Holiday Traditions: Getting Into The Christmas Spirit

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As our days become chillier, we start to look forward to the festivities that the holidays bring — not only cheerful spirits and time with family but also our most treasured holiday traditions. Whether you have a holiday tradition or not, here are some favorites to give you a bit of inspiration.

Recreate A Nativity Scene

This is a classic Christmas tradition for many families. It represents the scene of Jesus Christ's birth. There are life-size Nativity scenes at various religious institutions, some of which feature real people, and miniature ones in families' homes. The Smithsonian reports that the first Nativity scene was created in 1223, making it one of the longest-standing traditions in history. So if you're looking for something traditional, this is definitely a great option.

Count Down With An Advent Calendar

Who doesn't love a countdown to get excited about Christmas? If this appeals to you, an Advent calendar will do the trick. Even better, the Advent calendars with chocolate are a sweet treat to give you a taste of all the goodies that the holidays bring. Advent begins on the Sunday closest to November 30 (the feast day of St. Andrew) and ends on Christmas Eve. This year, Advent starts December 2. Let the countdown begin!

Keep The Kids Naughty Or Nice With The Elf On The Shelf

If you're looking for a little fun and mischief this holiday season, the Elf on the Shelf can give a hand. According to its website, this joyful elf is Santa's helper and keeps his eyes and ears open for naughty and nice children around the world. Parents, keep in mind that the elf reports back to Santa every night after the kids go to bed, so making sure that he shows up in a new place in the morning is very important. This is a fun tradition to share with your little ones — and one that ensures they stay on their best behavior!

Treat Yourself And Others By Baking Cookies

One reason the holidays are wonderful is that there are so many delicious baked goods. Even though it may be cold outside, you can stay warm and cozy with a cup of hot cocoa and a cookie. But did you know that this Christmas tradition dates all the way back to medieval times? According to History's website, more exotic fruits and spices became available in the Middle Ages, but back then, it wasn't until the holidays that families could afford to bake treats with them. Cookies were the popular choice because they were the easiest to share with friends and neighbors. So if you want to follow another historical tradition, get your oven mitts ready!

Uplift Spirits With Christmas Caroling

If you want to be more vocal about your love of the holidays, try out the Christmas caroling tradition with some friends and family. This is a fun activity that calls for more engagement with strangers who might need a little Christmas cheer in their lives. According to Time, the act of singing and visiting different homes first came about in Victorian England and became popularized by the printing of songs such as "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," "The First Noel" and "Joy to the World." Although going door to door isn't as common as it used to be, you can still find these carolers frequenting shopping malls and churches. So if you want to get a little more involved and brighten someone's day, consider adding this to your Christmas traditions.

Choose Your Perfect Christmas Tree and Decorate It

Another favorite Christmas tradition is loading up the family in the car and heading out to find the perfect tree. In fact, Better Homes & Gardens reports that between 25 million and 30 million Christmas trees are sold each year. Even after smelling the bristles of the noble and Douglas firs, assessing the height of these lush green trees and finally mounting one onto the car, the fun is just beginning! Once you get home, the decorating begins. Play some Christmas classics on the stereo, and start adorning your tree with beautiful lights, shiny silver or gold garland, and treasured ornaments. This is a great tradition to get the whole family involved.

Those are just some of the most notable Christmas traditions; many others can be explored. You can even mix some of these traditions to make a unique one. The possibilities are endless. Just remember to enjoy yourself!

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