holiday traditions // 12 activities to try // sss storiesI think I’ve mentioned a time or two how I am BIG on making new, and keeping old, traditions for various holidays. We didn’t have a ton growing up but the ones we did, I cherish. Growing up in Michigan meant the holidays were filled with all sorts of winter activities, sledding, making snow men and snow angles, ice skating etc and I can still remember exactly how the house smelled, with the wood burning stove going, as we would come in from playing outdoors for hours to thaw out, hanging the wet layers of clothes to dry and snuggle up in our long underwear with hot coco.

Just typing this out has me all weepy and homesick for Michigan. Thinking of Archie not being able to do these activities in sunny Los Angeles breaks my heart a little, so I’ve decided to really get planning on how I can make our holidays as a family extra special no matter where we are.

I came up with 12 activities for the 12 days of Christmas and in lieu of an advent calendar, each day we will pick an activity to do together. To get me in the mood, I pulled on my favorite pajamas, fixed up a cup of GODIVA hot chocolate and started checking #1 off the list. The activities themselves may change from year to year but a I am getting the warm and fuzzies just thinking about the fun we will have with Archer through the years to come.

holiday traditions // 12 activities to try // sarah sherman samuelhot-chocolate1#1 Ornament time capsule – cut a 1” strip of white paper, as long as you’d like and have each of your family members write down their favorite memories from the year. When everyone’s finished roll it up and tuck it inside the ornament. Now each year you will add a new ornament and can have fun looking back at the memories as the years go by.

#2 Hot chocolate stand – The lemonade stand’s adorable winter version… set up a stand and sell or give out hot chocolate to neighbors and spread the holiday cheer. Think vintage plaid thermoses, GODIVA hot choloate, Pendelton blankets, and kids dressed up Christmas Story style.

#3 Decorate the Tree – turn up the Christmas tunes and get at it!

#4 Ice Skating – Even in the warm climates you can find a rink around the holidays

#5 Baking Day – set aside an afternoon and bake all your favorite cookies and treats and then bring them around to friends, neighbors, and family. Sugar cookies, apple crisp, chocolate cookies… I’m dying to try the “GODIVA Triple Chocolate Chunk” cookies.

#6 Holiday Light Tour – jump in the car and drive around to see the lights at night

#7 Make a Gingerbread House

#8 Crafting day – Get out all your crafting supplies and make some homemade presents

#9 Put out the Nativity Scene and read the story of Christmas

#10 Present round up for charity – Round up your little’s toys they have outgrown or go shopping together for new ones to give to a local charity.

#11 Go caroling – No one really wants to hear me sing but I can lip-sink like nobody’s business

#12 Movie Night – Curl up in your holiday PJs and watch a marathon of Christmas Movies.

My hopes would be that having the activities lined up and making an effort early on will teach us to slow down a bit, enjoy the season for all it’s worth, and teach Arch the real meaning of Christmas.

If all this is too ambitious for you but you still want to give back, GODIVA is running a holiday promotion that makes it easy. For every cup of hot chocolate sold in their store, they are donating $1 to Toys for Tots. So add that to the list, or make it your whole list. Either way… I won’t judge. 🙂

Happy of Holidays from this sappy sally to you and yours. x

Images by Sarah Sherman Samuel

SOURCES: Mug // Hot Chocolate // RUG // Pajamas // Slippers 

This post was done in collaboration with Godiva. A as always, all thoughts and ideas are my own. Thanks for supporting our sponsors. x

  • Jean

    I just had to tell you my heart made a little leap when I saw this post. The rug in the pictures is the exact rug in my Grandma’s living room in Illinois. Many a happy Christmas was spent in her cozy little home. Grandma is no longer with me but in seeing her rug in your post she is right back there, waiting for us to arrive, the beautiful red “oriental”, her pride and joy, warming up her living room. Thank you.

    • Sarah Card

      Awww Jean – that is so special. Merry Christmas to you!
      This will be the first year in my 33 years of life our family not able to have Christmas at my grandparents house on Christmas Eve. While I still feel the love and joy of Christmas all around me, sadness sneaks in in not knowing what new tradition will take its place.

    • sarah

      Awe that is so sweet! So glad I could spread some holiday cheer your way through a rug! Love when a sweet memory is conjured up unexpectedly. xo

  • ashley g

    One of my favorite new traditions that we have as a family is every Thanksgiving we pick a theme like making christmas sweaters or this year making christmas pillows and draw names. Whoever you draw you craft something special for them and the day before Christmas we get together and try to guess who made the gift and who it’s for. We’ve done this 5 years in a row and it’s been a great new family tradition. It’s amazing what my family has come up with over the years. Happy Holidays!

  • These are such cute ideas. My baking day will be this Saturday before we have all the neighbours over on Sunday. I love the idea of a hot chocolate stand! Also, I just followed you on Twitter and it looks like the button in your sidebar is out of date 😉

  • Chelsi

    Hi Sarah,
    Do you have any tips for buying an area rug online? I always see beautiful area rugs like the one you have on people’s blogs, then I look at the rug via the link to purchase and it looks heinous. Is there some secret trick I’m missing?

    • sarah

      Hi Chelsi! haha I feel that way sometimes too! but yea, the trick is just a lot of searching. My rug is from for really real. lol searching key words like persian and or narrowing by color helps a ton! This particular rug was a one of a kind from the nahavand region. If you search nahavand, similar rug styles come up too! Hope that helps.

  • […] 12 activities for the 12 days of Christmas. […]

  • there may be no michigan this year, –but you have that area rug! and it looks to me it’d make everything–old and new–just right 🙂 (also your time capsule idea is da’bomb.)

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