5 Simple Holiday Traditions You Can Adopt

My grandma still has game.

Recently I’ve seen people posting about their holiday traditions. I read, thought that’s nice and then moved on. I assumed that we didn’t have any. It doesn’t bother me. My mother and sister always get up in arms about that though and say things like “we don’t have any traditions” or “did you buy new decorations, again?”. Now it’s easy to think that you don’t have any. As a child you are mainly worried about which package holds the Barbie instead of the hideous pants. As an adult you’re just thinking “I hope they like it, I hope they didn’t spend a disproportionate amount on me“.

I realized that we actually do have some accidental traditions. They’ve come about organically but there’s no reason that you can’t just start incorporating some of them into Christmas day or Christmas weekend.

Play a Board Game

"Why are you laughing? It's a nickname for Richard"-my mother

I know what you are thinking, “What’s a board game? Where do I plug it in?”. Okay so I am not a video game person. Perhaps your family could play video games but they strike me as more solitary (especially if one player is more advanced). Also if you are an adult with older parents they may not be keen on them either.

Well we like to play board games. Usually my sister or I have to talk/beg everyone to play. Yes, we know it takes a while, yes people may argue but it’s fun.

If you don’t have a game ask someone else who is visiting to bring one. Of course you can also buy one. The price will vary drastically depending on the game, store, etc. I’ve bought Monopoly sets for $5 and Clue for $30. You can also check out a thrift store. I see games I’d play at our local store at least 30% of the time. Yes, I have bought some for $1, score!

The silliest exchanges can come from playing board games. I found a 40 year old version of Risk recently. We played it and it was hilarious. We were fighting for countries that don’t exist anymore and ones we’d never actually want. I’m like “No, I will never give up control of Afghanistan!”. If you play a themed version some people will have no idea what’s going on. My mother on Star Wars Monopoly, “Why are the houses ships?”. My mother on Seinfeld Monopoly “What is sponge worthy?”.

There must be some game that you would enjoy out there. Here’s a small list that includes our favorites.

Monopoly
Scrabble
Battleship
Yahtzee
Mancala
Mall Madness
Clue
Life

Sing with Your Family

I'm surprised they went with the original lyrics on this one.

As a child we used to bring home free booklets of Christmas carols and my parents would make us sing. “Hey, this is not cool. I do not want to sing with you guys”. A few years ago my father bought those inexpensive karaoke microphones that plug right into the TV or DVD player. We used those until they went kaput and when that happened last year we kept singing. Some people get entirely to into The 12 Days of Christmas. You don’t have to just sing Christmas songs either. My father likes the beat of Walkin on the Sun. It was too funny to see him singing about smoking weed and not even realizing it. I’ve read that some people make their own YouTube playlists of the karaoke versions of songs and sing along to those. You can also go for those bigger karaoke models. Just make sure that you buy compatible CDs if you do. It’s such an easy mistake…that I’ve made.

Document Everything


As a child my parents drove me insane with recording Christmas…for years. My dad had just bought a cutting edge VHS camera and he was eager to shoot people’s feet as often as possible. We also always take photos at family gatherings, especially holidays. Nowadays you don’t even have to wait a second for your digital camera to pop open since it’s likely that someone will have a cutting edge phone that shoots photos in 5MP. Just remember to beg that person to send the photos to your email (so you can print them later). Another option is to pick up a one time use camera. This goes hand in hand with wearing silly head wear (ex. Santa hats and reindeer ears), as I’ve mentioned previously. Don’t forget to don some cute new PJs or a Christmas sweater (non-ironically please). These days my sister and I are the ones taking pictures after my parents or other siblings enthusiasm has waned.

Eat Chocolate

After all of the above commotion, plus eating a huge meal and opening presents you’ll probably want to unwind with some chocolate. We like to give each other candy as presents. Everyone has a different favorite and then we will, of course, steal some from each other. It doesn’t have to be a large amount if you don’t want to have to eat it for days or a week. There are Rocher 3 packs and small bags of fake chocolate coins that you can get that will be gone pronto! My sister’s favorite? You guessed it, that orange chocolate ball above.

Give an Unexpected Gift

As a child we received gifts from the Angel Tree program. It was really great. I’m still a poor person but we take care of our own. (Don’t believe me? Guess who donated to Hurricane Katrina when I was a cashier? It wasn’t the people with Chanel bags.) In the past I never remember until it’s too late. Last year I had some dough and actually remembered in November. I was very excited. I chose a young girl who seemed very much like me as a kid. She liked My Little Pony and the color pink. This year I was a little slow on the uptake and didn’t remember until early December. I chose an older girl who seemed uncool and wouldn’t be picked. I put myself in the mindset of myself at that age and thought of what girls today like and I think I found her a few cool things.

It’s simple. You can choose someone online (with a search function) and even buy and have it shipped directly from JC Penney if you want. I bought my gifts at the store (so I could get stuff from different locations) and hand delivered it (last year) and shipped it (this year) to that branch of the Salvation Army. I recommend choosing someone local since when I mailed it I had to think about the size of the package, which means you may not be able to include larger items.

You can’t do it this year but you can participate next year. There are a ton of other programs like this out there. I recommend reading this post from the Bloggess with many donation ideas. Don’t forget to check the comments too.

You can also always just give a present without expecting one to a friend or acquaintance. The problem with this is that it often puts them in a situation in which they feel like they have to give you something too even if they are busy or can’t afford it.

You may also enjoy:
Top Christmas TV Shows On Netflix Streaming
Christmas Photo Set and Playlist
The IFB Blogger Holiday Party: Antlers are Underrated-on Christmas fashion, includes another fun antler pic.

Holiday Gifts for Readers: Books & Magazines $5 & Under

For this post (and others in my holiday sales series) I have went through thousands of items and chose the items that in my humble opinion are the best so that you don’t have to wade through them.

Amazon has a huge selection of bargain books, which is awesome. Just be aware that when they sell out that’s it. I picked a bunch of promising looking books. I have personally read (and recommend) Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs, Shopgirl by Steve Martin and Sati by Christopher Pike. For the rest of my choices I picked books that sound interesting and have decent reviews. I chose a lot of biographies, as well as books about film, humorous books, novels, romances and a bit of sci fi. All of them are under $5.

I have also included a few magazine subscriptions that they offer for $5. Plus I included some titles from Best Deal Magazines. I have ordered from them for years and they are trustworthy.

BOOKS
(each widget includes 8 titles or less)

AUTOBIOGRAPHIES & BIOGRAPHIES

THE SIMPSONS

NOVELS

FILM

ASSORTED

MAGAZINES

These magazines are on sale through November 30, 2011. They are auto-renewal titles which means that Amazon will charge you again in a year unless you cancel your subscription by then. There is a link on how to do so on each title’s page.

All of these titles (and many more) are available from Best Deal Magazines for only $4.69 by visiting, this page. I have read issues of all of these magazines and they are often pretty good.

Prices are subject to change at any time depending on a site’s whims and competition.

Style File: A 1970’s Xmas

On Christmas I wore this really cool, very long vintage polyester dress I bought on eBay. It’s from the ’70s & has a really cool ruched chest. As with my last vintage dress it fit well everywhere except my chest, so I had to wear a sports bra again. Since it was so long I paired it with some wedges so it wouldn’t drag on the floor. I also added some cheap costume jewelry, a wooden necklace & plastic bubble bracelet. Plus my sister bought me these really cool elephant earrings because I had told her I rode an elephant earlier in the year. Christmas was pretty nice. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. We just ate, opened presents, sang carols and wore elf hats & reindeer antlers.

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vintage 1970's dress-Holly, Division of Gloria Moret of California, eBay, wedges-Colin Stuart, thrifted

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my dog with a present from my sister, with my brother