1. My traditions.
What traditions do you typically do every year for Christmas? What traditions have you dropped? Think back on previous years, including when you were a kid. Are there any you want to revive? Create a list of your traditions.
2. Yard decorations.
Do you put up your decorations yourself? Do you make this a special day for your family to get together? We get together at my mother’s house to decorate her yard and it takes our entire family the better part of a day to do this. Including others on this task brings everyone together for a fun time. What is your tradition for decorating for Christmas? How might you adjust it to make it more fun and less work?
3. Tree decoration.
Decorating the tree can take a long time as well. You may need to troubleshoot light strings, find the ornaments you want to hang and more. Some people (like my mother) follow a theme or color scheme for their tree. My tree displays my family history. Each year, we get an ornament for each of my daughters that reflect something over the past year. When my oldest went to Europe, we got a United Kingdom ornament. When Disney favorites are released, we might get an ornament of a favorite character. As you decorate your tree, note how you choose your ornaments and trimmings.
4. Tour of lights.
Many people decorate outside for Christmas. In addition, one of our local parks hosts the Festival of Lights which starts the beginning of December and runs through the new year. The entire park is covered with lighted decorations. Driving and looking at the lights is a great way to get away from the television and computer. Plan a trip with your own family.
At our house, we give individual gifts to the kids and household gifts to the adults. We have a budget which varies. For example, this year, we are making gifts and giving ornaments because money is tight. Look at your own gifting practices. Do you limit your spending or is finding the perfect gift, no matter the cost, more important? Can you make gifts that mean more than a purchased item?
What do you do when you get a gift you will never use? You can regift it. From white elephant exchanges to simply passing it on, there are a variety of ways to regift items. Learn about the etiquette of regifting.
NOTE: My husband and mother regifted a wooden pair of boards that looked like rabbits facing away from each other for years. It became the family joke because no one knew what it was. Eventually, at a New Year’s auction, we had someone bid on them because he knew what it was (a type of hot-plate where you put the hot item between the rabbits’ ears).
Service is a big part of the holidays. From donating food to coats, ringing bells for the Salvation Army and even buying gifts for a needy family are all ways you can serve your community. Track what you do over the holiday season. How can you motivate others to make this tradition extend beyond yourself and your family?
8. Wait for everyone.
One tradition we follow is waiting for everyone to get up on Christmas morning to open gifts. I know families who allow their children to open one gift the night before. We do everything Christmas morning. Items that need to be assembled are done the night before Christmas. In the morning, everyone gets to see the reaction as the gifts are open.
9. Family time.
Our family gets together on Christmas day. The chosen house is determined by the age of the kids – we go where the kids are the youngest. Currently, that helps my sister and her husband so they don’t have to move all the toys their girls get. How do you determine where you will spend your family time?
10. Let’s eat.
Food is big in our holiday tradition. We have traditional dishes that we sometimes make, but this is one area where we do not feel forced to follow tradition. The host / hostess decides the type of food. We’ve done breakfast or lunch. We’ve done finger foods, full meals, themed foods and more. Do you stick to a rigid Christmas menu? If so, try something new this Christmas.
Taking photos of family events is one of my passions. While I may not scrapbook them, I do provide emails with particularly poignant shots or a CD / flash drive with the photos so each person can copy what they want from the set. How do you document your Christmas? Do you go further and make videos? How might photos and videos from previous celebrations be incorporated into this year’s celebration?
12. Just scratching the surface.
There are so many traditions families follow that are unique to them that it is impossible to make steps for all of them. Start your own book of traditions. Explain why they started and how they have changed over the years. In addition, check out a few of the sites listed for more new ideas to add to your seasonal festivities.
Sites to Explore
To download a PDF of this badge program, click here: EP_Christmas_My Traditions