Holiday Mission: Start a Family Tradition!

No matter what holiday your family celebrates, we have some unique ideas for making the season spectacularly special! Turn any of the following activities into an annual fam event, and there you have it: a family tradition.

Trim a Tree … Outdoors
We’re not talking about lighting up the shrubs and hedges with 1,000 bright-colored bulbs. Instead, give a gift to your neighborhood wildlife by decking out an evergreen with decorative edibles: garlands made of popcorn and cranberries, pinecones rolled in peanut butter and birdseed, dried apple slices tied with red-and-green ribbon. Watch the hungry birds flock to your yard!

Turn out the Lights!
Well, not all of them -- let the decorations shine on. But for just one night, turn off the main lights in the house, break out some candles, spin the holiday tunes and enjoy the illumination coming from your holiday decor. Use this time to make handcrafted gifts together, sing carols or video-chat with a relative who’s far away.

Ornament Trading Company
Many people have cookie-swapping parties, but how about an ornament trading get-together? Everybody in the family must make (not buy!) creative holiday ornaments. Glue popsicle sticks together to make sleds, build snowmen out of felt pieces or swirl different colors of paint inside clear glass ornaments. Then get together and swap away!

’Tis the Season to Give
Lots of families like to show generosity during this time of year by getting involved in volunteer opportunities. Check your local library or community center to find out how you and your family can sign up to work in a soup kitchen, “adopt” a needy family, visit nursing home residents or donate last year’s gently used toys to make room for the new batch of goodies you’re about to get.

What-a-good-time Capsule
Fill a shoe box with items from this year’s holiday festivities: a party napkin, wish lists, a few snapshots and so on. Stash it away, right along with all of your holiday decorations, and forget it about it for a while. Then on the following year, open it up and enjoy the memories from the previous holiday.

The Home-cooked Stretch
It’s always a letdown when the holidays are over. So why not extend them for just one more day? About a week or so after the fun has ended, schedule a sit-down family meal with a twist. You know how Aunt Sophie always serves her cornbread pudding or Mom makes the same chestnut stuffing every year? Hit the library for some offbeat cookbooks and make all new dishes for an “after party.” Place one small wrapped present at each place setting, even if it’s just a little something from the dollar store. The fun has just begun!