Is it just me, or do the Christmas holiday festivities seem to come earlier and earlier each year? I had hardly planned out my 2020 Thanksgiving menu before all the Fall decor hit the clearance section and the Elves hit the shelves! In today’s world, being prepared early is a common trend. That said, we wanted to give you some time to plan memories with your trusty companions! Here are 9 ways to include your pet in holiday traditions.
1. Pictures with Santa
As one of the most common traditions, pictures with Santa make the top of the list! Some stores, such as BassPro Shops, are super pet-friendly and will gladly welcome your animal for the holiday photo op. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, not as many places will allow an in-person option this year. Though disappointing, all hope is not lost! Virtual initiatives are popping up all over the internet. For example, the technology company Asurion offers a free service to create Santa photos from a selection of great templates. Just upload a pic of your pet, let them do all the fancy digital work, and they will email you the results to share! For a more comprehensive list of possible 2020 in-person locations and internet-based choices, click here. No matter which direction you take, this paw-some keepsake will keep on giving joy year after year. Who doesn’t love digging out the old photo album to reminisce?
2. Ugly Sweater Contest
I mean, let’s be honest here. There really isn’t such a thing as an “ugly” sweater for your pet. I feel any animal in human-style clothing is heart-melting! However, for the sake of holiday party fun, hosting an ugly sweater contest would be epic. Let’s not forget, pet owners can always participate too! Animal themed ugly sweaters abound for mankind. Here are the steps to take to accomplish this goal:
- Choose the method: Decide if you will host a physical party (with safe social distancing protocols) or use virtual technology (such as Zoom, Facetime, or Facebook Portal).
- Schedule the calendar: Pick a date, set a time, and most importantly, invite your guests.
- Give the details: Don’t forget to inform everyone of the theme, criteria for judging/voting, any prizes up for grabs, and emphasize the gloating rights at stake!
Some ideas to spice up the party include holiday mad libs, pet trivia, and don’t forget the food! If you don’t have time to host a party, consider joining one already planned. WoofRepublic has you covered (complete with celebrity judges and all)! We are sure your party plans will be a big hit, no matter which way the Christmas cookie crumbles.
3. Acts of Kindness with your Pet
The holiday season is a great time to give back. Why not do so in honor of your pet? You could participate in a fundraising dog walk, donate pet supplies to local animal shelters, make homemade cat treats for the strays in your area OR choose another option from this list of great ideas! Our furry friends offer us incredible support all year long and inspire us to be better hoomans. We shouldn’t need a reason to do good, but the holiday spirit certainly brings up a pretty compelling one.
4. Holiday Movie Marathon
We all love to snuggle up with a cozy blanket, a mug of hot cocoa, and of course, our sweet pet! Life can get busy, especially around the holidays, and your animal friend might be feeling left out. What better way to give them some extra attention than a special holiday movie marathon? The following are some suggestions for flicks the whole family can enjoy:
- Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever
- The Nine Lives of Christmas
- Santa Buddies
- I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown
- Beethoven’s Christmas Adventure
It’s a fact that pups love to watch other pups on screen, so if you are looking for additional Feliz Navi-dog ideas, click here for suggestions!
5. DIY Pet Ornament Making
The future is uncertain, and capturing moments with loved ones is of great importance. Kids grow up way too fast, and animals grow up even more quickly! Making a unique ornament for the Christmas tree each year is a beautiful way to memorialize their lives. Some of our favorite DIY ornament ideas include the salt dough paw print, dog bone frame, and snow globe photo ornament. Also, check out this idea for the savvy sewer! Not the crafty type? No problem. Etsy offers LOTS of purchase options for handmade, personalized pet ornaments. I have bought a few myself, including this favorite etched wooden design of our Goldendoodle (a variety of other breeds are available).
6. Gift Swap with Other Pet Owners
One of the most anticipated holiday traditions around my family is the Secret Santa gift exchange. If you have a big family (or even a big circle of friends), it can be daunting to figure out gifts for everyone around a reasonable budget! Narrowing down your list might be more manageable by pulling out the animal lovers among you. Offer the idea to do a separate exchange geared around your pets! It’s often much less work to find Fido the perfect present than to avoid offending Linda with another generic gift card. The thoughtfulness means even more to those whose pets are their kids.
A gift swap might seem arduous but is actually pretty easy to execute. Simply make a list of participants, assign pairs (by drawing names from a hat), provide the information (make sure to specify each pet’s species and name), set the budget, shop, and ship! We even have a list of dog gift ideas ready to go for you. Cats are a bit easier to please, so we suggest simplicity for felines along with a small, more sentimental item for their owners. For example, try the Smart Kitty laser pointer coupled with a cat portrait keychain, personalized storybook, or custom cat mug (great to use for cocoa during a holiday movie marathon night)!
7. Car Ride to see Christmas Lights
Hop in the car with your favorite animal companion and go for an adventure. Pretty and bright decorations are as enticing to animals as they are to people. Checking out sparkly light displays with softly playing Christmas tunes on the radio can be tranquil, soothing, and memorable for both pet and owner. Taking a walk with your dog can be just as enjoyable! Share the wonder with those who make your holiday so special.
8. Dog Friendly “Gingerbread” House Making
Making a gingerbread house is a holiday staple in many households. These decorations double as delicious treats! Most pet owners are aware that many human foods are not suitable for your canine’s digestive system (especially those high in sugar or contain chocolate, which can be toxic to dogs). If you have a curious pup who eats all the things (like mine), then don’t fret. Check out this dog-friendly version and get your bake on!
9. Christmas Cards
Last but not least, we present the Christmas card. It’s customary to send holiday greetings via mail or on social media platforms. Your fantastic design would NOT be complete if you left out a family member, including your pet! Creating photo cards is the easiest way to ensure they make the final cut, but you can also sign their name to commercially made cards in adorable animal scribble.
Our family used to do serious cards but have found that humor makes the season brighter. Check out these funny examples that make pets the star of the show! If you find that time flew by and you missed shipping deadlines for custom cards, simply go with a New Year’s theme. We have done this more times than I can count. Both holidays present a great excuse to show off your paw-fect family.
We hope that you and yours have a very Meowy Christmas and unleash some joy this howl-iday season! We do not condone any “bahh hum-pug” vibes, even though it has been a ruff year. Stay off Santa Claw’s naughty list and slow down to enjoy the little things. Ok, we’re finished with the puns but for real, keep the traditions alive.