5 Fresh Ways to Celebrate Family Holidays

Don’t let this holiday season turn into a chaotic stress-fest like I used to do.

Cheryl Butler
5-minute read
Episode #355

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is watching someone I love experience the magic of the holiday season. That, of course, includes watching one of my kids open an amazing gift that they weren’t expecting, but also witnessing a family member or friend enjoying the sounds, sights, and taste of the season and being wrapped up in the “moment” not necessarily focused on what’s wrapped and waiting under the tree.

As most of us can probably admit, the holidays tend to bring on a lot more stress than what I feel is the reason for the season—finding fun and meaningful ways to spend time together and expressing that appreciation by not only choosing a special gift but by connecting with all those who are dear to us, including our neighbors and coworkers.

Don’t let this holiday season turn into a chaotic stress-fest like I used to do instead. Try one of Mighty Mommy’s five fresh ways to put a twist on celebrating this season. See Also:  How to Make the Holidays More Exciting

Tip #1: Rethink Holiday Greeting Cards

One of the most stress-induced parts of the holidays for me used to be sending out Christmas cards.  Maybe it was because I had eight kids in one decade and trying to actually fit them into the same photo—nevermind getting even half of them to look like they were happy in the picture—brought on such anxiety. But it was also difficult trying to find the time to write them out and finally get them to the post office.  

Send a New Year’s Card instead. Several years ago I decided I just couldn’t add the stress of sending out Christmas cards during this already harried time of the year, so I now take a photo of my family all together on Christmas Day (the boundless smiles I capture on that day are plentiful—the glow of Christmas and all), and turn it into a New Year’s greeting card. Our friends and family have all commented that they enjoy receiving our card after the busy season when everything is a bit more peaceful rather than when they’re bombarded with a slew of cards right before the big day (or so they say!).

Send mobile postcards. Using your smartphone or tablet, you can quickly put together a holiday postcard. Apps like Jib Jab or Red Stamp provide a quick and fun way to send personalized greetings that won't clutter their mailboxes.

Give a Chocolate Selfie greeting instead of a card.  A ChocolateSelfie® is an eye-popping digital image, your selfie, professionally imposed on gorgeously delicious candy coating that is smooth and level. This makes it the ideal surface to accept the tasteless and odorless, FDA approved edible food coloring which makes fine printing in every color of the rainbow! When friends and family receive a yummy photo greeting, they'll be telling everyone how clever you are.

Tip #2: Host a Stocking Scavenger Hunt

Stockings have always been my favorite part of Christmas morning. They can be filled with adorable holiday-themed trinkets, yummy sweets, cool accessories, and everything in between.  When my older kids started heading off to college, we started a fun new tradition in our family to mark their return for the winter break—a stocking scavenger hunt. 

Your family can set their own rules and budget, but basically everyone gets someone else’s stocking to fill. Pick a time when you can gather your family and get to the mall or shopping center and put a time limit on the shopping (we always say one hour). Set your rules in advance such as no gift cards, only holiday-related gifts, etc. and then split up.  (We do this in teams of two in our family because we have eight kids and it allows for the pairing of a younger child with one of our teens.)  We also set a rule that we cannot interact with any of our family while out shopping for our stocking items—that’s half the fun sneaking in and out of stores and hiding in aisles so no one can see what the other is buying.  We keep our assigned stocking hidden until Christmas Eve and exchange them then. This is now one of the highlights of our holiday.


All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.