Nov 20, 2007

Guest Post: 4 Ways to Build Holiday Traditions

The following is a guest post from Kalyn at, a new blog "dedicated to frugality, organization, productivity and a happy life." Check out her recipe for Chicken Pot Pie, which looks like an easy and delicious weeknight meal.

4 Ways to Build Holiday Traditions

Think carefully about your own holiday experience - do you get giddy thinking about eggnog, are you most excited for a dinner party, or do you connect most to a spiritual tradition that has been in your family for decades? Holiday traditions are what make the upcoming season memorable and enjoyable. Most of us have childhood memories of activities, foods, scents and events that bring us back to a happy holiday season. As we get older, we need to adapt these traditions into our changing lives; the addition of a spouse, children, a new geographical location or a new life schedule may require some creative ideas to keep the holidays merry and bright.

How do you build new holiday traditions that can stand the test of time and be a positive experience for your family?

1. Recreate Old Ideas
Take that original exercise and use it to determine which traditions you hold closest to your heart. If it is possible to continue them without problem, simply incorporate the tree-trimming evening or neighborhood snowman-building event into your holiday schedule. More likely, you have stopped following this tradition because it does not fit in with your current lifestyle. Consider adjusting your lifestyle or the tradition itself in order to bring it back into your life - if you have fond memories of snow but live in a temperate climate, a trip to a colder area might be nice, as would watching a snuggly-marathon of snowy movies and eating candy cane ice cream.

2. Build Frugal Traditions
The desire to bring more tradition into your holidays is the perfect opportunity to practice safe and sane spending habits. Instead of buying gifts for everyone, start a new tradition of a gift exchange, drawing each person's name and having a spending limit. Focus your new ideas on activities and events that cost very little money; whether it involves a potluck dinner or a crisp walk in the woods on Christmas morning, you will have new holiday traditions that are not dependent on your financial situation and will not add stress to an already busy season.

3. Build Selfless Traditions
The holiday season is about giving and spreading joy; begin a new tradition that highlights these actions and brings a little extra warmth to your heart. Rally the family together and go carolling through your neighbourhood, donate your time to help feed the less fortunate or visit the invalid, or spend a portion of your gift budget on donations to worthy causes. December can be a very sad and lonely month for many people and animals; your compassion and love can bring about some newfound happiness this season.

4. Build Active Traditions
Even if the weather outside is frightful, adding some fun and family-oriented activities to your holiday repertoire can bring your family together and ensure that everyone remains healthy and happy. Spending time together on activities like tobogganing/sledding, taking a walk in the woods or trimming a tree can be a fun way for you and yours to stay fit and have fun (and possibly offset the damage done by a night or two of heavy eating)!

Whether or not you celebrate a specific holiday or merely enjoy the magic of the season, spending time to focus on selfless giving and sharing is a tradition that can be passed down through every generation. Look at the specific interests of your family and friends in order to adapt specific activities suited for your lives; regardless of what you pick, building new traditions will bring you closer together and help you to have a great holiday season.

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