Add new experiences to your holiday gathering

Family gatherings during the holidays often involve everyone sitting around, catching up while children play with the toys they received as gifts. It’s a wonderful time for family to hear the latest on jobs, trips, hobbies and health, but it can also turn into a tedious repeat of listening to Uncle Joe’s story of the Christmas of 1954 when the tree caught fire and burned all the presents underneath.

If your family gathering needs a little spicing up this holiday season, consider adding new experiences to the plans, and making a new and fun tradition out of them. Here are some ideas to get started:

* Get out and enjoy the outdoors. If you live in snowy parts of the country, organize a snowshoe trek, sledding time or ice skating at a community rink. These activities can bring a healthy glow to your family members’ cheeks, as well as create new memories you can reminisce about at future family gatherings. If you don’t have snow in your area, consider planning a bike ride, a hike or even a golf outing to bring everyone together.

* Plan a meal away from the house. Instead of cooking all the meals for the gathering, plan a formal brunch or dinner at a nice restaurant, where everyone in your group can sit together and enjoy the food and holiday decorations.

* Make the gathering a retreat for all. This year, consider getting your family out of the house and turn your holiday gathering into a festive retreat.

* Host a family talent show. Everyone has a special talent in your family, so encourage them to bring their talent to the gathering. Promote costumes or props – if needed – to help enhance the fun. Just clear out a small area in the gathering location, set up a couple of chairs for audience members, and if you have the ability, dim the lights so the stage is in the spotlight. Of course, host a reception following the show with hot apple cider and cookies for all.

By bringing new activities to your holiday gathering this year, you’ll be creating many new memories to share in the future, as well as making the event much more enjoyable.

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