Monday, 10 December 2018

15 Christmas Traditions to Celebrate With Your Family

It's hard to believe, but there once was a time when the holiday season was about more than the presents under the tree. With all the hustle and bustle of Christmas, it can be easy to forget to dedicate precious moments to the ones you love. This year, think about starting or continuing one of these Christmas traditions - you’ll make memories your family will cherish for years and years to come.

1. Count down with an advent calendar

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The very first advent calendar was produced by Gerhard Lang way back in the early 1900s, according to Mental Floss, and it's been a holiday staple ever since. If you don't already own one, or if you've never used one before, try DIYing your own this year and turning it into a memorable Christmas activity. Your kids will have fun creating their own calendar - and of course, receiving a treat each day of December!



2. Listen to classic Christmas music

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You don't have to own a record player to listen to all the holiday hits from Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin Frank Sinatra, - Best Christmas Songs Collection. The best part about this activity is everyone will know the words to the music - even your kids - so all can join in and sing along.

3. Plan a cookie exchange

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There's nothing more delicious than a fresh batch of Christmas cookies. Knock on your neighbors' doors and invite everyone face-to-face - with nearly everyone communicating through a cell phone, a personal request will make your friends feel oh-so-welcome. Then, get baking! For the kids, whip up some sugar cookies that will be super fun to decorate. And for the adults, try a decadent thumbprint recipe that everyone will be talking about.

4. Get your craft on

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Christmas has become so commercial, it's easy to forget the real reason for the season. This year, try DIYing almost everything. Start with the festive decor, then take on your ornaments. Next up are the Christmas cards, and of course, a welcoming wreath! You could even give homemade presents for some truly thoughtful gifts. Everything you make will be extra special (and you'll save some money in the process).

5. Watch quintessential Christmas movies

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Your kids are probably excited to see the new Grinch, but before you head to the theater, take a weekend to watch some of the most classic Christmas movies. Some of our favorites are: It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, Holiday Inn, and A Christmas Carole. We also suggest Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman, of course!

6. Use cash only

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Our grandparents didn't go into debt over the holidays; they had a budget and stuck to it out of sheer necessity. Spending with cash makes it more real. When it's gone, it's gone. It also gives you a moment to stop and think about what you're buying, which makes spending more focused. If you shop online, use a prepaid card to stay within your limits (or make a promise to yourself not to go over your budget no matter what!).

7. Bake from scratch

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Dust off the old recipe books or cards and try your hand at Bubbie's latkes, Bubka's potica, or Gammie's famous 7-Up cake. Your efforts don't have to be perfect, but this simple act pays homage to your loved ones, especially those who are now gone. If you don't have a recipe that's been handed down through the family, check out these Christmas desserts and Christmas cookies to find one that seems close to what you remember as a kid.

8. Mail holiday cards


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Even in the age of social media and instant updates, real honest-to-goodness cards are a way to reconnect with family and friends far and near. It's the one time a year we send and receive good wishes in the mail. Nothing else compares. Photo cards, postcards, or Year in Review letters are all fine; just keep them positive and factual without bragging.

9. Decorate with what you have

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Grandma used what she had to deck the halls. Look around your yard and house to find natural elements to dress up your home. Many natural items are prettier anyhow, and they're fresh and free." Collect pine cones and make a wreath, or arrange in glass apothecary jars. Cut greenery and tuck into simple white pitchers. String cranberries and popcorn for the tree. Dress up branches with glitter paint, then place in vases or line the mantel.

10.Spend time together

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That's what we'll remember years from now, not what you gave or received as gifts. Bake cookies with your kids. Plan a family game night. Attend services at a house of worship. Go caroling. Drive around to look at Christmas lights. Make ornaments. Arrange a potluck New Year's party with friends. The point is to interact and be present in the moment with your family and friends, not with your smartphone or tablet.

11. Make gifts

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Our grandparents used their talents to create gifts. Homemade goodies such as cookies and breads are always welcome, but you can make plenty of other easy gifts.

12. Dress Up

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When you look at old photos of our parents and grandparents, you see that everyone is dressed nicely at big holiday gatherings. Sure, you want to be comfy in your PJs on Christmas morning, but kids and actually most adults don't have that many dress-up events to attend these days. Everything is super casual. But sometimes it's okay to make your gathering a dress-up occasion so that it feels special and different.

13. Write thank you notes

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Your grandma would tell you that nice manners still matter. Sit down and write a real thank you note this holiday season, whether you're thanking someone for a lovely party or a thoughtful gift.

14. Share memories
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Part of the joy of the season is reminiscing about what makes your family unique. Ask your parents and grandparents about their holiday customs growing up or what they received as gifts when they were kids. Celebrate what makes you family, especially the silly or quirky traditions. Sharing stories, traditions, and values defines your family and is a great gift to each other that doesn't cost a cent.

15. Give back to others

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Our grandparents shared what they had with neighbors when times were tough. Think about what matters to you and your family and share what you can to reflect your beliefs. Your gifts don't necessarily have to be monetary. Collect coats for homeless shelters. Help an elderly neighbor put up her tree. Send care packages to military members who are deployed away from home this year. Invite someone who's single and may not have family nearby to your own holiday dinner.


Please share your Christmas Traditions with photo in the comment below or on my social media.


Are you interested in selling or buying your home in the next few months? Work with award winning realtor, Carmen Leal and her team that specialize in Real Estate Vancouver and have qualified Buyers that are looking for a home in your area! 604.218.4846 & www.carmenleal.ca

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