When you look back on the most memorable holidays of your youth, chances are they revolve around cherished family traditions. This year, why not add a new tradition or two to the mix?  Whether you’re just starting out as newlyweds, bringing together a blended family, or simply looking to shake up the regular routine, these fresh and festive ideas promise to keep you in the spirit all season long. Start a new tradition now and begin making the memories that last the longest.

1. Create family journal. Have each member of the family write a few sentences about the best part of the holiday, or what they’ll remember most. You can do this for every special event or holiday throughout the year. Twelve months later you’ll have a fun first-person collection to look back on.

2. Choose a special dessert that you only make at Christmastime. It doesn’t have to be fancy or elaborate, but knowing that this tasty treat only makes an appearance once a year will make it feel particularly special.

3. Many people love to save the cards they receive, especially when they feature photos of far-away friends and loved ones. File them in a greeting card keeper, and you’ll enjoy pulling them out and poring over them year after year. It’s fun to see how people change and kids grow!

4. Adopt the lovely Icelandic tradition of ‘Jolabokaflod’ or “The Christmas Book Flood,” where books are exchanged as Christmas Eve presents, and the rest of the evening is spent in bed reading books and eating chocolate. Heavenly!

5. Pull out the sleeping bags and snuggle up under the Christmas tree one night for a cozy indoor campout.

6. Go on a ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ race. See how many kind acts you and your family can perform in a given time period. Help an elderly person load their groceries into their car, perform a household task for a friend, write a thank you note, the possibilities are endless!

7. Skip the gift-tags and instead wrap each person’s gifts in a specific wrapping paper. No more guessing whose gift is whose or hunting for those teeny tags.

8. Give the kids (or treat yourself!) to a festive bubble bath! Dye the water red or green with a couple drops of food dye, or use a colorful bath fizz. Use peppermint-scented soap for extra cheer.

9. Play a game of Bingo as you drive through the neighborhood admiring lights. Create cards with squares that say things such as ‘wreath on a door,’ ‘house with blue lights,’ ‘giant ornaments,’ and ‘Santa on a rooftop.’ First player to get a bingo wins!

10. Buying a special new ornament each year is a common tradition, but why not take it a step further? Visit a pottery studio and paint your own!

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