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American Christmas Traditions

Much like buying a home, here’s how to be discerning about which seasonal habits to adopt.

A new house is a blank slate for you and your family to color in with memories for years to come. That’s something to keep in mind when you’re securing a home loan and also when you’re building a life there, starting from the second you sign your mortgage documents.

Adding color to your home is about more than decorations, though. With the holidays fast approaching, now is the perfect time to consider which traditions you want celebrate with as much discernment as you chose your lending partner.

Here’s how to make the holidays in your new home more magical and meaningful than ever before.


We all have habits: Some are bad, some are good, and some are purely time wasters. You might consider evaluating how the holidays usually go to figure out which traditions are beloved and which are just force of habit.

Think about the very start of your home search when you were figuring out what you could afford. The intention with which you calculated what mortgage you could afford and sought a partner for pre-approval is something you can practice when it comes to traditions, too. All it takes is determination based on what brings your family the most value and peace of mind.


You and your partner may each be coming to the table with a litany of holiday traditions that you end up juggling each year. But often, less is more, and you’ll need to compromise to get it right. You wouldn’t have bought a home with a dozen more rooms than you needed — just think of the maintenance! — so why bake cookies and chocolate bark, or have two Christmas trees, each decorated at different times, with different lights and ornaments?

Say goodbye to the excess by limiting your holiday traditions to what feels not just manageable but also joyful. This will likely require some compromise, but with a little creativity, there’s no reason not to combine those tree ornaments.


One of the most important elements of tradition is honoring those who raised us and, in turn, their families. For example, lighting menorah candles has meaning dating back to not just childhood Hanukkah celebrations but also centuries of Jewish history.

You may already be keeping the past alive in your new home by preserving its original flooring, stone exterior or other authentic architectural quirks — and if you’re thinking about a major change, consider how those costs would add onto your mortgage payments. In the same way, you might consider talking to your parents and extended family about which holiday traditions they love most and why before you throw the rituals out the window.


Whether you have kids, cats or one big dog, one of the best parts about the holidays is getting the whole crew involved — and letting them have a say, too. While your pets may not have much to contribute besides “meow” and “woof,” kids will more than likely have all kinds of input that you can take or leave — or laugh at.

Oftentimes, new traditions crop up naturally based on what works for your family and what excites your kids. Just remember, the choice is ultimately yours, just like it was when you were choosing a lending partner and a home. Otherwise, you’d be living on a pirate ship.


Last but certainly not least, holiday traditions should be meaningful and fun, or else the meaning could be lost entirely. If cooking a Thanksgiving feast as a family has meaning for you but your kids find it torturous, think of ways to make it fun by creating tasty incentives or games. And if it still ends up being no fun at all, you may want to circle back to tip No. 2 and compromise.

Remember, you may never have secured a mortgage for your dream home if you weren’t able to find the right lending partner, have fun with the process, get buy-in from the whole family, compromise on your must-haves and act with purpose. Holiday traditions can be improved with a similar approach, so really make them count this season as you go forth and celebrate.

This article was originally published by Jennifer Markert,

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