If there is one thing that the past year and a half have taught us, it’s the importance of friends and family. So today we want to share with you a handful of holiday traditions you can start with your loved ones this upcoming holiday season! Life is what you make it, and these little moments can add up into warm memories that last a lifetime. Don’t miss those opportunities!

Thanksgiving Holiday Traditions

We all have traditions like enjoying an indulgent meal with family and friends and watching the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. But what else can you do to celebrate the spirit of giving and togetherness that Thanksgiving is all about? Here are some of our favorites:

Host Friendsgiving at Your Place

Thanksgiving is meant as a time to gather together—from near or far (Thanks, Zoom!). And honestly, for most people, their friends are like family. So why not celebrate twice? Host a Friendsgiving with all your closest besties and nosh together while sharing stories and just genuinely enjoying each other’s company without the distraction of daily life. The holidays are a perfect time to slow down, disconnect, and reconnect with those you love! Schedules can be tricky the rest of the year, make this the one non-negotiable event in your friend group each year! 

Volunteer or Run a 5K to Give Back 

Part of Thanksgiving is being thankful for what you have. Realizing that privilege and giving back to those in your community or globally who may not be so fortunate. Gather your parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, in-laws and hit the road for a local 5K supporting a cause like hunger or homelessness in your community. Walk bundled in a scarf if you’re not a runner, it’s not about the race on Thanksgiving! Another idea is to volunteer at a local soup kitchen or adopt a local family and bring them a meal to enjoy. You can simply Google search, “Where to Volunteer on Thanksgiving in [Your Area]” to figure out who needs your help.

Decorate the Christmas Tree or Your Home The Weekend Following

Once the turkey is cleared off the table and all the pie has been eaten, it’s time for a different kind of holiday cheer! If you celebrate Christmas, spend the Friday after Thanksgiving going with your family to choose the perfect tree or setting up your sustainable faux tree. Pull out your family ornaments, revel in the history and stories that come with each one sharing memories as you decorate, and then, choose one lucky person to put the family tree topper on. Make sure it’s a different individual each year that gets to do the honor!

Christmas Holiday Traditions

How many of your fondest memories are centered around Christmas traditions as a kid? Whether it was leaving out the milk and cookies or watching A Charlie Brown Christmas snuggled up with a mug full of tea, each is so special. Here are a few you can add with the whole family to start creating even more special memories together.

End Christmas Eve with a Calling Santa Ceremony

One of Darlene’s personal favorite holiday traditions is the “Calling Santa Ceremony” which can be done with a special ornament trio—a traditional silver bell, a magical key, and a believer bell—each year. It’s a fun way of letting Santa know it’s time for him to visit and spread holiday cheer! The tradition starts with each child ringing the bell, and speaking their own message aloud to Santa Claus. They leave the Sleigh Bell, and the Solid Pewter Key, for Santa. The Magic Key is for Santa because the key allows him to unlock your door so he can get in (nobody would want him to come via the chimney anymore, right?) The sleigh bell is for Santa to hang on the tree, for proof of his visit (like the cookies being eaten)!

Set Up a Nativity Scene with a Warm Cup of Cocoa

When the holiday season begins, choose an evening that the entire family will be together and read a Nativity story to the little ones while they sip on a mug of hot cocoa (with marshmallows, of course). Then, after reading the story for all to hear, set up your very own nativity scenes around the house to display as decor for the season. Go with meaningful fair trade nativity scenes that support artisans near and far! Knowing your nativity scenes are supporting families across the globe makes the season even more special.

Watch a Family Favorite Movie on Christmas Eve

What’s your family’s favorite holiday movie? Cuddle up on the couch after your ornament swap and watch a movie together. For those who love sentimental movies, watch It’s a Wonderful Life (and hang your keepsake ornament on the tree). For those who love classics, watch The Grinch—the original version, or A Christmas Story! For those who like a good chuckle, watch Elf and celebrate the season with Buddy. For those who love mischief, watch Home Alone! There are so many options—we could go on for days. Maybe you’ll have to watch more than one. Make sure everyone has their own bowl of popcorn to enjoy!

Start an Ornament Gift Swap on Christmas Eve

Gifting ornaments to the special people in your life will instantly create a memory. Every time they see that special ornament that was purchased with them in mind, they’ll feel joy and love. So since ornaments are pretty affordable, set up a Secret Santa-style ornament swap. Each individual will get assigned a person to buy a special ornament each year. Then, spend Christmas eve by the fire or candlelit living room and open your ornaments together! You can get an “I’m always with you” ornament for someone who lost someone in the past year, an animal trio for the nature-lover in your life, or an angel for someone who you consider your angel! These are just a few ideas, there are so many options to share your love.

New Year’s Eve Holiday Traditions

As the years go on, New Year’s Eve starts to mean more than just getting dressed up to go to a party. It’s a time to reflect on the challenging moments that made you stronger, a time to bask in the goodness the year has brought for you, and a time to slow down and prepare for the blessings the year ahead will bring. Here are a few ways to do just that:

Have the Kiddos Start the Entertainment with a Finger Puppet Show

Before the kids go to bed, they deserve to have a little fun too! Kick-off the evening’s entertainment with the little ones producing their very own puppet show for the parents. Allow their imagination to go wild and see what they can dream up with finger puppets

Write Down Things You’re Grateful For This Year & Save for Next New Year’s Eve

Good or bad, there is always something in life to be grateful for. Give everyone at your New Year’s Eve celebration a special pen and some paper to write down the greatest blessings of their year, happy memories, and things they’re thankful for. Then, put them in a box in envelopes with each person’s name on them. Next year, pull them out and repeat! You’ll make a collection of life’s happy moments to revisit year after year.

Celebrate NYE with a Self-Care Night Complete with Bubbly

Prefer your pajamas to a pair of heels these days? You’re not alone. Do a spa night with girlfriends or your family and treat yourself to a little self-care to ring in the new year on a high note. Light some scented candles and do an indulgent chocolate face mask while sipping bubbly and watching the ball drop!

Simply Inspired Goods Can Help You Create New Traditions

At Simply Inspired, we intentionally source products that are meant to spark joy and create memories. Throughout the holiday season, we’ll be offering sweet treasures that will add to your family’s celebrations, hopefully helping you create memories for years to come! Shop our holiday collection today—and if you haven’t yet, sign up for our email list for exclusive weekly sales through the holiday season!

October 28, 2021 — Darlene Hancox