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    The point of these ideas is to not follow the herd.

    Christmas is around the corner.

    And what does everyone do?

    Buy into the whole shopping and consumerism.

    Instead focussing on:
    – reflecting about the year
    – being present with family and friends;
    – be grateful about this time of the year;

    People spend their time:
    – stressing out by running from store to store;
    – barely acknowledging the people around them
    – worry about not satisfying all demands.

    For those reasons, I have collected some alternative ideas. Maybe not full of glamour, but with experiences that will potentially last you a lifetime.

    The winner here though comes from Cam Adair, who just invited his Facebook friends to his Family Christmas.

    Lasting Memories Cam

    Awesome.

    Isn’t that the whole spirit of Christmas? To open your home and share?

    Before I start sharing these ideas, one point: in the movie “Groundhog Day”, Bill Murray has to relive one day in the past over and over before he has understood the true meaning of life. He is allowed to move on after he has created several meaningful connections with people. All the value he is giving to people allow him to move on with his life. So remember, the more we give, the longer lasting memories we create.

    “Stuff” that we accumulate again and again is exchangeable. Only our connections to other people will last and allow us to move forward in our lives.

    #1 – Grateful Christmas.

    This is idea came from Claudia Altucher in “Become an Idea Machine”.

    Basically, you gather the family around, hold each others hands, and everyone shares what he or she is grateful for.

    #2 – Go to an orchard, cut off trees and purchase some ‘natural’ Christmas twigs etc..

    This can be a great ritual as well – though those pine trees can quite test your patience.

    They are not easy to saw off!

    In any case, you get into much closer contact with Christmas, because you contribute to it with your own hands.

    #3 – Spend time with someone from an old folks home.

    Older people often have no real relatives visiting.

    Stunningly, even not on Christmas.

    So… you can spend time with someone and listen to him. And flirt with the nurse. 😉

    Those meetings will sure create great memories.

    Christmas is the time people come together, and how better to celebrate that by being with someone who is alone all too often?

    #4 – Stay in a cabin.

    Experience the snow in winter.

    You could rent the cabin with your family or a couple of friends.

    You get enough time to reflect on the year.

    Have hikes in the snow, followed by hot chocolate in front of the fire.

    Unforgettable!

    #5 – Play instruments.

    If you and/or people from your family play an instrument, you can play songs for Christmas.

    Or whatever you like.

    #6 – Burnt Punch/Fire Tong Bowle (Feuerzangenbowle)

    This is a German recipe. It was made famous in a German movie from 1944.

    While friends sit together in front of the Fire Tong Bowle, reminiscing about their school time and the pranks they played, it turns out that one of them has had a private teacher and never been to a public school.

    So he decides to play a student again…

    To make the fire tong bowl, you basically heat up a red wine mix with cloves, cinnamon and oranges – then you place a sugar cone over the pot with the red wine.

    Pour rum over the sugar and set it on fire. As the flame burns, the sugar is dripping into the red wine. Refill the rum to keep the flame burning.

    To hold the sugar, you can use specific metal tongs, called fire tongs – that’s where the drink gets its name. This is how they look like.

    You can also use small sugar cubes on a metal wire and place it over the pot.

    And then you drink it!

    Here is a more detailed recipe.

    This drink the memory of old stories around a campfire.

    #7 – Watch a classic movie.

    What is done pretty rarely around Christmas time is to just relax and maybe watch an older, classic movie.

    Some local museums – such as the MoMA in New York – are regularly screening old movies. Why not watch one of those?

    Here and here are some recommendations. And the fire tong bowl introduced in #5 above!

    #8 – A Christmas Carol

    Lots of references, rarely read – Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol.

    Why not read it, every part by a different person, until the whole story is told?

    #9 – Bake Christmas cookies.

    Lasting memories sugar cookies

    These can be quite fun to bake.

    More a German tradition (I think?), baking cookies is a great way to make memories.

    You make the dough, roll it out and then cut out pieces. Here is a recipe!

    Also great for children, who get to cut out all the different forms…

    #10 – Make your own Advent Calendar.

    You can buy those ready-made with one piece of chocolate behind every door for every day.

    Or you make your own with little wrapped cookies, chocolates or even small fun items. Arranged on a line, for example.

    #11 – Build your own nativity scene.

    If you are religious, or if you just like it, you can have a nativity scene.

    Every year, new elements are added, until you truly have a huge farm gathered around “Baby Jesus”.

    #12 – Watch the city lights.

    Lasting memories New York City

    New York City by dusk

    If you live in or close to a big city, you can go to a place slightly above where you have a great overview about the city.

    When I was 4 years old, my grandma had me on her arms and we were watching the lights of Hamburg in Germany.

    One of my fondest memories.

    Why not do something similar?

    #13 – Have an Easter Brunch and color your eggs.

    Easter eggs, that is.

    Have some friends over, blow out eggs and color them.

    You can use the opportunity to reflect on the first third of the year and make plans for summer with everyone.

    #14 – Sunday brunch instead of partying weekend nights away.

    This is for any weekend out there.

    Unless you want to hook up, don’t go bar hopping on a friday or saturday night.

    Stay in, work on your projects, then reward yourself with getting drunk on a sunday brunch. Have some Whiskey.

    So you can still hook up. 😉

    The memories are greatly enhanced on a sunday morning, because the whole day is in front of you, and the brunch is more integrated into your daily life.

    Even if you get drunk.

    #15 – Reenactment (for example, at the 4th of July).

    If you are in the US, actively playing and acting out history can give you great memories and allow you to reconnect to the roots of this country.

    And there are a lot of new friends you can make.

    #16 – Shoot guns and drive cars in Las Vegas.

    Most people go to Vegas to play and maybe they watch some shows.

    Why not do something a little different?

    Next time you are going to Vegas, visit a shooting range and unleash some AK-47s.

    You can then rent a sports car and drive full speed along the highway until the cops stop you. Or maybe slow down before they stop you.

    You could also go to a racing track and take a go-cart course/learn to race.

    Or… do some wild water rafting over several days and then have that interrupted with dressing in camouflage and shooting guns in the wilderness.

    That’ll be a very specific Vegas holiday.

    If you want to check out “Become an Idea Machine”, you can do so here.

    Yesterday’s challenge: Click me!

    What is this challenge about? This link will teach you more.

    And to get back to the main page, you can click here.

    What Christmas tradition do you have?

    Do you have other festivities that are dear to you?

    Thanks for reading and let me know in the comments below!