It’s only taken about one or two rounds of Christmas for my boys to catch on to the “receiving bug.” Each of them have a full list of gifts they just know they’re going to receive. Truth is I cringe sometimes when I hear how much they want. Realizing that though gifts are nice, memories are so much better. This is a wonderful time to rethink how to create memorable experiences and new family traditions this Christmas.
Last year we shifted our focus from gifts. Between grandparents and extended family we quickly realized how overloaded everyone was with stuff and certainly expectations! I loved seeing their faces beam, but I will tell you it was the experiences that made our time together. Being able to show our kids that memorable experiences mean more than gifts is a goal of ours. As the years continue to shift and change, finding how to create memorable experiences and new family traditions.
Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods … You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.Thomas Gilovich
Making memorable experiences a priority
So with that in mind, after some thought we made adjustments. It was time to agree that this year we wanted more memories and less stuff! More things that can’t be bought and have a lasting affect on our boys as well as our entire family. This does not mean every experience has to cost us or even be outside of the home! Think back friend. Some of the best experiences you may have with family or a tradition you treasure most likely was simple. Cooking a meal, crafting gingerbread houses, or decorating the tree are memorable moments.
Also finding new family traditions can be a challenge if you and your partner have been rooted deeply in their own. Whether you’re newly navigating this or have been married for years, there should be special memories that you make as a family.
So we’ve made a list that I think will be helpful to you as well friend. There are tons of great ones you can google or find on Pinterest as well! I encourage you to be ALL IN if you’re desiring an experiential Christmas this year. It’s much more emotionally engaging than you realize, so pace yourself and enoy the journey!
Remember this as you create memorable experiences and new traditions as a family:
An experiential Christmas is perspective change that will truly go a long way as you practice it more.
- Less can be more! Don’t squeeze a ton of events or activities in one sitting. Each experience should be felt and given the opportunity for every family member to truly enjoy. Too often we try and rush to the “next” thing and therefore miss being in the moment. Being present and engaged for ONE event is far better than rushing through FIVE!
- Ask your kids! Though our boys are young, we wanted to know what they want. A lot of that we took in and realized our oldest was screaming TIME. Your kids most likely desire to spend this break with YOU as much as possible. Too often we forget that our kids have their own ideas and are looking to share them. They may be quirky or silly, but I promise they will end up fun! So whatever you do get your kid’s input.
- This is an OPPORTUNITY to create your OWN thing! I love to see what others are doing, but our family is unique and so is YOURS! It’s great to research, but the best part is to make this an experience YOU won’t forget. Some stuff on our list isn’t exciting for most, but it is for us! And that’s just fine.
Incorporating new family traditions make a difference!
So check out these 10 fun ideas to start new traditions with your own family this year!
- Puzzle or Game Night: Are you into intense puzzle challenges? Whether big or small – this may be just what your family is looking for!
- Family Sleep Over: Pile into the living room or your bedroom with blankets, pillows, and sleeping bags! Stay up and tell stories until you fall asleep.
- Family Camping: Depending on the weather a night under the stars is a perfect way to enjoy nature and soak in new scenery.
- Historic Town Visit: Is there a local historic town you can check out? Look into some spots to visit in your area.
- Cookie Decorating Contest: You don’t have to be a cookie artists to set up this fun contest! Try a sugar cookie recipe and see how well each one of you creates their masterpiece.
- Gingerbread House Mansions: Create gigantic gingerbread houses either with a kit or by hand. Have a main judge to critique the work!
- Bowling or Ice Skating Night: There are several outdoor skating rinks this time of year and worth spending an hour or two on the ice.
- Scavenger Hunt: Make a simple list of various activities to take as you split into teams and try to find all of the items first! These can be in your home or local sites to see.
- Charity/ Volunteering: Collect and drop off canned goods or support a family who could use a few extra gifts this year.
- Nature or Hiking Trails: Outdoor trails or new hiking adventures are always a great outdoor experience together.
Friends, I share all of this because our schedules are crazy. This year has been intense, and our families deserve this time. I don’t want life with our kids to feel like a jumble of one hit wonders. That after the wrapping paper is to pieces or the gifts are “old” my kids still crave to live life with me…and I miss it. So saying yes to more time and no to stuff is what we’re committing to. Our time with these sweet babes is short, and I want to soak it all in.