking process can be a great way to create lasting memories and teach them valuable skills. Let them help with measuring ingredients, mixing the dough, and decorating the final product.

When it comes to choosing what to bake, the options are endless. From traditional holiday cookies to fancy pastries and even homemade pasta, there’s something for everyone’s taste. Get creative and try out new recipes or stick to the classic favorites.

Baking your signature sweet also fills your home with delicious smells that bring a sense of warmth and comfort. It’s hard not to feel the holiday spirit when the aroma of freshly baked goodies fills the air.

So, make a list, gather your ingredients, and start baking! Don’t let the holiday stress get to you. Baking can be a fun and rewarding activity that allows you to express your creativity and bring joy to others.

22 Enjoy a fancy lunch

Another fun tradition to start during the holiday season is to enjoy a fancy lunch with your family. This is a great way to break up the daily routine and make mealtime extra special. Here are some ideas to make your fancy lunch even more enjoyable:

  • Let each family member choose a special place to eat. It could be a favorite restaurant or a new and unique spot you’ve been wanting to try.
  • Prepare a festive table with decorations, like holiday-themed placemats or napkins, and maybe even some little ornaments as table decor.
  • Bake some delicious holiday treats together before the fancy lunch. This will not only get everyone in the mood for the meal but also create wonderful memories in the kitchen.
  • Surprise your children with a fancy menu. Let them choose their favorite dishes or even create a mini menu with their names on it.
  • Play some holiday music in the background to add to the festive atmosphere.
  • If your family celebrates Hanukkah, consider lighting the menorah before the meal to really embrace the holiday spirit.
  • Instead of buying an expensive lunch, consider making the fancy lunch at home. This way, you can control the menu and enjoy a delicious meal without breaking the bank.
  • Write a nice letter to each family member expressing your love and appreciation. You can read the letters aloud during the meal and let everyone feel more connected.
  • Turn off the TV and other distractions during the fancy lunch to encourage conversation and quality time.
  • Choose a day of the week to have the fancy lunch, like every Sunday, to create a consistent tradition that everyone can look forward to.

Remember, the goal of this tradition is to create a special moment for your family. It doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant; it just has to be something that brings everyone together and leaves them with happy memories.

23 Use food as a tribute

Author Susan brings up a unique idea for holiday traditions: using food as a tribute to loved ones. She suggests keeping a list of favorite foods that have been passed down around your family and writing down the stories and memories behind them. For instance, Susan’s family always had candy canes on their Christmas tree when she was growing up, so she now stops to buy a few every year to remember her childhood. Another tradition she has started is to have a special dinner in honor of a family member who has passed away, cooking their favorite meals and sharing stories about them. This not only keeps their memory alive, but it also brings the family closer together. Susan also mentions that food can be a way to give back during the holiday season. She suggests making homemade cookies or holiday treats to give to neighbors, or even donating food to those in need. She says that it doesn’t have to be an expensive or fancy gift, but a small gesture can go a long way. Susan’s own family has a tradition of making bags filled with goodies for children in need, and they deliver them to a local organization every year. It’s a way for them to teach their children the importance of giving back and spreading holiday cheer. Susan’s article is filled with lots of creative and meaningful ways to use food as a tribute during the holidays, so if you’re looking for new traditions to start, be sure to check out her website!

24 Whip up reindeer food

One of the most delightful and stress-relieving holiday traditions to start this year is to whip up a batch of reindeer food. This simple and fun activity is true to the spirit of the season and will stop even the busiest of days in their tracks, allowing you and your family to enjoy a happy and memorable experience together.

To start, gather the ingredients for the reindeer food. You’ll need oats, glitter, and colored sugar or sprinkles. Mix these ingredients together in a bowl, and voila! You’ve made reindeer food that Santa’s trusty reindeer will love.

Like the process of making pasta from scratch or crafting handmade ornaments, whipping up reindeer food allows you to slow down and take in the smells and sights of the holiday season. It’s a unique opportunity to build memories with your loved ones.

Simply gather your family members around the kitchen table, put on some festive holiday tunes, and start mixing. As the glitter glistens and the colored sugar leaves a sweet scent in the air, you can’t help but feel a sense of joy and anticipation for the upcoming festivities.

Once your reindeer food is ready, you can package it in small bags or jars and add a label with Santas’s name and a “Merry Christmas” greeting. You can also attach a cute poem or a list of wishes for the reindeer to enjoy on their long journey through the night.

Now, when it’s time to leave out cookies for Santa, don’t forget to sprinkle some reindeer food on the lawn or under the Christmas tree. This not only helps guide the reindeer to your house but also leaves a special treat for them to enjoy.

As you look out your window on Christmas Eve and see the twinkling lights, you can feel a deep sense of satisfaction knowing that you’ve participated in a festive tradition that isn’t expensive or complicated. It’s a simple way to make the holidays more magical and memorable.

So, this holiday season, take some time to whip up reindeer food and enjoy the process of creating something special for Santa’s reindeer. It’s a tradition that is sure to bring smiles and warm memories for years to come.

25 Start with a surprise

If you’re looking to make this holiday season extra merry, why not start with a surprise? Staying true to the spirit of the season, surprises can bring joy and excitement to both children and adults alike. Here are some ideas to help you create a memorable surprise for your loved ones:

  1. Organize a surprise holiday tour in your city, where you can explore the festive decorations and enjoy the holiday spirit together.
  2. Reinvent your gift-giving rules by creating a scavenger hunt, where each clue leads to a different present.
  3. Surprise your loved ones with a special letter or card that reveals a secret present they will receive.
  4. Get creative in the kitchen and surprise everyone with a unique recipe that they’ve never tried before.
  5. Take a day trip to a nearby town and surprise your family with a fancy meal at a restaurant they’ve always wanted to try.
  6. For the music lovers, surprise them with tickets to a concert or a musical performance.
  7. Create a surprise gift exchange among your friends and family, where everyone draws names and has to find the perfect present.
  8. Surprise your kids by leaving little presents for them to find each day in the days leading up to Christmas.
  9. Surprise your spouse or partner by organizing a romantic date night that they won’t see coming.
  10. If you have a multitude of holiday celebrations, surprise everyone by organizing a “tour” where you spend a little time at each gathering.
  11. Surprise your family by creating a holiday-themed treasure hunt, with clues leading to the location of a hidden present.
  12. Surprise your loved ones with a personalized ornament or decoration that represents a special memory from the past year.
  13. Get creative with your gift wrapping and surprise everyone with unique and elaborate packaging.
  14. Create a surprise holiday playlist with all the favorite songs of your loved ones.
  15. Surprise your family by serving a special holiday breakfast or brunch.
  16. Surprise your kids by hiring a professional Santa Claus or dressing up as Santa yourself.
  17. Surprise your loved one with a weekend getaway to a cozy cabin in the woods or a fancy hotel in the city.
  18. For the adventure seekers, surprise your family with a fun outdoor activity like ice skating or sledding.
  19. If you’re feeling generous, surprise your loved ones by giving them a special experience, like a hot air balloon ride or a helicopter tour.
  20. Surprise your friends and family with a gourmet holiday feast, complete with all their favorite dishes.
  21. Surprise your kids by setting up a DIY hot chocolate bar, with a plethora of toppings and flavors to choose from.
  22. Surprise your spouse or partner with a romantic gesture, like recreating your first date or planning a surprise date night.
  23. Surprise your loved ones with a heartfelt letter expressing your love and appreciation.
  24. Surprise your family with a holiday movie night, complete with popcorn, hot cocoa, and blankets.
  25. Surprise your kids by waking them up with a special holiday breakfast in bed.

Remember, surprises don’t have to be expensive or extravagant. It’s the thought and effort behind them that truly make them special. So start brainstorming and find the perfect way to surprise your loved ones this holiday season!

25 ways to make the holidays a little EXTRA

Looking for some unique ways to make this year’s holidays extra special? Let’s think outside the box and add a little something extra to our celebrations. Here are 25 ideas to get you started:

  1. Host an outdoor dinner under the stars, bundled up in cozy scarves.
  2. Create a digital scavenger hunt for your family to enjoy on Christmas morning.
  3. Make a homemade advent calendar with special treats or activities for each day leading up to Christmas.
  4. Start a new tradition of choosing and cutting down your own Christmas tree.
  5. Collect colorful leaves on a nature walk and use them to create unique holiday decorations.
  6. Open up a Christmas Eve box filled with new pajamas, a holiday movie, and hot chocolate.
  7. Write a heartfelt letter to each family member, expressing your love and gratitude.
  8. Host a holiday party where each guest brings a homemade dish from their family’s recipe collection.
  9. Visit a local nursing home or hospital and spread some holiday cheer to those who may be feeling lonely.
  10. Create a festive morning mood by playing holiday music and making a special breakfast.
  11. Make homemade ornaments using salt dough or other craft materials.
  12. Organize a neighborhood decoration contest and award prizes to the most creative displays.
  13. Plan a family game night filled with board games and laughter.
  14. Design and send out personalized holiday cards featuring a family photo.
  15. Watch a classic holiday movie marathon and snuggle up with cozy blankets by the fireplace.
  16. Hold a gingerbread house-making competition with family or friends.
  17. Create a collection of clues leading up to hidden presents for a fun treasure hunt.
  18. Try your hand at making homemade chocolates or truffles.
  19. Visit a local Christmas market or fair and support your community’s artisans.
  20. Encourage your children to donate toys and clothes they no longer need to a charitable organization.
  21. Get into the holiday spirit by wearing festive clothing accessories like Santa hats or reindeer antlers.
  22. Explore different cultures by creating traditional holiday dishes from around the world.
  23. Spend a day volunteering at a local food bank or homeless shelter.
  24. Make a “nice list” of all the good deeds and acts of kindness you witness throughout the holiday season.
  25. Share the joy of cooking by hosting a holiday recipe swap with family and friends.

With these additional ways to make the holidays extra special, you’ll have a list of meaningful and memorable activities to enjoy with your loved ones. Start new traditions and create lasting memories that will carry on for years to come. Happy holidays!

Eight ways to make holidays magical for your child

1. Treat your child to a special outing to see holiday lights. Take them to places in your neighborhood or town where the houses are decorated with beautiful lights and decorations. Your child’s face will light up with joy at the sight of the magical displays.

2. Create a holiday card-making party for your child and their friends. Set up a table with art supplies and let them use their creativity to make unique cards for their loved ones. This will not only be a fun activity, but also a chance for them to show their love and appreciation for others.

3. Help your child write a letter to Santa. Encourage them to express their wishes and dreams for the holiday season. They can also include a list of the gifts they would like to receive. This will give them a sense of anticipation and excitement as they wait for Santa’s response.

4. Make a special visit to see Santa. Take your child to a local mall or event where they can meet Santa in person. They can sit on his lap, tell him their wishes, and even take a photo together. This experience will create lasting memories and add to the magic of the holiday season.

5. Have a family movie night. Choose a holiday movie that your child loves and watch it together as a family. Dim the lights, cuddle up with blankets and pillows, and enjoy a cozy night of watching a heartwarming film. It’s a simple yet magical way to spend quality time together.

6. Build a gingerbread house together. Set aside a day or evening to construct a gingerbread house with your child. Let them use their imagination and creativity to decorate it with colorful candies and frosting. This activity will not only be fun, but also allow them to unleash their artistic side.

7. Attend a holiday concert or performance. Take your child to see a local choir, orchestra, or theater group perform holiday songs or a festive play. The music, lights, and costumes will transport them to a different world and fill them with awe and wonder.

8. Keep the holiday spirit alive by doing acts of kindness. Encourage your child to give back to others by donating toys, clothes, or food to those in need. They can also volunteer their time at a local shelter or participate in a charity event. By helping others, they will experience the true magic of the holiday season.

These eight activities will make the holidays truly magical for your child. They will create memories that will last a lifetime and instill in them the importance of love, giving, and togetherness during this special time of year.

Leave signs of Santa’s visit

One of everyone’s favorite holiday traditions is creating the magical illusion of Santa’s visit. It’s a wonderful opportunity for children to experience the joy and excitement of the holiday season, while also learning about the true spirit of giving.

There are many ways to leave signs of Santa’s visit that will make the experience truly memorable. One idea is to leave a letter from Santa, personalized for each child, thanking them for being good and telling them how proud Santa is of them. This can be a special moment for children to read the letter and feel the magic of Santa’s presence.

Another idea is to leave behind a small ornament or a decorative item, like a reindeer antler, that Santa’s reindeer might have left behind when they stopped by the house. Children can use these ornaments to decorate their Christmas tree, and it’s a fun way to remember Santa’s visit.

Santa can also leave behind some homemade cookies or a special recipe for the family to enjoy. The smell of freshly baked cookies will fill the house, and it’s always a joyful experience to gather around and enjoy some delicious treats together.

In addition to leaving signs of Santa’s visit, it’s also a good idea to create traditions that will make the holiday season even more meaningful. For example, you can start a tradition of writing a holiday card to a friend or family member, expressing your love and appreciation for them. This simple act of kindness can bring a lot of joy to someone’s day.

Another tradition could be to make a homemade ornament or decoration for the Christmas tree every year. This could be a fun activity for children and a way to create lasting memories. It’s always wonderful to see the tree adorned with these handmade treasures.

For those celebrating Hanukkah, a tradition could be to light the menorah together as a family. Each night, a new candle is lit, and it’s a beautiful way to remember the miracle of the holiday. Children can also take turns reciting the blessings and learning about the traditions of Hanukkah.

Regardless of the traditions you choose to start, the key is to make them meaningful and special for your family. The holiday season is a time for being together, creating memories, and showing love and appreciation for one another. Whether it’s through homemade crafts, delicious foods, or thoughtful gestures, the important thing is to make the holiday season joyful and memorable for everyone.

Give traditions your own twist

When it comes to holiday traditions, adding your own unique touch can make them even more special. Whether it’s modifying traditional meals or coming up with new ideas, there’s no better time to get creative than during the holidays. Here are some ideas to inspire you:

1. Modify traditional meals

Take a fast and easy approach to cooking holiday meals by trying new recipes or adding your own twist to old favorites. Write down your ideas and experiment in the kitchen to create a meal that reflects your family’s unique tastes.

2. Goofy presents exchange

Add some fun to gift-giving by taking turns to draw names and buy goofy presents for each other. Then, gather around and watch everyone’s reaction as they open their surprises.

3. Craft your own holiday decorations

Get crafty and make your own holiday decorations. From wreaths to ornaments, let your creativity shine and create unique pieces that will make your home feel extra festive.

4. Organize neighborhood winter games

Bring your community together by organizing neighborhood winter games. From snowball fights to ice skating races, spend quality time with neighbors and create lasting memories.

5. Create a magical surprise tradition

Take a page out of the book “Elfie’s Holiday Adventures” by Elizabeth Karras and start a magical surprise tradition. Each day leading up to Christmas or Hanukkah, hide a small surprise, like a wrapped candy or a festive greeting card, for family members to find.

6. Reinvent the gingerbread house

Put a new twist on the classic gingerbread house by challenging family members to build their own unique structures. Provide different materials and let everyone’s imagination run wild.

7. Hold a holiday lights scavenger hunt

Take a drive around your town or city and create a list of different types of holiday lights to find. Then, bundle up and see who can find the most in a set amount of time.

8. Spend eight nights of surprises

For those celebrating Hanukkah, go beyond the traditional presents and surprise your children with a small gift or activity for each of the eight nights. It can be as simple as playing a board game or going for a winter walk.

Remember, the most important thing is to make the tradition your own. Whether you’re tweaking existing ones or starting from scratch, let your creativity and imagination guide you. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and create holiday traditions that are meaningful and enjoyable for everyone.

Reuse the stuff of holidays past

The holidays are a time for joy and celebration, but they can also be filled with stress. From the cooking to the gift shopping, there’s lots to do and sometimes it can feel overwhelming. That’s why author Avery says reusing the stuff of holidays past is not only a clever way to save time and money, but it also brings a sense of tradition and nostalgia.

One idea is to reuse holiday decorations from previous years. Many families have stuffed animals, ornaments, and other festive pieces that hold sentimental value. Taking the time to dig out these treasures and fill your space with memories can make the holiday season feel even more special.

Another way to reuse is with holiday calendars. Whether you have a traditional advent calendar or a more unique version, like a wall-hanging calendar with pockets, you can reuse these year after year. Instead of buying a brand new calendar, fill the pockets with different treats or activities for each day. This not only saves money, but it also adds an element of surprise and anticipation for everyone in the family.

When it comes to meal planning, reusing recipes can be a real time-saver. Instead of trying to come up with new ideas every year, hold on to your favorite holiday recipes and use them again. Not only will this save you the task of searching for new recipes, but it will also create a sense of familiarity and comfort when preparing and enjoying the meal.

Reuse extends to gift-giving as well. Instead of buying new wrapping paper and gift bags every year, save and reuse what you already have. This can be an opportunity to get creative with wrapping techniques and add a personal touch to each gift. Plus, it’s a great way to reduce waste and show your support for environmental sustainability.

Reusing doesn’t just apply to physical items, it can also apply to traditions and experiences. If there are holiday activities or celebrations that you enjoy as a family, make them a yearly tradition. This could be anything from going ice skating at your local outdoor rink to competing in a gingerbread house decorating contest. By reusing these experiences year after year, you create a sense of continuity and shared joy.

One tradition that many families enjoy reusing is unwrapping the ornaments from the previous year and reminiscing about the memories attached to each one. This can be a fun and heartfelt activity that brings everyone together.

So, whether it’s reusing decorations, calendars, recipes, or experiences, finding ways to reuse the stuff of holidays past can bring true joy and reduce stress. As author Avery says, the holidays are about staying connected, not just to each other, but also to the traditions and memories that make this season so special.

Surprise the youngsters

Surprise the youngsters

When it comes to holiday traditions, it’s easy to focus on the adults and forget about the children. But this year, why not give the youngsters something special to remember? Here are some fun ideas to surprise the kids and create magical moments for them:

1. Treasure Hunt: Leave clues around the house that lead to a special surprise. It will make them think and wonder as they search for their gift.

2. Unusual Nightgown: Instead of the usual pajamas, give the children a special nightgown or pajama set to wear on Christmas Eve. It will make the night even more exciting!

3. Early Morning Surprise: Wake up a little earlier than usual on Christmas morning and leave a small gift or treat near their bed. It will be a wonderful surprise when they wake up!

4. Letter from Santa: Send a letter from Santa Claus to the children, letting them know that he is watching and that he appreciates their good behavior throughout the year.

5. Outdoor Adventure: Instead of the traditional indoor festivities, plan an outdoor adventure. Whether it’s going for a walk in the snow or having a picnic in the park, it will be a fun and different experience for the children.

6. Magic Bags: Create small bags filled with surprises and hide them around the house. The children will have a blast searching for them and opening the unexpected gifts.

7. Fancy Meals: Instead of the usual holiday foods, try some new and interesting recipes. It will be a pleasant surprise for everyone’s taste buds!

8. Angel Decorations: Purchase or make angel decorations and hang them all around the house. It will create a magical atmosphere that the children will love.

9. Surprise Movies: Plan a movie night and let the children choose a movie from a curated collection. It will be a cozy and enjoyable evening for the whole family.

10. Goofy Christmas Lights: Instead of the usual straight lines, try arranging the Christmas lights in a fun and goofy pattern. It will bring a smile to everyone’s face, especially the children’s!

Remember, the holidays are all about creating special memories and bringing joy to those we love. With these surprises and more, the children will have an unforgettable holiday season!

Channel your childhood

One of the best ways to get into the holiday spirit is to channel your inner child. Remember those nights spent in cozy nightgowns, waiting for Santa to arrive with surprises? Bring back that feeling of wonder and excitement by recreating those childhood traditions with your own family.

Start by putting on your favorite holiday movie or drive around the neighborhood to admire the festive decorations. Gather the whole family together and have everyone take turns reading their favorite holiday stories. Why not make it a digital experience and indulge in old Christmas movies that were left under the tree from years ago?

Wrap yourself in a warm scarf and cuddle up by the fire with some hot cocoa or homemade cookies. If you’re feeling crafty, gather some glue, paper, and scissors and make handmade greeting cards for your loved ones. Remember the joy of receiving a special gift? Get in the gift-giving mood and surprise your family members with small treats and presents throughout the week.

But the fun doesn’t stop there – channel your childhood by serving a full-on pasta feast complete with all the cheesy, carb-filled dishes you loved as a kid. It doesn’t matter if it’s not the healthiest option – sometimes it’s okay to indulge in a little nostalgia.

Remember the smell of fresh pine from the Christmas tree? Make sure to find time to go out as a family and pick out a real tree for your home. Spend an evening decorating it with lights, ornaments, and lots of tinsel. The additional effort will surely make your home feel more festive and magical.

Another childhood tradition was leaving out a plate of cookies for Santa. Why not continue the tradition and bake some of your favorite cookies for yourself and your family to enjoy? It’s a small treat that adds to the overall holiday experience.

Don’t forget about the joy of opening presents on Christmas morning. Instead of rushing through the gift-opening process, take turns and savor each moment. See the smiles on each other’s faces as surprises are revealed.

Before you go to bed, imagine that Santa is still watching over you and that Christmas miracles can happen. Remember the excitement of waking up and finding presents under the tree? Recreate that feeling for your own children by keeping the magic of Santa alive in your home.

Lastly, remember those goofy family photos and holiday cards? Take the time to capture new memories and create personalized greetings to send to your loved ones. It’s a simple gesture that goes a long way in letting them know you’re thinking of them during this special time of year.

Channeling your childhood during the holiday season not only allows you to relive the joy and wonder you felt as a kid, but it also creates new memories for your own family. So go ahead, embrace the holiday spirit and let your inner child shine!

Let Kids Take the Spotlight

One of the most magical aspects of the holiday season is the joy and excitement that children bring. Instead of staying in the usual holiday routine, why not let the kids take the spotlight this year?

A great way to involve children is to encourage them to organize a special holiday event for their friends or neighbors. They can plan interesting games, a talent show, or even put on a mini theater production. This not only gives kids a chance to showcase their creativity, but it also keeps everyone in the holiday mood with their youthful enthusiasm.

Another idea is to let the children be in charge of gift-giving. Instead of the adults doing all the shopping, let the kids select presents for their loved ones. They can listen to hints and wishes, then go on a shopping spree with a responsible adult to pick out the perfect gifts. This gives them a sense of responsibility and allows them to experience the joy of giving.

Children can also take the lead in the kitchen. Let them help with cooking and baking, and encourage them to come up with their own delicious holiday recipe. Whether it’s making traditional dishes or experimenting with new flavors, cooking together can be a fun and educational experience for the whole family.

On the daily basis, kids can participate in different holiday activities. They can pack gift boxes for those in need, visit local festivals or listen to holiday stories during reading time. Parents can set up a task chart with various festive activities, such as watching holiday movies, reading books, or playing games. This way, children will have a plethora of options to choose from each day.

For those celebrating Hanukkah, starting a few days earlier is a great way to build excitement. Kids can light the menorah each night and participate in lighting the candles. They can also enjoy traditional Hanukkah foods, like Latkes and sufganiyot, and learn the significance of this festival of lights.

Of course, let’s not forget to leave the spotlight to Santa. Dressing up as Santa Claus or his trusted reindeer is always a fun activity for children. They can wear Santa’s beard and hat, or sport reindeer antlers. It’s also an opportunity to learn about the cultural significance of Santa Claus and his role in the holiday season.

By letting kids take charge and have their own special role during the holidays, it not only makes the season more memorable for them, but it also brings the family closer together. So, this year, why not give the children the chance to shine and create their own magical holiday memories?

Be generous

One tradition where you can start giving back to others during the holiday season is by being generous. It is a whole new way to celebrate and spread joy to those who are in need. Instead of focusing only on the usual gift-giving process, we’ve got some wonderful ideas that will reinvent the December holidays for everyone.

For instance, you can start a tradition of sending fancy handmade ornaments to friends and family who live far away. A beautiful New York City themed ornament made out of pasta or mini lights will not only be a unique gift but also a nice reminder of the city. You can also make a collection of ornaments that represent different places you’ve visited or significant events in your life and send them as gifts to loved ones.

If you want to step up your generosity game, you can also challenge yourself by giving gifts anonymously. For example, you can anonymously send a gift every week leading up to Christmas to your neighbors or someone else in your community. This will create a sense of excitement and mystery for recipients and can make their December a little more magical.

Another way to be generous is by taking care of someone else’s holiday chore. For example, you can offer to water your neighbor’s plants while they’re away on vacation or help your mother put up the lights and decorate the Christmas tree. These acts of kindness can go a long way in making someone’s holiday season easier and more enjoyable.

In addition to material gifts, you can also give the gift of your time. You can organize a movie night where you watch holiday movies with your family, or you can offer to babysit for a friend so they can have a date night with their spouse. These small gestures can mean a lot to the people around you and show them that you care.

Furthermore, you can give the gift of your skills or talents. For example, if you’re good at baking, you can bake cookies or other treats to give to your friends and family. If you’re handy with crafts, you can make personalized gifts or decorations for your loved ones. By sharing your talents, you not only give a physical gift but also a piece of yourself.

Remember, being generous isn’t limited to just giving gifts. It’s about spreading kindness and happiness to those around you. So, this holiday season, be generous in whatever way feels right to you and enjoy the wonderful feeling of making someone’s day a little brighter.

Bend the rules

During the holiday season, it’s important to remember that traditions don’t have to be set in stone. Sometimes, it’s fun to bend the rules and try something new. Here are a few creative ideas to add a twist to your holiday celebrations:

Record a holiday movie marathon:

Instead of watching the same old holiday movies, challenge yourself to watch a different one every day in December. It’s a chance to discover new favorites and leave behind the predictable ones.

Try a digital angel:

Instead of putting up a traditional angel on top of your Christmas tree, why not use a digital projector to display an angelic image? It adds a modern touch and creates a beautiful glow.

Bake your own holiday treats:

Instead of buying pre-packaged candy and treats, challenge yourself to bake your own. It’s a chance to get creative in the kitchen and make personalized gifts for your loved ones.

Create a meaningful holiday card:

Instead of buying generic holiday cards, make your own personalized cards. Include pictures and shared memories to make it extra special.

Organize a neighborhood gift exchange:

Instead of buying presents for each individual in your neighborhood, organize a gift exchange. This way, everyone only needs to buy one present and it creates a sense of community.

Leave a longer letter for Santa:

Instead of the usual short letter, challenge yourself to write a longer letter to Santa. Tell him about your year, your wishes, and the good deeds you’ve done.

Choose a random act of kindness:

Instead of focusing only on your own family, choose a random act of kindness to do for someone in need. It could be helping a neighbor, donating to charity, or volunteering your time.

Try a new tradition:

Instead of sticking to the same old traditions, try something completely different. Whether it’s going on an outdoor adventure, choosing a new holiday menu, or visiting a new place, shake things up a bit.

Remember, the most important thing during the holiday season is to create magic and joy. Whether you stick to the traditional holiday traditions or bend the rules, what matters is the love and happiness shared with the ones you care about.

How to make the holidays more fun for your child

If you want to make the holidays extra special and magical for your child, here are some fun ideas to try:

  • Create a countdown calendar: Help your child count down the days until December 25th by making a fun and festive advent calendar. Each day, they’ll get to wake up and open a new door or envelope, revealing a small treat or activity.
  • Get crafty: Spend quality time together by making holiday crafts and decorations. You can make ornaments, wreaths, or even build a gingerbread house. Let your child’s imagination run wild and watch as their creativity shines!
  • Send holiday greetings: Help your child create their own holiday cards to send to friends and family. They can draw or paint pictures, write heartfelt messages, or even include a small craft or treat. It’s a wonderful way to spread holiday cheer and show others that you care.
  • Watch holiday movies: Set aside special movie nights where you and your child can snuggle up on the couch with some hot cocoa and watch their favorite holiday movies. This is a great time to introduce them to classic films and create new traditions.
  • Elf on the Shelf: If your child loves surprises and the magic of the holidays, consider introducing them to Elfie, the mischievous elf who visits during December. Each night, the elf moves to a new spot in the house, creating anticipation and wonder for your child every morning.
  • Bake festive treats: Get your child involved in the kitchen by baking holiday cookies or other goodies together. Let them assist with measuring ingredients, mixing the dough, and of course, taste testing the final product. It’s a delicious way to bond and create lasting memories.
  • Explore holiday lights: Take your child on a tour of the neighborhood to admire the beautiful holiday light displays. You can even make it a game by challenging them to spot the most creative or festive decorations.
  • Learn about different holidays: Teach your child about the various winter holidays celebrated around the world. For instance, you can explain the significance of Hanukkah and even help them light the menorah. It’s a great way to promote cultural understanding and diversity.
  • Create a magical Santa experience: Make the Santa Claus tradition even more exciting by leaving out water and carrots for Santa’s reindeer. You can also sprinkle some “magic” glitter on the floor to show that Santa has visited.
  • Avoid holiday overload: While it’s tempting to fill every moment with festive activities, remember to give your child downtime as well. Let them enjoy quiet moments of reflection, playtime with their favorite toys, or reading their beloved books. It’s important to strike a balance between excitement and relaxation.

By incorporating these ideas into your holiday traditions, you can make this festive season the most memorable and enjoyable one yet for your child. Let their imagination soar, and watch as their eyes light up with wonder and joy!

Simple swaps to reinvent holiday traditions

When it comes to holiday traditions, sometimes a small change can make a big difference. Whether you’re looking to add a new twist to an old favorite or start a brand new holiday tradition, here are some simple swaps to light up your celebrations:

Task Swap
Preparing a big holiday meal Trying new recipes from different cultures
Tree ornaments Making homemade ornaments out of pasta, leaves, or other unique materials
Writing a wish list to Santa Writing a daily gratitude list
Opening all gifts on Christmas morning Taking turns opening gifts throughout the day
Gluing decorations to windows Creating a new collection of holiday decals
Leaving cookies and milk for Santa Making homemade cookies and sharing them with neighbors, friends, and family
Watching a beloved holiday movie Having a winter-themed movie marathon
Elf on the Shelf Introducing “Elfie” – a miniature elf figurine that leaves small surprises or kind notes
Buying all gifts Building or making some gifts yourself

By making these simple swaps, you can reinvent your holiday traditions and make them more meaningful. Whether it’s trying new foods, creating homemade decorations, or changing up gift-giving rules, the idea behind these swaps is to add a personal touch and reduce stress. Happy holidays!

Key takeaways

After reading this article, you should take away a few important points:

1. Cooking and food play a significant role in holiday traditions. Whether it’s baking cookies or creating homemade pasta, involving the whole family in food preparation can be a joyful and memorable experience.

2. Building new traditions with family and friends is a fun way to make the holiday season special. From creating personalized ornaments to playing goofy games, there are many ways to add a unique touch to your celebrations.

3. Advent calendars can be a useful tool for counting down to Christmas. Whether you buy a commercial version or make your own, these calendars provide a fun way for children to anticipate the big day.

4. Elfie Karras, the author of the article, suggests taking a professional food tour of your town. Not only does this give you a chance to try new restaurants and cuisines, but it also supports local businesses.

5. Drawing names for gift-giving can help reduce stress and save money during the holiday season. Rather than buying for everyone, each person only needs to get a gift for the person they draw.

6. Sending homemade holiday cards or writing heartfelt letters to loved ones is a meaningful way to show you care. It’s a tradition that brings people closer together, even if they’re far apart.

7. Creating a “Cookie List” can be a fun and delicious activity for the whole family. Everyone gets to choose their favorite cookie recipes and you can try making a new one each day leading up to Christmas.

8. Music sets the festive mood during the holiday season. Whether you listen to traditional carols or enjoy modern holiday hits, having a playlist of your favorite songs can help make every gathering feel special.

9. Taking the time to visit friends and loved ones during the holiday season is important. Showing that you care by being present and spending quality time together is a wonderful tradition to start.

10. Getting creative with crafts and decorations is a great way to add a personal touch to your holiday celebrations. From making homemade ornaments to building gingerbread houses, the possibilities are endless.

Remember, the key to starting new traditions is to make them meaningful and enjoyable for you and your loved ones. Whether it’s preparing a special meal, playing games, or simply being present, the most important thing is to create lasting memories and cherish time spent together.

About the author

Hi there! My name is Sarah Tilsner and I am the author of this article. I have always been a big fan of the holiday season and the magical traditions that come with it. I have a passion for creating new traditions and making the holidays extra special for my loved ones.

One tradition that I hold dear is the gift-giving angel. Each year, my family and I draw names and each person becomes someone’s gift-giving angel. The angel is responsible for secretly leaving small gifts and surprises for their assigned person throughout the holiday season. It’s a wonderful way to show how much we care for one another and spread some holiday cheer.

Another tradition that we’ve always enjoyed is decorating gingerbread houses. We like to hold a friendly competition to see who can create the most elaborate and creative gingerbread house. It’s a fun and sometimes goofy activity that always brings out the creative side in everyone.

One of my favorite traditions is taking a Christmas lights tour. We pile into the car with mugs of hot cocoa and drive around town, admiring all the beautifully decorated homes. It’s a simple tradition, but it fills our hearts with joy and reminds us of the true meaning of the season.

When it comes to gift-giving, my family has a rule that we must always include a handmade gift. Whether it’s a hand-drawn picture, a knitted scarf, or a batch of homemade cookies, these gifts always hold a special place in our hearts. It’s a way to show that we put thought and love into our presents.

In addition to these traditions, I also enjoy putting on a Christmas-themed movie night. We gather in our coziest pajamas, grab some popcorn and hot chocolate, and watch our favorite holiday films. It’s a time to relax and enjoy each other’s company.

As you can see, I love to come up with new and creative ways to celebrate the holiday season. I believe that traditions are what make this time of year so special, and I hope that by sharing these ideas, I can inspire others to create their own magical holiday traditions. Feel free to check out my website for more ideas and details about the traditions I’ve shared here.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I wish you a merry and magical holiday season filled with love, joy, and wonderful traditions!

Reviewed by

Before diving into the list, though, it’s important to remember that the holidays can sometimes be a stressful time. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of shopping, decorating, and cooking. But by incorporating meaningful traditions into your holiday routine, you can help set a more relaxed and joyful tone for the season.

One classic tradition that many families enjoy is decorating the Christmas tree together. Whether you choose to use a real tree or an artificial one, the process of untangling lights, hanging ornaments, and placing the angel or star on top can be a fun and memorable activity for the whole family.

In the morning, you could start the day off with a special breakfast that everyone can enjoy. From homemade pancakes to festive waffles, there are endless options to choose from. And don’t forget the hot cocoa – it’s a holiday staple that always puts everyone in a jolly mood.

Another tradition that kids (and adults!) love is making holiday crafts and decorations. From paper snowflakes to homemade ornaments, there’s a plethora of DIY projects that can add a personal touch to your home for the holidays.

In the evening, you could gather around and watch Christmas movies or play holiday-themed games together. From classic films like “It’s a Wonderful Life” to newer releases like “Elf”, there are plenty of movies to choose from that will keep everyone entertained.

For those who celebrate Hanukkah, lighting the menorah is an important tradition. Each night for eight nights, one additional candle is lit until all the candles are aglow. It’s a beautiful symbol of the festival of lights.

If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, consider staying in your pajamas all day and having a cozy day at home. You can bake cookies, watch movies, and maybe even have a friendly competition to see who can build the best cookie house.

No matter which traditions you choose to adopt, it’s important to remember that the most important thing is spending quality time with your loved ones. Whether you’re snuggled up by the fire, taking a walk to look at holiday lights, or writing letters to Santa, cherish these moments and create memories that will last a lifetime.

So, let “Reviewed by” help you in creating a holiday tradition that is true to your family’s values and interests. From choosing the right decorations to organizing a family game night, we’ve got all the details covered. They’ll be additional tips and challenges to keep things exciting, whether you’re making homemade chocolate candies or trying to reinvent the traditional candy cane.

When it comes to holiday traditions, the possibilities are endless. The important thing is to choose activities that bring you joy and leave you feeling happy and fulfilled. And remember, it’s not about the quantity of traditions, but the quality of the time spent together as a family.

Reviewed by Susan Kahl


One of the best parts about the holiday season is being able to share it with others. Whether it’s decorating the Christmas tree together or exchanging ornaments, there are so many ways to spread the joy. Here are some suggestions for sharing the holiday spirit:

  • Offer decorating advice: Help a friend or family member who might need some tips on how to make their tree look extra special.
  • Host a holiday music party: Invite friends over for an evening of festive tunes and sing along to your favorite songs.
  • Share a present: Take the time to buy or make a thoughtful gift for someone you care about and watch their face light up with joy as they unwrap it.
  • Prepare meals together: Instead of cooking alone, invite loved ones to join you in the kitchen to prepare a delicious holiday feast together.
  • Take a tour of holiday decorations: Visit different neighborhoods or take a trip to see the best Christmas light displays in town.
  • Watch holiday movies: Spend a cozy evening with friends, family, and a bowl of popcorn, enjoying your favorite festive films.
  • Send greeting cards: Spread holiday cheer by sending personalized cards to all your loved ones near and far.
  • Share a special meal: Invite someone who might be spending the holidays alone to join you for a memorable dinner.
  • Share the magic with children: Make the morning even more exciting by helping young ones craft homemade decorations or wake up to find presents from Santa.
  • Share homemade goodies: Bake cookies or other treats to share with neighbors, coworkers, or anyone else who deserves a tasty surprise.

Sharing the holiday spirit doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy. It’s about spending time together, creating memories, and showing kindness to others. So this year, make it a point to share the joy of the season with those around you.

While putting up decorations and exchanging gifts with our families are traditional holiday activities, there are many other joyful traditions that can be enjoyed during this festive season. From choosing the perfect Christmas tree to creating homemade ornaments, there are a wealth of wonderful traditions that can be started and enjoyed year after year. Here are some interesting and unique holiday traditions to consider:

1. Weiner Schnitzel Night

Create a night dedicated to enjoying traditional German cuisine, like Weiner Schnitzel, with friends and neighbors.

2. Pack a Gift for Someone in Need

Take time to choose a special gift for someone less fortunate and donate it to a local charity.

3. Exploring the Streets of Hong Kong

If you can’t travel to Hong Kong, create an evening where you explore the city through delicious Chinese food and movies.

4. Beard Decorating Contest

Organize a friendly competition among family members to see who can create the most festive and elaborate beard decorations.

5. Winter Game Night

Spend an evening playing board games and enjoying cozy winter snacks with friends and family.

6. Tissue Box Surprise

Create a homemade tissue box filled with small surprises and challenges for each family member to enjoy throughout the holiday season.

7. Record a Merry Christmas Card

Create a digital Christmas card with recorded messages from family and friends, which can be shared and enjoyed by everyone.

8. Stuffed Stocking Night

Instead of hanging stockings, stuff a pair of pajamas or a nightgown for each family member to find on Christmas morning.

9. Homemade Candy Canes

Learn how to make your own delicious candy canes and share them with friends and neighbors.

10. Explore Past Traditions

Take a trip down memory lane by learning about and recreating holiday traditions from different cultures and time periods.

These are just a few suggestions to help you start new holiday traditions that are meaningful and unique to your family. Get creative and think about what will make this season special for you and your loved ones. Remember, the most important thing is to spend quality time together and create joyful memories that will last for years to come.

Discover what’s possible when you’re understood

When the holiday season rolls around, it’s natural to feel a sense of wonder and excitement. There’s something magical about December, with its fancy decorations, delicious cookies, and ideas for creating new traditions.

But amidst all the joy and festivities, it’s easy to get caught up in the stress of it all. Choosing the perfect presents, making dinner for the whole family, and trying to keep up with the endless to-do list can sometimes feel overwhelming.

That’s why this year, my husband and I decided to reinvent our holiday traditions. We found that the most meaningful moments often came from the simple, homemade ideas we shared together.

One of our new traditions is to take a step back from the commercial madness and instead focus on giving back to our local community. We visit different places in town and volunteer our time to help those in need. It’s a way for us to fill our hearts with joy and appreciation for all that we have.

Another tradition we’ve started is a mini-gift exchange. Instead of buying expensive presents, we challenge each other to find the most unique and thoughtful gifts under a certain dollar amount. It’s a fun way to get creative and really think about what the other person would enjoy.

And of course, we can’t forget about the timeless joy of unwrapping advent calendars. But instead of the usual commercial candy-filled ones, we’ve started making our own. Each day has a small piece of paper with a special activity or kind gesture written on it. It’s a way to slow down, appreciate the little things, and focus on the true meaning of the season.

In addition to these new traditions, we also continue to enjoy some of the classic holiday activities. We love watching Christmas movies, playing games with family and friends, and going for long walks in the crisp winter air.

For us, the holiday season is about being together, creating memories, and finding joy in the simple moments. It’s not about the presents or the stress, but rather about the love and connection we share with each other and those around us.

So this year, as you navigate the holiday season, I encourage you to take a moment to think about what traditions truly bring you joy. Whether it’s a homemade scarf for a loved one, a visit to a local outdoor market, or simply spending time with family, find what makes your heart sing and embrace it fully.

Discover what’s possible when you’re truly understood and when you prioritize the things that matter most to you. May your holiday season be filled with love, laughter, and the magic of traditions both old and new.

Wunder: The first community app for parents and caregivers of children who learn and think differently

Are you a parent or caregiver of a child who learns and thinks differently? If so, then Wunder is the perfect opportunity for you to connect with others who understand and share similar experiences. Created by Elizabeth and her husband, Wunder is a true labor of love and a dream come true for parents like us who often feel isolated and alone.

Imagine a community where you can find support, advice, and resources from people who have been through similar challenges. Wunder provides a safe space for parents and caregivers to connect, share stories, and learn from one another. Whether you’re looking for tips on reading strategies or need advice on navigating the medical system, Wunder has it all.

Before we discovered Wunder, we often felt like we were on our own. Our son has dyslexia, and finding resources and support was a struggle. However, since joining Wunder, we have connected with amazing parents and caregivers who have been through the same journey. It’s been a lifeline for us, and we couldn’t be happier.

Wunder is not just a platform for sharing advice and support, but it’s also a place to celebrate the small victories and joys in our lives. For example, during this holiday season, we’ve seen countless posts about families enjoying the festive season in their own unique ways. From lighting the menorah to cooking a fancy holiday meal, everyone is finding their own traditions to make this time of year special.

One of our favorite posts was from Kaylene Weiner, who shared a wonderful tradition she started with her family called “Elfie’s Advent Adventure.” Every day in December, their elf, Elfie, leaves a letter, along with a small gift or activity, for Kaylene’s children. It’s a magical experience for them, and they’ve come to look forward to it every year.

Another heartwarming tradition we read about was from author Elizabeth Karras. Instead of buying expensive ornaments, her family makes their own by decorating tissue paper with drawings and messages. It’s a simple, yet meaningful way to create lasting memories.

Wunder has also been an amazing resource for finding local events and activities that cater to children who learn and think differently. From sensory-friendly holiday parties to adaptive outdoor games, there’s something for everyone. We would have missed out on so much if it wasn’t for Wunder.

So, if you’re a parent or caregiver of a child who learns and thinks differently, don’t miss out on the opportunity to join Wunder. It’s a community like no other, and it will make your journey so much better. Take it from us – we’ve seen firsthand the impact it can have on our lives.

Don’t let this holiday season pass you by without giving Wunder a try. Sign up today and unlock a world of support, resources, and connections. You’ll be glad you did!

My Family