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Making the most of holiday season with family traditions

There's nothing like a holiday to bring family together, whether it be for a traditional meal or a shared event.

When it comes down to it, our holiday traditions provide us with fond memories that warm our hearts well after the season has passed. These are the memories that we will most likely think about when a moment of nostalgia hits.

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Traditions don't need to be complicated, but you should try to put some thought into them and use your creativity to make them personal and meaningful. So if you're hosting your first family dinner or looking for a new tradition to add to your festivities, check out a few of my favorite holiday pastimes to get your season started off in a great way.

• Family game. Football and Thanksgiving are almost synonymous when it comes to holiday traditions. There's nothing like watching a great game after enjoying a delicious meal with the family. Or maybe there is? Turn off the TV and try holding your own family football game in the back yard. The whole family will have a blast chasing one another around. Not to mention that being active is a great way to keep off those holiday pounds. If that doesn't sounds fun, try bringing your family game indoors and choose a board or card game instead. This is a great option when the weather is not the best or if someone is feeling ill. Just be sure that whatever game you choose, it is appropriate for everyone participating.

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• Be thankful. This goes without saying, but Thanksgiving has always been known as a special time to be grateful for all the wonderful things in our lives. Go around the dinner table and have each person name one or two things that they are thankful for this year. Or have everyone write them down on paper and place them in a container. Have each person pick one randomly to read out loud. You can also check out some of the amazing craft projects with a thankful theme on sites like Pinterest.

• See a movie. So you've just finished a yummy meal and want something fun to do with the family, but what is there to do on Thanksgiving? Round up the family and go see a movie. There are tons of great movies out this time of year, from action to horror to comedy to animated movies. There is something for all ages. Or if the holiday rush has left you exhausted and not exactly wanting to brave the potential crowds, have your family movie night at home. Round up a few snacks — or leftovers — some warm blankets and a movie, and enjoy some quiet family time at home.

• Family photo. Family photos are some of the most precious keepsakes we have throughout our lives. What better time than Thanksgiving, when all the family is together, to take an annual family photo? It will be amazing to see how your family has grown and changed each year. Imagine what your family will look like five, 10, or 20 years from now. Family photos don't need to be complicated, but feel free to have fun with it. You don't need to hire a photographer; your own digital camera or the camera on your phone will be sufficient. Just get your group together and snap away.

• Meditate. I know it sounds a bit odd. What does meditating have to do with Thanksgiving, right? Well, Thanksgiving happens to be the most widely traveled day of the year. And if you're not traveling then most likely you are hosting a meal, which involves a lot of work and preparation, especially if you are hosting a large group. Holidays can be very stressful. Meditation is widely known as an extremely effective way to help alleviate stress and anxiety, both of which are abundant during the holidays. Take a few moments each day or even a few times a day to meditate during the holiday season. Sit quietly in a calm place and focus on your breathing, inhaling and exhaling slowly. Meditation might help you to relax and center your mind, and you might find that you are much better able to handle anything that is thrown your way.

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Fortunately for our sanity — and our wallets — the holiday season only comes around once a year. However, adding a few family traditions to your holiday celebrations might just renew your holiday spirit.

Danielle Moser is a Reisterstown resident and can be reached via email at

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