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Unique Things To Do For Christmas

Updated on March 6, 2013

Tired of Sitting Around The Tree?

Tired of family traditions that basically result in doing the same thing every single year? Looking for something different to do with the kids?

I've pulled together some thoughts on things you might want to do this holiday season that might not be what you would immediately think of.

Go To The Zoo

When it's cold, zoo animals tend to be more active and entertaining. Also, the zoo is less crowded in the days immediately around Christmas.

Some zoos put up great displays of lights and the like, too. Needless to say, this is a great time to pay some extra attention to the penguins and polar bears. And there is little cuter than a big cat or a zebra playing in the snow.

Do bear in mind that some exhibits may be closed, however, as zoos tend to do a lot of their maintenance and refurbishment over the winter. And watch the elephants...they are quite capable of throwing snowballs at you.

Check Out Local Christmas History

Local museums sometimes do special displays for Christmas. If you happen to be near D.C., Mount Vernon does a really great Christmas exhibition. In Los Angeles, Heritage Square Museum throws a Christmas party with Victorian decorations, warm apple cider and parlor games.

Your local area almost certainly has some kind of historical Christmas thing going on, so take a look and find out how people waited for Santa years ago.

Revive An Old Tradition

If you study genealogy, then you may know where your ancestors come from. How about finding out what one of their traditions is and incorporating it into your own Christmas?

Add a traditional ethnic gift to the table. Or do a full-scale ethnic meal on Christmas eve and then have the normal turkey on Christmas day. In England, it used to be traditional to have a goose for Christmas - if you are fed up with turkey, why not try one? Or, you could honor English ancestors by serving Christmas pudding or mince pies as dessert and buying Christmas crackers.

If your ancestors come from Eastern Europe, then you can buy (or, if adventurous make), piroghi (called various other things) and serve them as a side dish or even as your protein. (These are also great if you want to do a vegetarian Christmas).

Family from France? In France, stockings are not put out under the chimney - shoes are.

A little bit of research will give you even more ideas, although the German pickle ornament hunt is apparently a modern invention.

Borrow a Global Tradition

How about stealing a tradition from somewhere else in the world?

In Norway, for example, they hide all the brooms in the house so that the witches can't steal them. And in Caracas, Venezuela, everyone roller-skates to church (may or may not be practical where you live).

If you have young kids, you could always just do the traditional Mexican pinata, which is, yes, often included in Christmas celebrations.

Do Something Un-Christmasy

If you get Christmas'd out, how about doing something that is emphatically not what you would think of at the holidays.

Order takeout or get fast food. Get started on planning your summer vacation - a great way to forget that it's winter and start looking past the holiday season.

Or flee town and go hiking or horseback riding - cycling works too if you live somewhere that doesn't get snow. Maybe set aside one day of the holiday week when it is absolutely forbidden to mention Santa...and then see how long people actually manage it (especially the kids!).

Find a non-Christmas movie to watch (you'll probably have to get out a DVD). Christmas can really be too much sometimes, and taking a brief break from it will help you recharge and enjoy it even more.

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