I’ll set the scene for you.

The dogs are snuggled up on their beds in front of the fireplace. The entire family is gathered around the dogs, as people sit on the couch with mugs filled with steaming hot chocolate. Now if the holidays for you are anything like they are in my family, they’re crazy and loud, and you look forward to them all year long.

Here are some holiday traditions of mine that I look forward to. Thank you to the several friends who helped build this list — wishing you all a safe and happy season.

1. Listening to Run-DMC’S “Christmas Is” almost daily

Listening to this song is definitely one of my favorite holiday traditions. It typically starts when we get out our Christmas tree. We listen to the song as we decorate the tree and drink egg nog.

2. Sitting down for a movie night with the family to watch “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”

This raunchy comedy is an absolute must for the holiday season whether or not you celebrate Christmas. It accurately depicts every crazy family in the perfect way. Give it a watch if you’re in the mood for a good laugh. My family can recite every single line and it’s a tradition that will probably continue forever.

gif via GIPHY.com

gif via GIPHY.com

3. Crowding around my Grandpa’s recliner to listen to a reading of “’Twas The Night before Christmas”

It takes about eight restarts to get through the first few pages due to mockery and echoes from the peanut gallery, but nevertheless, this is a Foley Family tradition that will always bring extreme laughter into the night.

4. Attending holiday-baking and cookie-swap parties

Baking and swapping cookies is a long tradition that stands firm in many families. Whether all of the cousins get together to decorate holiday cookies or the Yaiya’s of the world get their grandkids together to make baklava, it’s a bonding experience.

5. Lighting the Menorah and playing Dreidel

Contributed by Alexa. “My entire family comes over and we have three menorahs set up, and the youngest lights the first candle. Then we sing the three prayers, and put the menorahs in the sink while we go into the living room to play dreidel. We eat dessert and hang out for the next seven nights.”

6. Doing a Secret Santa gift exchange

A tradition among families and friends that makes gift-giving fun. Essentially, you put a bunch of names on pieces of paper, throw them in a hat and have everyone choose a piece of paper. Who you have is kept a secret, and when it comes time for the gifts to be exchanged, your Secret Santa is revealed!

7. Dressing family members up like Santa

Even when the youngest cousin is 17 and is far from believing in the jolly man.

This holiday season, consider adding some of these traditions to your winter break agenda. photo via WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

This holiday season, consider adding some of these traditions to your winter break agenda. photo via WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

8. Spending time with family

Forced or not, this is something to look forward to, especially right after finals. Be thankful for them, no matter how crazy you think they are. 

9. Drinking homemade eggnog

A delicious drink that is always absolutely worthwhile, especially  if made from scratch.

10. Having healthy fun during game nights

They bring out the best or worst in people. Strategize and remind your siblings or cousins why you’re the favorite so they pick you for their team. And oh, try not the flip the table.