Ever feel like the holiday routine can get a little stale after a while? Every year, you find yourself doing the same things, seeing the same people, and eating the same food. And while sometimes these traditions are comforting, there are years it’s nice to change things up a bit, start some new traditions of your own, or (let’s be honest) have a creative excuse to get away from your family.
Whatever the reason, the holidays are a great opportunity to create some fun—and maybe a bit unusual—memories. Here are a few ideas to get you started on your quest for an unconventional holiday.
1. Head to Vegas
Hear me out: Not only can you find cheap hotel deals during December and Christmas week (my husband and I are staying in a nice resort for $25 per night!), but you can see some pretty spectacular lights and decorations in all of the swanky hotels along the strip. Even the already abundant buffets find a way to become extra elaborate. After all of that eating, you can work off some calories by ice skating at The Cosmopolitan hotel, which has turned its pool into a hip skating rink, complete with a DJ. I’ve also found that it’s pretty easy to book spa services during this time, and most shops are open until at least midnight (some are even open on Christmas Day).
Oh, and if you’re worried about being too hedonistic, there are actually plenty of places to attend worship services in Sin City.
2. Be Ridiculous
On Christmas Eve, who says you need to drink egg nog and watch Miracle on 34th Street—again? Instead, create new traditions that make you feel like celebrating. Try a ridiculous theme party (Twilight Christmas, anyone?) or head outside for some old-school games like kickball or Capture the Flag. I recently saw some women who dressed up in their ugliest bridesmaids’ dresses and played paintball—talk about cathartic! Don’t be afraid to be silly—the laughter is great for holiday stress. And if everyone is having a good time, then you know your job is done.
3. Have a Random Acts of Kindness Day
While it’s always fun to watch someone’s face as they open up your thoughtful gift, think of how awesome it would be to watch the reactions of surprised strangers all day long! So, instead of exchanging gifts with friends and family, team up with them and have a Random Acts of Kindness Day, or “RAK Day.” And your acts don’t need to be grandiose; you could do something as simple as paying for someone’s coffee or giving up your place in line at the grocery store.
If you have a large group, divide into teams and create a scavenger hunt, complete with lists of specific RAKs to perform. Once everyone has completed their lists, gather together for one big act, such as dropping off goods at a domestic abuse shelter or bringing hot meals to those who work on Christmas Day. No matter what, everyone is bound to have some great stories about their experiences throughout the day.
4. Celebrate New Year’s Eve on December 30
My husband and I started this new tradition a few years ago, and we haven’t regretted it since. Celebrating on the 30th has allowed us to stay in very nice, expensive hotels for about a third of what it would have cost on New Year’s Eve. We have no trouble making a dinner reservation nor finding a cab, and we ring in the new year feeling calm and refreshed. We celebrate in style, plus the overall night is stress-free and quiet.
If you don’t mind giving up the whole party scene, or if you’re tired of overhyped and overpriced New Year’s Eve packages—give it a try.
Have you ever done something unconventional during the holidays? Let us know about your tradition-breaking ideas!