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The Holiday Traditions To Start With Your Family This Year

12/20/2016 at 10:20 | Lauren Levine // Staff Writer
Photo Credit: Sunny studio/Shutterstock
The holiday season is all about making memories with loved ones. No matter how big or small your family is, you can put some traditions in place that everyone will look forward to year after year. If you're searching for some inspiration, here are a few traditions to kick off this holiday season:   Have a cookie bake-off Round up your family and everyone in your neighborhood and challenge them to a cookie bake-off. If you don't want to force your kitchen to take the brunt of the action, you can also have everyone bake the cookies separately, then come together for the taste test component of the activity. You can award prizes for different categories, like most creative and best decorated.   Decorate gingerbread houses Each member of the family can get creative and decorate their own house, or you can work together on the project. Just make sure to dole out areas of expertise so everyone feels included.   Make a keepsake ornament Work together to craft a special ornament commemorating that year. Kids will love seeing the collection grow.   Wearing matching pajamas on Christmas Eve It adds to the excitement and makes for adorable pictures.   Develop a Christmas Eve tradition Maybe everyone is allowed to open one small gift before the big day. Perhaps you sit together and read The Night Before Christmas. You could also watch a classic holiday movie like It's a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street.   Check out the holiday lights in your area Load the family into the car and take a drive around town to see how your neighbors have decorated their homes for the season. There's always that one family that goes all out with lights and lawn ornaments. Take a peek and see what they've got going on this year.   Give back It's easy to let this season become about what's on your holiday list if you're not careful. Shift the focus by donating your time to a worthy cause in your community. This reminds kids and adults alike that there's more to the season than how much you can spend or ask for.   Lastly, as the year is winding down, take some time to write down a year in review for the family. What major milestones occurred that year? What are some goals or hopes you have for the following year? It will be fun to look back on these notes in the years to come and see how much progress you've made together.   Lauren Levine is a freelance writer who has contributed to publications and websites including The Huffington Post, Hello Giggles, Bustle, Thought Catalog, The Charlotte Observer, U.S. News & World Report, and others. She's also the co-host of The Margarita Confessionals podcast. Say hi on Twitter, @lifewithlauren1.