8 Harry Potter-Inspired Holiday Traditions

by Julia Seales

One of my favorite parts in the Harry Potter series is in the first book, when Harry wakes up on Christmas morning, and is shocked to find that he has presents. It’s so sad and sweet! The Boy Who Lived never had a joy-filled holiday season — until he was basically adopted into the Weasley family. From Weasley sweaters, to the lavishly decorated Hogwarts Great Hall, to the jovial manner that seems to pass holiday cheer through the pages, there are some pretty festive scenes in HP. Presents! Romantic drama! Snow! Stopping to sing some carols, before the holidays are over and you have to go back to fighting evil! Wizards sure know how to celebrate.

OK, so you’re convinced that the Christmas season is the perfect time to re-watch the Harry Potter films. And re-read the books for the millionth time, while you sit by the fire, sipping some DIY Butterbeer. But once you’ve finished the movie marathon, and you’ve cried through the last book yet again, the magic doesn’t have to end. As they say, Hogwarts is always there to welcome you home. And to wish you a Happy Christmas. This year, have a very Harry Christmas by ripping traditions straight from the pages of this much-loved series.

1. Mail Your Long-Distance Friends Some Dursley-ish Presents

Every year, the Dursleys gave Harry a horrible gift for Christmas. From coins, to a toothpick, to a single tissue, their idea of sending holiday cheer to their nephew was pretty dismal. But have you ever stopped to think that they actually took the time to select and mail these awful gifts? For some reason the idea of Mrs. Dursley wrapping and sending a toothpick to Harry cracks me up. If you have long-distance friends with a sense of humor, consider mailing them some gag gifts inspired by Vernon and Petunia's selections (oh, and don't forget Marge's gift to Harry: half a box of dog biscuits). Of course, you might want to follow it up with a real present... or at least mail them a Hogwarts toilet seat, too.

2. Make A HP-Inspired Holiday Feast

One of my favorite parts of the Christmas scenes in Harry Potter was the description of the Hogwarts holiday feasts: "mountains of roast and boiled potatoes; platters of chipolatas; tureens of buttered peas, silver boats of thick, rich gravy and cranberry sauce..." Doesn't that sound amazing?? Grab the recipe for a few iconic Hogwarts dishes (treacle and pumpkin juice are a must) and add a little HP to your holiday menu.

3. Open Some Christmas Crackers

Though you can't buy wizard crackers, which are filled with things like a rear admiral's hat and live mice, you can purchase muggle Christmas crackers. It's the thought of these party favors that really counts, right?

4. Host A Yule Ball

Why not invite your friends to something a bit ~formal~ this holiday season? Where they can all, in McGonagall's words, let their hair down. Turn on HP-inspired music, recreate Hermione's iconic ensemble, and don't forget the teen angst!

5. Hang Nargle-Infested Mistletoe

What does a Nargle look like? You decide! Hang some mistletoe, but this year, DIY some little creatures to stick inside. Because everyone knows Nargles hang out in Misteltoe.

6. Decorate Like Hogwarts

The holidays were a big deal at Hogwarts. According to Sorcerer's Stone, "no less than twelve towering Christmas trees stood around the room, some sparkling with tiny icicles, some glittering with hundreds of candles." Since it might be a bit difficult to cram 12 Christmas trees into your apartment, try something more manageable: festoon your place in your house colors, add HP-inspired ornaments to your tree, and draw a lightning-shaped scar on your Elf on the Shelf. Or, if you're feeling creative and diabolical, decorate like Dobby did by putting one of your friend's faces on every banner and balloon. I'm just saying. Fred and George would be proud if you pull it off.

7. Wear Weasley Sweaters

What combines the holiday season and Harry Potter better than a Weasley sweater? Buy one for you (and a friend) or give it the DIY try — it's both cozy, and reminds you of an important part of the holiday season: showing your love to friends and family!

8. Give Someone A Secret Present

From the invisibility cloak to the Firebolt, Harry got a few presents over the years from "secret Santa." This year, why not play Dumbledore or Sirius yourself? Surprise someone by sending them a gift and not revealing who it's from this holiday season. And if you must include a note, my suggestion is a tag that says: "use it well."

Images: Giphy (9), Warner Bros (1)