Creating New Holiday Traditions

by Nikke Soni

2020 held many challenges and as we end the year, we still must handle the holidays. The holidays will be difficult for many having to scale down on events, parties, and gatherings. Our family is embracing the changes and focusing on slowing down and adapting to creating new holiday traditions.

During October, many people took the extra time to “Boo!” neighbors and friends by leaving Boo Bags of treats on their porches. The same can be done with stockings or holiday cheer boxes. We are trying to support local businesses and filling our stockings with special holiday candies from Vande Walle’s Candies in Appleton and small toys from the Mom and Pop Place in Neenah along with gift cards to locally owned restaurants. All Tied Up Floral Cafe in Appleton has been offering Hot Cocoa Bombs, the hottest trend of the season, by pouring hot milk onto a chocolate ball that melts and opens up with marshmallows and hot chocolate. These are sure to bring holiday cheer. 

Many of the cities in the Fox Valley are offering socially distanced holiday activities such as Santa floats traveling through neighborhoods, outdoor light shows, and letters to Santa mailboxes. “Santa Claus is Coming to Appleton” will take place every Tuesday evening until Christmas. Santa’s float, accompanied by Appleton Police and Fire Department vehicles, will visit a different section of the City from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m.  You can log on to the city’s website for a map of the route.  Future Neenah is offering a plethora of activities throughout December from window displays, to a virtual Rudolph run, and much more throughout the month. Downtown Appleton is also offering a light up window walk. 

Families can make the evenings extra special by planning special meals or treats to go along with the event. A local resident in Neenah is providing a large-scale light show at their residence every evening starting November 26th. Check out their schedule at for different themed evenings. Preparing treat bags and hot chocolate for the kids (and adults too) and taking several evenings to visit the various neighborhoods and organizations offering lights will help to fill the cold and dark evenings in December. A great place to look for listings of light shows or holiday events is local kid’s websites such the Go Valley Kids, Green Bay Area Moms Blog, and Macaroni Kid. 

Many times, we move away from the fun holiday traditions due to hectic schedules. Simple Simon Bakery is offering gingerbread house kits and holiday cookie decorating kits to get back to fun holiday tradition for all ages.  

Xavier Fine Arts Theatre is continuing the tradition of their Christmas Stars 2020, and will present a one-hour “TV Christmas Special” format, professionally produced by Champion Video, and available to stream through your computer or smart TV. Tickets are available on their website. 

While the holidays may not be quite the same this year, perhaps getting back to more traditional activities or slowing down and doing something new will bring more joy than the usual hustle and bustle.