You don't have to be the Cleavers to have fun, memorable holiday traditions. Skip out on expensive traditions-and the ones that make you feel frantic-and try these simple, from-the-heart alternatives.Find a Holiday Light Show
Bundle up and jump in the car to find the best (and tackiest!) holiday light displays in the neighborhood. Enjoy the large yard inflatables, Santas on the rooftops and lampposts transformed into candy canes, and then head home for hot cocoa and real candy canes.
Watch a Holiday Movie Marathon
Stay in your warmest pajamas all day and watch your favorite Christmas movies. Whether you introduce your kids to classics like Miracle on 34th Street and It's a Wonderful Life, show them the ones you loved as a kid like A Christmas Story and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, or enjoy new classics like The Polar Express and Elf, you'll be cozily in the Christmas spirit.
Go Christmas Caroling (At Home)
Go Christmas caroling ... in your living room. Load up the iPod with your favorite carols (or gather around a piano if you have one, you traditionalist you). Then sing your hearts out as loud as you like. There's no one else around to care if you're off-key!
Have a Christmas Campout
Let the kids sleep in sleeping bags under the Christmas tree. (Remember to do this on any night except Christmas Eve ... 'cause that would make Santa's job really tricky!)
Make (Easy) Gingerbread Houses
Construct easy "gingerbread houses" with graham crackers and your kids' favorite candy. This version's way more fun and mellow to make than any Martha Stewart creation!
Try It: Easy Gingerbread Houses
Do Holiday Charity Work Together
The holidays are a time to be grateful for what you have, but also is a reminder of those who don't. So find a place where the whole family can volunteer together to bring those less fortunate some comfort and joy, a soup kitchen or a food pantry. Stumped for a good family volunteer activity? Search ParentsConnect in your neighborhood for nonprofits hosting events and seeking volunteers.Make Holiday Placemats
Why not turn that growing stack of holiday cards into placemats for the holiday table or great gifts for relatives? Your kids creations may not be what they're selling at Pottery Barn, but they'll be a lot more personal!
Try It: Holiday Placemat Craft
Do your kids and you feel blue the day after Christmas? Bring back the British tradition of having friends and family over for an annual open house get-together on Boxing Day, December 26. Your home will still be decorated with holiday cheer, you may have leftover desserts and nibbles to serve, and your family will be so excited about the party, the Christmas spirit will stick around a little longer.