Starting Holiday Traditions Together

starting holiday traditions together

It doesn’t take long for a couple to begin creating their own traditions: weekly date nights, anniversary celebrations, specific comfort foods reserved for sick days.  When it comes to celebrating the holidays together, some couples find traditions develop organically, while others are intentional about adopting little sentimental routines that reflect their values and relationship.

If you fall into the latter category, here are some ideas for holiday traditions for couples to consider:

Just the two of you: Dates or activities.

  1. Go Christmas tree-hunting. Think National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, but without the chaos.
  2. Speaking of Christmas Vacation, watch the “classics” together. Cuddle up on the couch and watch It’s a Wonderful Life. Or have an annual Christmas movie night: you each pick a favourite.
  3. Print photos. Comb through your digital photos on your cameras and/or smartphones and create an annual yearbook of your year together. Have a photo book printed every year.
  4. Go for a walk or drive. Take a breather from the holiday business and stroll through your neighbourhood together, checking out the twinkling lights in the snow. End your walk with hot chocolate for two.
  5. Get dressed up. Not looking forward to your company Christmas party, family politics or the crowded malls? An annual “fancy” date with your significant other will give you something to look forward to every holiday season. Put on your best and head out for a gourmet meal, or a night at the ballet or symphony.

Just the two of you: Gifts.

  1. Give themed stockings. Pick a gift theme every year and get creative! Fill your significant other’s stocking with small trinkets, homemade items and edibles that fit the theme. (Theme ideas: date night, a walk down memory lane, gag gifts, and sweet treats.)
  2. Make something. Aim to each give the other person a homemade gift every year, whether it’s a playlist, a batch of cookies, a poem or a hand-knit scarf. Get creative!
  3. Give a date. Each of you buys tickets for a class, concert or event that two of you can attend together. You’re guaranteed to have two great dates already planned for the new year.

Including others: Friends and family.

  1. Host a gingerbread house-making party. Invite a few friends/couples, break up into teams and see which couple’s gingerbread house out-candies the rest.
  2. Host an old-fashioned Christmas party. Make Dickens proud: stuff a goose, sip on mulled wine, and set each place setting with a Christmas cracker.
  3. Host an ugly Christmas sweater party together. Ugliest sweater wins. (Actually, everyone wins. It’s a party!)
  4. Visit grandparents together. Make it a tradition to visit grandparents or elderly relatives — and not just on Christmas Day. Help them decorate for the holidays. Hang out in the kitchen and learn some secret holiday recipes. And ask them to share stories of holidays past.
  5. Go carolling. Brush up on your traditional carols, bundle up, and bless your neighbours with a (hopefully on-key) song or two. Worst case scenario, you’ll make your neighbours smile. Best case scenario, you’ll make some new friends — and maybe get invited in for tea and cookies.

Including others: Serving strangers.

  1. Sign up at a local church or community centre to serve dinner to the less fortunate in your area.
  2. Find a charity that lets you adopt a family for the holidays. (For a specified donation, you can help a family in need afford groceries and gifts over the holidays.)
  3. Bless your neighbours with random acts of kindness. Leave a poinsettia or batch of cookies on a doorstep. Shovel driveways on your street. Leave Christmas cards with words of encouragement in mailboxes.

Faith matters.

  1. If your faith is central to your Christmas celebrations, make sure your traditions include attending services/mass or performing faith-based rituals together.
  2. Count down the days until Christmas with an advent calendar. Or read scripture together as you light an advent wreath.
  3. Attend a live Nativity performance.

What traditions have you and your significant other started?