The Ten Best Holiday Traditions

We have scoured the internet to find the cutest holiday traditions for your family to enjoy and below are our top ten. Enjoy!

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After the kids are in bed on Christmas Eve, leave a trail of elf prints from the fireplace or front door through the living room. To make them, cut two sponges in the shape of small shoeprints, then dip them in a plate of “elf dust” (flour, baby powder, carpet deodorizer). The prints always stop at the tray of cookies and milk left out for Santa and sometimes the elves are a bit naughty and play with the presents. Children love to figure out exactly what path the elves took.

Surprise Your Neighbors With Treats

To bring your community closer try doing a 12 days of secret surprises for a neighbor, bringing the appropriate number of goodies — one on the first day to twelve on the twelfth day. You can keep your identity a secret or choose to reveal yourself on any of the 12 days.

Start an Ornament Collection

Every Christmas buy an ornament to celebrate something that happened that year. For example, buy a wedding ornament noting the year you got married or for the year you graduated from college get one with a diploma. Your family will look forward to unwrapping the ornaments every year and remembering why you bought them.

Camp Out Under the Tree

Every Christmas have the family spend one night sleeping on the living room floor under the lighted tree, listening to holiday music.  Talking about Christmas and the previous year will be a tradition your family looks forward to each year.

Help the Needy

Teaching our children the true spirit of the Holidays and that there is more to life than getting a Sony Play Station is a great tradition. Consider limiting gifts to one per child and one gift to share with someone in need. Another option is to donate your time to a charity or soup kitchen.

Give a Christmas Eve Gift

Every Christmas Eve, when the doorbell rings, the children run to answer it. They know Santa has left them their first present. Inside a brightly colored sack is a pair of new pajamas for everyone. This idea serves two purposes. It’s easier to get the kids ready for bed because they can’t wait to wear their new pajamas! And we all look great in the pictures the next morning.

Relive the Year’s Memories

On New Year’s Eve have the family stay home and enjoy a buffet of hors d’oeuvres and sparkling cider. Then watch a video of your family’s past year. Each year start a new videotape.

See the Lights

In the middle of December go on a family sight-seeing trip to look at all the Christmas lights and decorations. It’s a wonderful thing, even for a six-month-old. What baby doesn’t like to look at lights? On the way home, vote on the best decorated house.

Put Out Snacks for Santa

Leave out cookies and milk for Santa, and a spoonful of sugar (or carrots) for the reindeer. Try making a big deal about this, counting the cookies, pointing out how full the glass of milk is, etc. While the kids sleep you can enjoy sipping the milk and eating the cookies, leaving a few with bite marks. The next day the kids will be amazed by the evidence that Santa was in your house.

Learn About Other Cultures

Take the family to the library and have each person pick out a story about Christmas, or holidays in other cultures. Then on Christmas Eve everyone reads (or has an adult read) their story, finishing up with the holiday your family celebrates.

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Stonecrest’s First 5K

By: Michelle Williams

Stonecrest’s first 5k fun walk/jog was a success!  Fifty-nine residents hit the pavement20140320_085751 Thursday morning after the playing of the National Anthem and shotgun start under an archway of green and gold balloons. Residents have been training for the 3.1 mile stretch for six weeks every Thursday morning leading up to the race. Lake Center for Rehab partnered with Activity Director, Michelle Williams, to put on the event. The entry fee was $5 with part of that registration fee being donated to the Wounded Warriors. Chalk road markers were drawn along the course pointing residents in the right direction, providing encouraging words, and marking each half-mile. A water station manned by volunteers was set up at the half-way point and fellow resident onlookers cheered as participants past by their homes. The first resident to finish was Daryl “Chief” Xavier with an impressive 27 minute time. Prizes are being awarded to participants for several achievements including fastest and slowest. Residents were welcomed by rounds of applause as they crossed the finish line as well as music played by a local dj, refreshments and participation medals. Resident volunteers, Lake Center for Rehab and the Activities Director all came together to make this event a great one. Stonecrest is already looking forward to the next 5k event!

Help Your Neighbors Out, Organize a Community Tool Library

Clip Art Graphic of a Hammer Tool Cartoon CharacterHow often do you need a pressure washer? Or a leaf blower? And how often do you use that electric cake mixer? Tool libraries answer this dilemma by creating a space where neighbors can donate rarely used appliances to share. Times are hard and home ownership can be expensive. Sharing with your neighbors can help alleviate some of those financial burdens and help curb delinquencies in assessments or ongoing covenant violations.  Check with your board of directors or clubhouse manager about a space that can house your tool library.

Another Way to Volunteer for you Community- Create an Emergency Preparedness Network

emergIn Florida we are at a greater risk for natural disasters with more storms hitting here at home than in any other state. There is typically at least one named storm in Florida every year and 3 months of our calendar year have been given the apt title “hurricane season”. With such a looming threat it is important to have a network in place should a disaster strike. Volunteering to organize or serve on an Emergency Preparedness Network is a solid way to add predictability and routine in a situation.  Establishing a common meeting space for your neighbors, appointing community members to take on various roles and having supplies ready can help strengthen your neighborhood and make things less chaotic should that unfortunate day ever come. For more information on how to create an emergency preparedness network please visit http://www.floridadisaster.org/index.asp.  

Become an Active Member of you Community Association- Volunteer

In past posts we have discussed  different ways you can support your Community Association (HOA or Condominium) by volunteering in the community.  Would you like to become  a more active member of your community association but do not have the time to serve on the Board of Directors?  In our next three posts we will provide you with some interesting ways to help out.

Volunteer for your Association by Organizing or Offering Holiday Help 

Holiday Help in your community association

The majority of Condominium and Home Owners Associations have restrictions on the length of time holiday décor is permitted to be displayed. No one likes the neighbor who still has Frosty and his crew in the front yard in March and the Board of Directors does not like having to enforce covenant violations.

One way to volunteer for your association, that benefits the community as a whole, is to engage in “holiday help”. Holiday help can be interpreted in many different ways and should be embraced in the form most applicable to your community. This may be a literal interpretation where you organize a weekend in which residents help each other put up or take down holiday decorations; or a loose interpretation where a few residents may have extra decorations and choose to donate those items to a family in the neighborhood who may not otherwise have them.

However your association chooses to implement holiday help, this voluntary act of service strengthens neighborhood bonds and adds value to your community.