Although there are 31 days in the month of December, doesn't it feel like the month is shorter? Between the holiday parties, baking cookies, shop-til-you-drop excursions at the mall and decking your halls with boughs of holly, the holiday season goes by in a blur.
No matter how you spend your holidays, the season is meant to be enjoyed. One of the best ways of doing so is by creating, renewing or simply enjoying traditions your whole family will love and look forward to. It's a great way to slow things down and remind everyone of the true meaning of the season. Here are a few ideas you can start this year that may rekindle your love for this time of year:
1. Do a themed gift exchange
Whatever your family calls them, gift exchanges are a fun way to involve the whole family during the season of giving and receiving. But instead of purchasing any gift within a certain dollar limit, you may want to do a gift exchange that has a theme. For example, one year may be for self-help books, novels or biographies, so all the gifts purchased are similar. Another year, do a “regift” theme, where you gift something you’ve received in the past and no longer have a use for. These can be a lot of fun and help to stimulate conversation, not to mention friendly competition. Whatever theme you choose, make sure that it's age-appropriate.
2. Bake as a family
They say that the fastest way to a person's heart is through their stomach, referring, of course, to food. Whether it’s to show your appreciation, introduce yourself to new neighbors, cheer someone up, or just treat your family, baking bread, cookies, brownies or peanut brittle is a great way to do it. Try to get everyone in the family involved so the goodies you make are a team effort.
3. Perform random acts of kindness
Is there someone you know who struggles during the holiday season? Whether its due to lost loved ones or financial issues, the holidays can be one of the more difficult times of year for many people. Nothing lifts the spirits quite like kindness - both for you and the recipient. Whether its leaving a basket of sweets at the door, wiping snow off of their car or shoveling a walkway, these random acts of kindness are the greatest gifts of all. And you can do them as a family. If possible and appropriate, see if you can do these good deeds without the recipient knowing. You can do it for someone different each year, or the same person. Whatever you decide, they'll never forget it and you'll never regret it.
4. Order in on Christmas Eve
Does your family have a go-to takeout spot? Why not order in on Christmas Eve or one of the eight days of Hanukkah? There's no better way to celebrate with loved ones than with a delicious feast – especially one that no one has to cook! And remember to use one of the many food delivery services to avoid drinking and driving or picking names to see who has to go out in the cold.
5. Make gingerbread houses
Thanks to premade gingerbread houses available almost anywhere this time of year, decorating them with various candy items is a great, easy and fun way to get creative and satisfy everyone's sweet tooth. You can do these as a family or with friends and at any age!
Traditions are the perfect interruption to the holiday rush and a nice reminder to slow down and enjoy the things that really matter. Like Frosty the Snowman would say, have some fun before the season melts away.