The holidays this year will be different. Most people aren't gathering in large groups like we've done in years past, to minimize the risk of getting people sick. That means it's time to create some new holiday traditions.
It's hard to let go of old traditions. The easiest way to let go is to replace one tradition with a new holiday tradition. Here are 12 ideas we've collected to help you find new holiday traditions to enjoy with your family this year.
New Holiday Traditions with Food
Food is important for every holiday. At Christmas though, we tend to focus on yummy sweets like cookies, cakes and gingerbread houses.
- Pinterest is the perfect place to find new cookie ideas.Decorate sugar cookies – because the kids love decorating with all sorts of sprinkles. But … make the cookie dough ahead so they don't get bored. Want to add some excitement? Have a competition between parents and let the kids be the judge.
- Share cookie recipes – instead of a traditional cookie swap. Recipes are easy to mail/email and everyone can save those they like best, for a new holiday tradition. Camaraderie is still important so set up a Zoom call where everyone can show off their cookies plus some good old fashion chatter.
- Gingerbread houses – are getting really popular. You can now buy premade houses so all you need to do is decorate the house … or an entire village. If cookies aren't your thing, you can now make a gingerbread house in a bundt pan.
Families can relax together watching holiday movies …
New Holiday Traditions with Family & Friends
This year has changed priorities for most of us. It's the perfect time to focus on creative ways to have fun while staying safe and minimizing spending.
- Friendsgiving – is typically a Thanksgiving event celebrated with friends before/during the busy holiday season. With social distancing, move your gathering to Zoom which is free. If you have a good time, schedule more events throughout the year … creating one of the best holiday traditions for this unusual year and forever.
- Holiday movies – are perfect for families spending more time at home. It's not a movie theater but there's no reason you can't make popcorn and hot chocolate. Some favorites are: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Elf, The Polar Express and Home Alone.
- Visit your home – by finding a movie made in your home town. Just google “movies made in home town, state” and you'll be amazed at how many movies you discover.
- Visit your local parks – museums and other special places, to learn more about your home – it's history, what makes it special and share like this article which inspired me.
- Family board games – are perfect for the holidays and year round. They're perfect for increasing family discussions and reducing screen time. Amazon has a great selection of old favorites and new games worth trying.
- Go Christmas caroling – through your neighborhood and see all the holiday lights. This is a perfect outdoor activity for social distancing and it's easy to print songs for those who haven't memorized the words.
Gifts Are Another Holiday Traditions
It's a year when we want to focus on meaningful gifts versus material things we don't really need. Here are ideas to make giving fewer/smaller gifts more meaningful.
- Find gifts that keep giving – like family photo albums or kid's artwork. Gifts are changing from material things to experiences. Think about how you've spent the last year and what you could add to spice things up next year like tennis lessons, monthly science kits or a museum membership.
- Write a family letter – to share with family and friends, the highlights of your year. Include photos so you and your kids can relive old memories in the years ahead.
- Take family photos – to create a keep-sake family album, collecting photos from all your loved ones … a virtual holiday to cherish for years to come.
- Write letters to Santa – and drop them off at Macy's or send online (really). For every letter received, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-a-Wish.
- Give a food basket to a needy family – either someone you know or your local food pantry. Planning, buying and packing the box is a great experience for kids but if you don't have enough time, you can make a donation to FeedingAmerican.org.
Wishing everyone luck creating a few new holiday traditions!
Here’s another suggestion. Put together a memory book of some items you would like to pass along to others in the family. Include pictures of items and a story behind the items. My sister was always making Christmas ornaments to give to the family. I plan to put together a book of some of her ornaments and other Christmas decorations I cherish.
Jean, That’s a lovely idea and I’m sure the book will be wonderful with the ornaments & stories to go with each one.
Thanks for sharing new holiday traditions and I will try it on my wife.
Love these ideas – thanks for the inspo!