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10 Holiday Traditions to Start with Your Family This Year

Create new Christmas and holiday traditions with these easy and inexpensive ideas!


1. Give each other homemade gifts.

You don’t have to be super crafty or artistic for this one. A “homemade Christmas gift” could be anything from a jar of cocoa mix to a personalized playlist to a decorated frame to hold family photos.


Remember to give everyone involved plenty of notice (and you could even start a group Pinterest board or slack channel for sharing ideas).





2. Get—and play—a new board game or card game each year.

My family loves playing Yahtzee and UNO, but I think we’re about due to add a new game to the mix.


3. Get outside! Bundle up and take a walk together after a big meal.

Depending on what’s safe and best for your family and community, this might be a way you can see local friends and family without cramming into one home for the meal. Meet at the park after eating in your own homes.


Wear layers and bring your own thermos of hot cider or hot chocolate!


4. Buy a new ornament each year.

This would be a great way to support small businesses. Shop for your annual Christmas ornaments on Etsy or in local boutiques. Pick something personal or something that reflects the past year, or simply select something lovely to hang on your tree for years to come.



5. Take time to journal answers to yearly reflection questions or make an annual time capsule.

I know several families who do this each New Year’s Eve, asking their kids and each other about the most significant parts of the year and what they’re hoping for in the next year. If you created a time capsule instead, you could start a tradition of opening last year’s or perhaps only open every five years for a bigger surprise and walk down memory lane!


6. Have a gingerbread house contest via Zoom or FaceTime with your friends or family.

Don’t forget the prizes!


7. Watch a holiday movie or special each year.

Some families watch Elf or It’s a Wonderful Life , or Polar Express together each year. Many of us probably watch the Peanuts Christmas special. Whatever your tastes, it’s fun to have something you watch together each year.


8. Drive around and look at Christmas lights.

It’s a classic for a reason! Put on PJs if you want, take along bags of Christmas cookies, crank up your favorite holiday tunes, and cruise through those neighborhoods that are famously festive! (Or, drive around a new town or neighborhood and try to spot the best-decorated homes.)


9. Cook (or buy)—and eat, of course!—a special food.

This could be a family favorite (I always make my late mother-in-law’s apple cake for my husband and his family at the holidays, and my mom makes her mother’s pound cake for family gatherings.). But it could also be a food that reminds you of your family’s heritage or simply something you love eating together. (Popular foods showing up in my informal poll were fondue, tamales, and Chinese food.)


10. Give back.

No matter what kind of year you’ve had or what the holidays will look like, you can find a way to give back—and that will enrich your holiday like possibly nothing else can. Sponsor a family in need with gifts or a meal, purchase gifts for foster children or children whose parents are imprisoned, take breakfast to a fire station on Christmas morning, mail cards to a nursing home, or purchase and hand out holiday care packages to the homeless in your community.



Will you be creating any new traditions this holiday season? If so, share them with us in the comments







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