15 Holiday Traditions That Will Make You Smile This Year

I’m no fan of cold weather, but even with the cold I would say December is the best month of the year because of the focus on quality time with family and friends throughout the holidays.

I’m SO excited to share with you that because of how much I love the holidays, I’ll be participating in my first ever BLOGMAS this year… with a little twist.  I’ll be coming to you with a TON of awesome holiday content this month and you’ll be seeing more posts than usual around here.

Disclaimer:  Please note that some links on this blog including are affiliate links.  I will receive a small percentage when you purchase items using these links.  These earnings are used to help offset the costs of maintaining the blog and creating content for you.  I appreciate your support in utilizing these links when you purchase items I recommend!

Blogmas is all about sharing daily content on a blog throughout the month of December leading up until Christmas.  I am not committing to daily posts because I want to ensure I provide you with quality content, but you’ll be seeing 2-3 holiday blog posts per week throughout December!  I hope you are as excited as I am!

If you want to ensure that you don’t miss anything this month, the BEST way to stay up to date on all of the holiday vibes is to subscribe to my email list!  We all know that Instagram and Facebook limit reach so it’s not guaranteed that you’ll see my posts there, but with email you can guarantee that you’ll receive everything I share straight to your inbox.

To subscribe:  

On mobile, scroll to the very bottom of this page and submit your info.

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I also have a special giveaway I’ll be doing for the holidays and you’ll only be eligible to win if you’re an email subscriber!

Top 15 Favorite Holiday Traditions

So, to start off Blogmas, today I’m sharing with you a list of our favorite holiday traditions!  Some of these are from my childhood and some are from my husband, Kevin’s.  Now, we’re combining the best of both and starting our own traditions.

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1.  Play Christmas music & decorate the tree

This is the tradition I most look forward to each year.  I am not really one of those people who listen to Christmas music non-stop for weeks on end, but I do LOVE to listen to it while I decorate.  Don’t judge me but for the past several years, my favorite Christmas album has been Justin Bieber’s. If you tell me you can listen to his rendition of “The Little Drummer Boy” with Busta Rhymes and NOT smile… I won’t believe you. This year, John Legend released his Christmas album, and it has taken over my #1 spot.  You also can’t beat Michael Buble’s Christmas music.

2.  Drive around town to look at lights

This one is definitely budget friendly.  We always loved driving around to different neighborhoods to look at the Christmas lights.  It seems like every town has that ONE family who goes all out Griswold style, so be sure to find your town’s Clark and enjoy the view.

We also love finding drive through light shows.  We always went to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY when I was a child.  When we lived on Long Island, we went to Jones Beach.

3.  Watch a Christmas show live

I’m a little spoiled now, because for the past several years our Christmas tradition has been going to see the Rockettes perform in NYC at Radio City Music Hall.  This year, we went the day after Thanksgiving with our New York family, and it was fun as always.  If you CAN get to NYC, you can often find special deals on Rockettes tickets.  We’ve found them on Groupon and other sites occasionally at a discount.

If you can’t make it to NYC, I’m sure your town has a local theater performance of a play or ballet!  Check out schools and other local venues for options.

4.  Watch all your favorite seasonal movies.

Another budget friendly option is to watch your favorite seasonal movies at home.  It’s nice to buy them once and watch them year after year… or you can even catch them on cable if you have it.  My personal favorites are Elf and Home Alone!

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5.  Host a game night

There’s really no better scene for quality time than a good game night.  Some of our family favorites are:  Apples to Apples, Scrabble, Heads Up, Uno, and Cards Against Humanity (adults only).  I’m planning to add Speak Out to our repertoire this year!  It looks so fun!

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6.  Bake and decorate cookies or make homemade candies

Spending time together in the kitchen is always a favorite this time of year.  I have such fond memories of my parents and grandparents doing this and love the tradition of passing down family favorite recipes from generation to generation.

One of my favorite holiday memories from childhood was making candy with my cousins and uncle while my mom and aunt went Christmas shopping.  I don’t recall how it started, but a full on food fight ensued and there was powdered sugar all over the kitchen when my mom and aunt got home.  I’ll never forget that special moment with my uncle who is no longer with us.  I can almost hear the laughter from that day now as I type this.

7.  Attend a Church Christmas service

One of the most consistent traditions in my childhood was performing in a Christmas Eve play at church.  It was so fun spending time with friends and family leading up to the night practicing our songs and “lines” together.

It’s really easy to get wrapped up in gifts and other traditions, but it’s really important to me personally that I spend time focusing on what I believe to be the true meaning of Christmas.

Side note:  I always like to remind everyone when I discuss my faith  that while I am a Christian, I love, welcome, and respect all people even if we don’t have the same beliefs.  Everyone is welcome here, always!

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8.  Volunteer or donate to someone in need

For the past several years, Kevin and I have participated in the “Adopt an Angel” program with the Salvation Army.  We don’t have our own children yet, but we have so much fun reading the wish lists of all the children and shopping for a few of them each year.

It’s great to give gifts to friends and loved ones, but if you are like us and are blessed and privileged to have everything you need throughout the year, it’s great to give as much as you can…especially during the holidays.

If you can’t give financially, or even if you can, it’s also great to give your time.  Visit an elderly relative who is lonely or find a charity that could use your skills.

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9.  Make a gingerbread house or build a Lego Christmas scene.

Kevin’s family has a Lego tradition… and I love it.  I never really was into Legos growing up but he was.  Now each year he loves putting together a holiday themed Lego set.  They’re surprisingly expensive, but you can use a set year after year and it’s good for entertainment and decor purposes.

My family was more into gingerbread houses, which are much more budget friendly but obviously don’t have much lasting power.

10.  Buy a special ornament that represents a milestone from the year

I always try to purchase a cute ornament as my vacation souvenir.  Of course, I forgot to buy one in Paris… my dream vacation.  I’m contemplating ordering an Eiffel Tower ornament on Amazon and pretending it came straight from my now favorite city.

In addition to vacation ornaments, you can commemorate other life milestones:  new home, newlywed, baby’s first Christmas, engagement, new pet, etc.  Sometimes I like to order customized ornaments on Etsy, but you can find great deals on Amazon or even at Target.  This year we are celebrating our first Christmas together in our new home, so I picked up an ornament similar to this one to add to our tree.  It’s always so fun to unpack your “special” ornaments each year and reflect on previous life events.

11.  Wear a festive (or ugly) holiday sweater.. you decide

I know the “ugly” holiday sweater trend has been in for several years now, but I really just love a good holiday sweater any time during the season.  I even think some of the ones that are supposed to be ugly are cute!  Oops!

Option 1:  Festive but doesn’t scream “holiday!”

Option 2:  Red, white, and adorable!

Option 3:  Pretty? Ugly? Pretty Ugly?  I can’t decide.

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12. Wear matching family pajamas

When you’re plus size, it’s hard to find matching family outfits and it’s even harder to find matching holiday PJs.  I was so excited to find this option that’s available up to size 40 or 7XL!  There are several styles available:

For Her

For Him

For Child

13. Put together a holiday puzzle!

This is another tradition that came from Kevin’s side of the family that I want to adopt.  Puzzles are a great excuse to put away the phone and relax with your loved ones (trust me, Instagram will still be there when we get back).

I’m not particularly GOOD at putting together puzzles, so if you’re like me… you might consider putting together the puzzle somewhere that isn’t in your way so that you can leave it and come back to it as you have time.

I love this one!

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14. Host a fun gathering for the adults

Host a pre-holiday party at your home & invite your friends.  Often, Christmas day centers around the kiddos, so it’s great to have an adults only party in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  Think ornament exchange or dirty santa gift exchange.

Bonus points if you make a festive sangria like this one!  I’ll post my own recipe soon.  It’s a white wine version that is always a big hit!

15. Read your favorite Christmas book or sing your favorite carols

One of the highlights of my Christmas last year was reading Twas The Night Before Christmas to my then four year old nephew on Christmas Eve.  Experiencing the excitement of it all through his eyes was incredible to say the least.

He also had a book of Christmas carols that we were all encouraged (AKA forced) to sing many times.  I’ll never forget the sound of his cute voice and the way he pronounced “Fa La La” as “Fa Ya Ya.”  Of course, I’m thrilled that he’s growing and learning but I’ll admit I’m a little sad that he now pronounces it correctly.

Now let’s hear from you!

I would LOVE to hear from you… what are your favorite holiday traditions? Are any of yours the same as ours? Is there anything you recommend we do this year?

ALSO, while I have a lot of content planned for you this month… I’d LOVE to hear your requests.  Anything you’d like to see from me?

If you still need more holiday inspiration, you can check out my Ultimate Women’s Holiday Gift Guide for 2018 here!

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