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Small holiday traditions that make a big impact

Laura Willard is a law school grad who has successfully avoided using her education for eight years and counting. She's a wife and an adoptive mom to two kids. Motherhood is the best job she never knew she wanted so much until she had it...

Creating holiday memories

Holiday traditions can make your family’s Christmas memorable and fun. Small or big, holiday traditions are about the memories you create and the anticipation of everyone's experiences.

Does your family have any special holiday traditions? If you need some ideas — or if you want to add a few — keep reading for fun holiday traditions from moms like you.

Holiday traditions don't have to be extravagant. In fact, sometimes the smallest or silliest of traditions make the biggest impact. Following are a few holiday traditions that make the holidays memorable for these families. Perhaps you can add one or two this year.

Dine at a "different" restaurant

You don't have to make reservations at a typical restaurant to create a holiday tradition and memorable meal. Try something different! Allison Friedrich, mom of three, shares her family's holiday tradition: "As a kid my family and I always ate at a Japanese steakhouse for Christmas Eve dinner, and that's something we've continued with our family. We only go the one day each year, so it's a special treat."

Looking for something more scaled down? Jill Cannup, mom of two, says her family always has a fun breakfast at the Waffle House on Christmas Eve. Out of the ordinary and silly, eating with your family somewhere "different" is a great holiday tradition that creates entertaining memories.

Wrap gifts in a unique way

Do you ever feel like you're wasting a massive amount of wrapping paper — and cash — when you wrap up all of your Christmas gifts? Why not create a holiday tradition that is fun and green? Find a new way to wrap gifts.

"About 10 years ago my mom sewed a whole slew of cloth gift bags — in lots of different sizes — and we use those from year to year to wrap our Christmas gifts to each other," shares Anne Winfrey, mom of one. Her family's holiday tradition is both special to them and environmentally sound. "We feel really good about the fact that we don't have a huge pile of wrapping paper to throw away after we are done opening gifts. We just fold up our cloth gift bags and put them away until next year!"

The Elf on the Shelf

This holiday tradition is becoming quite popular, but some people have never heard of it. Amy Martosewicz, mom of one, says that The Elf on the Shelf and the accompanying book is a must-do holiday tradition that she enjoys with her daughter every year. Choose an elf and place him on the shelf each holiday season. The kids aren't allowed to touch him, but he's very important! He watches everyone and reports back to Santa, helping keep the 'Naughty or Nice List' in order. Make it your own tradition by choosing an elf that represents your family, naming him and making him a part of your family during the holidays.

Remember: It's the little things

Don't forget to incorporate small and seemingly simple holiday traditions. Amy gives her daughter a special ornament with her name on it each year. Sarah Borst says that has been her favorite holiday tradition since childhood. "My mom has been giving my sister and I [sic] one with our names each year on Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember," she says. "It's pretty cool because when you get to be as old as we are, you have enough for your own tree!"

Karen Wall, mom of two, shares that her family reads an Advent story by the Christmas tree each night. Sure, it's simple, but Karen is creating holiday traditions that will hopefully last for her grandchildren. Remember, it's the little things that often matter the most when creating holiday traditions with your kids.

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