5 Holiday Traditions You Can Start With Your Family Now

This post is sponsored by Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart and I have received product and/or compensation in exchange for this post, and it may contain affiliate links for your convenience (See my disclosure page for more information.)  As always, I only share brands and products that I love, so all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.  Thank you for supporting Made by Carli.



It seems like now more than ever family traditions are the focus of the season.  Family traditions, especially holiday traditions,  are the moments that are most memorable, especially for children, and they help to make the season that much more special.  Over the years, my husband and I have worked really hard to incorporate and create special holiday traditions with our children in hopes that they will carry them on with their children in the years to come.  

Well this month, for the BHG Live Better challenge, we were asked to recreate one of our favorite holiday traditions using products, some of the awesome Better Homes and Gardens products available exclusively at Walmart and narrowing down just one of our traditions was really hard so I’m sharing 5 ideas that you can start with your family now!

Holiday Tradition #1:  Hot Chocolate Bar with surprise “Polar Express” Ride

3 Tiered Platter //  White Mugs // White Cake Stand/Chip and Dip platter // Monroe appetizer plates // Dip Bowls  // Salt chamber (similar) // Striped kitchen towel // Let It Snow Serve Board

Years ago, I read this Polar Express idea on a blog (I wish I could remember which blog), but on years when we are able to get ourselves organized, we try to surprise the kiddos with this activity.  

What we do:  

We get the kids all set up and cozy in their winter pajamas, and enjoy a holiday movie (Polar Express is ideal, especially if you are just starting this tradition).  We enjoy a fun hot chocolate bar, letting the kids go crazy with as many toppings as they like. The Better Homes and Gardens 3 tiered platter works perfectly for this, because it’s space saving and it’s sooooo cute! This year we used my new favorite white ceramic mugs and used the cute little dip bowls again for toppings (they’re so versatile!)

Once the movie is over, we send the kids off to bed, and my husband warms up the car.  We then yell “All Aboard the Polar Express!!” (the kids will be extremely confused the first time, but over the years, as they get familiar, they get stoked to hear this!) We tell them to get their winter coats and gear on over their pjs and head to the car.  We then enjoy an evening of viewing our neighbors light displays, or we head to a local light show.  This year there was a local drive-thru light show– and it was amazing, the kids absolutely loved it!

Some years, we get them hot chocolate on the way, or bring along one of those big tin tubs of popcorn (depending on whether or not they’ve already enjoyed some during the movie).  It’s such a blast and just an amazing memory to create.

How we set up our Hot Chocolate Bar:

We set up toppings and mix-ins to make the following types of hot chocolate:

  • Oreo Hot Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate
  • Pepermint Hot Chocolate
  • Classic Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows
  • White Hot Chocolate

Holiday Tradition #2:  “Ginger Bread” House Contest

Acacia wood Cake Stand // Dip Bowls  // Black dining chairs, set of 2

This tradition has been going about 10 years strong.  We make “Gingerbread” houses using graham crackers and all the different candy we can buy.  This year, we challenged ourselves to make them using items we had on hand, (like cereal, and chocolate chips, powdered sugar for snow, and frosting with food coloring-which was first!) and it was amazing, it forced us to get really creative.  When we are done putting the finishing touches on our houses, my husband serves as the judge. 


Although there’s no real prize, besides bragging rights, it’s just a blast having a little friendly competition.  We then display all of the Gingerbread houses until the kids sneak all of the candy off of them or Christmas (whichever comes first)


Tips to Set Up Your Easy, No-Fuss “GingerBread” House Building Station:

  • Grab a few Better Homes and Gardens dip bowls for your toppings
  • I love my Acacia Wood cake stand for displaying the houses
  • Use paper plates to build the houses, you can then cut them to size for easy displaying.
  • For less stress and frustration (especially for  the little ones), an adult can build the houses using hot glue ahead of time.  We generally use frosting so that everyone has their own unique home shape.
  • Use a sandwich bag snipped in the corner for decorative piping with the frosting

Holiday Tradition #2  Christmas Karaoke in the Living Room

Every year we have one (or a few) nights where we plan holiday themed Karaoke.  We don’t use any fancy karaoke machines or even microphones, we just search the instrumentals of our favorite holiday songs (with lyrics) on youtube.  Everyone chooses their song, some of us even plan duets and we have a blast belting out the songs and letting go of our cares.  

Rosette Plush Decorative Pillow// Reversible Plaid Decorative Pillow // Ombre Fur Decorative Pillow  // Hurricane Vase  // Fresh Cut Frasier Candle //Cashmere Amber 16oz Scented 3-Wick Candle

This year I added a few cozy pillows and a few of my favorite candles to set a cozy mood.

Fresh Cut Frasier Candle //Cashmere Amber 16oz Scented 3-Wick Candle

These jar candles are AH-MAZING! I wish you guys could smell them!

 Reversible Plaid Decorative Pillow // Ombre Fur Decorative Pillow

I love bringing in fresh greenery around the holidays, so I decided to create a little vignette with this glass Hurricane vase, I think it’s really beautiful and would make a  perfect table centerpiece.

Holiday Tradition #4 and 5  Charlie Brown Tree with DIY Ornaments

The other day I was wandering around our lot foraging fresh greenery for some crafts and noticed a plethora of baby pine trees growing.  Charlie Brown immediately popped into my head!  I thought “I need to get one of these baby trees!” but I felt too guilty to cut it down. So while in Walmart the other day I came across this Better Homes and Gardens Brynn planter that I’ve been wanting for a while and the idea popped into my head–“What if I dug out the Charlie Brown Tree???”  I called my mom and told her my idea, and she suggested that we make our own ornaments, and I though that was such a great idea!  She reminded me of the many different DIY Christmas decorations we would make together when I was a kid, from stringing popcorn and cranberries  garlands, to baking salt dough ornaments!  I’ll never forget the pride I had in making these decorations and seeing them adorn our home when I was a kid.



23 piece mixing bowl set // 2pc-Fringe Kitchen Towel // Black dining chairs, set of 2 // Brynn Planter

Later that evening, after making our favorite Christmas Cookies, using this great mixing bowl set (my daughter had to have), we made some mini salt dough ornaments, while jamming out to our favorite holiday songs, and we had the best time!  Choosing a smaller baby tree even if store-bought is such a great way to let the kids have at it when it comes to decorating and I’m honestly kicking myself for not thinking of doing this sooner.  We’ve given them faux trees in their rooms in the past, but there’s just something special about a live tree, especially one that is planted and will (hopefully) remain living.

Salt Dough Ornament Recipe:

  • 1 Cup Salt
  • 2 Cups of All purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup of flour for rolling the dough
  • 1 Cup of warm water
  • Cookie Cutters
  • Rolling Pin
  • Tooth pick or small straw if you’re using mini cutters (to make hole for string or ornament an hook)
  • Mixing Bowl and Wooden Spoon
  • String or ornaments hooks

Pour the flour and salt in the bowl and combine.  Slowly add in the warm water and mix well.  Add some flour to your hands and begin to knead the dough until smooth.  Flour your surface and roll out your dough evenly until its about 1/4″ thick.  Use a toothpick or a small straw to poke a hole for hanging.  Bake at 250 degrees for 15 minutes, an hour if you make large cookie cutters.  I just keep and eye on them regularly to make sure they don’t get too crispy.

DIY salt dough ornaments

Once they cool, decorate to your liking.  We used washable paint that we had on hand.

Isn’t this the cutest tree you ever did see?  We are going to nurse this thing like its a baby and hope to re-plant it when we are done.  The kid’s even gave in a name “Branchelo”

When we were done making the ornaments, Kyle said “this is the best day ever!!!” and man, that just warmed my heart!

And before I go, I figured I’d share a couple of gift ideas inspired by our holiday traditions:

Hot Chocolate Gift Basket:

Moscow Mule Mug-Tis the Season // Moscow Mule Mug-snowflake // Fringe Kitchen Towels, 2pc // Wire Fruit Bowl // Warm Fireside Flurries


A Hygge Gift:

Hygge gift basket

Sherpa Throw Blanket // Candle // Home Pillow


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  1. Anastasia
    December 10, 2020 / 8:09 am

    Thanks for these ideas! We do graham cracker gingerbread houses too but I want to try the rest too!! My kids would love the solar Exoress twist to driving around looking at lights 🙂

  2. Beth
    December 10, 2020 / 10:42 am

    Every year – we pick two families or friends that have meant a lot during the previous year. We give them gives with a card that explains our tradition – and that we nothing in return. I wanted to reach the kids about the true meaning of Xmas. Now as teenagers they start discussing who get our gift. It costs very little but has given us so
    much more! Happy holidays

    • madebycarli
      December 10, 2020 / 10:53 pm

      I love that idea!! And then to involve the kids, so sweet!

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