While Christmas is the time of the year when the traditions of previous generations almost pushed on many of us, I say the traditions that should stay are the ones that make you and your family happy. Since I got married five years ago, I decided to create little traditions for myself and my family that actually make me more excited for the holidays and actually bring the pre-, the holiday -, and post-holiday mood. Here are some of them:
Before the holidays
- my husband and I discovered a wonderful small town near Niagara Falls called Niagara-on-the-Lake (Canadian side of the Niagara). It is surrounded by wineries and absolutely beautiful both during summer and winter. It has a Victorian vibe with many small shops, houses and hotels decorated for Christmas, a small Christmas-dedicated shop, a shop with a huge selection of coffees and teas, a shop with a huge selection of spices, sauces and jams, a shop…okay it is time to stop listing all the shops. My point here is to find your special place and visit it every year to feel that the holidays are here and also to get away from the city (Toronto)
- watching movies about Christmas and New Years. Some of my favourites include Holiday Inn, White Christmas and Home Alone. We actually got a projector and there is always popcorn at home, and we recently found more old black and white movies from 1930s, 40s and 50s so we take move time very seriously
- finding new outfits to wear during the holidays. I just feel more excited about the holidays when I also know I will have a nice excuse to show off my new dress, shoes and some jewellery
- finding a perfect shade of lipstick that is brighter and better (bright pink or red) that is just other colour of the lipsticks I usually wear (nude or pink-brown that you can barely see)
- making sure there is always clementines and chocolate at home. Because holidays!
- setting up full-size Christmas tree. Even when we lived in a small condo, we always had a full size (at least 6ft) tree.
- wrapping gifts. Any gift feels more special when it does not come in a plastic or even brand bag. Colourful Christmas wrapping paper makes all the difference!
- going to a Christmas market
- thinking about my goals and dreams for next year and making a vision board (I cut images of things I want or that resemble my goals from magazines and then attach them to the printing paper using tape. Also adding some goals in writing). Your vision board can have the following sections: your personal goals, your career goals, your health goals, your home/reno goals, your relationship goals, your vacation goals…
- getting candles with seasonal scents. Last year it was the scent of a Christmas tree and this year it is Pink Champagne.
- my husband and I can never wait till the holidays and we always exchange gifts before the holidays. Since I have been shopping since October, I get so excited when I get something for him that I immediately give him his gifts. So instead of feeling bad about it I decided to just call it our tradition!
- We always watch Christmas Vacation movie
- We always celebrate 24th with just the two of us, and 25th is for celebrating with the family. We always host on 25th
- That’s it! The food selection and what to cook depends only on my mood and abilities. For example, I am not a good cook of meat and especially turkey or chicken so this year I decided to embrace it and make pasta (I am serious!). We are going to have Italian Christmas this year – Italian wine and music are already set!
During New Years
- I love sparkles everywhere. I abuse sparkles in my makeup – the glitter is everywhere – eye shadows, nail polish, sometimes even the lipstick. I also purchased sparkles in small shapes like gifts and bottles, which I think are used for crafts and I just spread these sparkles across my table runner
- Candles are always on the table
- Wearing brand new clothing, even when celebrating at home
- We started a new tradition with my family – getting Kinder surprise for each family member, where the toy resembles what awaits you in the next year. It works – I once got a car toy and in that year I got driving license and because I was getting married my dad gave us his car. The other time I got a small doll with a backpack and that was a year we took unplanned and unexpected vacation to Portugal!
- I also can’t imagine my new years without champagne and sparklers. We always go outside to burn sparklers right after the midnight!
- We also keep paper and pens handy and while the clock hits twelve we write our wishes on the paper, burn the paper, throw it into champagne and drink up! Some dreams definitely come true
- Writing everyone of my friends and wishing them the best in the New Year! It is very exciting as some of my friends live in other countries- Germany, Ukraine, Russia…
- Dancing! The best New Year party is the one that involves dancing. We have a small disco ball in our living room and some real disco lights. The mood to dance is always there when there is a good lighting!
After the Holidays/In the New Year:
- I love starting the New Year with a good book. I really like self-help books that lift your mood up and make you believe anything is possible
- Going to a museum. We take time off in January and it is always nice to spend a day off learning something new. There are a lot of house museums from 1800s in Ontario
- Going to a Spa. This is the tradition I want to start from 2020 – there is a good Scandinavian Spa where you can experience hot springs outside and then go to a sauna. Nothing is more relaxing that this trip, especially when they burn the fire and you can smell it while in the hot bath outside
- Updating my diet and eating more soups, smoothies, salads, etc. After all the holidays I practically crave healthy food
- Creating a killer playlist. Need some inspiration to go back to the office!
- Getting a brand new notebook. I write my ideas, plans and goals every day so I really want to start a new year with a new notebook
Think about special activities and little things that get YOU into a holiday mood and create your own traditions. Just because your family used to celebrate holidays in other way does not mean you have to do the same!