The holidays offer that special time of the year to celebrate or create family traditions and memories that last a lifetime. Memories can be made by simple gestures or going to an annual event, baking, decorating together, making crafts and homemade gifts to so much more. A family memory that always brings a smile to my face is when as a child we would visit my grandparents at Christmas. The beautiful lit Christmas tree, colorful presents and Pappy dressed as Santa (we had no idea until we were teens!) brought a time of year my brother and I always looked forward to!
Tree Hunting – Each year our family (myself, hubby and two boys 7 and 11 as of 2013!) ventures to Hunter’s Farm in Alpharetta to pick out our fresh Frasier Fir Christmas Tree. Hunter’s grows their own trees that you can have cut and they also have hundreds of trees shipped in each year. My kids love to make ornaments from wood in the craft area, drink hot chocolate, and take a wagon ride. The boys write their name and year on the back of the wood ornament and we add to the growing collection at home. The holiday season has begun when our tree is in it’s stand, lit and decorated with joyful ornaments.
Baking – A recipe for divine pecan pie was passed down from my mother. I don’t come close to making it as good as she does, but baking pecan pies is a tradition I enjoy over the holidays. My family knows there won’t be a family holiday meal missing pecan pie. Some families may pick a day over the holidays and bake an assortment of cookies to deliver as gifts and enjoy as a family.
Craft Day with the Girls – A fun way to make memories while spending time with your friends over the holidays is to plan a craft day! A friend organized a group of women at her house during the day while the kids were at school. We each brought a craft for everyone to make. These are easy craft ideas you could do yourself at home or with friends. Afterward, we enjoyed lunch with mimosas and had a grand time!
Cinnamon Stick Candles
- 2 packs cinnamon sticks (can be found at Michaels)
- Scented Candle (they used Baked Cookies scented candle from Michaels which is a 6″ candle and about the same heigth as the cinnamon sticks)
- Hot glue gun
- Ribbon (thick festive ribbon is pretty)
Put hot glue on one side of the cinnamon stick and also on the candle. Place cinnamon stick on the candle and hold for a few seconds to let it set. Be careful – glue gets HOT! I burned myself several times on the hot glue and had to keep a cup of cold water nearby to soak my fingers in!
Continue gluing the cinnamon sticks to the candle and try to push them together until you have gone all the way around the candle. It is okay if some of the glue shows. It dries clear and adds to the natural look.
Tie a pretty ribbon around the center of the cinnamon sticks/candle and you have a beautiful present for someone or yourself!
- Clear class (pack of 6 – can be found at Michaels)
- Assorted colors of Acryllic paint (small bottles can be found at Michaels)
- Batting if desired, Fake snow if desired
- Colorful thin ribbon
- Paint pens
Decorate the ornaments to your liking. Some put batting inside the ornament then painted the outside with a wreath, snowman or snowflakes. Idea: use the acryllic paint and color the entire ball one color then paint a snowman or other on top once dry. Idea: put one or more decorated ribbon inside the ornament and use paint pens to draw small dots on the ornament. Idea: draw different colored stripes on the ornament and draw an initial on one side.
We had fun comparing our painting and decorating skills!
Decorating/Wrapping Gifts – Make memories decorating for the holidays as a family. Play holiday music, drink hot chocolate and have the kids help string the lights, place ornaments and other holiday decor around the house. Wrap gifts for friends and family together and make it festive!
Holiday Events – Celebrate the season and make memories by attending a holiday event or performance together. It could be the start of an annual family tradition. Some suggestions include, “A Christmas Carol” at the Alliance Theatre; “The Nutcracker” at The Fox Theatre, Stone Mountain Christmas, Magical Nights of Lights at Lanier Islands or Candlelight Nights at Atlanta History Center.
The holidays are a special time of the year to let others know how we feel about them, do good deeds and make memories to last a lifetime.
I am proud to say I am a writer for North Fulton family life monthly magazine and this article is in the December 2013 issue!!!
Updated 12/3/2014 and 12/2016. Dec 2018