For many of us, the holiday season can be a time of chaos – rushing to holiday events, cooking and baking holiday favorites, parties, concerts, family get togethers, traveling, decorating, making, doing, buying… it can be an overwhelming whirlwind if we let it! It’s important to carve out some time to be with our loved ones and create lasting traditions everyone will cherish. Christmas traditions make the holidays less frantic and more meaningful. They strengthen family bonds and provide the fodder for memories that will withstand the test of time. Chances are, you already practice several traditions that have been passed down from your parents or even grandparents. If you’d like to start a few new traditions this year, we’ve got some ideas for you! There’s always time to start something fun and new – and find something that perfectly suits your current family situation.
1. Host a Cookie Swap Party. The holidays can be crazy with Christmas parties for work, church, school, family; but this party is one with a purpose! For a cookie swap, invite friends and family who enjoy baking to make their favorite Christmas treat and bring it to share. Everyone takes a few of each home with them for a smorgasbord of delicious treats to enjoy with their own families. This is a great way to cut down on your own baking, not to mention your grocery bill! Be sure to provide cute boxes and tags for your guests to pack their cookies in, plus include “free samples” with your party food. Play Christmas music to set the mood and have warm drinks available like cider and hot chocolate. Check out this guide on Better Homes and Gardens for more ideas!
2. Make some “special deliveries.” Once your Christmas treats are all baked and boxed up, take some to the local fire station, police station or your family doctors office. This is a great way to thank them for the service they provide the community while wishing them a happy holiday!
3. Hold a special birthday party. On Christmas night, when the excitement has settled, host a small birthday party. Make a cake with a candle and put up a few decorations. Explain to your family that this birthday party is special, because it’s the day Christ was born! This is particularly meaningful for very young kids who might night understand the why behind Christmas.
4. Nativity Count Down. Wrap each piece of the nativity scene in special paper and include the corresponding scripture or a simple explanation and story in the package. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, take turns unwrapping one package each day as a family and read the scripture or story together. Whoever unwraps the item gets to decide where it will be placed in the stable. Unwrap the baby last, on Christmas morning.
5. Enjoy the arts. Christmastime is a veritable treasure trove of performing arts events. As a family choose one play, musical, ballet or concert to attend in or around your area. They can be professionally produced or community activities. Check your newspaper for listings and look online at specific theater venues for their seasonal events. The spectacle of the arts can really bring the season to life!
6. Rock out. Create a holiday playlist full of favorite seasonal tunes. Have each family member contribute ideas and make the list together. Play it as often as you can (even in the car!) but reserve a special time – perhaps right after dinner – when you have a “dance party” and everyone dances and sings along! This nightly ritual will be especially popular among kids 10 and under.
7. Christmas Camp-Out. Have a special Christmas-themed camp-out right next to your Christmas tree. Have your family bring sleeping bags and pillows, set them up around the tree and leave all the lights on. Pop popcorn and make hot cocoa. Read a few favorite Christmas stories and sing Christmas carols. If you’ve got a fireplace, don’t forget to light a cozy campfire! You could do this on any night leading up to Christmas, but it would be an especially fun way to end a day of putting up the tree and decorating it!
8. Get Chinese food. Have you seen the movie A Christmas Story? One of the best parts is when Ralphie’s family ends up in the Chinese restaurant on Christmas Eve because their special Christmas dinner is unintentionally ruined. You can adopt this into your Christmas traditions! On Christmas Eve, load up the family and eat out at your favorite Chinese restaurant! Don’t like Chinese? You could go anywhere, really, but Chinese restaurants seem the most likely to be open and uncrowded. No big dinner to make, and no clean up!
Kimberly Mueller is the “me” over at bugaboo, mini, mr & me, a blog that highlights her creative endeavors. She especially likes to share kid crafts, sewing attempts, recipes, upcycled projects, photography and free printable gift tags/cards. When she’s not enjoying being married to her best friend, chasing after the natives (AKA her three kids) and attempting to keep the house in one piece, you can find her with a glue gun in one hand and spray paint in the other. Aside from DIY pursuits, she also enjoys writing, reading, music, singing (mostly in the shower) and the color yellow. Kimberly recently published a craft book entitled Modern Mod Podge. You can also find her on Facebook, Pinterest,Bloglovin’ and Instagram. Email her at: bugabooblog(at)yahoo.com
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