With the arrival of December, it’s time to make the best of the holiday season
Looking to try a new tradition for the holidays? Ready to be done with this semester and spend time doing literally anything other than school?
If you said yes to either of these questions, look no further!
Open a gift on Christmas Eve
One tradition to really get you into the holiday spirit is having everyone open one present the night before Christmas. In my family, it’s a tradition to receive a new pair of pajamas on Christmas Eve. It’s a fun taste of what you can expect the next morning. There’s nothing like unwrapping your gifts the next morning on Christmas Day, lounging in a new, soft pair of pajamas!
Volunteer or donate to those in need
If you’re looking to start a tradition of helping those who need it most during the holidays, volunteering or donating to your local food bank, church, charity, or soup kitchen is a great way to give back.
In Victoria, the Festival of Trees event at the Bay Centre is also a great way to support the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation. The festival is open daily, so take your family or friends downtown to tour the one-of-a-kind decorated trees and help raise funds for a good cause.
This year, proceeds will go towards diabetes care for kids in B.C. in order to support the health and wellness of more than 2 500 children. You can also donate by voting for your favourite tree at the Bay Centre! The Festival of Trees runs from Nov. 17 to Jan. 3.
A great tradition is to have at least one evening set aside over the holidays for a games night with your friends or family. As a girl with Mennonite roots, my personal favourite is bringing out a card game called Dutch Blitz.
It’s a fast-paced German game that is simple to pick up, making it the perfect game for everyone to play. Each player has their own deck of cards and must work to get rid of the cards in their hand. There is no turn-taking, just frenzied slamming down of cards!
So, be warned — especially if you have competitive family and friends — the game gets heated pretty quickly. But, of course, there’s no hard feelings that a steaming mug of hot chocolate together after the game won’t smooth over.
If you’re looking for something a little more lowkey and relaxing, I suggest games such as Apples to Apples, Scattergories, or Settlers of Catan.
Go to a local Christmas market
Sometimes time gets away from you, and you realize you’re in need of some last minute gifts. Visiting a local Christmas market is a great tradition that gets you out into the community to finish your shopping list, while supporting local artists and vendors at the same time.
A variety of winter Christmas markets are happening around Victoria in December. You can check out the Yuletide Market Series and the Last Chance Christmas Craft Fair in Victoria for some great gift ideas. While some Christmas markets have already wrapped up for the season, such as the Sooke Winter Market, Dickens Fair, and the Metchosin Christmas Market, these are definitely markets to keep in mind to visit next year!
Wrap your gifts to look like something else
If you’re looking to get really creative with your traditions, a fun way to mess with your family and friends is by wrapping your gifts to look like an item that is completely different to what the gift actually is. For example, last year I gifted my mom a tea kettle. But with the help of some cardboard cutouts, I wrapped it to look like a ceiling fan. With some tape, extra cardboard, wrapping paper, and a creative mind, the options are endless.
Have clothing items to gift to your sibling? With the help of some empty toilet paper rolls, you can stuff the item and shape it into a structure that looks like anything but clothing once wrapped. It’s a great way to get some laughs, get people guessing as to what their gifts actually are, and to be inventive with the gift wrapping process!
Starting a Christmas tradition is a great way to make new memories with friends and family, and to get to know a bit more about your community. No matter how you celebrate, these moments help build anticipation for the holiday season and create positive memories to reflect back on!