Ask our kids about some of our holiday traditions and they’ll grimace and groan but I have a feeling they’ll carry on some of them like writing clues on every gift package and wrapping up jokes we find on the internet which when read, provide us all with the gift of laughter at a bargain price!
As much as I take delight in our own homegrown traditions, I love hearing about what other families do. Here are a few other rituals that might inspire you as they did me!
CHIP AND JOANNA GAINES CHRISTMAS COVERUP. In the latest issue of their magazine, Magnolia Journal, Chip Gaines wrote about a tradition he has carried on from his own family. A few days before Christmas he covers the door frame leading into their family room with wrapping paper to keep everyone guessing about the gifts and surprises hiding behind it. Come Christmas day, they rip through the paper to discover what’s on the other side, but not before they’ve had several days to anticipate which as Gaines points out, is truly the gift he is trying to pass on from his own childhood memories. Anticipation is half the fun, and the Gaines family has found a very creative way to draw it out and ramp it up.
REVERSE ADVENT CALENDAR. When our kids were little, my wife would list a different holiday activity on the Advent calendar that ranged from leaving their shoes outside for St. Nick on December 6 to baking Christmas cookies. In a recent article in the Lake Oswego Review, Tracy Smith, program coordinator at Tualatin School House Pantry suggested families consider a Reverse Advent calendar. Instead of getting things each day, families can give one food item to a food box to countdown the season. Hunger Fighters Oregon is a good place to donate your food once you’re done!
NEW YEAR PREDICTION LIST. We’re all familiar with New Year resolutions—how about predictions? This tradition has family members predicting what they think will or would like to have happen in their own lives or that of other family members, write it down on a piece of paper, and store it away in a prediction jar until the next Christmas season to see how well they looked into the future. My daughter Riley tried this last year with a planner, writing in activities, accomplishments, trips she wanted to take in the coming year. Read about it in a blog she recently wrote at sincerelyriley.com.
SCAVENGER HUNT. We have sent our kids on a scavenger hunt in search of one gift sometimes, but one family I heard about posts the first clue in the Christmas tree and then each subsequent gift has a clue leading them to the next gift. When they were younger, the gifts were spread out just around the house, but then as they got older, the hunt spread out into the neighborhood and eventually, once they could drive, around the city. Now that’s a great way to spend your Christmas day!
WRAPPING PAPER FIGHT. After all the gifts are opened, one family wads up all the discarded wrapping paper and starts throwing it at each other. After sitting for a while, it’s a good way to burn off some calories before your big Christmas meal!
HANGING STOCKINGS ON THE BED. When her kids were younger, one mom I know would hang their stockings on their bedposts so when they woke up Christmas morning, they could each unwrap the first gifts of the day on their own timeframe (and maybe buy Mom and Dad a few more minutes of shut-eye).
CHRISTMAS EVE SMORGASBORD. My wife’s hairdresser has warmed up to her in-laws’ tradition of celebrating Christmas Eve dinner with everyone’s favorites. So options may include everything from McDonald’s french fries to Green Machine sushi rolls from Bamboo Sushi. It’s Christmas–here’s to everyone getting what they wish for!
Have any holiday traditions of your own you’d like to share? Leave a comment below—would love to hear about them!