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Fun holiday ideas

Julie Kraut is a freelance writer and the author of Slept Away and Hot Mess. Visit JulieKraut.com for more.




Keep Christmas fun with these new traditions

With Christmas music starting before Thanksgiving on many stations, candy canes adorning every available surface and the crunch of gift buying season upon us, know what it's like to be a little fatigued of holiday cheer dangerously early in the season. So here are some new takes on the holidays that'll hopefully pep you right back into the spirit.

Winter limo

Instead of just going along with all the old holiday traditions that come and go every year, fun things up a bit with these holiday ideas. They may become your new holiday tradition!

Rethink your meal

Instead of slaving over the stove to create a meal that, let's be honest, your friends and family have probably been eating at every holiday party since Thanksgiving, whip up something simple and surprising. Maybe it's turkey tacos for Christmas Eve or sloppy joes for your annual office party. Just as long as it's as close to effortless as possible for you and something that is tasty, your friends and family will enjoy it. After all, it's really the company – not the eight kinds of cranberry sauce on the table – that makes the holidays special. 

Skip the Secret Santa

Skip the annual Santa gift exchange with you friends and pool the money you would have spent on something way more fun. If you want to get wild, spend the $40 each you all would have spent on a gift swap, decorations and food and rent a limo for the night. Have an amazing girls' night out without anyone needing to worry about a designated driver or pretending to like a silk scarf from their secret Santa. If your friends are more focused on health, spend the money on a private yoga class and shared sushi platter. Really, anything that shakes it up and gets your girls smiling will work. 

Kids activities

Have enough cotton Santa beards in your house to remove your nail polish for years? Try a different sort of craft with your kids as a post-meal distraction while the adults are enjoying their coffee. A fun idea is to have the kids fix their own dessert. Have them go outside and collect bowls of snow (as long as it's clean!). When they come back in, set up a buffet of syrups, jellies and food coloring and let them get wild. It'll keep them busy for a while and with an entire backyard of snow and their disposal, they can go back for seconds as many times as their tummies will permit. While the sugar in the maple and chocolate syrups isn't nutrition at its peak, the snow desserts are still far fewer calories and fat grams than any cake or pie. Another option is to arm them with the syrup bottles and send them outside to write and draw in the snow. Juice or colored water in spray bottles works well too.

Gift yourself

Put a little pep in your step by gifting to yourself as you give to your friends and family. Spring for experiential gifts for your loved ones to do alongside you like cooking classes or a spa day for your mom or girlfriends. Who could be bummed through the tail end of December knowing that January will be full of tango lessons and trips to the theatre with her favorite folks?

Hope these innovative tips help you turn that holiday frown upside down…and if they don't, remember that the new year is just around the corner.

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