6 Modern Christmas Traditions

It’s almost December which means you can finally crack open that advent calendar and have some of that so-so chocolate. Unless you're a high-roller and shell out a few extra bucks for that delicious Reese's Peanut Butter advent calendar.
Families and friends have a number of different traditions ranging from the oh-so-common advent calendar to sprinkling reindeer food outside for Rudolph (to which the squirrels, raccoons and other critters say thank you!)  However, as millennials get older and start becoming parents, new and modern traditions are taking hold. Whether it’s a new spin on a classic or something new entirely, let’s take a look at six traditions that have taken off over the last 30-ish years.

Tracking Santa

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I vividly remember when this became possible. I was five years old (young?) and my parents told me we could actually watch Santa’s route as he flew around the world.  The only thing was I had to make sure I was asleep by the time Santa made it to Canada.
Tracking Santa has come a long way since ’97 thanks to the NORAD Santa Tracker (real-time updates on Santa's globe-trotting) and with the internet a staple in nearly everyone's lives, it's easy to keep an eye on the big fella on Christmas eve. 
Grab some hot coco, cuddle up with your kids/loved one, cat, dog or anything that you love and watch Santa deliver presents to people across the globe from your electronic device of choice. 
Quick side note; ’97 was the year I discovered Santa wasn’t real. I tried to guess when he would arrive to deliver my presents, when I heard a sound downstairs I crept down to see him. Low and behold I saw my parents putting" Santa’s" presents beneath the tree.
Santa Tracker: 1
Ian: 0

Pop-up Christmas Markets

 photo courtesy of To Do Canada

photo courtesy of To Do Canada

The Toronto Christmas Market has become a must for Christmas lovers in the GTA.  Whether you’re in a relationship or in the early stages of dating, want to spend a day/night out with friends/family or even hit it up solo, you can’t go wrong with a visit to the market; unless you’re dating the Grinch.  The market has unique pop up stores for special gifts, as well as delicious yuletide drinks; cue those ‘nog lovers.  Let’s not forget the photo worthy moments you can find at the Christmas Market. Take photos by a giant Christmas tree or all of the unique life sized decorations or the lights or well, anything really. It's perfect for social media aficionados who want their phone to light up (pun absolutely intended) with notifications.
 How else will people know you had a great time at the market if you don’t post it!? 

Holiday Themed Drinks

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Starbucks really pioneered this trend with the *gasp* PSL, better known as the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Known worldwide as the most basic of basic drinks, it's still sells unbelievably well. However they certainly didn’t stop there. There's egg nog lattes, peppermint lattes, chestnut praline lattes, gingerbread lattes and sooo many others.
Starbucks isn’t the only coffee shop to jump on the themed drink bandwagon; you can walk into almost any coffee shop and see Christmas themed drinks. 
From cups with Christmas designs to eggnog lattes, this modern tradition isn’t going anyway because it’s delicious.

Volunteering

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 While volunteering as a whole isn’t new, volunteering on Christmas Eve is quickly growing in popularity. If you have children it’s a great way to teach them that giving back and helping the less fortunate is really what Christmas is all about. If you’re doing it because you love helping out your community, that’s also a great reason. 
Either way, local churches and soup kitchens are seeing a serious rise in volunteers on Christmas Eve; truly a wonderful thing to see.
(P.S., you should volunteer year round if you're able to as there are folks and organizations who constantly need help.)

Traveling

 photo courtesy of Rockefeller Center

photo courtesy of Rockefeller Center

While travelling isn't "new" or "modern" by any means, it's the frequency that has landed it on this list. More and more folks are taking jaunts nationally and internationally. Folks are opening their wallets and purses for experiences more often.
For many people Christmas is the time to travel far and wide to be with your family and friends, while others travel abroad.  Some will travel to take in holiday attractions like skating under that giant Christmas tree in New York; while others will go somewhere warm without snow. With so many ways to get flight/travel/train deals through our friend the internet, it's easier than ever to travel nowadays.
Personally, I can really see the appeal of a destination Christmas when the temperature starts to creep towards -30. I can handle -29. I cannot handle -30. No. Not now. Not ever. Nope. Not happening. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Breaking point. 

Tree Decorating

 photo courtesy of Canadian Traveller 

photo courtesy of Canadian Traveller 

Decorating a tree certainly isn’t a new tradition but thanks to sites such as Instagram and Pinterest elaborate and minimal tree decorating has taken off, and shows no signs of stopping. 
You will find everything from the Minimalist Tree, essentially a pole with lights; to the lobster trap tree (seriously, a tree made of lobster traps). If you can come up with it, you can decorate your tree with it. This writer even found a Pac Man tree, it may or may not be in his living room.

Share your modern Christmas traditions in the comment section!