Celebrating the holiday season with traditions, old and new

The holiday season is upon us once again.

Temperatures are getting colder, perfect for cozy nights snuggled up by the fire.

Holiday decorations are making their way out of storage, as halls are decked with boughs of holly and evergreen. Trees and homes glow, adorned with lights that make the shortest and darkest days of the year shine longer and brighter. Radios blare familiar Christmas music - a blend of the classic carols and catchy, newer songs. Party invitations are sent out, and plans are being made to celebrate the holiday season with traditions old and new.

As Frank Sinatra used to sing, "It's that time of year when the world falls in love."

That definitely rings true each year as the holiday season officially gets underway. Here are some of our favorite traditions:

Baking Cookies
Whether you bake just for Santa or like to gift homemade tasty treats to family and friends, holiday baking is a time-honored tradition. And, cookie decorating is a great way to get your kids involved in the kitchen - just make sure to have your cleaning supplies handy!

Take in the Holiday Lights
Holiday light shows, like Creamy Acres Farm's Night of Lights Country Christmas Hayride, are a fun family favorite to revisit year after year. For the third year, Creamy Acres Farm is transforming their dairy farm into a Christmas wonderland with huge sparking light displays, a musical dancing tree light show, your favorite Christmas songs and lights galore. You can also make s'mores over an open fire and take a pic with Santa. It's good old-fashioned holiday fun that everyone in the family will enjoy.

Visit the Tree Farm
Bundle the kids up and head out to the tree farm to pick out (and cut down) this year's Christmas tree. Some local places offer a hayride out to the tree fields, hot chocolate and other festive treats to make it a fun - and festive - family outing.

Christmas Caroling
This old-fashioned holiday tradition is rooted in song and spreading cheer to others. Whether you incorporate it into your holiday party, or get a group together to go door-to-door in your neighborhood, Christmas caroling is an enjoyable way to get into the holiday spirit.

Give Back
Bringing warmth and good cheer to those in need is a great way to truly celebrate the spirit of the season. Volunteer at your local food bank, donate a holiday meal to a family, or help brighten a child's Christmas morning by ensuring there are presents under their tree. There are so many ways to give back to help make the holidays special for others - after all, it's what the season is all about.
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