Cross-Cultural Interaction, Holidays, Seasonal Activities

How to make the Christmas holidays your own

When I was growing up, my parents were really big into celebrating annual Christmas traditions.  As I grew older the busyness of life made those traditions less important to them, but as they let the traditions go I became old enough to pick the slack back up again.

On Christmas Eve, we would put out milk and cookies for Santa (and carrots for Rudolph too, of course).  The next morning, we were always greeted by a letter from Santa (Santa’s handwriting looks remarkably like my dad’s!), which encouraged us to remember what Christmas is really about.  So we’d pull out the Bible and read the story of Jesus’ birth from Luke 2.  It was only after then that we’d open the stockings and gifts.

But I was recently married, and I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can create meaningful Christmas traditions with my husband while it’s still just the 2 of us.  Most Christmas traditions are centered around the kids, so making the holiday meaningful when you’re childless can sometimes be challenging.

Here are 5 ways that you can make the holiday your own, without ever involving someone too young to drive.

  1. Go Christmas light-hunting together.

    Google “best neighborhoods for Christmas lights <city>” and you will most likely get a plethora of answers. I did that for Atlanta and found this link, which gives exact addresses for some of the most impressively lit houses all over metro Atlanta.  If you do a little bit of research ahead of time, you can find some really spectacular light shows.

  2. Hold an annual Christmas party.

    I’ve done this on my own for several years, and I’m already looking forward to sharing this tradition with my husband as the years pass.

    You can focus your party on any theme that you care about:
      • Have a gingerbread house contest.
      • Host a dinner and then go caroling.
      • Ask people to bring useful items and then stuff care packages for people in nursing homes or living on the street.
      • Coordinate a “lessons and carols” evening, when the birth of Jesus is celebrated through a collection of songs and Bible verses.

    Be creative and showcase your own personal passions and talents!

  3. Find a seasonal activity that you both enjoy.

    The possibilities are endless, especially if you live in a decent-sized city.  Go watch “A Christmas Carol” at your local theater.  If you live somewhere that consistently gets snow, make a point to make snow angels or have a snowball fight.  Look for a great recipe for spiced cider and make it together.  Find a unique way to connect that you can both look forward to every December.

  4. Open stockings together.

    If you’re a young married couple, the chances are that you probably still go to at least one of your parents’ homes for Christmas.  Although spending time with family is great, if you’re constantly tied to their Christmas traditions you will never be able to develop your own.

    So for your first few years together, try stuffing stockings for each other and opening them together, just the two of you.  This is a great balance between staying connected to your old families and helping to build your new family.
  5.  Find a great Christmas movie and watch it together.

    It could be an old classic (some of my personal favorites are “The Year Without a Santa Clause” or “Santa Clause is Coming to Town”), or a new favorite (“Christmas with the Kranks”, “The Santa Clause”).

    It doesn’t matter what you choose, just make sure it’s something you both enjoy.  Then you can look forward to curling up next to each other with a mug of hot cocoa or warm apple cider and watching that together every year!

Christmas is full of traditions, family and sentiment.  But just because you’re starting a new family doesn’t mean you have to stick to all of your old traditions.  Be creative, be unique, and make this holiday your own!

Looking for more great ideas to help you create your own holiday traditions as a couple?  Check out this great post from Sheila Wray Gregoire at “To Love, Honor and Vacuum”!

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