Hudson Valley Parent

HVP Dec 2014

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Page 6 of 41 ■ Hudson Valley Parent 7 Making memories 25 holiday traditions to start right now! By PAM MOLNAR T he holiday season gives us plenty of opportunities to kick off a new tradition. By doing something that creates and rekindles memories year after year, you are building a family custom. Looking to try something new this year? Con- sider these ideas to freshen up the holidays in your family. Be of service: • Play board games with residents at the senior center. • Prepare a meal for families at your local Ronald McDonald House. • Write cards for children in hospitals with Operation Christmas Cheer ( mascheer). • Stock shelves at the local food pantry. • Make no-sew blankets for hospitals or nursing homes. • Start a book drive in your area and donate the books to local shelters and children's hospitals. • Make an Advent calendar that in- cludes a random act of kindness to carry out each day. • Go caroling with friends and take up a collection for your favorite charity. Learn something new: • Attend a holiday service at a differ- ent place of worship. • Read a different holiday story each night — find a mix of old favorites and new reads. • Try a traditional holiday recipe from a different country every year. Take a trip down Memory Lane: • Start a holiday journal. Encourage everyone to write down their hol- iday memories from this year and add new pages next year. • Call the friends on your holiday card list with whom you have lost touch. • Take a family picture in the same spot every year and add the pic- ture to an album that you display during the holidays. Make things together: • Build a gingerbread house — from scratch or from a kit. • Design a Christmas time capsule to be put away in your holiday boxes. • Make an outdoor Christmas tree for the birds by stringing popcorn, dried fruit and bread or add bird seed ornaments made with seed, nuts and gelatin. Holiday purchases: • Purchase a new ornament each year for each child representing something about him that year. • Buy a new board game to add to your arsenal for family game night. • Start a collection of holiday deco- rations like snowmen, snow globes or illuminated houses and add to it each year. Have some fun: • Host an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party. • Plan a couple of evenings to watch holiday movies together. Add it to the calendar so everyone can look forward to it. • Leave out shoes for St. Nicholas Day. • Have a Christmas Carol Karaoke Night. • Host a holiday-themed Favorite Things Party. Pam Molnar is a freelance writer and mother of three. Brianne, 8, loves her ugly sweater.

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