December 7, 2016

4 Outside-The-Box Holiday Traditions

Holiday traditions can happen anywhere.

There are no rules, and sometimes, they just happen without any pre-planning at all.

But if planning things out is more your style, here are a few holiday traditions you might be familiar with, or you can steal them for yourself (your secret is safe with us!)…


Matinee at the Theater

Holiday weekends offer a valuable opportunity to head to the movie theater in lieu of retail stores and see a movie as a family. While everyone else is out shopping, millions of families dip in the theater for a quick matinee.

This Thanksgiving, Disney released “Moana,” an animated South Pacific tale of an adventurous teenager on a daring mission to save her people with the help of demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson’s character). The movie won big at the Thanksgiving weekend box office to have the second best Thanksgiving weekend opening of all time, behind only Disney’s “Frozen” from 2013.

After leftovers were stored in Tupperware, and the desserts were packed away, local multiplexes nationwide offered multiple viewing options for families over the holiday weekend, including “Moana.” Picking a movie everyone wants to see can be a challenge, but “Moana” definitely checked all the boxes for our approval: great show tunes, memorable animation, a resourceful heroine and a lovable animal companion! Put this on your list to check out in the next few weeks. Your kids won’t want to miss it and it’s a great holiday tradition to start early on that inspires your little ones to be lifelong theatergoers. The Universal Pictures animation, “Sing” is also slated to hit theaters on Dec. 21st!

Family Craft Activity

There is actually a lot of time in between the cooking and eating happening during the holidays where family members can spend time together and do an activity besides watch football on the couch. With young kids in the family, they can get stir crazy waiting for their next meal and pre-planning an activity can be a good way to add structure to your holiday weekend while involving the whole family in a holiday-themed craft for fun new memories.

Try giving everyone their own wooden Christmas tree made from a shipping pallet (or screw salvaged sticks/wood you have to a 1” x 4” board “trunk”) and prepare crafting supplies for painting, glittering, lighting and decorating the trees. A wooden tree is like a blank canvas each family member can decorate on their own and then take home. Planning small time slots to paint, walk away to let it dry, and then come back to paint/decorate again can offer some consistency and excitement while you wait for food to come out of the oven.




Cooking Gratitude Into the Meal

Some families will go around the dinner table at the holidays, offering every attendee an opportunity to share what they are thankful for to the whole family. But cooking those gratitudes into your food can be a simple new tradition that spices up the presentation of what everyone is thankful for.

With “gratitude rolls,” young children in your family can have a project to manage from start to end, with a fun foodie twist to express gratefulness in a unique way that includes everyone at the table. As each person arrives, they write a few things they are grateful for on small sheets of parchment paper. Then, each piece of paper is easily rolled into store-bought crescent rolls and baked. When the rolls are served, pass them around and ask guests to read the gratitudes aloud while trying to guess who wrote each one.

This is an easy way to encourage your children to practice gratitude while giving them the opportunity to see that everyone at your table is grateful for something and it’s important to share what we’re thankful for year round.


BUTTERMake your own Butter

An important part of practicing health and wellness during the holidays, is understanding and appreciating where your food comes from. Milk and dairy products are a great group to explore this concept with children because most young kids love to drink milk and use butter at the table! Most kids know that milk comes from a cow, but they might not understand or know all of the details.

You can help your kids learn more about the process of how milk and butter are made by starting a new tradition of making your own butter at home. Using whipping cream and reusing small, glass baby jars, young children can make their own butter by shaking the jars with cream inside vigorously for about 10 minutes. The butter will start to clot into a little ball and you can eventually use it at the dinner table!

This activity teaches the origin of food and helps build science knowledge. For younger children, you’ll also be building large and small motor skills as they shake their jars of butter.



Whether it’s cooking a special kind of recipe or doing a different activity together as a family, there are lots of outside-the-box ways to start new holiday traditions. What will yours be? Tell us in the comments! And check out our other outside-the-box holiday tradition ideas on our Pinterest board here!

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