The Christmas season is a special time of year for Christians everywhere! In response to the joy and suspense-filled time of year, families and friends have come up with traditions that they carry with them in order to make the season more memorable. No matter where you are this season or who you have around you, there are some traditions that you can implement into your holidays to keep this time of year festive!
If you happen to be spending this season by yourself--whether you are staying at college away from family or if you recently moved away from your family--there are still fun traditions you can enjoy alone or with friends!
This might seem like a no-brainer, but decorating your living space and workspace for the holiday can be a huge mood booster when you have to spend Christmas away from family. Even if budget is a problem, heading down to your local dollar store or craft store and buying a miniature Christmas tree, some wreaths, lights, and other hanging decorations will brighten up the space and, by extension, your life!
If you don’t have the bustle of your family around you to break the regular lull of life, it can be hard to break it on your own. Make an intentional effort this season to set work and the normal aside and have a Christmassy evening! This can be as intense or relaxing as you want and can range from snuggling up to read a book with a hot cocoa in Christmas pajamas while playing Christmas music to walking around your local mall and appreciating all of the decorations and bustle of the season!
Another way to celebrate the holidays when you don’t have the responsibility of family tying you down, is to donate your time or necessities to your local soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or even at an animal shelter! This way you can spend time loving on others and giving back to your community without neglecting those closest in your life.
For those of you currently in a relationship, but you don’t have kids yet, these are some fun activities that you can make traditions in your relationship!
Whether you are married with no kids, your kids have already flown the coop, or you’re still dating, you can always make your partner a quick handwritten letter to tell them what you like about them, what you’re thankful for in them, to talk to them about the past year’s events in a sentimental way, and--of course--wish them a Merry Christmas!
This is a really fun way to spend time together. Plan ahead to have 12 special and unique dates with your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend leading up to Christmas! They can be festive, but they could also just be a fun activity you have always wanted to do but haven’t gotten around to yet. If budget is an issue, these dates can comprise the majority of your Christmas gifts to each other as well!
This one is something couples can implement year-round, but there are so many more things to cook and bake around Christmas time, so if you never have before, now is a good time to start! Go to the store and grab some flour and sugar, grab your partner and bake something neither of you have ever made before! Going for a challenge can be a fun way to test your teamwork and surely get some laughs! Christmas bread or Christmas macarons are great recipes to tackle if you’re not a beginner!
The final stage, family life. When you are far along in your relationship and have some kiddos running around, you might find these traditions work wonders for keeping them entertained and excited while they wait all month long to open those presents.
Teach your kids about giving this season by having them help pick out small presents for your neighbors! Pack them into individual baggies and walk around your neighborhood “ding-dong-ditching” your neighbors, leaving their special present behind on their porch!
This tradition comes from Cindy, a blogger for “Skip to my Lou.” She says, “The night before December 6th, children (however we do our whole family) leave their shoes by their door for St. Nicholas to bring them gifts and treats. Traditionally the shoes are filled with coins, sweets, fruit and or small gifts. Saint Nicholas was a real Saint who was known for being kind, helping those in need and his love for children. A wonderful model for us all this time of year! What I loved most was that this simple gift giving from St. Nicholas happened early in the month and then the focus shifted to the birth of Christ. It seemed to help preserve a Christmas Day with the focus on the Christ Child and not St. Nic.”
This last idea is one my own family has practiced every year for as long as I can remember. During the Christmas season, the Samaritan’s Purse organization holds a campaign called “Operation Christmas Child” where they ask families to fill up classic shoe boxes with everyday items (from toothbrushes to shoes to toys) that will then be handed out to a child in need! If you don’t have time to donate outside of your hometown, this same concept can work for your local mission or homeless shelter too! Putting together the gifts can be lots of fun for kids and teaches them the importance of giving to people in need of every age!
All in all, you do not need any traditions to have fun during Christmas-time, but we would love it if you left a comment telling us all about which traditions work best for you--even if they weren’t mentioned in this article! No matter where you are or who you’re with, we hope you have fun this season and remember that Christmas is about so much more than gifts and giving, it’s about the coming of our one and only Savior.
From all of us at the Center for Marriage and Relationships, we wish you a Very Merry Christmas!
Jessica Brest is the current marketing and communications intern for the Center for Marriage and Relationships. She will be graduating in spring 2019 from Biola University's public relations and broadcast journalism programs. Jessica loves writing and speaking. She is deeply interested in relationships and communication strategies and loves being able to grow in her knowledge and wisdom while she works! Also, her favorite holiday is Halloween and her favorite animal is ducks!