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The holiday season is in full swing and Christmas day is fast approaching! How do you plan on spending your time this Christmas season? Do you have long time traditions that you just can’t live without? Are you looking for some new ideas to help bring the family together for more quality time? In either case, here are some fun ideas for Christmas traditions that you can try. You family may already participate in some of these so look for something new and try it out!  Any one of these ideas could become timeless tradition that will bring your family happiness for many generations to come.

1. Christmas Light Family Drive

One of the best past times in the month of December is simply driving around with your family in search of the best Christmas lights.  Take a spin around your own neighborhood to see what kinds of decor your neighbors put up.  After that, branch out to other areas to try to find the homes that go all out every year.  You can even Google to find the best decorated homes in your area.  There are some that go so far as to sink their lights up with a radio station providing a free light show for any passer by!  Top the night off by visiting one of the local parks that does Christmas lights.  You could try something like Draper Park with the “Tree of Life” or the Salt Lake temple at temple square.

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2. White Elephant Gift Exchange

This is a great game to play with extended family or a large group of friends at a Christmas party.  The idea is for everyone to bring a small, cheap, wrapped gift to the party.  This can be something cool, something funny, or a total gag gift.  It is completely up to each guest what kind of gift they want to bring.  Each guest then takes turns either choosing a gift from the pile, or “stealing” one of the gifts that has already been chosen.  Will you get lucky and end up with one of the better gifts? Or will you get stuck with one of the gag gifts?  This makes for a fun and suspenseful game that any group can enjoy.  Check out this link for official game rules: http://www.secretsanta.com/white-elephant-gift-exchange-rules/

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3. Elf on a Shelf

This tradition is much newer than most Christmas traditions, but is still very popular.  If you haven’t heard of this already, this is a great tradition for the younger kids.  The idea behind it is that one of Santa’s “little helpers” is staying in your house for the month to watch over the kids and report their behavior back to Santa.  After all, he is making a list and checking it twice!  Have fun with this by placing the elf around the house in different locations each day to make it seem as if the elf is leaving each night and returning every morning.

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4. Pick out a Christmas Tree

Are you one of those families that pulls out the same fake Christmas tree every year?  Do you want to create a new Christmas tree tradition?  Try visiting one of your local Christmas tree farms with the family!  Give the kids a say in what tree you choose and then bring it home and decorate it together.  This brings the pine smell of Christmas right into your home and gives the kids a sense of ownership and pride with their Christmas tree.

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5. Build Gingerbread Houses

If you have never done this before, you have to try it! Building gingerbread houses is a blast for the whole family.  Get some gingerbread, get some candy, buy or make some frosting and start building!  The kids will love letting their creative minds wander as they build their dream home out of food!  Adults can have just as much fun letting their architecht side come out with immaculate designs.

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6. Christmas Cookie Exchange

You can never have too much sweets around the holidays so why not set up a Christmas cookie exchange with friends and family?!  Knock on the doors of your close neighbors and invite them to participate.  Gather the children or grand children and have some fun baking and decorating the cookies.  When you are finished, deliver the cookies around to those in the group and leave them with a Christmas carol!

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7. Use an Advent Calendar

An advent calendar is a special calendar used to count down the days in anticipation for Christmas.  You can buy one or make one yourself.  This is great for helping the kids to have a real sense of how close Christmas is without the constant “Are we there yet?!”  The calendar can be as elaborate or as simple as you want.  The best calendars allow the kids to open a tiny gift each day with something a little more special on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. 

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8. DIY Christmas Ornaments

Instead of filling up the tree with the same Christmas ornaments every year, try something new and make your own!  The kids will love getting to use their creativity to come up with meaningful ornaments to hang from the tree.  This tradition creates memories that can literally last a life time as you use the personalized ornaments and continue to add to them year after year.

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Hopefully one of these Christmas traditions has sparked your interest and will give you something new to try this holiday season!  Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a happy holidays from Utah Mortgage!

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