Christmas is a season of happiness and joy, steeped in traditions. Every family has their own set of traditions that they celebrate every year. Here is a list of traditions that your family may already participate in or some may be new that you want to start participating in.
1. Organize a cookie decorating party. Bake a large batch of cutout sugar cookies and invite your friends, family, neighbors over to decorate them. Send everyone home with a few for Santa. You can also make a small hole in the top of the cookies with a straw before you bake them and turn those into ornaments for the tree.
2. Make a gingerbread house with your family. Pre-made sets make it easy to do and provide you with everything you will need! Another option is to use graham crackers, some royal icing and candy you have saved for this purpose.
3. Decorate your yard with munchies for the woodland critters and birds. Make ornaments out of oats, bird food, and caramelized honey with molasses in the shape of patties. Run twine through them and hang them from the tree branches. You can also string popcorn and cranberries like garland to hang from trees and shrubs.
4. Gather a small group of friends, family, and kids to go caroling in a nearby square or neighborhood. You would be surprised at how many people appreciate it and how happy it will make you, even if you are out of tune! Then end the evening at someone’s house for hot cocoa.
5. Support your local theater production company and go watch a showing of “The Nutcracker”, “A Christmas Carol”, “The Night Before Christmas” or some other Christmas themed show.
6. Check out holiday the lights in your town, city or neighborhood. Get in the car, turn on your holiday playlist, and find brightly lit houses.
7. Go sledding, ice skating, or other outdoor winter activity with your family. A great time to schedule this is on Christmas day, after the gifts are opened, the meal is eaten, and everyone is getting antsy from being inside.
8. Use an advent calendar to count down to Christmas. There are many varieties of advent calendars. Some suggestions for different types of calendars are 25 small candles that you burn one candle a day, 25 boxes of small gifts or tasty treats that you open one box a day. You can even put an adult spin on an advent calendar by creating a wine calendar with 25 mini single glass sizes of wine bottles and you have one bottle a night with dinner.
9. Set aside one night each week to watch a holiday movie or television special, such “Miracle on 34th Street” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
10. Have your child start an ‘I Am Thankful’ list. Have him/her add one thing that he/she is thankful for each day. You can turn this into a decoration by having him/her write it on a paper Christmas tree or snowflake that you then hang across the fireplace or some other area.
11. Purchase or make a holiday ornament for each child every year. This is a great reason to reminisce during holiday decorating.
12. Sit down with your child and write a letter to Santa.
13. As a family, write your holiday letter. Have each member contribute one memorable moment from the year to share with friends and family.
14. Make holiday decorations yourself! Decorate windows with paper snowflakes, glue glitter onto pinecones and arrange in a bowl, and visit crafts sites to get creative and fun ideas that will involve your children.
15. Start a holiday village display. Add a new house or shop to your display each year.
16. Camp out in front of your Christmas tree one night. Keep the tree lights on, read holiday stories, and snack on holiday treats.
17. Volunteer your time as a family at a soup kitchen or a food bank that hands out food to families in need.
18. Find a giving tree that allows you to sponsor a family in need or purchase toys for children in need. Go shopping for the items together and donate them.
19. Deliver cookies and treats to your local fire station, police department, or the staff at your local hospital to show your appreciation for their service to the community and for working through the holiday.
20. Visit your local senior citizens center. It can be rather lonely for some seniors during the holidays.
21. Invite family, friends, and neighbors over Christmas evening for games, dessert, and to decompress from the holiday.