6 Tips for Starting Holiday Traditions of Your Own

Dennis Rainey

Want to establish your own traditions with family and friends? Try these ideas.

1. Keep Christ Central

Make Christ the focus of your holidays.

Continually ask yourself the following questions: What are the holidays really about? What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus during this season?

Consider reading through an advent devotional in December, giving to those in need and inviting people without families to share your holiday.

Make Christ and spiritual things a priority in your home.

2. Deal Proactively with Holiday Stress

The season of peace and goodwill is the most stressful time of the entire year for many people.

If you get uptight during the holidays, plan accordingly.

Do you have too many holiday traditions? Has your focus shifted too much toward gift-giving?

Are there things you can eliminate or scale back on this year to relieve some stress?

3. Confront Your Memories

Holiday memories generally come in two varieties — good and bad. Both types can wreak havoc on your appreciation for the real meaning of Christmas.

If you have good memories, your expectations may rise so high that you end up disappointed with the state of your current experience. If your memories are bad, almost everything that happens around Christmas will renew your pain.

Either way, it’s better to deal honestly, openly and prayerfully with your expectations about Christmas ahead of time.

Take some time to do that as you gear up for the holidays this year.

4. Set and Keep a Budget

Too many people get carried away with spending around Christmas. It often starts with a sincere desire to make children happy and then gets out of hand.

Exchange gifts on a pre-planned budget. Don’t run up a large credit card bill to finance Christmas gifts.

Think about doing the following:

  • Drawing names for your gift exchange rather than trying to buy something for everyone.
  • Creating and sharing memories with the ones you love instead of buying gifts. Memories will last a lot longer than things.
  • Making gifts with your kids, family or friends as a way to save money.

5. Keep It Simple

Christmas traditions don’t have to be elaborate. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy the season. Love is all that is necessary.

Focus on a few things that are important to you — your family and friends — make time for those this year. Don’t try to do it all.

6. Make It Special

Although the holiday season may bring problems, it is a fantastic time. With God’s help, you can make Christmas special and memorable.

Take your cues from what the Bible says is important about the holidays and use your common sense and creativity.

These are just a few ideas about how to start traditions of your own. The ones you come up with for your family will be better — the raw material of your own traditions and memories.

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© 2018 Dennis and Barbara Rainey. All Rights Reserved. Adapted with permission from “Starting Your Marriage Right” (Nashville, Thomas Nelson). For more helpful information on strengthening your marriage and family, please visit

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