Making your own holiday traditions
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Buying and moving into a new home is an incredibly exciting experience that becomes extra special during the holidays.
This is not only because it may be the first time you get to host traditional family celebrations and meals, but because you can start your own family traditions under a roof you own.
Whether you are living on your own, with a partner, relatives, or young children, there are a number of fun traditions that you can start. And they do not need to be complicated, hard work, or entail spending lots of money – if any at all.
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After all, traditions are simply beliefs or behaviours that are continued each year, and passed down to future generations. So ultimately, they can be whatever you would like them to be.
Here are some ideas of traditions you can bring into your new home these holidays, and possibly even tweak a bit to make your own.
For those who celebrate Christmas, an advent calendar counting down the days until December 25 is always a win, for young and old. And these are not limited to the chocolate calendars sold widely in shops. Advent calendars can come in any shape, size,, or form, and the rewards do not need to be sweets or gifts. They could be notes or any other good deed activities hidden inside little bags, wooden boxes, or even behind paper doors. The options are endless. Although it is too late to introduce this tradition for 2021, you can start thinking of ideas for next year.
Most families and groups of friends have traditional meals they share each year, perhaps on or near specific dates. As this is the first year you will be living in your own home, why not start a new tradition on a day of your choosing with a group of people you want to spend quality time with? The type of food you eat or social event you host is up to you, but make sure it is one that you are happy to take part in for years to come.
Living in a new home means having new neighbours, and you could use this time of the year to share some joy with them. It could mean giving them something you and your family have bought or made by hand, taking them something you have baked, or even getting together for a quick glass of wine – or mug of hot chocolate. Sometimes neighbours become good friends.
Decorate the outside of your home
Many South Africans transform their homes and gardens into winter wonderlands over these holidays, decorating them with lights and large ornaments of snowmen, reindeer, or other festive characters. Some even bring in snow machines. You could adopt these traditions in your new home or you could do it on a smaller scale like decorating your windows with hand-painted silhouettes or hand-made cutouts. This also allows you to spend quality time with those around you while doing it.
A popular trend is the hanging of personalised baubles and ornaments – whether on a tree or elsewhere in your home. Having the names of loved ones – both those who are still with you and those who have passed on – is a special way to remember and celebrate the people close to your heart. You could choose to use the same ornaments or baubles each year, and create a tradition in the way that you hang them, or you could start a collection of ornaments that you each add to each year.
There is never a shortage of festive movies to indulge in at this time of the year, whether you celebrate Christmas or not. If your family has a favourite, you could make it a tradition to watch that together on the same date each year. This also gives you the opportunity to create additional small traditions related to it, like wearing matching pajamas or drinking hot chocolate.