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Making Gingerbread Houses with Family ©Aleksandra Suzi

New Family Traditions to Adopt for the Holidays

From decorating gingerbread houses, watching classic holiday movies, and leaving cookies for Santa by the fireplace, December is filled with fun activities and beloved family traditions. Although this time of year is jam-packed with gifts to purchase and meals to prepare, it’s important to prioritize making memories with your loved ones. Whether inside your new home from Kerley Family Homes or within your community, the opportunities are endless.

Classic outdoor ideas like ice skating, Christmas caroling, or chopping down your Christmas tree are great for families who enjoy being outside in the cool weather. If more cozy activities like creating custom hot chocolate recipes, wearing matching family pajamas, or roasting chestnuts are more your speed, we’ve got you covered! We’ve listed some of our favorite Christmas traditions you and your family should try this year.

Watch Classic Holiday Movies

There’s nothing like the nostalgia of watching your favorite holiday movie year after year. Popular comedy movies like The Grinch, The Santa Clause, and Home Alone are perfect for the whole family. And other films like The Holiday and Love Actually are great for couples spending a cozy night at home. Watching a classic holiday movie is also a great way to remember a loved one who isn’t in town for Christmas or one who has passed on.

See a Tree Lighting Ceremony

Watching a giant Christmas tree light up for the first time is a great way to welcome the season and do something for free with your family. Usually, lighting ceremonies happen after Thanksgiving in November or the first week of December, so check your local community’s events board to ensure you don’t miss it!

Take Photos with Santa

Taking photos with Santa at the shopping mall has been a staple in family Christmas traditions for decades. Now, Old Saint Nick doesn’t just show up at the mall but can be found in many other places in the local community, and your pets can also visit him! Research the locations near you where Santa may be coming to town for photoshoots so your family (including your furry friends) can have great holiday memories this year.

Christmas Caroling with Friends ©Marcos Castillo

Go Christmas Caroling (or Host Holiday Karaoke at Home)

Singing your favorite Christmas songs is one of the easiest ways to celebrate the season. If you want to go the extra mile, find a caroling group and join the choir! The group you find could go door to door, but more often than not, carolers pick a location like an indoor shopping mall or a holiday-themed event to spread their holiday cheer. If you want all the magic of singing the classics but none of the commute time, simply crank up the karaoke mic and invite your friends and family to join in.

Build a Gingerbread House (and Host a Decorating Contest!)

Baking holiday desserts and Christmas cookies might be more your thing, but have you tried building a gingerbread house or hosting a decorating contest? Many grocery stores sell gingerbread houses, so they are both easy to find and affordable. This is a great activity to do with kids to keep them busy and creative indoors.

DIY Holiday Decorations for Kids©Katerina Morozova
Craft Christmas Decorations

Another fun way to get the kids involved is to make Christmas decorations. Simple DIY activities like designing an advent calendar, cutting out snowflakes, or stringing together a popcorn garland for the tree are always a hit with the little ones.

Visit a Christmas Tree Farm

Have you always wanted a live Christmas tree to decorate? This is your sign to visit a tree farm with your family to pick the perfect spruce for your home. Find a farm that includes a variety of tree styles and sizes so you can find exactly what you’re looking for. Some Christmas tree farms also have activities for kids, seasonal foods and beverages for sale, and photo opportunities. This can be a fun and productive holiday activity for the whole family.

Adorn the Tree with Special Ornaments

Start a new tradition by decorating your Christmas tree with special ornaments. Consider incorporating beloved family heirlooms used for generations. If you don’t have vintage ornaments to hang on the tree, let this be the year you begin your store-bought or handcrafted ornaments collection. Your kids will have fun using them every year and hearing endearing stories of each unique item and how it found its place in your home.

Open One Present on Christmas Eve

Opening one present on Christmas Eve or emptying the stockings can be an exciting way to keep the fun alive on the night before Christmas. This simple tradition is great for the whole family to join in.

Host a Secret Santa Gift Exchange

If you have a large family, hosting a Secret Santa gift exchange is an excellent way for everyone to receive a gift without breaking the bank! Depending on what works for your family, you can trade wishlists and set a budget, ensuring that everyone receives something they genuinely want or need and the gift quality isn’t inflated per person.

Matching Christmas Pajamas with Family ©Katerina Morozova

Wear Matching Christmas Pajamas

Do you want to get the whole family involved without doing an activity? Buy matching Christmas pajamas! This is the perfect way to have a good time and include everyone from newborn babies to grandparents in the festive season.

Play Christmas Games

If your family’s routine of opening gifts, eating Christmas dinner, then saying goodbye until next year is one you’d like to let go of, consider playing Christmas games this year. Everything from pinning the nose on Rudolph for the kids to playing holiday trivia or organizing a marathon round of your favorite board games with seasonal prizes will liven up the festivities this year!

Honor a Loved One

The holidays can be an especially tough time for those who have lost a loved one. Although their absence changes how you may feel during this time, consider doing what they loved to do to honor their memory. Memories of watching The Nutcracker ballet every year, making decadent hot chocolate, and settling in to watch their favorite holiday movies are a beautiful way to cherish the moments you shared.

Show Gratitude

‘Tis the season of giving, so why not spread good cheer and help others in need? Giving back to your community by volunteering your time or sending a charitable donation to a business or person in need is a new tradition your family can adopt for years to come.

We hope you have a wonderful holiday season with your family and friends! Merry Christmas from Kerley Family Homes, and have a Happy New Year!

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