The Christmas season is a time for tradition. Everyone looks forward to warmth and comfort and happiness from their Christmas experience. Families gather together, people focus on appreciating each other and the world around them and we all pause for a day to celebrate and reflect. But in all of that, there is always room for new traditions that make celebrating Christmas more fun and meaningful. Here are thirteen unique ideas you can try with your family this Christmas:
1. Bake cookies for families in need.
Chances are, you are well entrenched in your traditional holiday baking by now. Why not spend a little extra time making some goodies for your neighborhood, or your local nursing home or shelters? Everyone deserves to have a happy Christmas, and any part you play in making that possible for other people is time, and dough, well spent.
2. Make a list of family highlights and challenges.
Sit down with your family members and review your year. Share the exciting things that have happened and record the things you wish you could change. Having a written account of your family history is so special, and you'll love looking back at it years later.
3. Choose a few of your own things to give to charity.
Buying presents for other people is great and receiving gifts is so much fun, but you usually end up with a lot of stuff once the holidays are over. Clearing out some space in your life could be tremendously helpful for someone else and it will leave you feeling prepared for the new year.
4. Leave your shoes out for St. Nicholas.
A tradition many Europeans enjoy on December 5th, you can leave your shoes out for St. Nicholas to fill with treats if you've been good. Just be careful you haven't gotten in trouble with Krampus and earned yourself some punishment instead.
5. Light a candle for deceased loved ones on Christmas Eve.
The holidays can be really difficult after you've lost loved ones. Lighting a candle for them is a special way to incorporate honoring their memory into the rest of your Christmas plans.
6. Marathon Christmas movies.
Most people love a good movie marathon, and there are more than enough Christmas movies available to keep you entertained. You could be super dedicated and try to make it through the entirety of the 25 days of Christmas schedule as quickly as possible.
7. Get an advent calendar.
Having a little chocolate or gift to look forward to every day is the best. If you wanted to personalize the gifts, you could make your own with everything from toys to nail polish. There are also really festive scavenger hunt options that turn your advent calendar experience into a game.
8. Step up those Christmas PJ's and go for some Christmas bedding too.
Lots of people do matching Christmas pajamas, which is adorable and makes for a perfect Christmas picture. However, Christmas bedding would take things to the next level. Cozy up with some red and green flannel, or reindeer sheets or even a snowflake printed blanket.
9. Christmas cocktails and fondue.
If your family is all out of little kids and looking for new ways to make Christmas fun for a house full of adults, why not have some festive cocktails and fondue? This will make everyone feel fancy and is the perfect opportunity to exchange gifts.
10. Gingerbread house competition.
Building gingerbread houses is a time-honored tradition, but this year consider turning it into a competition. Select a few family members to judge and give the participants a time limit. Your house will be like your very own version of 'Holiday Baking Championship.'
11. Hide a pickle (ornament) in your tree.
Another European tradition, the pickle should be hidden deep within your tree. Everyone tries to find it and the winner is said to receive good luck in the new year, and in some countries gets a small gift for finding the coveted pickle.