13 Christmas Traditions to Start This Year–With a 2020 Twist
Not to state the obvious–but 2020 has been an overdose of “unprecedented times.” More than ever, the holidays offer comfort and joy in the familiar. This is the year folks are throwing the rules out and decking the halls before the turkey has been carved. Whether you’re 5 years old and drafting an extensive list to Santa or 55 and craving simpler days, traditions can feel like the warm hug or hot cup of cocoa we all need.
The Countdown Calendar
Whether it’s homemade by Grandma or a store-bought advent calendar filled with chocolate treats, there’s something magical (especially for our littlest ones) about the daily countdown.
The 3 Gift Christmas
Something they want, something they need, and something to read. Symbolic to the Three Wise Men and the gifts they brought Jesus, this is a great tradition to start to keep our materialistic habits in check.
Take a “Sleigh Ride”
Christmas Movie Challenge
Give the murder-mystery documentaries a rest. Gather your household and make a list of 25 Christmas movies to knock out in the month of December. With a healthy dose of kid-friendly flicks for family movie night and stay-at-home dates with Die Hard, we have a feeling this simple tradition will give you something to look forward to at the end of each day.
Start with some favorites like White Christmas, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, The Elf and Four Christmases.
An Ornament for the Year
We’ve spent a lot of time talking about how difficult this year has been. But surely there have been some hidden joys–from more time at home with the people we love to commiserating over making that last roll of toilet paper last. The most challenging of times often shape us for the better. So why not celebrate that? Ask everyone in the family to choose an ornament that represents the year to them. It’s a long-play, but imagine the memories that will flood back over the years each time you decorate the tree.
Sponsor a Family in Need
It’s always a good time to give back. Before your kids get bogged down in writing letters to Santa asking for X,Y, and Z, take them to shop for a local child who may otherwise have nothing under the tree come Christmas morning. Check with your local school or church–they’ll often have lists at the ready of families in need in your local community.
Surely your sweat pants and pajamas are tired after this year. Christmas is the perfect opportunity to dress up. Whether you’re celebrating with friends and family or having a quiet holiday at home, carve out a day to put on your Sunday best and enjoy a good meal. It’s such an easy way to make the day feel extra-special.
Organize a Cookie Exchange
Gather your neighborhood and set a date to bake and exchange cookies. Let the kids play Santa and deliver their treats for all to enjoy. It’s a great way to feel connected to those around you, even if the annual holiday party is canceled.
Participate in a White Elephant Exchange
Not only is this activity a hoot, unwrapping the creative (and often hilarious) gifts makes gift giving more about the experience than the gift itself. Place gifts in a central location and take turns each choosing one to open. When it’s your turn, it’s your choice to snag a previously opened gift or try your luck on an unwrapped one.
Best white elephant gift we’ve heard of to-date? A hamster named John Hammster. It’s the gift (ahem, pet) that keeps on giving. Find more ideas here.
Visit a Tree Farm
Maybe you’ll ultimately grab yours at your local Home Depot or assemble your faux 9ft. Fraser Fir, but there’s something magical about hiking through a tree farm. Use it as an opportunity to snap some family photos–dressed to the 9s or in ugly Christmas sweaters–they’ll make for the perfect addition to this year’s holiday cards. Boom. That’s three traditions in one–tree farm, ugly Christmas sweaters, and holiday cards!
Enjoy Your Own Tree Lighting
Everyone loves a home covered in Christmas lights–but take it one step further with your very own “tree lighting” at home. Gather the family and stand in the yard for the big reveal Clark Griswold-style. Drumroll, please! Come inside and enjoy hot cocoa and read Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. We guarantee it will be a tradition your kids ask for every year.
Christmas Caroling 2020 Style
Singing Christmas carols is a long-standing tradition, but take it virtual this year and connect with some loved ones you’ve been missing. Organize an extended family or friends Zoom call with one rule–everyone sings loud and proud so it’s impossible to pinpoint who is off key!