10 fun new family traditions for the holiday season

10 fun new family traditions for the holiday season

The holidays are all about spending time with family. This year, consider making memories and starting new traditions that everyone will cherish. Here are 10 awesome ways to celebrate the season and bring loved ones closer together.

Holiday tablecloth: Buy a plain white tablecloth for your holiday meal and have everyone attending sign it with permanent marker or a fabric marker. Every year do the same, and over the years you'll have a lovely keepsake that represents your family's growth.

Family pictures: Schedule a time for a family photo session at JCPenney Portraits. In addition to framing your favorite pictures, order a holiday ornament featuring a special image from the session. Over the years you’ll get a collection of ornaments that represent your family at every stage.

Hot cocoa and stories: No matter your age, there's nothing like a beloved holiday tale. Set up a hot cocoa bar with all the extras so people can customize their mug to their liking. Then take turns reading holiday stories together in front of the fire or gathered on the couch.

Cultural holiday experience: What is your family's culture? Look into your heritage and select an activity that would be traditional for that part of the world. From cooking an ethnic meal to playing traditional holiday games, this is a fun way to explore your family's origins.

Give back: Teach kids the true meaning of the holidays by volunteering as a family. Choose an activity you can all do together and feel the love of the holiday season. From helping out at an animal shelter to ringing the bell and raising money for charity, it's time well spent.

Holiday book swap: The holiday break is a great time for all ages to catch up with some reading. Host a holiday book exchange where people bring over the books they no longer want and can exchange with titles that others bring. It's fun and free, with books for all ages!

Send a holiday card: Mail a greeting card to loved ones this year to brighten their holiday. Set up a card stuffing station and have everyone take a duty, from writing and addressing to sealing and stamping. What's more, start a scrapbook that features the annual card so you can look back each year.

Winter solstice: Celebrate the winter solstice by getting outside and enjoying Mother Nature. Bundle up and take a walk around the neighborhood or a local park. If you live where it snows, take the family on a snowshoe hike or build a snowman family in the yard that represents each one of you.

Holiday light tour: Grab those travel mugs and fill them with hot cocoa or cider and pack a few snacks for a fun drive around town to look at holiday lights. If you're not sure the best places for lights, research online. Many newspapers or local travel organizations verify the best light displays and publish the addresses.

Make garland: For some homemade holiday fun gather your crew and make your own garland to decorate the tree, entryway or other special place in the home. Popcorn or cranberries are traditional for garland but can be tricky. Instead, loop colorful strips of construction paper to create chain-link garland that all ages can help with.