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Creating Christmas Traditions

Gift giving can be full of tradition-worthy moments as a family develops its own quirky habits. Embrace your family's oddities and turn them into yearly practice. If Grandpa Ed refuses to tear the wrapping paper on his gifts, and instead uses a letter-opener to preserve the precious stuff, make it a family custom. Start labeling the white side of the wrapping paper with the year and recipient info, and reuse the paper next year. In 40 years your kids might still be using that scrap of bright green snowman paper from Uncle Jimmy's first set of skis. Plus, you're helping to reduce waste, which is great for the environment!

You can also establish a gift tradition and build up your ornament supply at the same time. When you first start your own family, the Christmas tree might look fairly bare. To build your ornament collection, create the tradition of giving each member of the family a new Christmas ornament each year. Label the ornament with the date and the recipient's name. Then each year when you decorate your tree, you'll be reminded of all the wonderful Christmases that your family has spent together. For an extra-special gift, make the ornaments yourself.

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