Traditions are what make the holiday season special, from building snowmen and decorating the Christmas tree to epic games of dreidel. Thinking of starting a holiday tradition with your new spouse this year? It’s never too late to put a personal twist on the celebrations you already love. Here are seven ideas to make this holiday season extra special, whether it’s your first as a married couple or you’re old pros.
1. Decorate your home.
Twinkly lights and wintery accents on your mantel will go a long way in making your house feel ready for the holidays, so grab your partner and deck the halls! Pick out a special ornament to put on your tree, write the year on the back, and get a new one every year to tell your story. Dressing your table for Thanksgiving? Take a walk to collect the brightest leaves you can find. Turn decorating your home into a fun activity, complete with a seasonal snack and a drink or two—and do the same when it’s time to take the decorations down. No shriveled Christmas trees in March here!
2. Have a cookie-frosting night.
Even if your partner is more comfortable eating your creations than making his or her own, chances are baking and frosting cookies are all it will take to get them out of their shell. Whip up your favorite sugar cookie dough, or head to the refrigerated section to make the process a little more pain-free. And don’t forget to stock up on frosting and sprinkles! If you’re feeling ambitious, bake and assemble your own gingerbread house. All the details are a good way to test your teamwork!
3. Help a family in need.
It’s the season for giving, so take time to help those in your community. Get in touch with a local charity that will allow you to sponsor a family, whether it’s purchasing their Christmas dinner or wrapping presents for their kids. Or head to the local soup kitchen to help serve up meals on the holiday itself. Not comfortable in the kitchen? Spearhead a coat drive in your town to make sure everyone has warm layers to wear. It’s a wonderful tradition to start now and continue for years to come, and is great to do with your own kids, too.
4. Go caroling.
Even if you can’t hold a tune, there’s something special about singing old holiday classics on your neighbors’ doorsteps (or in the comfort of your own living room!). See if a local group is looking for people to join, or head out on your own and make this old-fashioned pastime modern.
5. Reflect and dream.
As the new year approaches, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the past 12 months and start dreaming about what’s next. Turn this into an annual tradition by setting aside a few hours with your partner. Open a bottle of wine and pull out a notebook, jotting down everything you’re grateful for and all of the things you’re looking forward to. Do it every year, and add a little time to look back at which dreams came true.
6. Have a holiday movie night.
Everyone has their favorite holiday movies, from A Muppet Christmas Carol to Love Actually. Cue up your Netflix and settle in for a marathon, complete with popcorn, a cozy blanket, and hot cocoa (spiked if you like it!). Pick flicks you’ll love watching year after year, or mix it up every holiday season, making room for new classics.
7. Take a goofy holiday photo.
Even if the card you send out features more traditional images (a great way to use your wedding pictures that first year!), put on an ugly sweater and dress up the dog for a hilarious alternative. Print it on the back of your classic card, or frame the image each year for a gallery that shows of your less-serious side.