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The holiday season is so magical. This time of the year has always been one of my favorites because all of the activities promote togetherness, and making memories. These are the times for traditions and family, and I’m definitely excited to jump in and have a few magical weeks with mine.
Some of my favorite holiday memories are probably the same as yours: trimming the tree, having a big meal together, and of course decorating holiday cookies, but those aren’t the only fun traditions to keep with your family.
Here are 5 other traditions I think you should do every year, and if you’re not doing these things yet, this year is definitely the year to start.
1. Create a cookie baking day with your best friends. Most of us are bound to jump in the kitchen to bake something, and some of us will even attend a cookie exchange party, but with so many things pulling us in different directions, we often don’t get to see our girlfriends as often as we’d like. One afternoon while the kids are still in school, invite your friends over to team up together for your holiday baking; you’ll get to see each other and (bonus) mark something off of your to-do list.
Tip: before you friends come over, fill your house with the scents of the season from the Glade® Limited Edition Winter Collection. The new Limited Edition Winter Collection includes a fragrance called CHERISH THE PRESENT™, an apple cinnamon-scent, which is one of my favorite scents that gets me into the holiday spirit.
2. Take a family photo. Many people already do this, but so many don’t keep up with it year after year (I know I’ve been guilty of this myself). It’s difficult to always schedule in a photo shoot with everyone’s hectic schedules, but this time of year you can always find a good deal on last minute sessions if you are flexible. Whether you have a few dollars to spend for a store studio session, or will hire a professional photographer for candid outdoor photos, you will always look back and fondly remember these photos. Just make it happen.
3. Decorate your house together. Trimming the tree is a family tradition, but why not make the entire decorating process part of it? Have the kids help bring out the old boxes of holiday decorations and sort through them. Get everyone on the same page and have everyone chip in to get the house cleaned up. Make homemade garlands together and hang up lights around the house. Pop some popcorn and have a holiday movie playing in the background. Instead of just one night of trimming the tree together, turn it into two nights and spend the first night prepping your house for the tree and decorating throughout.
Tip: Add different holiday scents to different rooms in your home with the new Glade® Limited Edition Winter Collection. The collection is full of great scents that can be used in any room in your home. The new collection has scents like BE AT PEACE™, SHARE THE SPIRIT™ and SEND A LITTLE LOVE™.
4. Have everyone in the family make one gift this year. If your family is like many of us, there may be a white elephant gift exchange or something similar. This year, challenge everyone to bring one homemade present. It really causes people to think about what they will be bringing and lets them get creative. It’s fun to see what direction people go with and just how crafty they can be.
5. Create a signature sweet. If you get invited to a lot of holiday parties or dinners, it can be exhausting making a new dish for each event. Decide on a single dessert that you can easily make and bring to many different occasions. One year I brought pumpkin cheesecakes with gingersnap crusts. Or you could create something even simpler like these Apple Oat bars. They are quick and easy to make, and the recipe could be doubled or even tripled. I chose to place them in a pie dish, but you can use a square or rectangle baking dish as well.
Apple Oat Bars
What you need:
For the crust:
¼ cup of butter, melted
⅓ cup of dark brown sugar
1 cup of oats
For the filling:
½ cup of dark brown sugar
¼ cup of butter, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
for the frosting:
¾ cup of powdered sugar
8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1. In a small bowl, mix together the oats, ⅓ cup of brown sugar, and ¼ cup melted butter. Press mixture into your baking dish. Set aside.
2. In a separate bowl combine the rest of the brown sugar, butter, and egg. Add in the flour, salt, and cinnamon. Press mixture into pan on top of the oat crust.
3. Peel and slice apples to approximately ⅛ inch thick. Arrange slices on top of the mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30-40 minutes or until lightly browned on top.
4. Let the bars cool on a wire rack. In the meantime, create the cream cheese icing by combining the cream cheese and the powdered sugar.
5. Spread the frosting on top of the bars and then cut into desired pieces.
What kinds of things do you think are essential traditions to have during the holiday season? The holiday season brings out nostalgia and joy for so many of us, so I like to keep scents around that remind me of those feelings while leading up to our family activities. At Fred Meyer you can find the Glade® Limited Edition Winter Collection to keep your home feeling cozy all season long! :)