Full disclosure: I love the holiday season. I love the music, the food, and the festive energy in the air. And if you stop and think about your personal favourite Christmas memory, it’s likely spending time with loved ones.
How do we enjoy the holidays without overspending and creating waste? By building holiday traditions to savour every year.
Stocking Songs for everyone!
For my family, one of my favourite traditions we had growing up is also one of the strangest: “Stocking Songs.” Every Christmas in my memory, we would have to sing a song before we could open our stocking. Everyone received stockings in my family, not just the children, and everyone had to come up with a Stocking Song.
No one was a good singer, but that wasn’t the point! My mother and aunt would usually stumble through a song while laughing, trying to remember the words while also prepping for dinner; my great-grandmother would sing a beautiful rendition of Silent Night; and we kids would sing a simple Jingle Bells to the delight of all the adults.
To this day, my family participates in the tradition! Now, my sister, her husband, my husband, and I even go the extra mile, planning our songs in advance. We change the words of a popular Christmas carol to reflect the ridiculous things that happened that year, creating parodies honouring our wacky family and teasing one another. Of course, I’m teaching my son to participate as well!
Build traditions of your own
There are so many ways to build traditions that kids will remember for the rest of their lives—and pass them on to their own kids one day!
Here are a few examples of traditions to adopt:
- Share an experience together like a holiday play, a hockey game, or a concert. If you need some inspiration, check out CMNG’s Merry Memory Maker.
- Go sledding or snowshoeing, with a cup of (Fair Trade and organic!) hot cocoa afterward.
- Throw a “tree decorating party” with a casual buffet-style or potluck dinner.
- Bake and decorate cookies or gingerbread houses.
- Bring the family downtown to view the window displays and lights, listen to the music, and soak up the holiday atmosphere.
- Gather some friends and go caroling (collect money for charity!).
- Decorate for the holidays together (while listening to Christmas music, of course)
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen, food bank, or seniors’ centre.
- Read one holiday-themed book every evening before bed. (Consider wrapping the books in fabric, and asking the kids to choose one to unwrap each day.)
- Participate in a cookie exchange with neighbours or friends.
- Watch holiday movies.
- Take an evening walk in your neighbourhood to see the Christmas lights.
- Do a “Secret Santa” with family members (check out Metro Vancouver’s Merry Memory Maker for gift suggestions at any budget).
- Make homemade eco-friendly decorations, such as a wreath from foraged branches and other natural materials.
- Research local markets, events, and attractions to visit.
- Cook as a family! Entertaining for the holidays can be a wonderful tradition. Consider getting the kids to help set the table.
I’d love to know: what sorts of holiday traditions do you participate in with your family? Do you do anything weird and wonderful, like our Stocking Songs?