The holidays are full of celebration, tradition, and good cheer spread across generations. You might already have the perfect family recipe for apple crisp, your favorite Christmas sweater, and the stealthy Christmas Eve present drop all figured out. Still, there's always room to build on that excitement and create new holiday traditions the whole family can get involved in.
Why wait until the New Year to start making resolutions? Find ways to make it fun by looping in the whole family on specific goals. Instead of presents on the brain, adults and kids alike will be focused on other ways to pass the time. If every day brings a new puzzle to solve or point to earn, you'll turn the holiday season into a full-fledged fun fest, rather than just a couple of days of gifts and good food.
It can even be as simple as setting a weekly challenge for each family member. For example, every weekend in December, one family member will be in charge of dessert whereas another family member will be tasked with deciding what game to play after dinner. Or have everyone write at least one line of a story each day, with plans to read them aloud on Christmas Eve or bind them as books and keep them together for years to come.
If your family is competitive, create chore charts with a point system. The more points they rack up, the closer they get to finding an early Christmas gift on their pillow. You can also set physical challenges (i.e. doing push-ups or stretching along to a yoga video) if you and the kids want to stay active during the colder months. Treat yourself to a pair of comfy women's yoga pants for some extra motivation.
Caroling is an age-old holiday tradition that we just don't see many families doing anymore. If your family loves to sing, see if anyone's interested in going door to door, or finding a caroling group for the holiday season. If you live in a really cold climate, don't forget to bring an insulated women's down winter coat and all the winter accessories you'll need to stay warm, including hats, gloves, and scarves. You can always add a little dash of style by color coordinating the whole family or choosing bold colors to help you stand out at night.
Another much cozier option is to host a holiday sing-a-long. You can keep it personal with just the family, or invite friends and neighbors to join in. Choose some crowd-pleasers that everyone will enjoy with a mix of classics and kids tunes, and pick a few songs for each family member that are special to just them. Have enough throw blankets to be sure everyone feels comfy and warm, and brew up some hot beverages.
Sing-a-longs are a great way to be together and share something special. Having a perfectly tuned voice isn't at all necessary to enjoy this sweet family tradition. When your voices join together, you'll be a chorus of Christmas cheer that all will love to hear.
With all that abundant joy, it's easy to feel grateful during the holiday season. Put some of the excitement and energy that's building at home into sharing your abilities with those in need. Whether you're reaching out to community organizations, or getting involved in assisting your neighbors with winter chores, you'll be helping to better your community while teaching your kids the true meaning of the holidays.
There are plenty of ways to give back that the whole family can participate in. Take stock of everyone's coats, closets, and toy chests, and have them put together a donation box of the items that could be of use. Or, knock on any elderly neighbor's door to see if there's anything they might need help with — you never know who might be in need. You can also contact your local shelter, church, or community center to see if there are any volunteer opportunities during the holiday months. Lots of caring families offer their time, toys, or talents to those in need during the holidays. Consider putting aside some time each month or season to make this an ongoing family tradition.
Whenever you start a new holiday tradition, you want to be sure everyone in the family can get involved. If you're not sure where to start, have the family take a vote! After you have tried one, check-in at the end of the season to see if the tradition you are trying out is one everyone loved. That way, it's something you can all look forward to.