For years, you have celebrated the holidays in pretty much exact same way. You hang up the stockings by the chimney with care, buy and wrap gifts, send cards and try to stay awake to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” for the hundredth time. While these traditions are great and you really do enjoy them, lately you may have found yourself pining for something different during the holiday season. Fortunately, when it comes to starting new holiday family traditions, the only limit is your imagination. For example, check out the following ideas:
Visit a Giving Tree
If you find yourself frustrated with the “gimme” aspect of the holidays, introduce your kids to the magical concept of giving to others. Head to the local mall or church and check out the “Giving Tree,” and encourage everyone to choose one name from the tree. Explain to your kiddos that some families can’t afford to give gifts that your family is going to help them out. Once you all have your tags, give everyone a budget and shop for the person that everyone chose. Then — depending on the rules of the Giving Tree — either drop off the unwrapped gifts with that Giving Tree’s staff, or take the presents home to wrap them before returning them to the tree.
Have a Christmas Tree Slumber Party
After the Christmas tree has been trimmed with all of the ornaments and twinkling lights, set aside a Friday or Saturday night for a family sleepover around the tree. As Tiny Prints notes, bring out your sleeping bags, comfy blankies and pillows and spend the evening watching a holiday movie or two and munching cookies and popcorn. Then, when it’s time to snooze, turn off all of the lights except the tree, get comfy in the sleeping bags and doze off while gazing at the gorgeous colorful branches.
Embrace Take-out Food
With all of the holiday hubbub, it can be challenging to find the time and energy to cook up all of the big holiday meals, especially the one-two culinary punch of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. As Parenting notes, it is perfectly okay to give yourself a much needed break and declare that one of these days will be Take Out Food day. Instead of slaving over a hot stove to prepare the perfect roast and pumpkin pies, order some pizzas and garlic bread, put out some holiday paper plates on the kitchen table and enjoy an easy and tasty meal that everyone likes — and that will help save you valuable time. Other great choices include Chinese takeout, Mexican food or sub sandwiches with chips and soda. You might find that you and your kids like the familiar and simple foods even more than the fancy holiday dishes you traditionally make at the holidays.
Go Christmas Caroling
If you and your family adore Christmas songs and carols, consider dusting off your singing pipes and head out for an evening of Christmas caroling. Practice a couple of songs at home first — stuffed animals make for an appreciative audience — and then head over to your neighbor’s house to share your gift of songs. Younger or reluctant singers don’t necessarily have to belt out “Jingle Bells” or “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” with everyone else, but encourage them to come along for the walk.