Monday, December 23, 2019

List: Ten ideas for new holiday traditions to start as a family.

It's absolutely no secret that I love the holiday season and everything that goes with it.  I mean, I've only been talking about it for two months straight now!  While the presents and feasts are great, my favorite holiday moments are our traditions.

We don't remember the gifts or meals as children, but we do remember our special family moments.  I want my children to be able to cherish the same memories of our traditions and customs.  While we currently have a laundry list of traditions, we are always open to adding new ones.  I begrudgingly accept that our customs need to grow with our growing children and family.  If you're looking for some new ideas, here are ten of my favorite traditions from the past and present.

ten new christmas traditions to adopt

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Ten ideas for new holiday traditions.

1.  Hide a birds nest in the Christmas tree.
Every year since I was a little girl we did participated in this holiday tradition.  We would hide a little birds nest deep into the Christmas tree.  That little nest is supposed to bring you luck and prosperity through the following year.  Here's to hoping that we never find real life birds in our Christmas tree.  I'd die!

Idea:  Check out this beautiful artificial bird nest to gift yourself or someone else.  The tag on the box does a great job of describing this simple tradition and the meaning behind a discovered nest in a Christmas tree.

2.  Have a nightly Christmas countdown with an advent calendar.
We have a gorgeous wooden advent calendar that my brother bought us years ago.  Every night in December we hang a mini wooden ornament on the knob of the drawer.  If you don't have a formal advent calendar, there are so many fun ones with themes the kiddies would love!  Shottie the chocolate advent calendar from Godiva for mommy!

Idea:  Make the holiday tradition more meaningful with a wooden advent calendar.  Check out this beautiful white and gold one that is pre-lit.  Your family will look forward to hanging ornaments on its drawers for years to come.

3.  Designate a day for baking all of your holiday goodies.
Every year we pick a day to have our holiday bake off.  We spend the day making homemade ricotta cookies and red velvet cheesecake brownies.  For the ultimate holiday tradition, we make dozens of goodies and tin some for a homemade gift to select recipients.

4.  Use a day from work to play Santa Claus.
My husband and I use a day every year to play Santa Claus.  We send the kiddies off to school and then spend the day together.  We wrap all of the presents, drink hot chocolate, play Christmas music, and watch Hallmark  movies.  Yes, it's definitely a cheesy day but we look forward to this holiday tradition every year!  At least, I do.

5.  Eat seven fishes on Christmas eve.
Every year we eat seven fishes on Christmas eve.  If you don't eat all seven, you're dooming yourself to a year of bad luck.  Half the fun is getting your kids to participate.  That's chicken with tentacles and those are crabby patties...

6.  Wrap baby Jesus in tissue paper and reveal him Christmas morning.
As children, my brother and I would take turns unwrapping baby Jesus.  These days it's my daughter's job, but as my son grows older, they will alternate as well.  This holiday tradition is a good way to remind your children of the true meaning of Christmas.

Idea:  Invest in a gorgeous nativity set like this one from Lenox to keep the tradition alive.  This also makes a meaningful gift to a spouse or a new homeowner.  I cherish my Lenox nativity set that my husband gifted me years ago.

7.  Attend a gingerbread house & pizza party with friends.
Every year my daughter, her BFFs, and our families, make gingerbread houses together.  We drink lots of wine, eat a pizza pie, and laugh and laugh and laugh.

8.  Mail out holiday cards.
Every year we mail out holiday cards with a family photo and cute message.  We wear coordinating outfits and have lots of fun writing personalized notes to our friends and family.

9.  Break apart the chocolate orange.
Every Christmas, my grandfather will break apart a chocolate orange for each of us to eat.  He says the chocolate orange will bring us good fortune for the year ahead.  We just think it tastes good...

Idea:  Check out this chocolate orange to see if this is a tradition that you'd like to upkeep.

10.  Write a note for each "memory", "wish", and "hope" drawer.
My aunt has a little cabinet with three drawers that she invested in for this holiday tradition.  Each one is labeled with the different theme above.  She asks us to fill out a note and put it in the drawer to store for the year.  On Christmas Eve, we will read the previous years notes and write new ones.  Some of them make us laugh, some make us cry, and others make me think my grandma is psychic!

What are your favorite holiday traditions?


  1. What do you mean we don't remember meals? That is the only thing I remember LOL In my country, at least the Catholic part where my city is - the rest is Orthodox, we don't have a special meal for Christmas but we do have special Christmas Eve dindins when we eat bean stew, fish and other fasting things.
    I've always wanted me an Advent calendar, one of our blogging friends got a Cheese Advent calendar from her girlfriend this year :)
    PS where is FEED THE POOR on this list? Visit a poor or lonely neighbour every Christmas and bring them cakes and some fruit.

    1. I used that in my list last week and didn’t want to duplicate. We actually participate in a really nice charity event through the church. Each week their tree serves a different purpose. One week is to keep people warm, so you decorate it with mittens, scarves, hats, and lay coats under it. The next week is to feed the poor. The final week is to pick a family to sponsor off of the tree. Then you get the gifts they want for Christmas and return it the next week. I love your idea to keep it in the neighborhood and make it personal. Unfortunately, we don’t know any. Here, the needy remain anonymous and you support them through organizations.

    2. Yes, that is the problem, we sometimes don't really see the poor around us and not all of them want to be helped. When I worked in school we'd usually notice if a student was very poor and would try to help by buying clothes, but we usually did it as some kind of award (like for a score on a test or some competition) so that the kid would not feel humiliated.

    3. That’s a good idea. My next door neighbor is a school nurse and is always doing collections for a student she feels is in need. Unfortunately they get embarrassed and don’t want to accept help sometimes. I say that, yet if the situation was reversed, I’d probably feel embarrassed too.

  2. A great list of traditions; many are quite different than the ones I grew up with or celebrated with my own kids. Our favorite tradition is to choose one special ornament each year. Sometimes the kids would get them in the summer while we were on vacation. We wrote their initials and year on back and they can then take the set when they get married and have their own tree. They have some really neat ornaments from places like Yellowstone and Hershey Park. My husband and I did it as well starting from the year we met. We did quit about 5 years ago because our tree was full!

    Merry Christmas, Jax! I'm happy I discovered your blog this year.

    1. My in laws do something similar with a wall in their basement. They buy plates during their travels and decorated the wall with the pieces. I’m happy we found each other too!! Merry Christmas :)

  3. First I've heard of the nest idea.

  4. Yeah, I'm out at the fish. Don't need to die. lol

    Well it is highly unlikely you'll find an actual bird in the tree, their could be plenty of bird poop in their though. What? Just saying.

    As for things for luck, pffft, imaginary word humans made up to try to make themselves feel better. The cat's already ranted on that a time or ten.

    Main thing is enjoying and making memories indeed though. Hope a Merry Christmas is had at your pad.

    1. I remember when I tortured you wish sushi, but you were a good sport and tried it all! Luck may be imaginary, but our imagination definitely fuels us with mysterious energy. Do you believe you can will something to happen? Merry Christmas to you, the babies, the cats, the dogs, and the rest of the family!

    2. Yeah, that was back when I could try it all. Not no more.

      Imagination sure can fuel a lot. You can will some things to happen, but that is because you are willing it lol

  5. You know, those traditions are so important to keep going. It was a rough year for me health wise and I was not in the holiday mood this year. However, my girls helped me get off my butt and do some baking. I even managed to keep up with their Elf on the Shelf. Yes, they are 20 and 16 and know he isn't real, but they still get up every morning to see where I've moved him or what shenanigans he's up to. It's those things that I hope they continue when they have children. I try to give them a magical Christmas every year so they remember how wonderful they had it and keep it alive down the line.

    1. I absolutely love this! I saw something on Facebook recently that is so true, and your comment is a perfect example of it. It went something along the lines of "Now that I'm older, I realize that the Christmas Magic I felt as a child was just my parents loving me!"


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