My best christmas

Package homemade seasoning chili or taco mixes, or make your own vanilla extract. Drive around to look at Christmas lights.

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Surprise a neighbor, colleague or stranger with a freshly baked treat. Put together a themed gift basket such as movie night. The point is to interact and be present in the moment with your family and friends, not with your smartphone or tablet.

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Resurrect Santa for Mom and Dad. And for the adults, try a decadent thumbprint recipe that everyone will be talking about. The best part about this activity is everyone will know the words to the music—even your kids—so all can join in and sing along.

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Arrange a potluck New Year's party with friends. If you don't have a recipe that's been handed down through the family, check out our favorite Christmas desserts and Christmas cookies to find one that seems close to what you remember as a kid. Whether you choose to do one, a few, or all of these yuletide rituals, you can't beat the memories you'll be making with your family that you'll cherish for years to come. Then, get baking! Put together a themed gift basket such as movie night. The best part about this activity is everyone will know the words to the music—even your kids—so all can join in and sing along. And for the adults, try a decadent thumbprint recipe that everyone will be talking about. Plan a family game night. Lastly and this is bordering on heretical , try buying no presents this year. The Elf on the Shelf is a fairly recent addition to many households across the country. With all of the hustle and bustle around the most wonderful time of the year, you may forget about fun activities like cookie baking , crafting , and making ornaments. Sep 3, NastasicGetty Images There are so many ways to celebrate the holiday season that don't involve gift giving. The only prescription is more handbells!

But only if they promise to play the handbells call ahead and ask about this. Incorporate more candlelight into your home and soak up the chilled-out winter ambiance.

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If you don't have a recipe that's been handed down through the family, check out our favorite Christmas desserts and Christmas cookies to find one that seems close to what you remember as a kid. Then sit back and let the Ghost of Christmas Delicious fill your entire home with seasonal smells. Make sure to get outside and play in snow. Make ornaments. Think: decorating the Christmas tree , decorating your home , and watching Christmas movies , for starters. Find a way to smell some good old-fashioned woodsmoke—a campout, bonfire, fireplace or even a metal trashcan full of Home Depot scraps. The Elf keeps track of your children's behavior, and reports back to Santa if they're being naughty or nice—all while being caught in a new room or pose every day. A special thanks to Ashlyn Sailsbury for help with this list. Take photos, drink hot chocolate and eat cookies, and go on a carriage ride. You could even give homemade presents for some truly thoughtful gifts. Drive around to look at Christmas lights. This is a guaranteed memory-maker. Everything you make will be extra special and you'll save some money in the process. Trust me, there is nothing worse than sitting through two hours of amateur choral music and then getting no handbells. But only if they promise to play the handbells call ahead and ask about this.

Download a free inspirational quote and frame it. Bake cookies with your kids.

My best christmas

While all of these Christmas activities are surefire ways to get you and your family into the holiday spirit, there are other Christmas traditions that can often be overlooked.

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