9 Christmas Traditions
Look at Christmas lights
Have a Secret Santa gift exchange
If you can't wait until Christmas to open gifts, lots of families will take part in a Secret Santa gift exchange too. Just throw everyone's name in a hat and have each person pick a recipient to give a silly, cheap gift too. Remember: No switching allowed!
Buy an Elf on the Shelf
Not all traditions have to date years back. The Elf on the Shelf is a fairly recent addition to many households across the country. The Elf keeps track of your children's behaviour, and reports back to Santa if they're being naughty or nice—all while being caught in a new room or pose every day. (You can even buy them outfits too!)
Pick out a Christmas tree
It truly isn't Christmas in your home until you've picked out your tree. Sure, putting it up and decorating it is important (and seriously fun to do), but we think you should make the most of your time at the Christmas tree farm if activities are offered. Take photos, drink hot chocolate and eat cookies, and go on a carriage ride.
Make a gingerbread house
There's a reason this tradition has been around for centuries: Gingerbread houses are so much fun to decorate. You can buy your own kit or start from scratch, but either way, you and your kids will enjoy being allowed to play with their food.
Count down with an advent calendar
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!
Listen to classic Christmas music
You don't have to own a record player to listen to all the holiday hits from Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin. 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.
Plan a cookie exchange
There's nothing more delicious than a fresh batch of Christmas cookies. Knock on your neighbours' 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.
Get your craft on
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).