From opening presents on Christmas morning to putting out cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve night, the holidays are filled with all kinds of traditions. Some of these traditions are fun (opening presents, natch), while others can be tiring (the annual visit from the in-laws), but they are, nonetheless, tradition and part of holiday history.


Your family may enjoy sticking to the typical holiday traditions or you may want to try something new and make up your own. If you fall into the latter category, try shopping around for one of the following nontraditional traditional ideas:


Pick a movie: From It’s a Wonderful Life to A Christmas Story, the holidays are filled with wonderful movies. Some of these movies are watched by all sorts of people (ahem, National Lampoons Christmas Vacation), and some are probably not watched by anyone other than my family (Married With Children: A Bundyful Life, anyone?), but each film adds something to the holidays. A great way to get the family together is with a movie: pick one, anyone, and watch it every year.


Decorate the tree the same day annually: Whether you go all natural or all Wal-mart may be a huge factor in deciding what time of year you decorate your tree. A fake tree, for instance, can be decorated at anytime (Halloween, perhaps), while a real one must be adorned with ornaments much later, unless you want it to be brown by the time Christmas rolls around. Regardless of which route you take, you can make an annual tradition out of decorating the tree. Cue up the Christmas music, break out the eggnog, and bake up some cookies for even more effect.


Volunteer: The true spirit of Christmas can’t be taught without remembering it’s better to give than receive. There is not better way to remind yourself – and your family – of this mantra than by volunteering every holiday season. Ring a bell outside a store, help out at a soup kitchen, donate toys to the less fortunate, or run a race that donates money to charity. The holidays are one of the most opportune times for volunteering: get wrapped up in it.


Keep kid’s believing in Santa: Once kids stop believing in Santa Claus, the mood becomes a little less jolly. In short, it’s fun when kids believe in a fat man with nine tiny reindeer. From little things such as saying you saw hoof prints on the front lawn to getting a ladder and stomping on the roof top on Christmas Eve, the little things you do can help your kids believe in a little bit of magic. And that, when it comes down to it, really is what Christmas is all about.