Off-grid pantry planner


This time of year is HUGE for family traditions regardless of religion. A lot of people send out cards every single year (we don’t, maybe someday when I have more time and money). Big dinners, big parties, gift exchanges, ornament exchanges, visiting the mall Santa, caroling, doing extra for people in need specifically at this time of the year… I can’t imagine all the traditions that go on this time of year. There’s something comforting and exciting about family traditions. Don’t you agree?


So, I feel like I’ve owed you a post about our first family diy ornament-making party and wanted to, again, share a little about our annual secret-sister Christmas party. It’s almost hard to believe it’s been a whole year since I shared our last party with you here, and yet, it really does feel like a long time ago since I shared this post of our secret-sister party in 2009. Back when my blog pictures were really small. My, how blogging has changed.


Today I wanted to offer some ideas for starting your own family traditions by sharing what my family does.


Family Tradition Ideas

I’ll be using my affiliate links to help you find some great ideas for starting traditions.

Family Tradition Ideas

(#1): DIY Ornament Party

I come from a large family – with lots of girls. About 10 years ago my mom started a Christmas tradition in our family, a Secret Sister-thing. Every year the women in the family who want to be part of it draw names and would have a secret-sister during the year with a big Christmas party and “reveal” shortly before Christmas. But, I’ll tell you more about that later in this post.


Not too long ago I mentioned in this post that I was planning a diy ornament-making party for the older girls in my family. This is the first year I’ve done this and it seemed to go over very well with talk of continuing it again. I thought it would be fun, especially because I have a bunch of nieces who are old enough to participate, to be creative and maybe even make some gifts out of our crafts.


#diy family ornament making party


So, some of our ornaments were more of the Pinterest-fail type, but we still had fun! My sister is wearing a ribbon tree ornament in here hair in one of the bottom pictures. [Note: The ribbon tree ornament is not a hair-adornment. But, you can wear it if you want. ; D ]  My owls are below. The longer owls is made from a Young Living essential oil cardboard tube.


#diy toilet paper tube owls craft


As you can see, we can get a little silly (truthfully, there is a sillier picture than this that I’m withholding from public view. My sister will thank me later 🙂  ).  You can see my Ribbon Tree Ornament here (and, it’s not in my hair). You should see the darling Pool Noodle Wreath Ornament that was inspired from our party, too!


We had food. What family tradition is worth-keeping if there is no food involved, right? I bought the craft supplies, we collected empty toilet paper rolls for one of the owl projects. The main ornaments we made were the washi tape owls, toilet paper tube owls and ribbon Christmas trees. Some of our owls got a bit flamboyant with all those feathers!


ideas for family traditions

See 6 HOT Gifts for kids according to Amazon.

Family Tradition Ideas (#2): Secret Sister Party


#secretsister Christmas party


Like I said above, we’ve been doing this secret-sister party for almost 10 years! Once in a while we change how we do things like in the beginning we stuffed a stocking with about 10 gifts for our secret-sister, then we decided to do five gifts for our assigned secret-sister and another five for a box we’d take turns picking out of. This was the first year the nieces (who were old enough) were added to the mix. While often in the past we would buy things or send cards to our secret-sisters throughout the year, we are moving away from that and focusing on the party at the end of the year, which is the most fun, if you ask me.


Doing gifts throughout the year is hard if you don’t really have disposable income. However, it is possible to find nice useful gifts at the dollar stores. You can also find some great affordable gifts for adults and teens here.


#secretsister Christmas party


And yes, we had food, again. What’s a party with no food?!


If you’re really creative you can find a way to give Groupons and free kindle books as gifts, too.  I shared these best selling adult coloring books from Amazon in a previous post. Anything that comes in paper (like a Groupon, etc) can be rolled up and placed in an empty bottle, packed in a box with tissue paper or simply put in a pretty envelope.


How to giftwrap a #Groupon


The great thing about Groupons and other similar gifts is that you can save a lot of money on them and it’s an option for giving away an “experience” vs. a material gift. For example, you can get cheaper tickets to a museum or concert and many other events or fun places to visit like this deal on Great Wolf Lodge in the Cincinnati area.


ideas for family traditions


Besides these two parties, we used to do a “whole family” party in which my parents would rent space from a church for. We had some illness in the family and haven’t had those parties for a couple years now. Also, last year was a HUGE year for  moving. Several of our families moved, some out of town, some out of state. My husband’s side of the family is much smaller and we all get-together for a party this time of year, too. Find family party games here.


Do you have any special family traditions you’d like to share in the comments? I’ll be reading what you share. Before you go, I have a free download for you. Download these free holiday printables: one for shopping/baking brainstorming and the other is a holiday recipe card for your holiday needs or print a stack on quality cardstock and give as a gift. You could fill out recipes and then laminate them too!

Find some nice gifts for women here.