It’s already December, and the days are flying by. If you’re not feeling the Christmas spirit, yet, though, now is a great time to adopt some new holiday traditions and start feeling merry.

There are holiday traditions that many families share: decorating the Christmas tree, singing carols, attending a Christmas service or play, and enjoying a family meal. These, and other, traditions are great for making memories, but if you’re looking for a new tradition that you can make your own, to bring your family together and start feeling festive, here are some ideas.

Let’s start with some creative traditions. You don’t have to be an art expert to do any of these!

1. Make your own ornaments.

This can be as elaborate as you like, but it can also be incredibly simple. Grab a package of plain Christmas ornaments and some paint. The one above is from Aesthetic Outburst, where you can find several more designs in her ’20 Ornaments In 20 Days’ series.

Yours can be as simple as a colored Christmas ball with the year on it, or you can think of your tree as a growing charm bracelet and let each year’s new ornaments represent important events for the year. Removing the cap from a translucent Christmas ball and placing tinsel, glitter, or other decorative elements inside is another cute option.

If you do have sewing, crocheting, painting, or other creative skills, now is a great time to put them to use. Get your family together to add new ornaments to your collection each year, and you’ll have a beautiful legacy and memories to pass down.

2. Paint your own Christmas stockings.

This can be done by any child old enough to hold a bottle of fabric paint. Simply purchase a plain stocking and bottles of paint. Have each child write their name and the year on their stocking (or, for younger kids, do this for them) so Santa can identify whose is whose, and so they become an annual keepsake. Then let their creativity go wild. They can paint gifts they hope to receive as a hint for Santa, or Christmas elements like reindeer and stars, or whatever they can imagine.

3. Make gifts or cards.

If you’ve been planning to sew, knit, or paint something for a loved one, time is running out! The 36th Avenue has a list of excellent homemade gift ideas. Painting or crafting your own Christmas cards is also an awesome idea. The one above was made with a variety of textured and smooth papers, and small metal tiles. The scrapbooking section of your local craft shop will have everything you need to adapt your own card design.

4. Make or buy an Advent calendar.

This is the last crafty one, I promise. Make your own Advent calendar. It can be as simple as tying 25 pieces of candy on a ribbon, or you can employ your best sewing or crafting skills. All About You has instructions for an incredible number of different ways you can make your own. Stacked matchboxes with tiny gifts inside, items clothespinned to ribbon, envelopes taped or pinned to the wall — just think of 25 gifts, messages, or other special items (a photo Advent calendar can be a fun way to celebrate a year’s worth of memories), and assemble. The unbelievably sweet Advent calendar shown above is made from stacked, painted, and decorated matchboxes.

There are also a wide variety of Advent calendars available for purchase, if you’re not interested in making your own. They can hold anything from jewelry to candy to small toys. Open one gift or message each day as you count down to Christmas!

5. Bake Christmas cookies for neighbors and friends.

Baking Christmas cookies to deliver to loved ones is not only a great way to bring holiday smells into your kitchen, but a great way to bring the spirit of giving into your heart. Bake up a tray full of gingerbread men, and pass them on to share the sweet holiday love. While you’re at it, you can also make and decorate a gingerbread house!

6. Donate coats and toys.

While you’re getting in the spirit of giving, consider giving to those who need it most. Look for a coat collection drive in your area, or donate to Toys For Tots or Angel Tree.

7. Have a Christmas movie marathon.

Check out the Christmas movies coming up on television, or rent a stack. Choose from classics, like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and A Christmas Story, new classics like Elf and Nightmare Before Christmas, or check out this year’s new selections, such as the new Annie.

8. Buy new Christmas pajamas.

Many families celebrate Christmas with new pajamas for each member. The pajamas are wrapped and placed under the tree with other gifts, and opened on Christmas Eve. Pick out pajamas suited to each family member’s likes or personality, or choose a theme, giving each person a different superhero or fuzzy animal slippers. (Yes, every member of the family!)

9. Write a letter to Santa.

Encourage each child to write a personalized letter to Santa. In addition to listing gift requests, kids can ask questions about the North Pole and reindeer, tell Santa about their year, or just wish him a happy holiday too.

10. Elf on a shelf.

Elf on a Shelf is a new tradition that’s getting popular. After your kids go to bed, you find mischief for him to get into, and position him in poses getting into all kinds of trouble — stealing food from the cat’s dish, hiding silverware, or whatever you can think of. He’s gotten popular in recent years, and people post their photos of him on social media and share the stories they create.

What’s great about Elfy, though, is that he’s going to get you thinking about Christmas. Each evening as you set him up, you’ll be thinking about Christmas, and about your kids’ joy and amusement in the morning when they find out what naughtiness their Elf pal has gotten into overnight.

Do these ideas help you get in the Christmas spirit? Share your own special holiday traditions with us in the comments below!

[Images from: hownowdesign, kevin dooley, Lynn Friedman, Lauren Manning, Sparrow*, poppet with a camera, ,
Zellaby, mbaylor, Renee V, katerha]

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