​You don’t have to eat that fruit cake. You really don’t. There are plenty of other holiday and winter traditions just waiting to grace your home this year.

​Every family has its annual holiday celebrations: maybe you each open one gift on Christmas Eve, hold an ugly sweater contest, apply your OCD perfectionism to the most ornate gingerbread house, or all of the above.

​But maybe you’re also celebrating for the first time in your new home this year, which is the perfect time to try out a new holiday tradition of your own!

New Holiday Festivities to Try This Year

​You might be thinking to yourself, “But I still want to watch my guilty pleasure Christmas rom-coms and eat too much dessert!”

​Fear not: whatever means the most to you or your family, we’ve got you covered.

For the Kids

​What will keep your kids wide awake late into the night, shaking with excitement and anticipation about this year’s special activities?

Holiday Games

  • Guess the Present: Not every gift can be safely shaken for a guess, so wrap your presents in the shapes they come in to help give an extra clue!
  • 5-Second Fury: Each person must wait his or her turn to try to completely unwrap an entire gift in a matter of seconds, or else the person must wait for another round to uncover the gift! (This is great if you’re on a time crunch, expecting your holiday brunch guests to arrive at any second.)
  • Use Common Scents: This one’s another fun guessing game that requires a few mason jars with felt tied on top, your family’s favorite festive scents around this time of year, and a blindfold! Here’s a handy guide for this game.

Christmas Breakfast Cook-Off: For this fun Food Network inspired activity, divide your family into teams (min. one adult per team), choose a judge (Grandma, Mom, or whoever is the renowned chef in your family), and a dish that is just challenging enough.

​Each team has a set amount of in the kitchen to whip up their dish, and they will be judged on presentation, originality, and taste!

Kid-Friendly Movie Marathon: This fun night-before activity allows everyone to bring his or her favorite movie. Once the evening’s movies are chosen, kids can snuggle up in a blanket fort while Mom and Dad (aka Santa) slip away to finish getting everything ready for the big day.

For the Foodie

This is the year to replace all those typical holiday menu items with the dishes you crave (ta-ta, fruit cake!). Controlling your menu, while potentially requiring a bit more work, is especially ideal if you are vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc. Now you can bank on more dishes you can eat than just salad!

  • Around the World in Holiday Dishes: Hand-pick your favorites from countries around the globe (paneer tikka masala, anyone?)!
  • Appetizer Smorgasbord: Instead of roasting a turkey or slaving over side dishes, opt for guacamole and chips, buffalo chicken wings, or fried macaroni and cheese bites—no fine china needed here!
  • Christmas Dinner in the Air Fryer: Up for a challenge? How many traditional dishes can you make in your air fryer?
  • Holiday Movie Favorites: That’s right: you can make an entire 5-course dinner from those iconic holiday movies (we won’t even judge if you try Elf’s spaghetti).
  • Christmas Cocktails/Mocktails: Is your inner mixologist just dying for a chance to invent a signature beverage? Now’s your chance: how many ways can you use eggnog?

If holiday dinner is on you this year and you’re at a loss for what to make, watch our Facebook Live Holiday Cooking Event and cook alongside Chefs Mike and Mike! They won’t leave you all alone in the kitchen with an Internet full of overwhelming recipes this year.

For the Film Buff

How many holiday movies can you sit through? We’re talking shameless Hallmark classics, the "Die Hard" collection, unforgettable rom-coms, and even Christmas horror movies! “When the weather outside is frightful...” queue up Netflix and cozy up with that delectable holiday dinner or drink you just made.

If you’re extra confident, try your hand at holiday movie trivia. Exactly how many sizes does the Grinch’s heart grow?

For the Aspiring Performing Artist

Even if you can’t hit Mariah Carey’s infamous high notes or croon like Bing Crosby, here’s your chance to shine, mic in hand.

Since we’re all about trying new things here, why not put a new spin on top of your holiday karaoke night! How? Three words: back, up, dancers. Put those Santa’s elf ears to good use!

Even a rousing game of holiday charades can come with a twist this year; from group rounds to signature family member quirks to reactions to opening gifts, there are endless ways to liven up the group with this crowd favorite.

For the Non-Conformist

If you just can’t stand to endure one more repetitive Christmas song, or even if you don’t celebrate at all, you can still enjoy making some special memories.

Choosing experiences over presents is a fabulous option if you’re skipping the holiday hoopla. Check out some great ideas to do what you love:

  • Volunteer at a local pet shelter
  • Christmas around the campfire
  • Choose your own binge-watching party ("Gilmore Girls," "Lord of the Rings," etc.)
  • Holiday hike
  • Wine + cheese night

This year, whether you FaceTime the ones you love, celebrate alone, or enjoy your first holiday in your new home, make memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime by doing the things you love most.

From all of us at M/I Homes, a very happy and warm holiday season to you and your family!



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Savannah Paver

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A passionate writer with 5 years of marketing experience, Savannah is dedicated to hunting for just the right stories to help customers find the information for which they are searching during their home buying process. She also loves being a homeowner, particularly when it comes to home decor (aka adding to her houseplant obsession). In her free time, she enjoys hiking with her husband, playing with her two dogs, and finding new local coffee shops.