8 Christmas Traditions to Start This Season

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8 Christmas Traditions to Start This Season

When you were a kid you loved Christmas — not just because of the presents — but because of the traditions that surrounded it. Setting out the same decorations every year, eating traditional family dishes or going to the same church service and singing carols, they all made you feel like you were a part of something special. Now that you have a family of your own, you want to pass on some of those traditions, but also start a few of your own. Here are eight ideas for new traditions to start with your family this year.

1. Upside Down Christmas Tree

Your kids will love this fun twist on a traditional Christmas tree. The upside down tree traces its roots to the English Benedictine monk Boniface, who hung fir trees upside down at Christmastime to signify the Holy Trinity. Beyond the historical significance, the upside-down tree is both fun and practical, keeping the majority of ornaments out of the reach of little hands (or furry paws).

2. Craft Ornaments

Take a few hours out of the hustle of the holiday season to make a Christmas ornament to hang on the tree. You don’t have to be super crafty, but you’ll love spending the time together and reminiscing about past ornaments as you trim the tree every year.

3. Tour the Lights

After dinner one night, pile everyone into the car in their pajamas and to-go mugs of hot cocoa, and tour your city’s best Christmas light displays. You’ll love to hear the ooh’s and ahh’s from the backseat and get inspiration for your own holiday decorations.

4. Make an Advent Activity Calendar

Use a traditional advent calendar to count down the days to Christmas, but instead of toys or candy (or in addition to), add a holiday activity for every day. Dear Beautiful Boy suggests activities like decorate gingerbread cookies, have a Christmas music dance party, and have dinner next to the Christmas tree. Another twist on the Advent calendar is to give a new book every day throughout December.

5. Get a Kindness Elf

The Kindness Elf is an alternative to the Elf on the Shelf started by The Imagination Tree. Every day leading up to Christmas, the Kindness Elf has an idea for a kind activity, like take toys to the children’s hospital or bake cookies for the neighbors.

6. Feed the Reindeer

Small children will love the idea of leaving food for the reindeer. Before going to bed on Christmas Eve, have kids sprinkle reindeer dust in the yard (glitter or oats) and leave carrots on the porch.

7. Have a Christmas Eve Treasure Hunt

Take the idea of opening one present on Christmas Eve to another level by hiding the presents around the house. Search for presents together and then open them as a family. Give little clues or riddles to aid in the hunt.

8. Organize a Neighborhood Cookie Exchange

Instead of baking a dozen different kinds of cookies, organize a holiday cookie exchange with your neighbors. Everyone bakes enough of one type of cookie to share and then splits them up between all the participants at the party. This gives you a chance to enjoy a lot of different cookies and spend time with your neighbors at the holidays.