10 Great Ideas to Add Meaning to Your Holidays

by Diana Fox

Life is hectic. A fast-paced lifestyle can be exhausting and stressful, yet we seem incapable of changing the routines that motivate and affect our reality. Therefore, it’s important to create a sense of wonder, magic and meaning during the holiday season. Decorate with style, entertain with graciousness, create fun for family and friends, renew your spirit with acts of kindness and discover the enchantment we remember as children.

Try a few of these simple, meaningful suggestions to create memorable holiday celebrations.

Holiday book

Select a beautiful blank book and each year record your holiday traditions and memories. Make note of the year, where you lived, how you decorated and events that made your holiday special. Have holiday visitors and guests add a greeting or memory. Include pictures of your tree, your family and holiday entertaining.

Record any special gifts

- given or received. Have each member of your family write their best memory of the holiday season. Keep your book on a bookshelf so it can be viewed and enjoyed.

Christmas tree

Add a ‘memory’ ornament. Start a family tradition by selecting an ornament that represents your yearly vacation or a milestone event from each year. What a delightful way to relive fond memories, year after year. Have children start an individual holiday tradition by asking them to select an ornament to hang on the tree — years later, when they leave home, give them their collection to decorate their first Christmas tree.

This is also an endearing yearly, ‘gift giving’ tradition for an aunt or uncle to adopt.

Give to others

Visit one of the ‘giving’ trees that are placed in area malls or department stores. Select a name and fulfill the needy child’s wish for a special holiday present. If you have children, include them in this heartwarming tradition. If allowed, wrap with colorful holiday paper, pretty bows and add a Christmas tree ornament for decoration, making it a festive gift for any child to open.


Have everyone ‘dress up’ for a special evening out — it could be a holiday musical concert, a local production of “A Christmas Carol,” a downtown outing to enjoy holiday city lights with dinner or late-night dessert, a church program with candlelight service or an all-girls extravaganza. Half the fun is getting all gussied up to share joyous moments with family and friends.


Create an attractive home with inspired decorating. The holidays are a perfect time to celebrate the season with simple, stylish touches. Highlight your home’s entryway, dining room table and fireplace mantel with impressive holiday décor that will greet visitors and welcome you home. Design these three areas with displays that are unique, festive and emphasize your personal style — don’t forget the mistletoe!


Nothing says the holidays liked home-baked cookies and decadent candy. Your treasured family recipes can bring smiles and good cheer to neighbors and friends. Organize a cookie exchange or give special bagged treats to guests when they stop in for a holiday visit. Embellish the bags with beautiful holiday decorations for a festive presentation.


Put holiday CDs or tapes in your car. Get in the holiday spirit by listening to your favorites the entire month of December — whether it’s in your car or at home, you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel listening to these classic holiday tunes.Themed entertaining — Think of something just a little bit different. Organize a neighborhood Christmas caroling party complete with warm drinks and spirits afterwards, gather friends for a hearty breakfast, then caravan to a Christmas tree farm to cut your own trees, invite friends for a potluck dinner and ice skating party, send invitations for a father/daughter holiday luncheon or have a ‘costume holiday party’ with each couple dressed as a different holiday.

Get your guests involved and create anticipation

I asked my pregnant girlfriend and her husband to come as Labor Day! No matter what the event, create a focal point centerpiece that carries out your theme.

Holiday entertaining is all about fun

Keep it simple, easy and carefree. Your personal touches will make it a truly unique experience.Holiday movies — Rent or purchase a few favorites to share with family and friends. Play them throughout the month for another sure fire way to get into the holiday spirit. Serve hot cocoa with whipped crème and buttered popcorn to ensure rave reviews!

Christmas Eve

This is a special holiday tradition from my childhood. After our evening meal, for dessert my mother served birthday cake (including candles) with ice cream and we sang “Happy Birthday” to Baby Jesus. Her message was simple — carry the spirit of giving in your heart by celebrating and remembering the true meaning of Christmas.This year, take a deep breath, relax and enjoy the company of great neighbors, friends and family. Take comfort in the joys and blessings of being home for the holidays and create memories and traditions that inspire living a beautiful life.