Earlier this week I got chatty about the joy of building holiday traditions together and today I can’t wait to share a few bitchin’ holiday traditions to adopt. I’m excited to have recently bid on the Mr. Christmas Mickey Clock Shop. It was my favorite Christmas decoration growing up, and I’m excited to have found a few on eBay– hopefully one will make it home to us and be part of our new Christmas traditions. I’m loving reading about everyone else’s holiday traditions (let’s not limit it to Christmas, okay? Share your favorite Halloween, New Year’s, Thanksgiving, or Easter traditions– or any others you may have!)
Spend whole days watching your favorite holiday movies.
This hasn’t changed for me since I was little, and it’s never the holidays without White Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Frosty the Snowman/Frosty Returns, and now What a Wonderful Life, Love Actually, A Nightmare Before Christmas, and A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All.
Make giving to others part of your holiday spirit.
The Beau gives every Christmas to Penny Arcade’s Child Play (because video games to kids in hospital’s rocks his world). When I hit the pet store, I always pick up extra toys and food for the animal shelters. Whether you adopt a child & give them gifts, spend time at a food kitchen, or donate food to an animal shelter, give to those a little bit less fortunate.
Start a Christmas Cookie Club.
One of my best, and most recent memories of Christmas was baking 12 dozen cookies and getting 12 dozen cookies in return. LAWD, IT WAS AMAZING. Grab yo’ girl gang, bake up a storm, and share all those delicious delicacies with one another.
Find something you’re awesome at making and give handmade gifts.
Not only does this stimulate your creativity, it helps you learn great, new skills and makes you a super awesome gift giver!
Start hosting a “Misfit/Orphan” dinner.
We all have friends or family who may not be sharing the holidays with anyone. Open your doors and include them in your festivities. Cook up a turkey, ask all attendees to bring a side dish, and have tons of board games on hand! My gal pal Seale hosts one of these every Thanksgiving. It’s always absolutely wonderful to spend time with my New Orleans family and is a highlight of my year.
Gift a bottle of wine to that unappreciated coworker.
It’s like a wink & nod to say, “Hey, I got your back. Enjoy this after work on the day the boss went crazy.”
Find holiday music that doesn’t make you want to slit your wrists.
For me, it’s Billy Idol’s Happy Holidays. ‘Nuf said.
Send out that silly animated e-card…
There’s gotta be someone in your life who forwards chain emails and sends silly holiday cards. For me, it’s my mom. So give that gift of a smile back and shoot them a silly animated e-card.
Ban Black Friday– support Small Business Saturday. ALL YEAR ROUND.
I’d be a guilty mutha if I said I didn’t buy anything (online) this past Black Friday or Cyber Monday. But Black Friday has gotten ridiculous and totally out of the spirit of the holidays (pepper spraying people? ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?). Support endeavors like Small Business Saturday, but don’t do it on one day– do it all year round. Buy presents all year round.
Take a hike. Literally.
There’s something amazing, peaceful and beautiful about taking a mid-afternoon hike on a cold winter day. It’s refreshing, makes your lungs ache, but it’s so worth it.
Kiss under mistletoe, often.
Hang it up. Use it as an awesome excuse to smooch your partner, your friends, your kids, your favorite shoes or stuffed animal, and your cats all the more.
Make Christmas stockings for your favorite people.
CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS ARE MY FAVORITE. Fill them with oranges, band-aids, stamps, make-up, office supplies or peanuts. Make them filled with lots of inexpensive, useful, exciting items. I have three favorite stockings in my life: one from when I was about 10, and it was filled with crayons, office supplies, coffee cups and treasures like that. One from my first Christmas with the Beau’s family, where my stocking was filled with stamps, peanuts, chocolate and MEDICINE (brilliant)! And one from my last Christmas with my mother, where we went buck crazy in the beauty section at the grocery store.
Host an Ugly Sweater & Christmas/Channakuh Cocktail Party.
Encourage everyone to wear their worst, make peppermint martinis, gingerbread martinis, mulled cider and more. Share old stories, make new friends, get a bit too drunk and kiss someone you shouldn’t (see point #10).
Focus on the FOOD.
I love food. It’s about nourishing your body, it’s creative, but it’s also about community and relationships. How many of us use meals as an opportunity to be social, whether brunch with your girlfriends or making cookies with your grandma. Figure out the foods that are important to you during the holidays and make them a BIG EFFIN’ DEAL. I always love to make spritz with my mom; my friend Fernando always tamales during the holidays; John loves his mother’s seafood gumbo; my brother Connor makes Feuerzangenbowles. Maybe find some new & delicious recipes and plan to make them a staple in your festivities (hint: these bread & cheese stuffed pumpkins are now in my repertoire.)
Enjoy the lights.
Bundle up and sweaters and take foot to your neighborhood (or drive to check out the fancccaayy houses). Visit your city park. Fill up mugs with hot cocoa and Amaretto (or swing by and get a frostie from Wendy’s like my friend James does)and enjoy the amazing ways people decorate for the holidays.
Make it Match.
My gal pal Jene told me how her father used to buy her & her sister matching bracelets. Now each year they do it for each other. The fab Mary from Pretty Good Things shared this story of her & her husband, “My husband Nick and I decided last year to start a Christmas Pajama Patch crafting/making tradition. We each bought red Christmas PJs. and are only allowed to wear them during the month of December. Every year we plan to make a patch to commemorate the year. And to celebrate the 7 other years we weren’t married (and didn’t yet have a tradition)…we added glittery ribbon stripes to the chest like a military badge.” I love it!
Host a decorating party!
Whether it’s Halloween, Christmas, your birthday, or any holiday floats your boat– invite your best friends over to help decorate, hang out, have a delish dinner (might I suggest chili?) and have one more great excuse to see each other during the busy season.
Build a gingerbread house.
Fact: I’m not sure if I’ve EVER built a gingerbread house, but I’ve made awesome (dirty) gingerbread men & women. It seems like an awesome activity & spend time with the young ones in your family–whether your kids, your nieces & nephews, or little brothers & sisters. Or if your life is sans children, use it as a good bonding activity with any friends or loved ones.
See a holiday show (dance, theatre or film!).
This awesome idea comes from Laura at For Those About to Shop, who says she takes her daughters to see a live show (recently Mary Poppins) for the holidays. Even though I don’t see a live performance, the Beau and I caught an afternoon screening of White Christmas on Christmas day and it was my favorite part of the day. I’m an advocate of supporting the arts, and most theatres love to produce family friendly shows around the holidays. Find The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol, or any other great show and add “patron of the arts” to your resume.
Embrace the snow! (Or if you’re southern bound, seek it out!)
Christmas just never feels like Christmas without snow. This year the Beau and I are bound for the North (Winter is coming.). I look forward to a break from the ups and downs of New Orleans weather (78 one day, 54 the next!) to a week of ice and snow… just in time to come home when we’re tired of it!
Keep them coming– what are you favorite traditions from childhood to adulthood? What are you looking forward to passing on and what do you hope to adopt this holiday season?