3 Most Underrated (But Awesome) Holiday Traditions

As a follow-up to my 3 Awful Holiday Traditions post – and to prove I am not a Scrooge – here are my favorite holiday traditions:

1. Tinsel.

I’ll admit it. People have their reasons for hating tinsel. Tinsel is messy. It gets tangled in the tree branches and on the carpet. Static cling can cause it to stick to anything and anyone who gets too close to the tree. But even for all its faults, tinsel is the single most amazing Christmas decoration in history. I have loved those mesmerizing silver and gold metallic plastic strips since I was a little kid. A tree just doesn’t seem “finished” without a healthy serving of those sparkly strands. I can’t help myself. Something about tinsel gets into my brain and stimulates my dopamine receptors.

I always knew tinsel was retro. (The tinsel from the 1950s was made from strands of real silver and lead.) But, I was surprised to find out tinsel has actually been around since the 1600s in Germany. My only hope is that tinsel will make a comeback, because it gets harder to find every year.


2. Peppermint Mocha.

Espresso + milk + mocha + peppermint? Nasty, right? I knew about peppermint mochas for about a year before I gathered enough courage to try one. I cringe to think of that entire year I wasted when I could have been experiencing the pure joy of Christmas in a cup! Whoa, baby.

There is really no way to describe the glory that is a peppermint mocha, but I’ll try. Remember that feeling you got when you were five years old and you woke up early Christmas morning to the sight of an orgasmic heap of colorful, sparkling presents under the tree waiting to be torn into with the ferocity of a hungry velociraptor? Your heart felt like it was filling up with unicorns and glitter. You suddenly had a strange sense of calm and clarity. It was a perfect moment of anticipation. That’s how I feel during the time between placing my order and my first sip of a peppermint mocha.

Yeeeaahh buddy. (Bowl of chocolate chunks not included.)

3. Giving Back.

Well, I already described the peppermint mocha feeling similar to an orgasmic velociraptor gift heap. It would be hard to top that feeling. But giving to others feels almost as freaking awesome.

Giving back could mean anything – from tossing some spare change into the godawful bell ringer’s red kettle – to volunteering. Donate some canned goods, serve a meal to the homeless or simply write a check. Having worked for a few nonprofits, I’ve learned that forking over cash is usually the favored venue of support.

Whatever you decide to do will give you that smug satisfaction you deserve. It feels good to give. And it feels good to let others know you gave. We’re taught to be humble, and I agree with that. But, bragging can be a positive thing. It encourages and reminds others to give back too. It reinforces the positive feeling you got when you made the donation in the first place. It’s not selfish to feel good about helping others. (In fact, it would be a bad sign if donating made you feel sad or angry inside.) After all, people don’t give because they have to. They give because on some level it makes them feel good.

Just make sure the charity you choose is reputable. And most importantly, don’t let that crazy bitch Sally Struthers near your money.

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