Summer passed by in a blur, and now your friends are posting about how many weekends are left until Christmas. The holidays have become increasingly commercialized in recent years, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy expensive gifts, go on horse-drawn sleigh rides or have a Christmas tree in every room to make the holidays special. You don’t even have to throw your hat into the Santa celebrations or Elf on the Shelf shenanigans. Try these three new traditions this year, and bring the focus of the season back to your family.
Get Creative with Crafts
No, we aren’t talking about those uber-involved Pinterest holiday crafts that make you question whether you have the only kids on the planet that would rather put glitter up their noses than on paper. (No, you don’t.) Keep things low key and hands on. You might be surprised what you can find just looking around your house and kitchen that can be thrown together. Cotton balls can be snowmen or try letting kids sculpt a winter scene with shaving foam on the kitchen table.
For those whose holiday celebrations include Santa and his reindeer, try mixing up a batch of reindeer “food.” Combine oats (the cheap, quick-cook variety is fine), brown sugar and some glitter in a bowl and let the kids sprinkle it on the lawn outside once it’s dark. The moon light will shine off the glitter, signaling Rudolph that your chimney is next on the list. If you don’t have glitter or want to use a more Earth-friendly option, colored sugar sprinkles work well.
People used to go to door to door, but now we have automotive transportation complete with climate control, so enjoy the modern amenities and take your favorite holiday songs along in the car for an after-dark Christmas light tour. Mapping your route beforehand can help, but give yourself the freedom to follow wherever the best lights lead. Pricier neighborhoods sometimes have extravagant setups, but the more colorful displays are often in more modest areas. Make it into a game and see how many holiday favorites you can belt out with your family before it’s time to head back home.
Enjoy the Glow
The holidays are a busy time no matter what your normal family celebrations, and carving out some time for peaceful reflection is important. Few things in life are more mesmerizing than the flickering light of a real flame, and after-dinner candle time or hot cocoa around the fireplace are great ways to settle everyone down for bed or spend some time cozying up to your significant other after the little ones are asleep. If real fire isn’t practical for your space, faux candles designed to look like real flickering flames are the next best thing.
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or just the first snowfall, the winter months are all about reconnecting with loved ones. The most memorable family traditions are often the ones that cost the least. Get creative this season and look back on this year’s holidays as one of the best.