Many people feel nostalgic during the holidays. They long for Christmas’ past, to their childhood homes, and warm family memories. Often these memories are made by sharing in family traditions. Perhaps it’s a memory of baking and decorating cookies with your grandmother, cooking a special Christmas-eve dinner or Christmas-day brunch, watching a favorite movie, or caroling with family and friends around the neighborhood.

Whether you have these memories or not, the great thing about traditions is that you can always begin new ones! You can start something this year that your kids and family will look forward to for years to come, and maybe carry on with their families.

We have a few in our family, but one in particular we look forward to every year, is a visit to Boise’s Botanical Gardens, “Winter Garden Aglow,” on Christmas Eve. Some years friends join us, and other years we go alone. But, every year – rain or sleet or snow or verrrry cold - we go. The thousands of twinkling lights look so much more magical to us on Christmas Eve, and after we return home, we make hot chocolate and eat cookies by the fire to warm up. I realized how important this tradition was to my daughter when I mentioned about possibly doing something else this year, and she gasped in horror at the very thought. The gasp was followed by an adamant, “No!”

Traditions help create the fabric of our families. And, like sewing a square onto a quilt, we can add to that fabric, square-by-square, tradition-by-tradition, and let it encompass us with warmth.

If you would like to start a new tradition with your family this year, check out some events to participate in and some great ideas provided by

  • Count down to Christmas
    Build suspense for Santa’s arrival with a countdown calendar. Feeling crafty? Follow this step-by-step tutorial that uses paper cups, a bulletin board, and tasty treats to create an Advent calendar. Or, transform a magnetic board into a countdown calendar with tiny tins, magnets, and glue. If you’re not so DIY, a store-bought calendar will still equal big-time fun for cuties who can’t wait until Christmas!
  • Visit a tree farm
    Start your family's holiday festivities off right by bundling up and heading to a local Christmas tree farm to search for the perfect tree. Chances are, you'll get to enjoy more than finding the perfect fir: Many tree farms offer hayrides, sleigh rides, and other family-friendly activities (Santa may even show up!). Hot cocoa so not optional!
  • Trim the tree together
    Your Christmas tree is your home's focal point for several weeks, so deck it out in style. Step one to achieving an Instagram-worthy tree: Fluff those branches, then hang lights (make sure to perform a Clark Griswaldesque bulb check first) starting at the base and working your way up, before stringing garlands. Be sure to supervise the unpacking of ornaments and hooks to avoid breakage or injury to little hands. Then, take turns hanging fave ornaments on the tree. A boost from mom or dad to reach high branches is sure to induce giggles and a photo-worthy moment. Just remind eager tree-trimming tots to be careful with the delicate ornaments and family heirlooms.
  • Start an ornament collection
    Capture memories in the form of special ornaments that grow your collection each year. Commemorate your baby’s first Christmas, a child’s special interest, frame school photos to hang on the tree, or even personalize ornaments with names and dates. Another idea: DIY one together with your kids as a fun craft project. You can give one each year when you trim the tree, or attach them to wrapped gifts as a special decorative touch.
  • Set up a Christmas Eve hot cocoa bar
    Break out the hot cocoa and Christmas cookies—but step up your presentation a notch: Instead of just serving everyone a mug of cocoa, set up a hot-cocoa station complete with mini marshmallows, whipped cream, colored sprinkles, candy canes, and more.
  • Go holiday "light-seeing"
    Whether your house is aglow in holiday lights or you prefer to let others do the outdoor decorating, pick a night where you all pack in the car and drive around to see the dazzling displays in your neighborhood. Pack hot cocoa or apple cider in insulated sippy cups and set off!
  • Wear matching holiday PJs
    Admit it: Matching holiday PJs are just fun—and not just for your kids, either. Start a Christmas Eve tradition where you all open up one special gift that you can use right away—coordinating pajamas—and start the holiday off in sweet matchy-matchy style.
  • Incorporate a new cultural tradition
    Broaden your family's cultural awareness and spice up a typical holiday celebration with traditions from around the world. Look to your own roots for inspiration, or explore a culture that has always fascinated you. It can be as simple as teaching the kiddos how to say "happy holidays" in another language, or as elaborate as fixing a traditional holiday food from across the globe. One idea: Celebrate Nochebuena. Another idea: invite friends over for a multicultural holiday soiree!
  • Give back
    Make others' lives merry and bright during the Christmas season. Some fun ideas for giving back: Wrap gifts to help kids who need it have a happier holiday season. Volunteer at your local homeless shelter or senior living community. Or, send supplies and greeting cards to soldiers stationed abroad, and away from their families, for the holidays.
  • Create a holiday playlist
    Whether you're trimming the tree, preparing for a party, or just in the car or getting dinner ready, help your family get their groove on with a customized holiday playlist. Ask everyone to add their favorites, from classics like 'Jingle Bell Rock' to Mariah Carey's 'All I Want for Christmas is You.'  Add different artists' interpretations of familiar songs, and challenge each family member to discover a festive new find.

For fun ways to make the holiday extra-magical for your family, click this!

And, if we can help you with a new Boise-area home to create those wonderful family traditions, please call us today @ 208.473.2203.  As a FULL SERVICE real estate brokerage, our mission is to provide you, our clients with the pinnacle of service, staging and redesign expertise, as well as top notch real estate marketing when buying or selling your Boise Home.

From our Templeton Real Estate Group family to yours, Happy Holidays!


By Bonnie Way Snider, Licensed Realtor© and Blogger