Let These TV-Inspired Holiday Traditions Inspire You To Shake Things Up

Nothing breaks up the monotony of the holiday season like trying out a fresh activity in the hope that it might become a new tradition. Turning to your favorite TV show might not seem like the first place to look, but the well is surprisingly deep.

Should you want to shake things up a bit this season, here are some potential new holiday traditions, courtesy of Seinfeld, The OC, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, and others that are worth considering.

Check Out The Lights

New Girl just rolled out its season-six holiday episode and while it was fairly strong — as any Christmas episode with Darlene Love would be — it didn’t top their first effort. Season one’s “The 23rd” focused on the gang attending Schmidt’s office holiday party and the complications that come with new relationships this time of the year. The episode culminated with the gang admiring a neighborhood light display after screaming for the neighbors to turn their lights on at 3 a.m.

Waking people up in the middle of the night isn’t a wise idea unless you want to have the cops called on you, but it is worth getting a group of friends together for the purpose of finding that one street with an over the top lighting spectacle. It’s an activity that doesn’t cost anything more than the gas in your tank and during a time of year that taxes people’s wallets, that’s not a bad thing.

Decorate Outside The Lines

While we’re on the subject of Christmas light displays, there’s something to be said for the holiday rebel who decides to color outside the lines with the decorations. In the season six episode of Roseanne, “White Trash Christmas,” the Connors ramp up their light display in protest of their neighborhood association’s “white twinkle lights only” rule. The act not only separates their house from the boring light displays of the neighbors, but provides a bonding opportunity for Dan and Becky’s husband, Mark.

Setting up decorations isn’t for everyone, but if you’re going to be up on the roof with a blinking reindeer and a mangled mess of lights anyway, why not go bigger and fly in the face of convention? Nothing says Christmas like a neighbor leering out at you through their window with a judgemental face.

Combine Your Holidays

The O.C.’s Seth Cohen is a TV pioneer when it comes to merging winter holidays thanks to the creation of Chrismukkah: a mashup of Christmas and Hanukkah that you may want to borrow/amend in the name of inclusiveness and broadening your holiday celebrations. Think about the influx of new traditions, think about the doubling of food and presents.

Chop Down Your Own Christmas Tree

Season one’s “The Best Christmas Ever” found Eric Foreman and his friends on That ’70s Show taking a DIY approach to getting their Christmas tree. Their reason for the tree-cutting was less festive and more about using the $40 Red had given them to buy beer instead, but that’s irrelevant to the point. There’s something respectable about rejecting artificial trees and even the tree stand in favor of going out in the woods with a saw and putting in a little sweat and elbow to get that perfect pine. Just make sure you don’t follow Eric’s lead and illegally cut down a tree that doesn’t belong to you. Because nothing puts a damper on the holidays like the cops showing up to haul your tree (and/or your ass) off.

Invite A Friend To Join The Festivities

The fact is, a lot of people wall-off their holiday celebrations and stick to a tight guest list so as to cut down on the chaos that can come from opening up your home to everyone in your life. But the holidays really should be all about spending time with and appreciating friends and family. Especially when those people don’t have any where else to go.

That’s the scenario facing the Fonz in the “Guess Who’s Coming To Christmas” episode of Happy Days’. Too proud to admit he’s got nowhere to go, Richie and his dad lure the Fonz over under the guise of needing his assistance in fixing the mechanics of their yard decorations (quite the ruse).

I can’t deny that there’s a palpable level of “awwww” sweetness intended with this episode. It’s definitely one of those holiday episodes that aims to tug at the heartstrings, but it does stand as a reminder that inviting somebody to join you for the holidays can be the best gift of all. Especially if they’re cool like the Fonz.

Throw Rocks At A Train

Forget the reason behind Mac and Charlie’s annual Christmas tradition of going to the railroad tracks to chuck rocks at trains, the important thing is the bonding that occurs.

Sometimes a holiday tradition is less about the activity itself and more about just doing the festive thing you and your family or friends do every year because it brings you together. If it’s been awhile, though, why not restart an old routine or begin a new one that embraces the peculiarity of the gang’s rock chucking while, perhaps, leaving the destruction of property behind?

Celebrate A Totally New Holiday

Host your own Seinfeldian holiday Festivus party, invite a friend to partake in the “feats of strength,” or simply create your own holiday with your own set of rules and traditions. Frank Costanza clearly proves in “The Strike” episode of Seinfeld that it doesn’t take much to create a new holiday tradition that you and your friends and family can embrace year after year. Just get creative and think outside the box/around the pole. Does your new holiday celebration require everyone to endure some kind of outdoor endurance test? Do you vow to take one (random) Christmas gift on Christmas eve and donate to charity? What about fruit cake? Do they go in the fireplace while you all gaze with amazement and trepidation while replacing typical Christmas carols with songs from the Billy Joel catalog? Make this time whatever you want it to be, is what we’re saying. You do you this season and every year thereafter.