One of the things that makes the holidays so special are family traditions. Whether they’re simple like going to see Christmas lights together sometime during the holiday season or more specific like cooking the same meal every Christmas Eve night, traditions make the season even more exciting. We’ve compiled a list of traditions you can try out if you need inspiration or just are interested in hearing what other people around the world do to celebrate. 

1. Gingerbread house decorating contest

You can team up or do this individually but why not make decorating gingerbread houses more fun by adding a competitive element?

2. Holiday Olympic games

Speaking of competitions, what about your own Olympics? Think lots of minute-to-win-it games. You could even bring the gingerbread house contest into this as its own event.

3. Christmas morning scavenger hunt

Make Christmas morning even more involved by adding in a scavenger hunt to find where Santa put their gifts.

4. Christmas Eve boxes

Take the Christmas PJs to the next level with a whole Christmas Eve box. Add in cozy socks, snacks, movies, games and anything else you want.

5. Holiday ornament exchange

Buy a new ornament and trade with friends.

6. Skip the big Christmas feast and order in KFC

In Japan, it’s become a holiday tradition to have Kentucky Fried Chicken for Christmas dinner. Seriously.

7. Secret Santa

Remember the reason for the season and share Christmas with a family in need.

8. Give books

In Iceland, it’s tradition for everyone to receive a book on Christmas Eve. Then you can read the book before you go to bed and again on Christmas Day.

9. Fry up some jelly donuts

While latkes and rugelach are well-known Hanukkah dishes, jelly donuts (sufganiyot, in Hebrew) are also increasingly popular.

10. Afternoon walk

After the excitement of the festivities from the morning have worn off, bundle up (if you’re in a cold weather climate) and head outside. Take a short walk and enjoy time together.

11. Pennies auction

One family shared that they give everyone a roll of pennies that they can use to bid on funny and creative gifts that Grandpa buys. Some gifts are nice and others are just silly.

12. Choose a different country each year and learn about their traditions

No passport or visas needed. Pick a country, research their holiday traditions then incorporate theirs into your own. This makes each year different and special in its own way.

What are some of your family’s favorite holiday traditions? Will you be adding any of these traditions to your holiday celebrations this year?