How to Reinvent Holiday Traditions at Home


The holidays can evoke strong memories of traditions discovered in our youth. And while you may have continued some of them into adulthood, it’s never too late to reinvent traditions to be even more meaningful to your household.

If you wish to move away from some of the commercialism of the holiday season, you could scale back on kids’ gifts. A new trend is to limit to three—something to read, something to wear and something to play. Another option is to swap the number of tangible gifts for experiences and memories, such as theater tickets, season event passes or a family trip.

Making cookies is a holiday must, but instead of resigning yourself to days in the kitchen, consider hosting a baking party with guests contributing to the production. At the very least, a cookie exchange party allows guests to swap out dozens of homemade cookies, sharing in each other’s company, labor and talent.

No holiday season is complete without trimming the tree. In our home, we don’t stop there. Each of our kids receives a new ornament that somehow reflects their previous year. The key is that the ornaments have meaning to each child and will help us to reminisce. Plus, when the kids reach adulthood, they’ll have a great start to decorating their own tree.

Have fun picking your traditions, focusing on those that have meaning to your household. My husband once jokingly bet our young kids that Santa would prefer to have a beer and some bacon waiting for him. The next morning the cookies and milk were barely touched, the beer and bacon were gone, and a new tradition was formed that the kids do not let us forget. Some of the best traditions are those that are discovered rather than forced.

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