How many of us march through the holidays to the same rhythm every year, either because of a sense of obligation or because “this is the way it’s always been done”? The truth is, you really do have a choice when it comes to your family’s holiday festivities. You could stay the course with the “same old, same old” … or you could choose to switch things up this year.
There’s no one way to bring any holiday or tradition to life, despite what Grandma or Aunt Nancy may have told you over the years. You can make get-togethers and holiday parties your own by starting new traditions. Here’s how to shake things up.
Invite Someone New
You likely invite the same core group of guests year after year. Start a new trend and invite someone new each year – a new friend, your hairstylist or someone who can’t make it home for the holidays. New guests add a unique sprinkle to the mix of people, and everyone will experience the joy of having a fresh face at the table.
Tip: Additional guests mean a full dinner table – but piles of messy dishes aren’t anybody’s idea of holiday fun. Skip the hassle of hand-washing dishes, and put plates, cups and silverware into the dishwasher with a Cascade Platinum ActionPac to power away stuck-on food.
Explore a New Location
If you’re fortunate enough to travel during the holidays, plan to prepare the feast on neutral ground. Many families will swap hosts from year to year to alleviate the pressure of both hosting and traveling. Break the routine and find a central location where you can rent a large cabin, campground or other venue, and turn the holiday into a getaway for everyone!
Push Your Palette
When it comes to food, you don’t have to commit to the usual suspects for every dish. Maybe you make a turkey, but you experiment with a deep-fried version. Or organize a potluck online where folks can sign up to bring their favourite dish. Consider hosting a themed party (luau, anyone?) or an un-holiday dinner (have guests bring only non-traditional foods).
Get Your Game On
Pull together a mix of activities to entertain guests and encourage them to interact after dinner – think everything from a beanbag toss tournament to a board game marathon. Or think beyond the party location. Why not sign up your group to walk or run a holiday 5K to inspire a little healthy competition – and burn off some holiday meal calories?
Provide Kid-friendly Crafts
Prevent boredom and inspire creativity by organizing a craft area for young guests. Ask someone different to bring the craft supplies each year, and cover a range of projects to keep the kids engaged.
- Table Decorating: Invite the kids to sign or decorate a white tablecloth with permanent markers. Just be sure to watch the markers around the little ones, and line your table with butcher paper so the markers don’t bleed onto the table
- Cookie-Cutter Ornaments: Provide cookie cutters in festive shapes (pine trees, candy canes, bells), and have the kids trace them onto felt or foam pieces. Help them cut out the shapes, and then have them decorate with mini pom-poms, sequins and markers
- Cookie Decorating: The only thing better than cookie-cutter ornaments is, well, cookies! Provide pre-baked sugar cookies and a variety of decorating morsels, from sprinkles to icing, for little ones to decorate. Then serve up their creations for dessert!
Share your family’s unique, fun and creative traditions with the community in the comments below!