Making new traditions this Christmas

Author: Katy Beskow

Read Time:   |  26th October 2021

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Last year’s Christmas celebrations were cancelled for many due to COVID-19 related restrictions, so make this Christmas extra special by starting some new traditions with your family, friends and loved ones. Katy Beskow looks at new Christmas traditions to adopt, for creating magical memories this season.


1. Movie advent calendar

December is a month to put your feet up between parties, embrace the longer nights, and snuggle up with a festive film.

Everyone has their favourite Christmas movie, so plan to work your way through them all, from the 1st December until 24th December.

It’s fun to write down the names of your favourite seasonal films, then draw them at random, or schedule in each film on a virtual advent calendar.

2. Donate and give

In the season of gifting and receiving, make some time to give to those in need as one of your new Christmas traditions.

This could mean gathering non-perishable vegan food items for your local food bank, donating your time at an open-kitchen for homeless people, or checking in on elderly neighbours for a chat.

Spending just one day helping others can help you re-connect with the true meaning of Christmas. It also gives you a great opportunity to spend times with loved ones doing something purposeful, and connect with your local community.


3. Decorating party

Turn what could be a stressful task of decorating the Christmas tree and lounge, into an annual party.

Turn up the festive tunes, simmer some cinnamon-infused vegan mulled wine, and cook up a warming pot of vegan chilli, for everyone to enjoy, family-style.

Ensure younger members of the family have age-appropriate tasks such as unravelling the tinsel, while adult guests test and drape the fairy lights.

Treat everyone to a vegan-friendly candy cane, while you adorn your home with sparkly, festive decorations. Don’t forget to take photos, and make fun, homely memories.

4. Follow the light

You know it’s nearly Christmas when the houses in your local area are lit up with various coloured outdoor lights, as well as fun garden décor including inflatable snowmen and flashing reindeer!

Make it an annual event to wrap up in your warmest jumpers and coats, and walk through the residential streets of your local area to see the spectacular lights and displays.

Some houses go Christmas light-crazy for charity donations- and they’re always worth a look for some festive cheer. Many local towns and suburbs host light-switch on events, which are also fun (and sociable).

Return home to a warming hazelnut vegan hot chocolate.

5. Bake it

Everyone remembers that one family member who perfects a Christmas bake- perhaps your Gran makes the ultimate Christmas cake, or your sister bakes the snappiest gingerbread.

Now it’s your turn to perfect a vegan Christmas essential, and become ‘family famous’ for your festive bake. There are so many vegan recipes available online and in cookbooks, so brush up on your whisking and mixing.

It feels good to bake something that everyone will share, enjoy, and talk about, and just like that, a new tradition is born.


6. Write to Santa

No matter your age, it’s nostalgic and exciting to write a letter to Santa Claus. Guide children to write about the achievements they have made this year, as well as all the things they are grateful for.

Before they start writing a list of the gifts they wish for, tell them that they can ask for something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. Then anything else is an extra special gift from Santa Claus!

7. No-spend Christmas Eve

Shopping centres, high streets, supermarkets and local stores are always busy and chaotic on Christmas Eve, so start the new Christmas tradition of having a no-spend Christmas Eve.

This requires a little bit of planning to ensure you have all of your gifts bought and wrapped, and you have your festive food and drink bought and in the fridge at home.

Avoiding crowded shops, the temptation to make impulse buys, and feeling overwhelmed, get prepared in advance, and spend Christmas Eve doing exactly what you want to do.

Spend precious and quality time with friends and family, feel cosy and content at home, and really experience what the season is all about.

8. Indulge in books

In Iceland, there is a wonderful tradition called Jolabokaflod, or ‘Christmas book flood’ translated in English. Every Christmas Eve, families cosy up together to give each other new books.

They’ll then settle around the fire and spend the whole night reading. A simple idea, yet there’s something magical about the whole family reading together – and it could distract any excited children from getting too worked up ahead of the big day, particularly as they get to open one of their presents a day earlier.

Christmas Eve boxes have started to take off in the UK, but this is a simpler, less expensive option and involves the family spending time together.

9. Bring and share

If you feel stressed at the thought of hosting Christmas, or guilty at the thought of being a guest when someone else is rushing around the kitchen, start a new and fair tradition of a bring and share Christmas dinner.

Decide which dishes everyone would like to eat, then make a written plan for who will be cooking and bringing each. Don’t forget to let the guests know well in advance.

Sharing the chore of cooking a large Christmas dinner will help to ease the stress, and also allow everyone a chance to showcase their creations.

10. Winter walk

The nut roast has been eaten, the crackers have been pulled, and all of the presents under the tree have been unwrapped- it’s time to get your coat on and go for a family walk.

Not only is this walk great for relaxing after all that cooking, but it’s lovely to bump into neighbours and friends to wish them Season’s Greetings.

It also helps to get everyone out of the house to avoid any family tensions – but most of all it’s perfect for making special memories.

Dreaming of a green Christmas?

From wrapping ideas to eco-friendly cards and decorations, find festive inspiration with our sustainable Christmas guide

Written by

Katy Beskow

Katy Beskow is a cook, food writer and cookery tutor with a passion for good food and has been vegan for 15 years. Katy is the author of seven best-selling vegan cookbooks, including 15 Minute Vegan, Easy Vegan Bible, Vegan Roasting Pan, and Five Ingredient Vegan.

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