Celebrating the holidays in a new home can be a delight, but it can also bring to mind holidays of the past, celebrated in places that are rich in memories. Whether you are looking forward to starting fresh or missing old traditions this year, here’s your holiday list of ways to sprinkle traditions into your new home and neighborhood.

Enjoy the Christmas Lights

If you have family coming in from out of town, you can treat them to a walking tour of your neighborhood. Head outside after dark, and enjoy the Christmas lights that embellish most homes at this time of year. Not only will you get to take in the holiday décor, you will see your new neighborhood start to feel like home.

Hold a Pot Luck Dinner

Instead of going out to dinner with your close friends, you can host a holiday pot luck dinner. Even if you feel like you are not completely settled into your new home, your friends will be honored to be invited in. Ask each guest to bring a side dish or a dessert, and you can prepare the main course, served on your best holiday china. Enjoy savory food and good conversation, and celebrate the changes you have each experienced over the past year. Make the potluck dinner an annual Christmas tradition, and take turns hosting each year.

Have a Cookie-Making Party

Get together as a family to make and decorate Christmas cookies. Invite family all at one time, or spread the invitations around and host open-house style. The kids in the family will surely be excited about cutting out cookies and adorning them with colorful icing and sprinkles. At the end of the day, take a stroll to pass out tins of cookies, sharing the blessings and beginning new friendships with your neighbors!

Take Time to Reflect and Dream

Chances are, if you are in a new home, you’ve experienced your share of changes over the past year. Make a night of reflecting and dreaming. Decorate a journal with wrapping paper, pour some eggnog, and write down what you are grateful for. Make sure you save some pages for the children to decorate and write, too. Then spend some time dreaming with your family….what would you like to see happen by the next Christmas? What goals do you hope to see fulfilled while you live in this home? Next Christmas, you can tuck these into your stockings and see how far you’ve come! Taking time to pause and savor what you have can be one of the most meaningful activities you do this season.

Start a Collection

Consider starting a new collection of holiday items for your new home. Maybe it’s a new glass tree for your mantle, a new nutcracker, or even a new holiday Lego scene…no matter what the items are, memories become tightly connected when they are part of a yearly tradition. Each time you unwrap them, you will remember years past, and all the memories made in your new home.

Have a Christmas Movie Marathon

For a laid back get-together, host a Christmas movie marathon. Allow the kids to have a sleepover, and ask each guest to bring a rented or already owned Christmas movie to share with the group. Add popcorn and hot cocoa and the party is ready to roll!

Adopt a Pet

There are thousands of dogs and cats living in shelters across the country, waiting for their forever family to give them a home. This Christmas, make a difference for one of these animals, and adopt a pet to share your home. A pet is a gift for the whole family, and a friend to celebrate with for years to come. Or, if it is not the right time for a new pet, consider making a donation to a pet shelter, or drop off treats for the people who work there.

Get Crafty

If you are feeling in the mood to create something with your own hands, pick up some card-making supplies, found at craft stores, and host a Christmas card-making party. Family members young and old will enjoy putting their creative skills to the test to see what sort of designs they can produce. Take the time to write a personal greeting to a special relative or friend on the inside of each card, and mail them out just in time for Christmas. This is a great way to let people know your new address!

As you fill your new home with traditions big or small, old or new, we wish you all the best during this sacred time. Happy Holidays!