The holidays are upon us, which are the perfect time to create new memories and long-lasting traditions.
For many of our residents, this holiday season will be one of firsts — first in a new apartment, first with a significant other, first as a new parent, first in a new city or state, and the list goes on.
And, perhaps you’re looking to develop some new holiday traditions of your own.
Here are six of our team members’ favorite holiday traditions and memories to help inspire new ideas for creating your own.
1. Watching the Grinch
Abbie, of The Preserve at Normandale Lake in Bloomington, MN, loves pouring a glass of wine, putting on the movie “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and putting up her tree. Her grandma gives her a new ornament each year, so she lays them all out and reminisces about the memories made with each one. Then she gets to decorating!
“This solo tradition always gets me in the holiday spirit. It’s not much, but it’s something I look forward to!”
Did you know the Grinch wasn’t green in the original book by Dr. Seuss?
2. Making a gift exchange a game
Shelly, of CIP’s home office, said her large family turns their adult gift exchange into an exciting game. After someone picks a prize, they have five minutes to roll five dice. If they roll a seven or eleven, they can switch gifts with someone else.
“When the five minutes is up, you keep the gift you have. It’s so much fun!”
The kids also get to play games for prizes, as well as receive a surprise visit from Santa. He delights them by calling out their names, and then they sit on his lap and receive their present.
“The kids’ expressions are priceless.”
Want to spice up your gift exchange? Here are some other great ideas for turning your gift exchange into a game.
3. Making hot wassail and looking at lights
Stafanie, of Ridge Pointe Villas at Pine Lake Heights in Lincoln, NE, serves up hot wassail while they decorate their Christmas tree. Then, they make some hot chocolate and drive around looking at Christmas lights.
“I love the time with the family and kids and how excited they get about it every year,” Stefanie said.
Interested in trying hot wassail? Here’s a great hot cider wassail recipe!
4. Going to the ballet
Kylie, of The Villas at Mahoney Park in Lincoln, NE, grew up performing in The Nutcracker. Now, she and her family have continued the tradition and attended the ballet each year as audience members.
“One of my favorite parts of The Nutcracker is now being able to sit in the audience and not only support local dancers, but also see and hear how excited younger dancers are about hopefully being in the show in the future!”
Did you know The Nutcracker premiered in 1892? Here are some other fun facts about the history of The Nutcracker.
5. Opening gifts on Christmas Eve
Jenny, of CIP’s home office, loved kicking off Christmas with some homemade Runzas and some gifting excitement on Christmas Eve.
“When my kids were little, we used to have them open their gifts from us on Christmas Eve, which consisted of a board game, movie and PJs. They would sleep in their new PJs and wake up to Santa gifts on Christmas morning.”
Not sure what a Runza is? It’s a Nebraska tradition you’re sure to love. Check out this entire story about Runzas.
6. Collecting ornaments while traveling
Nancy, of CIP’s home office, said her family collects ornaments from their travels throughout the year and marks the date on them.
“We have ornaments from across the globe, and it makes for an easy item to transport while traveling and reminds us of our great memories while we’re decorating the tree.”
7. Visiting Santa
Dawn, of CIP’s home office, loved her hometown’s tradition of airing a 30-minute segment called “Santa’s Workshop” from Thanksgiving through Christmas. On the show, Santa would read letters, count down to Christmas, and do silly antics with his sidekick.
“If you were extra good/lucky, you would go to David’s Department Store and stand in line to see him in person and tell him what you want for Christmas.”
We hope you enjoyed learning about some of our team members’ favorite holiday pastimes, and hope they help inspire you to create some of your own new traditions!