Celebrate the Holidays This Year With These Out-of-the-Box Family Traditions

These creative ideas can help you give back, deepen your connections, and celebrate together.


For many of us, the holidays are filled with meaningful traditions. And while there’s something so special about upholding the evergreen rituals that you cherish year after year, it’s also worth creating new holiday traditions that help you deepen your connections to your loved ones, tap into the power of giving, or invite wonder and awe into your life.

We asked our Thrive community about the new traditions they’ve started with their families, and we were so inspired by their responses. Which of these creative holiday rituals will you try this year?

Create a 2020 vision board

“In our family, we spend the afternoon of New Year’s Eve creating vision boards and goals for the upcoming year. We’ve been partaking in this creative tradition since my boys were young. They are now nine and twelve years old. It’s a great way to open the conversation and pause to feel grateful as we reflect on the previous year.”

—Emily Madill, author and life coach, Nanaimo, B.C., Canada

Make holiday cooking interactive

“When my mom makes our traditional Christmas pudding, she mixes the ingredients together, and then everyone takes a turn to stir it with a wooden spoon and make a wish. She still waits until everyone has stirred it before it gets cooked. When I eat it on Christmas Day, I remember my hopes for some Christmas magic to make my wish come true!”

—Tanya B., client services manager, Manchester, UK

Giftwrap the doorways

“We cover the doorway between the girls’ room and the Christmas tree with wrapping paper, so the first thing our girls get to do Christmas morning is run through the wrapping paper to see the presents under the tree. It’s so much fun, and it gets us all smiling with holiday cheer!”

—Lisa Abramson, executive coach, Menlo Park, CA

Celebrate “Thanksmas” 

“My family celebrates ‘Thanksmas’ in between Thanksgiving and Christmas each year. I travel to see my son and his family, and we have our traditional Christmas celebrations, with a dance recital or other child-related activity included as well. It started as a simple way to allow us all to celebrate the season together while we live in different places, and is now a tradition the grandchildren look forward to as simply ‘Thanksmas.’”

—Susan Luke Evans, global speaking fellow, Toronto, CA

Give back

“My kids and I visit the family farm during the holidays, and pick up trash along the country roads. It is our way of giving back to nature, and ensuring that everyone can enjoy the beauty of the countryside.”

—Kerry Wekelo, COO, Reston, VA

Give surprise gifts

“If we stay overnight with our parents on Christmas Eve, we get a small gift at the ends of our beds in the morning. We now really take our time exchanging and cherishing gifts, since we see each other less through the rest of the year. My young nieces sometimes get carried away, and open other people’s presents in their fevered enthusiasm for the day!”

—Tanya B., client services manager, Manchester, UK

Does your family have a creative holiday tradition you’d like to share? Tell us about it in the comments!

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