By Michelle Horton
•Make traditional dishes for your holiday meals and include foods from your culture or foods you ate growing up. Ask for recipes from relatives to keep your family food traditions alive.
•Organize a cookie-baking party. Invite friends and family or a group of your kids’ friends. Ask everyone to bring their favorite holiday cookie recipe.
Giving Back Traditions
•Volunteer your time as a family at a soup kitchen or a food bank that hands out food to needy families.
• Find a giving tree that allows you to sponsor a family or purchase toys for children in need. Go shopping for the items together and donate them.
• Start a canned food drive in your neighborhood or at your church. Ask friends to donate canned and non-perishable foods, then donate them to a food bank.
• Go through closets and donate gently used clothing (coats are particularly useful this time of year) to a local shelter.
•Don’t forget senior citizens! Volunteer time at your local senior citizens center or see if there is a giving tree specifically for the residents.
Neighborhood & Community Traditions
•Get a handful of friends together and go caroling. You’ll be surprised by how well-received your singing group is, even if you’re out of tune!
• See a local production of The Nutcracker, held at the Perot Theatre the first weekend in December.
• Check out holiday lights in your area. Get in the car, turn on your holiday playlist, and find
brightly lit houses.
•Draw names in your immediate family and make a gift for that person. It can be as easy as a photobook of your family’s greatest moments of the year.
•Spend a day and possibly a night in a local metropolitan area and complete your holiday shopping. Ask your mom, sister, or sisters-in-law to come along!
• Start a gag gift tradition. Give a funny gift to a family member. Each year, pass the gift on to another unsuspecting family member.
At Home Traditions
• Have your child start an “I Am Thankful” list on November 1st. Have them add one thing they are thankful for each day. You can turn this into a decoration for your Thanksgiving table.
•Go to a tree farm to locate the perfect Christmas tree. At home, decorate it as a family or let the kids do their thing. Have some treats, hot cider, or cocoa on hand to keep energy levels up!
• Set aside one night each week to watch a holiday movie or television special, such as “Miracle on 34th Street” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
• Start a holiday village display. Add a new house or shop to your collection each year.