Unforgettable Holiday Memories Start With These Five Tips

Kevin Gardner

The holidays can be a great time to make new memories with your friends and family. While getting around can be stressful, there's no better time to take a trip to see your friends and family across the country. As commercials flood the television sets in homes all over America, it can seem like the holidays are all about gifts and less about making memories. This doesn't have to be the case. Read over these tips to ensure you and your family have a holiday to remember through the decades.

1. Go Somewhere Different

If your parents insist on you spending Christmas at their place again this year, why not suggest a family trip to a place none of you have ever been? If they argue that it's too expensive, offer to skip presents and extravagant meals this year in exchange for a memorable vacation that will bring you all closer than any gift can.

It can be difficult navigating the murky waters of where to spend the holidays, especially if you are married. Two sets of in-laws can cause a nightmare for you and your spouse when deciding where to go. This year pick a destination city and have everyone meet up there. After all, the sets of parents probably haven't seen each other since the wedding.

Pro tip: Plan this trip in advance to get everyone on board with it and find better deals on flights and maybe even find some affordable luxury hotels! Travel doesn't have to expensive when it's done right!

2. Have an Ethnic Holiday Dinner

If you can't get everyone on board with a trip, spice things up by cooking dishes you have never tried before. Turkey and mash potatoes are great, but have you ever tried Chicken Tikka Masala over a bed of warm rice and a side of piping hot naan bread? There are so many options besides the traditional American-style holiday feasts. Indian, Mexican, Thai, Chinese-the options are endless! Getting your guests to step out of their comfort zone and try something new is a great way to bring everyone together during the most wonderful time of year.

Even better, try having a holiday potluck! Arranged for everyone to bring something different. That way everyone can try something new and still get a taste of their old favorites.

3. Take "Real" Photos

Not selfies. Not Insta-worthy photos. Real, honest pictures. Often times, we get so caught up in getting the perfect family photo that we forget to capture the things that really matter. Take pictures of moments. Think of what you will want to remember in years to come. Will you want a picture-perfect image of everyone flashing a big, fake grin or a snapshot of your mom, hard at work in the kitchen and covered in flour, smiling softly as she bakes your favorite cookies? It's okay to post, but don't get too caught up in perfection that you forget to capture true memories.

4. Slow Down

This is very important. Approximately 343 people die during the Christmas holiday travel period due to car accidents. If you are low on sleep, don't be in hurry to get to your next destination. Your family would much rather have you alive than on time. Rest, relax, and just enjoy the moment. If staying a little longer at your parent's house means you can drive well-rested, so be it! This time of year can be very hectic. For the sake of your mental and physical well-being, slow down! This also means no speeding for all you speed demons out there.

5. Be Giving

There are so many people in need every day of the year. Homeless, hungry, and hopeless people need help. If you have time off this holiday season, consider using some of it to help those in need. The best part is that you and your whole family can volunteer together. Whether it's helping out at a soup kitchen or caroling in a nursing home, serving together is a way to come closer and make positive, lasting memories.

The best ways to make unforgettable memories are about having new and enriching experiences together. From making new meals to giving meals to those in need, all you need to make memories are an open heart and mind and other people to share those experiences with you.