Family Fun

December 15th, 2018

Holiday Traditions

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Written by: rscott


Shared by Pop Sugar

Christmas is more than just opening a pile of well-wrapped presents under the tree, but the holiday season can sneak up on the most well-prepared parents. Those few weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s really do pass by in one big, festive blur. Before you spend another year just going through the motions, why not start a few family traditions you can always revisit, time and again?
From personalized ornaments to matching PJs to a Christmas tree campout, these ideas aren’t hard to pull off or even too time-consuming. In fact, each one adds just enough holiday magic that you — and your kids — will actually look forward to it.

Host a cookie bake-off

Gather loved ones for a good old-fashioned Christmas cookie bake-off! Or, have everyone bake their cookies and then congregate to complete a festive taste test and to, of course, split up the batches so that every family has a fun assortment of sweets to last the rest of the season. To make it more official, each year, require competitors to use a specific ingredient — the best use of eggnog, perhaps, or real ginger — in their recipes.

Wear matching family PJs

It sounds silly, but it makes for an adorable photo op! Encourage all family members, young and old, to wear matching pajamas to bed on Christmas Eve so that when Christmas morning comes, everyone is already in fun, festive apparel! Combine traditions and let the PJs serve as the special Christmas Eve gift.

Watch the same holiday movie every season

No matter if you’re a Miracle on 34th Street kind of family, a claymation-loving Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer clan, or if the hilariously ridiculous National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is more your household’s speed, make a point to set aside a movie night to watch the same classic flick together. Even if you talk over some scenes, it’ll make for a blissfully nostalgic event.

Marvel at neighborhood lights displays

Every town has that street with the warring houses, each trying to outdo the other’s electric bill for the month of December. Take a walk (or a drive) with the whole family to see the brightly decorated homes in all their glory and have an impromptu vote on which one wins top prize.

Open one special present on Christmas Eve

A thrilling lead-up to the big day can involve each child (and parent!) choosing one gift to open the night before. It’s wise to set some ground rules — the gift in the smallest package gets unwrapped the night before, for instance — and if you want to infuse a little bit of Santa’s magic, orchestrate a doorbell ring that evening with a small sack of gifts left at the door to open.

Plant Santa’s footprints in your home

After the kids have gone to bed on Christmas Eve, grab some big boots and either flour, baby powder, or carpet deodorizer (perfect multitasking!) and stomp a path of footprints. Each year, the path can take sillier turns. Maybe he beelines from the chimney to the milk and cookies, perhaps he takes a pit stop in the bathroom, or maybe he sneaks a peek in the fridge. Just be sure this is the very last thing on your to-do list, so you don’t muddle the shoe prints.

Give each child an annual ornament

Build your collection of ornaments — and turn tree decorating into an immensely personal experience — by giving each family member a new ornament to affix to the tree every year. The ornament can be handmade, engraved with the child’s name and the current year, or based on an interest. If your daughter just started playing a musical instrument this year, mark the experience with a clarinet tree-hanger! If your son loves Star Wars, we have a feeling there’ll be some beeping BB-8 droid figurines to choose from.

Record a year-in-review

Gone are the days of writing a three-page family newsletter chronicling the highlights of the past 365 days for your family. Instead, shoot a fun video that you can share on Facebook that reminisces about what you and your kids have been up to this year, including fun vacation memories, close-ups of new pets, and major milestones. Keep it short, but if you have video-editing skills, consider adding in photos and videos from big events!

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