A beautiful white mug with a knitted print and a ginger cookie with icing in the shape of a snowflake on a background of garlands

Holiday Traditions to Make Your Season Happier

Holiday traditions are a special way to create meaningful memories while also making the busy holiday season a little happier and brighter. Celebrating special traditions, either on your own or with loved ones, adds excitement and joy to your holiday season with magic moments each year. And traditions do not need to be elaborate or expensive; small moments of peace, love, and joy often make the best memories.

Make your holiday season a little happier and brighter this year, and every year, with these fun and easy holiday tradition ideas.

Getting in the Holiday Spirit

  • If you decorate your home for the holidays, designate one specific date on the calendar as your “Decorating Day” and then decorate on that date every year.
  • You can create a similar tradition for when you start listening to holiday music, maybe it’s the same day as “Decorating Day” or maybe it is a little earlier so that you can start feeling the spirit of the season before you even pull out the decoration boxes.
  • Make your current home décor more festive with an easy picture frame hack. Choose holiday pictures, cards, photos from previous years, or even just printed images that you enjoy and place on top of your regularly displayed photographs in the picture frames in your homes. When the season is over, hide the holiday prints behind your regular photos until next year. When it is time to decorate for the holidays again, you can easily swap your regularly displayed photos with the holiday themed images in the same frame.
  • If you have a friend or family member who enjoys shopping as much as you do, create an annual tradition to have a gift-shopping date. Each year, schedule a day that works for you both to get together and go holiday shopping. That might mean a day out at the shops or an afternoon of cozy online shopping at one of your homes. (Bonus tip: For gift giving ideas, check out our Quest Media Product Guide.)
  • Create an annual gift-wrapping tradition. This could be with friends and family (a group or just one other individual) or even a special, personal tradition that you do by yourself. Set up a convenient, reachable “gift-wrapping station” with wrapping paper, bags, tags, etc. and designate an afternoon or evening to enjoy the art of gift-giving and all of its trimmings. We often rush through the obligation of shopping and wrapping and forget the reason we give to those we love. Pour yourself your favorite winter drink, put on some holiday music, and relax while you enjoy wrapping and thinking about the joy that your gifts will bring to others.

Warm and cozy

  • Holiday cookies are a staple of the season and there are so many fun options for creating your own cookie-baking tradition. Whether baking cookies with your family, friends, or creating a personal annual tradition, you can get creative with how you enjoy the experience! Bake the same kind of cookie every year, making it your signature cookie. Or start a tradition of trying a new cookie recipe each year. If you don’t live near friends and family, take advantage of technology and plan a FaceTime cookie date each year where you can bake, chat, and spend time together even if your kitchens are across the country from each other. Get creative and silly with fun, festive aprons, shirts, or hats.
  • Get your comfiest pajamas on, light your favorite candle, grab your favorite snack, and snuggle in for a movie night. Movie night traditions offer a plethora of options to create your own, favorite tradition. Maybe that means watching the same holiday movie or movies every year – or maybe the film you select has nothing to do with the holiday season. Watch your favorite film of all time every year. Start a tradition to choose and watch an old movie that you have never seen before. Start a tradition to watch a new movie you have been looking forward to seeing. It’s up to you! Part of the fun in creating traditions is choosing activities that will make you happy.

Out and about

  • Nothing says joyful and bright quite like sparkly lights on a cold, winter night. Get out and enjoy the light displays in your area. You can drive around your town to look at the holiday lights or bundle up, pack a hot thermos, and walk around your own neighborhood.
  • Check with your local library and community centers for free holiday events each year.
  • Many local farms, vendors, churches, and stores host a variety of annual holiday-themed gatherings, craft shows, meals, and events. Search online and choose one (or more!) to add to your list of holiday outings each year or check out a different one each year.

Making the season brighter for others

  • Invite children or grandchildren to join you for a holiday craft day/night each year. Whether its ornaments, a holiday decoration, cards, garlands, or even a non-holiday themed craft, the memories and mementos will last a lifetime.
  • Make and send holiday cards to children who are in the hospital during the holiday season. You can send cards to pediatric patients through nonprofits like Cards for Hospitalized Kids.
  • Make and send cards to people living in nursing homes – you can call your local nursing homes to ask if they accept DIY holiday cards and, if so, what their guidelines are (there are often rules in place, like no glitter and generic messaging). Or send cards to a charitable organization like Bring Smiles to Seniors, who will distribute your cards to nursing home residents for you.

Holiday celebrations don’t need to be extravagant or Instagram perfect. In fact, it is the simple moments that make the holiday season truly magical and meaningful, whether those are quiet, peaceful moments filled with comfort and personal contentment or bright, busy moments spent with loved ones. Creating holiday traditions that you love and that bring joy to your heart and home is what the holiday season is truly about.

Next Steps and Useful Resources

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Disclaimer: No content on this site should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.