Christmas traditions are handed down from generation to generation, but sometimes new ones can be especially meaningful to your family.


This clever book will simplify Christmas shopping for the whole family. Using a medium-sized note­ book, make a divider for each person in the family. Each person’s section includes a page for clothing sizes, items needed, and items wanted.

Decorate the notebook with fabric, wrapping paper, or contact paper. When Christmas (or birth­ day) present suggestions are needed, one glance
at the book, and you can select the perfect gift. Compare notes so several people don’t buy the same gift.

Keep the notebook in a location accessible to all family members and use it year after year. Make year dividers at the end of the notebook to keep last year’s pages. You’ll enjoy looking back at them as the years pass.


Read a favorite Christmas story together as a family after dinner or before going to bed each night in December.


Give each child an ornament every year. When they leave home and start their traditions, they will already have the beginning of a collection.


Put on a nativity pageant, complete with the baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, wise men, camels, shepherds, donkeys, and the heavenly star. If your family is small, invite a neighbor’s family to join you.


Each week in December, have each person draw the name of a different family member. Do secret acts of kindness for that person during the week.


On separate pieces of paper, have each person record a favorite memory about each of the other family members. The written memory should be about something that occurred during the past year, and might be a shared experience, a kindness done, a good attribute noticed, or an amusing anecdote. Collect all of the papers and preserve them in your Family Christmas Book to savor in years to come.


Personalize a storybook for a young child by recording it on tape. As you come to the end of each page, pause a moment and ring a bell or tap a glass with a spoon to signal that the child should turn the page.


Rather than opening gifts in a grand melee, open one present at a time while everyone watches. It’s sometimes fun to wrap something quite small in a very big box.

Another fun family tradition can be started with a white elephant gift. The person who received it last year secretly chooses a new person to surprise this year. This can be really fun as the gift changes hands each year.