Traditions are often what we look forward to at the end of every year when the holidays roll around. And while some Christmas activities are typically associated with Santa and little kids, you don’t need to have a family or wait for your “grownup” life to start to begin creating fun Christmas traditions for yourself. Below are some amazeballs ideas to get you started this year.
1Start a Christmas collection.
Let’s face it: blinging out an entire apartment with holiday decorations is expensive, and unless you’re swimming in extra disposable income or have inherited a mess of nutcracker statues from grandma, it’s not easy to go from bare apartment to Christmas wonderland in one holiday season. However, one person’s lack of cash is another person’s tradition of building a collection of Christmas decorations one Christmas at a time. You may want to start by buying one or two pieces each year, beginning with a tree, and then adding ornaments or a tree topper the following year. Scoping out the post-season sales is an excellent way to get the most bang for your buck. Of course, if home décor is not your thing, then start some other kind of Christmas collection — ugly sweaters and snow globes are très fun too.
2Send out old-fashioned Christmas cards.
Snail mail is a dying art form, but if there’s one thing that might be keeping it alive, it’s Christmas cards. And you don’t need to have kids or an adorable pet to be worthy of starring in your own holiday photo postcard, either. Thanks to apps like Shutterfly, it’s now super-easy to have a friend or a professional photographer take a great photo of you that can be turned into a greeting card with a few clicks of a button. In the age of Instagram, a physical holiday card feels really special and is a nice tradition to start. (Your grandma would agree.)
3Pick a charity to raise money for and volunteer at.
Along with exercising, eating healthier, and calling our moms more, volunteering is something we know we should devote more time towards, and Christmas, aka the season of giving, provides the perfect opportunity to do something meaningful on our weekends and days off. From handing out gifts to children at hospitals to volunteering to walk shelter dogs during the cold months when there are less volunteers to do so, picking a cause that’s close to your heart and committing to it is at the heart of what Christmas is really about.
4Create a food dish that you are “famous” for.
Many holiday parties require you to bring a food dish or beverage, and while you could just pick up some premade cookies or a bottle of wine, creating a signature dish or cocktail is far more fun and memorable. Wouldn’t you like the word “famous” attached to your name, a la “you must try cousin Emily’s famous potroast”? Or “niece Grace’s punch is legendary!” As long as it’s not fruit cake (because let’s be real, no one likes fruit cake), a signature dish can be a complex or a simple as you want to make it and still be a delightful addition to holiday dinners for years to come.
5Start a Secret Santa or a holiday cookie exchange party.
If no one in your social circle already hosts a Secret Santa, white elephant, or holiday cookie exchange party, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t all dying for someone to invite them to one. Holiday-themed parties are what make the dead of winter bearable, so if your calendar isn’t already busting at the seams with invites, make it a tradition to host your own bash.
6Host a Boxing Day party.
In the U.K. and other countries, Boxing Day is always celebrated the day after Christmas. It has nothing to do with the sport associated with Floyd Mayweather and Muhammad Ali, but, rather, derives its name from the British word “box,” which is another word for gift in U.K.-speak. Basically, it’s a day to gather with friends, exchange even more presents, and eat up all of the leftovers. Even if you’re not British, you should definitely host a Boxing Day party every year! Because people often have nothing to do on December 26th, and goodness knows your friends could probably use a respite from spending so much time with their families.
7Treat yo self!
In between traveling, parties, and the madness that is getting anywhere near a department store during this time of year, the holiday season can be a busy and stressful period for many people. That’s why declaring December 15th (or any evening or weekend in December) as Stay-In-And-Eat-Cookies Day is a must. Netflix your favorite holiday movies (personally, we love Home Alone and White Christmas), chow down on some sweet treats, or head to the spa for a peppermint facial for your winter-dry skin and a hot chocolate mani/pedi. In short, do something to treat yourself! Because although it’s important to think about others during this season, taking care of yourself during the craziness that surrounds Christmas is a tradition worth keeping.
8Make an ornament every year that represents something meaningful that happened to you that year.
Making homemade ornaments isn’t just an activity for grade-school children. If you ditch the construction paper and gluesticks, it’s possible to DIY a beautiful homemade ornament that rivals anything you might find on Etsy. To make it a tradition, craft your ornament to represent something meaningful that happened to you that year. Perhaps you started a new job, adopted a kitten, or even began a new relationship. Whatever it is, commemorate it on an ornament each year, and, over time, your Christmas tree will begin to tell the story of your life.
9See a Christmas-themed holiday show.
The Nutcracker or A Christmas Carol? Or perhaps a jingle-bell themed, holiday music rock concert? Whatever your cultural exhibition of choice, make it a tradition to see one Christmas-themed holiday show every year, whether it’s the symphony or driving out to see the best holiday lights displays in your state.
10Take a Christmas-cation.
If you’re the type of person who’s impulse is to get out of Dodge come the holidays, then going somewhere tropical where Christmas Eve involves mai tais and swimsuits is a lovely idea. Or you can double down on the winter weather with a skiing or snowboard trip. No matter how you celebrate, whether solo or with loved ones, taking a Christmas-cation might be the best tradition of all.