Christmas doesn’t have to be the consumer trap that it has become for many people. With a little effort and planning, you can refocus the spirit of the season on the real meaning of Christmas: giving and togetherness. Here are three new traditions to adopt so you can make unforgettable Christmas memories together as a family.
Skip Gifts for an Experience
Anyone with a little wanderlust will tell you, travel is the ultimate gift. Why not forgo traditional gift-giving in favor of sharing a new experience as a family?
Skip the presents and instead spend a week together on a family vacation for the holidays. A portion of the money you would typically spend on gifts can also go toward helping those who are less fortunate. For more ideas for a no-gift Christmas, you can check out World Vision’s charity gift catalog.
By adopting a no-gift tradition that instead focuses on the gift of togetherness and helping people who truly need it, you can help your kids to really learn the spirit of the season, beyond all of the commercialized hype that we are constantly bombarded with. Put your own unique spin on this kind of tradition and travel to various far-flung corners of the globe each year, bringing gifts to donate to local needy families. You can broaden your children’s perspectives outside of their bubble at home and instill a curiosity and love of the world around us.
Find the Perfect Tree Together
Skip the street corner Christmas tree lot and make a new tradition out of hunting for the perfect Christmas tree. Start by researching the best local areas where you can cut down your own wild Christmas tree. In some areas, you’ll need to buy a tree permit from the forest service to do so.
About two months before you plan to go cut down your tree, head out with your crew on a tree scouting trip. If you live in an area with particularly frigid winter weather, this is crucial, as it’s helpful to have the best spots narrowed down in advance so that you aren’t stuck hiking through a December blizzard to find the best tree. Look for an area with mature growth and plenty of trees in the variety, shape and size that you prefer. Once you’ve narrowed down a few key spots, drop pins in those locations on a GPS service like Google Earth so that you can easily find your way back on the big day.
A few weeks before Christmas, head out into the woods with all of the necessary gear that you’ll need to chop down the tree. Bring along dry wood to make a campfire, camp chairs, a picnic lunch, hot cocoa and plenty of warm layers so you can enjoy some family togetherness comfortably as you marvel at your gorgeous tree before heading home. Crank up the Christmas tunes and enjoy a new tradition together.
Host a Holiday Toy Drive Party
The holidays are all about togetherness, so why not gather all of your nearest and dearest for a good cause? Choose a charity and ask guests to bring toy donations. After celebrating the spirit of the season on the big night, have your kids help to wrap up all of the toys.
As a family, bring everything to the charity and arrange to be a part of their distribution process. You and your crew will get to see the looks of joy and love on the recipients’ faces as they open their special gifts and your kids can experience the real joy that is in giving.