16 holiday traditions to try this yearNov 30, 2022 03:15PM ● By Kimberly Blaker
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Eid al-Fitr, Bodhi Day or the winter solstice, holiday traditions are a fun way for families to bond and for multiple generations to create fond memories. The traditions you choose are limited only by your imagination in the way you and your family carry them out. Here are a few fun traditions to consider.
Choose a theme such as “my most memorable holiday season” or “the best thing that happened this year” and ask each person to share a memory. Record the storytelling on video or audio, then play it in future years as part of your memory-sharing tradition.
Hold a holiday poetry reading. Ask each person to bring copies of their favorite seasonal or holiday poems to pass out and read aloud at your gathering. (Check out "When the Cowboys Came Home for Christmas" by Nona Kelly Carver)
3. WHITE ELEPHANT
Rather than giving gifts the traditional way, hold a white elephant gift exchange. This game is more about entertainment than the gift and is a fun time for all ages.
Each guest brings a wrapped gift that anyone can use. Everyone then draws a numbered slip and takes a turn choosing either a wrapped gift or taking an unwrapped gift from another participant.
If a player loses their gift, that person gets to choose another wrapped gift or take a gift from someone else. For complete rules and variations on this fun gift exchange, visit www.whiteelephantrules.com.
4. COZY ESCAPE
Sometimes a change of scenery is what you need to get into the Christmas spirit! Escape the holiday hustle and bustle and enjoy a holiday retreat with your beau or the whole brood. Try a cozy cabin on the Grand Mesa, in Ouray or another scenic setting. Then enjoy your togetherness near a roasting fire, flipping through family photo albums, enjoying holiday music, doing crafts and other relaxing activities.
5. HOLIDAY COUNTDOWN
Start a holiday countdown for your grandkids. Take a 3-by-3 foot strip of ribbon and cut 24-paired slits from top to bottom. Thread each pair with a narrow ribbon and tie a sucker in each.
Beginning December 1, your grandchild can remove a treat each day through Christmas Eve or the eve of the holiday you celebrate.
6. HELP FAMILIES IN NEED
Deliver a hot meal to a homebound senior or supply a family with gloves and hats. Ask your grandchildren (with their parents’ approval) to make room for their own new gifts by donating good, unwanted toys. Offer the toys to families in need, wrap them yourself and leave them on the doorstep.
7. A ROMANTIC EVENING
Couples often forget to take time out for each other during the busy holiday season. Plan an evening for two and reserve a table near a fireplace or a different romantic setting. When you return home, light some candles and your tree, listen to holiday or soft music, and exchange a special gift with each other. Then spend the evening reminiscing and sharing your dreams for the future.
8. CUT YOUR OWN TREE
Take the whole family to a tree farm and make a day of it. Look for the perfect tree to compliment your home or that fits your family’s taste.
9. INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMS
Pick up a book on holiday customs around the world. Each year, choose a different culture or nationality for your theme. Then decorate and try new traditions accordingly. Read the article “Family mealtime adventures” at www.Beaconseniornews.com for some ethnic meal time inspiration.
10. SHOPPING DATE
Make a date with your partner and assist each other in selecting your holiday attire. Decide in advance on the formality so you choose complementary outfits and your shopping trip together remains agreeable.
11. A SPECIAL ORNAMENT
Buy a new tree ornament each year that signifies something important such as your grandbaby’s first Christmas. If it’s your first season in a new home, find an ornament that represents it.
12. HOMEMADE WRAPPING PAPER
Get a roll of brown Kraft paper. Then cut holiday shapes out of sponges, dip them in holiday-colored paint and stamp the shapes onto the paper. Use glitter and glue to add to the festive look.
13. STOCKINGS FOR ADULTS
Fill stockings for your partner, parents or grown kids to discover. Stuff them with treats, beauty products, postage stamps, lottery tickets and other inexpensive or usable items.
14. TAKE A HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE RIDE
Don’t forget blankets and your favorite hot beverage for warming your lips and hands. If you’re taking a horse-drawn carriage ride in downtown Grand Junction, grab a cup of Main Street Bagels’ signature Polar Express Hot Chocolate, a delectable blend of three chocolates inspired by the book.
15. PAMPER YOURSELF
After returning from a holiday shopping trip, decorate the bathroom in holiday candles, fragrance and holly. Throw on some holiday or other relaxing music. Then enjoy a long bubble bath and give yourself a full salon treatment. Include a manicure, pedicure, deep hair conditioning, facial mask and body buff.
16. LOCAL EVENTS
Christmas wouldn’t be the same without rejoicing in some local celebrations. Here are some of our favorite traditions to kick off the holidays with:
Parade of Lights
• Palisade (Theme: A Very Vintage Christmas) - December 2 at 5 p.m.
• Delta (Theme: Christmas Candies) - December 2 at 6 p.m.-
• Grand Junction (Theme: There’s No Place Like Home) - December 3 at 5 p.m.
• Cedaredge - December 3 at 6 p.m.
• Montrose (Theme: Jingle All the Way) - December 3 at 5:30 p.m.
• Fruita (Theme: A Griswold Christmas) - December 10 at 5:30 p.m.
Music & Theatre
• Magic Circle Players’ “Miracle on 34th Street”
December 1-3 at 7:30 p.m. & December 3-4 at 2 p.m.
Don’t miss the opportunity to see this beloved story hit the Magic Circle stage,
420 S. 12th St. in Montrose. Tickets are only $10.
• Valley Symphony Association’s “Christmas by Candlelight”
December 3 at 7:30 p.m. & December 4 at 3 p.m.
Valley Symphony’s Christmas concert will warm your heart at the Montrose Pavilion, 1800 Pavilion Dr. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at www.valleysymphony.net or 970-765-8323.
• Spirit of Christmas Walk
December 9 at 5:30 p.m.
Christmas comes alive with over 300 entertainers in downtown Grand Junction, including clowns, poets jazz bands, dance groups and more.
• Grand Junction Centennial Band
December 11 at 3 p.m.
Celebrate the season with this free community concert of Christmas classics at the Colorado Mesa University Ballroom.
• Bookcliff Harmony Chorus
December 13 at 7 p.m.
This concert features the Bookcliff Harmony Chorus and Sweet Adelines’ Grand Mesa A Cappella Chorus and other barbershop harmony singers at First Baptist Church, 720 Grand Ave., Grand Junction.
• “A Christmas Classic”
December 15, 7:30 p.m.
Immerse yourself in a holiday wonderland at the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra’s “A Christmas Classic” concert at the Avalon Theatre. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased at www.gjso.org or 970-243-6787.
• Santa Cause Run, December 10 at 10 a.m.
Run around Grand Junction’s Las Colonias area in a Santa suit while raising money for inclusive playground equipment in Grand Junction parks. Entry fee is $30.