With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it can be difficult to slow down and remember what the holidays are truly about: spending time with your loved ones. Every year the same season rolls around and we always end up wondering how it flew by so quickly. There’s just never enough time to see everybody and do everything that you want to do.
Well, this year I’ve been trying really hard to slow down and soak in every moment while squeezing in time with all of the important people in my life. The first step in doing so is being completely and totally present in all of these family and friend activities. The next step is…well, figuring out what traditions to share or begin or continue with everyone. I’ve listed a few of my favorite traditions below for you all.
If you haven’t already done some of these things, maybe you can try to find time to do them with others. They’re just great ways to spend time with loved ones and seep in the joy. I know not everyone celebrates Christmas, but since my family does celebrate the ‘Hallmark’ version, a lot of these ideas pertain to that.
1. Christmas Tree Shopping
There’s just something magical about the fresh scent of pine, crisp fall/winter air, and a forest of green trees all around you. For the past few years, my family, our dog, and I have been driving up to the Santa Cruz mountains to visit tree farms. We tend to race around to search for the perfect tree, and oftentimes, the tree farms accommodate us with some warm drinks such as hot chocolate or hot apple cider. We’ve also seen many other families have picnics up there, which is our goal for next year.
It might be a little late to try and chop down a tree now, but next year you can always try to do it. It’s never too late to start new traditions.
2. Christmas Tree Decorating
Round up your family members and decorate the Christmas tree together. Mark took a time lapse of the decorating this year! This is probably one of my favorite family traditions. Some holiday music gently playing in the background, a basketball game (most likely a Lakers game) on the TV, and all of us rummaging through the ornament box for our favorites to hang.
3. Wine Tasting With Friends
With friends, there are plenty of traditions you can have with them. There’s secret santa, dinners, movie nights, etc.
With this particular group of friends, my friend Amit’s birthday lands a few days before Christmas. We generally gather, the four of us, and go out to dinner or wine tasting. The wonderful thing about California is that there is an abundance of wineries all around. During that particular year, we visited Napa!
Happy Birthday Amit!
4. Pajama and Movie Night
When your co-workers are also your friends, life is fantastic. We can wear matching oversized onesies to work, return to a person’s home, bake desserts, drink some wine, and enjoy a movie.
One of my favorite holiday traditions is just gathering with friends and family, making fresh popcorn, and watching Christmas movies!
Christmas movie recommendations:
- Home Alone (A classic – watch 2, 3, and 4 if you have it in you)
- Arthur Christmas (animated film that is ridiculously adorable)
- A Christmas Kiss (a typical holiday romance)
- Mistletones (a lot of singing involved, but it’s cute!)
- Miracle on 34th Street (Another class holiday film that’s worth watching)
- A Dennis the Menace Christmas (This one is my FAVORITE! The little boy is so clumsy!)
- Santa Claus (A Tim Allen classic Christmas movie. Very kid friendly.)
- A Christmas Carol (There are many versions of this classic tale where Scrooge is visited by 3 ghosts)
- Last Holiday (A Queen Latifah movie where she thinks she only has a few more weeks of life left)
- Ernest Saves Christmas (a comedy where Ernest is trying to break Santa out of jail)
5. Holiday Card Making
Get together with friends or family and make holiday cards together! Then you can exchange them with one another or give them to other people. During college, my friends and I would spend one or two nights making holiday cards together with some kind of movie playing in the background. They’re some of my favorite memories.
6. Gingerbread House
My sister and I tend to get a Christmas village kit and have competitions on who can make the best looking house. We didn’t do it this year because we don’t ever eat the cookies, so it’s too wasteful. But if you have kids and want to do something fun with them, this gingerbread house decorating thing might be the way to go!
After this weekend, there’s still New Year and then we’ll be asking ourselves how the holidays flew by so quickly! Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I believe that it is also the beginning of Hanukkah. Happy holidays! Stay happy and healthy, y’all!
And if you can/want, tell me what holiday traditions you and your family have!