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How to Create New Holiday Traditions

A tradition doesn’t have to be an elaborate event.

By
Cherylyn Feierabend
4-minute read
Episode #141

When I was little my family always had both a Christmas tree and a menorah during the holidays. It was just always a tradition that we had both because my parents each brought their own family traditions with them with they started a new family. Another tradition was that everyone in the family would open one gift the night before Christmas and the rest on Christmas morning. I think the idea was to open pajamas, slippers, or a robe--something to wear the next morning. It didn’t matter what it was, my brothers and I would always be excited to open our one gift the night before. Maybe it was to appease us into going to sleep early. Either way, I cherish every tradition my family shared and I’ve brought many of them with me and shared them with my children. There are also many new traditions we’ve started on our own and sometimes those are the best of all.

What Makes Something a Tradition?

So, when does something actually qualify as a tradition? I suppose that might be a silly question, but when I think of a family tradition, I think of something we do as a family on a regular basis--whether we are celebrating a holiday or commemorating an event. Each holiday offers an opportunity to celebrate, share, or just gather in some way to enjoy special time together. During the holiday season we seem to have many more reasons to celebrate--regardless of what holidays we take part in. A tradition doesn’t have to be an elaborate event. It can be something as simple as reading a story together or baking cookies and taking them to your neighbor; or it could be something more festive like decking your house out with more lights than the Griswolds did in Christmas Vacation.

How to Create a New Holiday Tradition

There are so many new holiday activities you can do--just remember to add your own flair to whatever you do and the tradition will become yours.

There are so many new holiday activities you can do--just remember to add your own flair to whatever you do and the tradition will become yours. Creating a new holiday tradition can happen a few different ways. My favorite way to start a tradition is accidentally. For example, I found out that my neighbor makes homemade tamales every year during the holidays. It just so happens that I bake cookies every year. So one year I offered her some cookies if she’d share some of her tamales. Yes, I know. I was definitely on the better end of this deal! It’s been a few years and we still make the trade every Christmas. I’ll continue this tradition as long as I can because her tamales are truly delicious! You can also start traditions accidentally, but on purpose. I decided that all of the local breakfast with Santa options were getting just a little too pricey for our family. We had to get up at 6am and beat the crowds, fork out a bunch of money, and then wait in line with our very impatient children to get their picture with a very busy Santa who didn’t have much time to spend with each child. My solution was to invite our friends and family to our house for a potluck breakfast and a personal visit from Santa. I didn’t intend for it to become tradition, but after the first event, I knew I would be doing it for as many years as I could. We set up a tripod with a digital camera and Santa spends as much time with the kids as they want while I keep taking picture after picture. When the day is done, I email the appropriate pictures to all of our guests. The kids get to actually spend time with Santa and take a goodie bag home-- and you know at least one of the pictures will be a good one. The adults get to eat, visit, and have a great time. If you have an idea like this, you should run with it. You never know when something will turn out great!

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