As the songs tell us, the holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year. There is much mistletoeing, hearts glowing, loved ones are near.

For many the winter season is a nostalgic time to dust off decorations and relive memories of years past. And while there can be comfort in tradition if you never branch out then you may miss out on the joy of making new traditions. So for this holiday season we offer you some non-traditional ways to get in the holiday spirit. 

Photo by Dio Septian on Unsplash


Winter was made for couch snuggles with your favorite blanket, indulgent snacks and drinks, and someone you love. While “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” will be watched by many for the umpteenth year in a row let it go unwatched on your TV. Don’t get us wrong; they’re fine traditional movies. But now is the time to indulge in some non-traditional flicks. 

Suggestions like “Die Hard” or “Four Brothers” may be on some people’s “niiiice” lists. And they surely will add in a rough-and-tough edge to your holiday happenings. If that type of thing jingles your bells then yippee-ki-yay to your holiday. Or if you prefer the fuzzy-warm-and-cozies over the high-pressure-actionfest then sneak in an unhealthy-akin-to-naughty dose of The Hallmark Channel’s festive productions. Sure the same actors show up in most of the films, the acting is unbelievable (in a bad way), and the story lines predictable, but if all you’re looking for is something seasonal to watch as you down a selection of holiday bevs then it’s a perfect fit. 

Whatever you preference just pick something new. You never know – You may just stumble upon your new Holiday Classic that you watch year after year. 


If you’re the go-to holiday baker for your friends and family consider taking a year off or at least cutting back on the cut-outs. It might sound crazy, and it isn’t cheaper to buy the dozens, but it will save you a lot of time and effort. The spirit of the holiday season is tied to the holiday tastes – and homemade cookies can be a big part of that – but while we love traditional cookies and could eat them all day we know that if we never try something new we never give the chance to discover new traditions. 

The city boasts many great bakeries who are in elf-level-overdrive this time of year. Swing by your local fave and grab a few. Don’t have a go-to bakery? This is the time to discover it! These bakeries made the list of our 13 Spots for Amazing Fall Treats. Gingerbready or not just put the spatula down, turn off the mixer, and take a tasty bite out of someone else’s hard work. 


Drinks and Holiday Parties go hand-in-hand like double-fisting two fancy cocktails. If you usually stick with your year-round beer for these spirited gatherings please for the love of everything good and holdy stop yourself this year! If the other ideas on this list seem impossible this one is the easiest one to break from tradition over. 

Get in the holiday spirit with holiday spirits! It’s as simple as ever to find your 2019 drink of choice with our list of the 12 Drinks of Christmas. Will it be Jingle Juice, Dirty Snowmen, Jack Frostie, or a Mistletoe Mule? Drink until you find your new holiday favorite.  


Step away from the peppermint! Nothing screams traditional like the red and white swirl of peppermint formed into canes or discs. You won’t succeed at going non-traditional if you find yourself grabbing the most seasonally-cliché sweet.  

And if the chocolate is in a pre-packaged box, comes in an assortment, and might even have some fancy holiday print on the outside then just say no. That’s actually not so much a risk of going traditional but a risk of going tacky.  

Almost anything else is safe to experiment with for your new non-traditional holiday spirit boost. Come to think of it your best bet likely won’t be found anywhere near where a questionable mix of chocolates gather. Guide your sleigh right over to a local bakery for lovingly-made chocolates or other seasonal goodies. Just eyeing the rows of goodies on the display counter will have you forgetting all about those mysterious center chocolates and ready to bite into your new holiday ho-ho-go-to.  


Red, green, white. Blue, white. Those are your two traditional color combinations for the season. Yes those are pretty combinations. Yes seeing those colors might just make you smile. But outside of the 1960s no one has ever dared to really think beyond those four colors. That is, until you came along and went all non-traditional on things this season. 

We aren’t banning you from those tried-and-trues red-white-greens-and-blues, but we do want you to consider going out on a limb and really holly branch out for a change. You’ll never know that you honestly truly love the traditional color palette if you never let another color have a chance to shine. 

Deck the halls with a purple tree or one made out of your favorite books. Hang a wreath that isn’t made of pine. Just do something which makes your inside or outdoor decor pop with unexpected color or a bit of extra whimsy. Not bold enough to go that far? Then we suggest hitting up a secondhand store to discover a once-loved treasure which looks traditional but then taking it home and finding out how to give it a new and non-traditional edge. 

Get into the holiday spirit this year by trying something new and non-traditional. Maybe you’ll discover something unexpected, something which becomes a new tradition for next year. But if you never give yours-elf the chance you’ll never snow just how tradition-worthy a non-traditional choice can be. 

This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.
Mo Macel

Mo is a pun-loving Pittsburgher who likes to take photos and write. When not focusing on her kiddos, you'll find her pursuing happiness and working on living the American Dream via one craft beer at a time. She blogs at and

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