How To Create Your Own Holiday Traditions

The holiday season is fast approaching, and while it’s wonderful to keep some past traditions alive, it’s also important to make new traditions to celebrate with family and friends. Our contributor, Chelsea Jackson of Hazel + Scout, is here today to offer some tips and ideas on creating your own holiday traditions this season that you can enjoy each year.

It’s the most wonderful and action-packed time of the year! As soon as November rolls around, I’m always struck with the desire to make the busy season ahead as festive as possible. From tree trimming to obligatory family parties, I usually set out with the best intentions to make everything merry and bright. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started noticing something about the holidays—our late 20s and early 30s can be an interesting time to celebrate them.

As we cross the thresholds of moving away from home and starting families of our own, we exist on the fringe of not quite being a part of the traditions from our childhoods and creating new traditions as adults. More and more, I’m aware of how special it is to craft unique traditions of my own, and honestly, I look forward to those traditions more than any others.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to celebrate the holidays on your own terms:

  1. Why not make trying new recipes a tradition? Vow to find the coolest Thanksgiving or holiday party dish each year (I’m loving this amazing-looking pink pie!), and hit the kitchen to test your skills. Blast your favorite holiday tunes (I usually start playing “A Very She & Him Christmas” as soon as Halloween is over), spend a day cooking up something new and have an awesome dish to show for it. Bringing something new to the table (aside from your mom’s tried-and-true menu) is a bonus!
  2. Add a new ornament to the tree. This is a tradition we’ve had for a few years and I love it! There’s something so special about a tree crowded with ornaments that have been collected over the course of time. Try finding something that represents the year like a little house for the year you bought your first home or something baby related to represent a burgeoning baby bump. Anthropologie’s selection of unique ornaments never disappoints!
  3. Host a low-stress Friendsgiving/holiday brunch with your girls. Let the expectations to host the perfect party fall by the wayside and have your best friends over for a casual celebration. Bonus points if everyone brings a dish so you don’t have to cook!
  4. Deck the halls with updated holiday décor. Nothing makes me feel more festive than a space that’s well dressed for the season. Holiday décor doesn’t have to include the classic red and green color scheme though. Try basing your decorations on a décor theme you’re loving (like a mid-century Christmas or vintage-inspired trimmings). This West Elm wreath is currently in my cart for a fun ‘millennial pink’ take on the holidays.
  5. Send holiday cards. Remember that painful recap your mom used to send out alongside an unflattering family photo? Yeah, skip that. Instead, opt for something fun and visually appealing (who doesn’t love Rifle Paper Co.’s line of holiday cards?) to let your network of loved ones know just how much they mean to you. Although holiday cards might seem antiquated, they’re actually a really lovely way to reach out to people during this time of year. There’s nothing better than sending a tangible token of love from your very own address. Think of how happy you’d be to receive a little snail mail and pass that feeling on!
  6. Make your own schedule. With a full roster of events to attend, it’s easy to get burnt out on the holidays. The best part of having your own family (even if it’s just you and your furry friend)? Creating a holiday schedule that best suits you and deciding which things are worthy of the fuss (like hauling butt to the best tree farm to search for the perfect fir) and which things are OK to skip. Making decisions about your time and prioritizing a little self-care is one of the many benefits of adulthood and now is the perfect time to draw a line in the snow.
  7. Three words…Christmas. Movie. Marathon. Some of the best cheesy films revolve around the holidays and nothing sounds better than a glass (or bottle) of wine and a Christmas movie marathon with your beau or your BFF. Why not make it a yearly tradition to bundle up and screen a few of your favorites? The titles are up to you, but I’d go with “The Holiday,” “White Christmas” and “While You Were Sleeping.”
  8. Callback to childhood. Although new traditions are a fun way to pass the season, it can be magical to do something reminiscent of your favorite holiday memories. Did you used to love driving around with your dad to look at lights? Did you spend one awesome Christmas Eve eating Chinese takeout and wrapping presents into the wee morning hours? Carrying those traditions into your own family can feel like a special way of connecting all the dots.
  9. Let your little one take the reigns. My daughter always feels a little bit more important when she has the chance to call the shots (I wonder where she got that from…). Why not let your littles help think up some fun new family traditions? After all, getting the whole family involved in the holidays is the best part and you might be surprised at how much fun you have. Or you might be eating spaghetti tacos on New Year’s Eve.
  10. Promise yourself peace and presence. At the heart of it all, the holidays are meant to be spent loving on your favorite people, enjoying a little downtime and soaking up the magic of the season. The very best holiday tradition would be remembering to remain present and peaceful. Make a little pact with yourself to take the season as it comes and not sweat the small stuff. That’s a tradition if you do it every year, right?
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