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It’s almost that time of the year to create new memories and spend time with those we cherish the most. 

Traditions help shape our lives and give us a sense of identity. They’re an important piece of building  and maintaining the special bond we share with our loved ones. Here are five traditions you can begin with your family this holiday season. 

Visit Holiday Light Displays

It’s not hard to come by light displays during the holiday season, and of course children love to see the lights illuminate the night sky. Whether you bundle up with a cup of hot cocoa and walk through a park or neighborhood–or visit a drive-through display–these experiences are perfect for some family fun festivities.  With over 300,000 lights, Green Bay Botanical Garden of Lights is a must see. It kicks off Nov. 25 and runs through Dec. 30. Oshkosh’s Celebration of Lights is a mile-long display you can enjoy from your car. There’s also opportunities to see Santa and drop off those Christmas lists!

Make Christmas Breakfast Together

Christmas morning excitement will sure leave you hungry, so why not gather the family to make a delicious meal together. You can get really creative and use Christmas-themed cookie cutters to shape pancakes, and add some fun toppings like marshmallows, fruit, crushed candy canes, chocolate syrup, or other various toppings. You can also try your hand at baking Wisconsin’s official state pastry, the Kringle!

If you’re feeling adventurous, create your own breakfast casserole recipe which  could be made every Christmas morning! Don’t forget to add some locally produced cheese, which you can conveniently order online from Wisconsin Cheese. They have 51 different types of cheese to choose from. Be sure to write down the recipe, so it can be passed down for years to come. 

Open One Gift on Christmas Eve

The anticipation of Christmas morning will leave the little ones feeling antsy or restless. Set aside some time the night before  to  open one special gift—and make it one that was purchased locally. Shopping at independently owned small businesses is not only good for Wisconsin; it’s good for the soul. 

RELATED: The 4 Best Small Towns for Small Business Shopping in Wisconsin

Make a Ugly Christmas Sweater 

If you’re a family that likes to get crafty, this one’s for you. Head over to your favorite locally owned art stores like, Lynn’s in Madison, and grab some supplies to make your very own ugly Christmas sweater.  And it doesn’t have to break the bank; the dollar store usually has a pretty large craft section and you can find sweaters at your local thrift shop. Family like a little competition? Then turn this tradition into a family-fun contest.

Bonus: Those sweaters don’t have to be a one time use! Have some adult fun by attending a ugly Christmas sweater celebration, like this bar crawl in Milwaukee, or throw your very own party with some friends. 

Make a Memory Jar 

Find a large mason jar, wooden box, or any large container that your family can decorate together. On Christmas night, each member of the family will write their favorite moment of the  day and put it in the memory jar. Continue this tradition every Christmas night for years to come. The memories don’t need to stop on Christmas; use the jar for other special memories throughout the year!

Each family is unique, so it might be beneficial to tweak some of these ideas to make them your own. Don’t make it complicated, traditions just need to be meaningful. Seasonal traditions are exciting, but remember, you can do them year-round. 

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