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It’s the holiday season, so something something and dum dum de dum, and don’t forget to put up the sock… Chimney… Santa.

I can’t remember the words. But if you really pay attention to any holiday song you will get a healthy dose of some of the universal Christmas traditions that are a part of most people’s holiday - seeing Santa, decorating a tree, driving around and looking at lights, etc.

Even though we do many things the same, we all have our own unique twist on holiday celebration.

When I was a kid my mom made us special pillowcases that we could only use on Christmas Eve to help us sleep. While that was mostly wishful thinking on her part - we didn’t sleep very much - it was a fun tradition. I still have my pillowcase and I still put it on my pillow on Christmas Eve.

But sometimes our traditions can get in the way of our holiday, whether they distract us from the true meaning of the season or take up all our time so we don’t get to enjoy it.

Here are a few anti-traditions that turn more conventional traditions on their heads and might be just what you need to breathe life into your holiday.

The Tradition: Christmas Dinner

With a turkey, eh! Mashed potatoes eh! And we we we are gonna have a good time.

Right? What better formula for holiday joyousness then a full stomach and a long winter’s nap.

Sadly it doesn’t work that way for everyone. Somebody has to make all the food and someone is going to have to do the dishes and clean up after it is all eaten. Add to that all the normal holiday pressures - relatives in town, an overcrowded house, last minute shopping - and your formula for joyousness has turned into one for ulcer inducing holiday stress.

If that sounds like you maybe it’s time to try an alternative.

The Anti-Tradition: Christmas Takeout

Sing fa ra ra ra ra all the way to the nearest Chinese restaurant and get some sweet and sour chicken in a box. Bring it home and have everyone sit around in comfy seats and stuff their faces while enjoying each others company.

Your kids will love it because they get to spend more time with you. You will love it because you don’t have to cook or clean up.

The Tradition: Buy Presents for the Kids

As an adult, half the magic of Christmas is lost for me because I already know most of the stuff I’m getting. I either picked it out myself or accidently found out what it was because I happened to check our bank statement or opened the wrong closet while looking for my favorite winter gloves that have been missing since last year.

Even though the joy of receiving is not what it once was, I still take a lot of pleasure in giving gifts. Seeing my son’s face light up after tearing open a present almost makes the other 364 days of whining worth it. Just kidding. Kids are great. Love you Henry.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, bringing the excitement back. Every kid loves Christmas because they get stuff. But most kids don’t really get into the giving.

Hmm. There must be a way to solve both of these problems at the same time.

The Anti-Tradition: Let Your Kids Buy You Presents

Give them a 10 or 20 dollar budget and send them off with Grandma and Grandpa, a friend, a neighbor, or some other responsible person. Don’t tell them what you want and give specific direction to your supervising adults to refrain from influencing them. Make sure that you aren’t around so they can sneak it into the house, wrap up their gift, and put it under the tree.

On Christmas day you will be genuinely surprised by whatever your child got for you. Your kids will love it because they get to experience some of the joy of giving. Plus they get the satisfaction of knowing that they picked it out all by themselves.

The Tradition: Go to the Movies

The Christmas holiday means big bucks for Hollywood because there is no better way to spend time with your family then sitting in a dark room not talking to each other. Okay, I’m being a little facetious.

When it comes to holiday movie going I’m as guilty as the rest. I’ll probably sneak out for a flick or two. But how much more fun would you have if you spent that time at home with the family doing something else.

The Anti-Tradition: Make a Movie

All you need is a smart phone with a decent battery and the ability to shoot and export video. Get all the family together and give yourselves some guidelines. Set a time limit for writing the script and a limit for the length of the video and then let the creative juices flow.

Your whole family will have a blast coming up with crazy ideas and testing out your acting skills. Once it’s all done, sit down with some Christmas popcorn and watch it together.

Not only will it bring you closer together as a family, it’s guaranteed to give you laughs for years to come.

So that’s it. Start something new and unusual this Christmas. Turn tradition on its head and get back to the true roots of the season.

What’s your anti-tradition?

Is there something that you do differently for the holidays? Let us know in the comments.

Image Credit: Flickr

Written by — December 13, 2013

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