The holidays are upon us! As I discuss in this video and this posting, there are lots of ways to counter the rampant materialism and hyper-busyness of the holidays (remembering that neither consumerism nor being crazy-busy makes us happy). This weekend I'm going to talk with my kids about what their favorite holiday rituals are. I'm hoping I'll be able to focus them a little less on their letters (uh, wish-lists) for Santa and a little more on all the fun—and meaningful—things we do during the holidays that aren't materialistic.

What holiday traditions does your family have? I would love to repost a whole bunch of altruistic and otherwise not-materialistic things you do with your kids. Perhaps you'll inspire those who've come to dread this time of year, or make December even more meaningful for people who already embrace that holiday feeling.

Happiness How-To Video: Making the Holidays Happier

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My family has a tradition of eating lasagna on Christmas Eve.  This tradition started because my mom didn’t get off work for Christmas Eve, so it’s something she could prepare ahead of time and cook fast before we went to church that night.  Even though she’s retired now, everyone still wants lasagna on Christmas Eve because it became tradition.

catgirl | 9:08 am, December 11, 2009 | Link


This year we went light on personal gifts – one gift per person – and high on charitable gifts. We covered the wish list for a single mom with three children, and we sponsored a child in India to go to school for year.
Also a tradition that I borrowed from a friend: Xmas eve everyone gets new flannel pjs bottoms, and we relax at home watching holiday movies.

virtualee | 12:04 pm, December 11, 2009 | Link


We have a 3 year old and a 17 month old… and didn’t grow up with Happy Holiday Traditions to speak of… so forming our own has been a challenge, but fun! So far the kids are really enjoying going for evening drives with a stop for hot cocoa (coffee for mom & dad) to look at lights and talk about giving, people we love and what makes us happy. It’s simple, but they’re small and it’s hard to get them to be still enough to talk/listen without being strapped into their car seats.

karalee | 8:32 am, December 17, 2009 | Link


My husband and his mom make the dough for cinnamon pecan rolls and freeze them in 3 separate containers. When they’re frozen we deliver them to his brother’s house and his sister’s house. Each family cooks up their batch on Christmas morning at their own home, before we all get together later in the day for dinner with the whole clan.  They’ve been doing this for years!

Rebecca | 4:52 pm, December 29, 2009 | Link

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