Create some new holiday traditions this year to make the most of the season!
Collect old cards, packaging, and any other recycled materials you can think of and set up a craft station for you and your family or friends to make cards.
To make your cards recyclable, make sure to avoid any glitter or other plastic items.
Once you and your family are done making your Christmas cards, consider sending some to people you don’t know.
A few years ago, a nine-year-old girl named Angel made headlines for sending 100 Christmas cards to lonely people and children with disabilities to help them celebrate the season.
Take a page out of Angel’s book and post on a community board to see who’d like to receive a card, or reach out to a local organisation like Age UK to see if they have anyone who could use a bit of extra cheer over the holidays.
There just seems to be an extra bit of magic in the air around the holidays. Experience the energy and warmth of the season by using the time to go out and be a tourist in your own town!
Visit a gallery or a museum, see the local monuments, or walk the high streets and soak up all that Christmas cheer.
Pick your favourite holiday songs and make a playlist to enjoy with your family on Christmas day. Throw in a couple of the year’s hits and you’re guaranteed to have a rocking day!
Create a feeling of anticipation and excitement in your family by picking one holiday film to watch every year. Make it a classic like Miracle on 34th Street or It’s a Wonderful Life, or go with something more contemporary—the important part of making it special is that you do it every year!
Get in your PJs, make some popcorn and snuggle up together to watch.
It might not seem like it now, but taking an annual family photo can create some fantastic memories to look back on, particularly if you have young kids or are just starting a family.
Don’t just photograph the kids, either—get as many generations in there as you can!
Use your family photo as a starting point to make an annual family calendar. There are lots of websites where you can make high-quality calendars for a reasonable price.
Try assigning different branches of your family different months and challenge them to see who can come up with the funniest family photos!
These make great gifts and can help the family feel more together even if you’re far apart for most of the year.
Christmas ornaments have a strange power to help us remember years past. Gifting an annual ornament is a great tradition to start to make your tree or your mantle something truly special.
To make your ornament truly memorable, make it or decorate it yourselves!
A marshmallow-eating contest. Silly hats on Christmas morning. Joke gifts (like individually-wrapped socks) in Christmas stockings.
Pick something silly that suits your family and make it an annual tradition! Having something that is unique to your family will create some great memories.
This is especially good if you have children and need to travel long distances over the family.
Pick a holiday-themed audiobook and listen to it as a family.
In Iceland, it’s common for families to receive books on Christmas Eve and spend the night reading, while in Portugal some families open one round of gifts from each other on Christmas Eve and another from Santa on Christmas morning!
Make your holidays special by finding a tradition of your own to adopt.
With new items coming into the house in the form of gifts, the holidays are a great time to encourage your family to do a clear out and donate to charity.
Go through clothes, toys and books and make two piles: one of items in good condition to donate, and one of items for recycling.
In addition to donating used goods, it’s a great idea to donate new and much-needed items.
Organise your family to donate warm clothes, toys or food to others who are in need. Get the kids involved to help teach them the importance of thinking about others at this time of year.
A great trick is to allocate kids a certain amount of money to buy something for charity and let them decide how to spend it at the store. It will get them think about what people really need and consider the real value of items like toys and clothes.
Pick one recipe and make it your holiday signature: a special biscuit or bar, a spiced nut or popcorn mixture, even a hearty casserole—pick a recipe to make once a year and give it a special name to make it yours!
If you’re lucky enough to have a white Christmas, going sledding is always a good time (especially when you follow it up with hot cocoa!).
If not, find another outdoor activity to enjoy, like a long walk in a local park or ice skating.
All it takes is £2 and a holiday jumper!
Whether you do it alone or get the whole family involved, volunteering is an excellent way to celebrate the season of giving.
The Mix has a great list of organisations that accept extra help around the holidays!
As Tony Robbins often says, the secret of living is giving. Bring that spirit to everything you do over the holiday season and embrace random acts of kindness.
Buy a coffee for the person in the queue behind you. Hand out sweets to strangers on the bus. Drop a kind note in a neighbour’s mail box. There are so many simple ways to bring a little extra joy to someone else’s life, and it’s the perfect season to make the extra effort!
When you’ve lost someone you love, the holidays can hold a lot of painful memories. Build something positive to remember your loved ones by and enjoy a favourite meal or drink of theirs.
Make it a special occasion and do it every year to keep your loved one part of the holidays.
A very popular option is to read Twas the Night Before Christmas before bundling off to bed on Christmas Eve, but you can pick any holiday story.
For added mood, put on a yule log (digital or real), dim the lights and sit next to your sparkling tree for a dramatic reading.
Get the family outside and moving with an annual Christmas walk. Look at local decorations, or stroll through your neighbourhood park.
Bonus points for the wearing of Santa hats, reindeer antlers and any other festive headgear!
Playing board games or card games together is a great way to wrap up a festive Christmas day.
If your family is the type with too much energy, take everyone outside for a family game of rugby or football to burn off some of that yule cheer!
Do you have other suggestions, or a special family tradition of your own?
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