I am not a hip dad, but I aspire to be one. Around the holidays, this aspiration manifests itself in the desire to give my children memories for Christmas (the holiday we celebrate) as opposed to a bunch of gifts that amount to forgettable junk. My lovely Bride has been a driving force behind this, and between the two of us we’ve amassed a short list of a few holiday traditions and a few activities that help define the holidays for our family. Shared experiences like family outings can create lifelong memories. Here’s hoping you find a tip or two here that will lead to a holiday tradition or memory for you and yours this season.

Holiday Pops
Seeing Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops has fast become my favorite holiday tradition. We started bringing the kids two years ago and we’re making it a point to return every year. The opulence of a decked-out Symphony Hall fills me with awe each time I step through the doors, so I can only imagine what it must look like through my children’s eyes. The Holiday Pops is a fantastic access point to the arts for young children. What’s more, if you have a child under 2, they get a free ticket to the 11 a.m. Kids Matinees. Click here for the schedule and ticket information.

Disney On Ice Presents World Of Fantasy
Christmas break. Two weeks at home with the kids. You need a plan, because winging it is a recipe for boredom, short fuses, and disaster. Lucky for you, Disney On Ice is at the Agannis Arena December 19-29. Cars, The Little Mermaid, Toy Story and more are all represented on this go-round of World Of Fantasy. You gave the kids the DVDs last year and the year before: bring it to life for them this year. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at the Agannis Arena Box Office.

The Polar Express at Edaville USA
We have a train enthusiast in our family (my son), so we’ve taken plenty of trips to Edaville USA over the years. The most memorable, though, was at Christmastime two years ago for a ride on the Polar Express. The Festival Of Lights provides the perfect backdrop and the Edaville staff really brings the story to life. Encourage your kids to wear their PJs–we did and it only added to fun and wonder. Click here for tickets and hours, and remember: Polar Express passengers have access to the Christmas Festival for the full day of their train ride. Bonus!

The Nutcracker
True story: on Christmas Eve 2002, I proposed to my now-Bride during intermission at The Nutcracker. Two years ago, for our tenth anniversary, we brought the kids to The Nutcracker for the first time (yup, that’s them in the pic). Boston Ballet’s production is a New England institution that’s dear to our hearts in the 12 household. And staging it at The Opera House has only added to the magic. Tickets and information are here.

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas
Remember that one time I told you I proposed during intermission at The Nutcracker? Back then, Boston Ballet was at the Wang. Now, the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre stages White Christmas, which just so happens to be our family’s favorite holiday movie. My Bride & I took in the show a few years ago and are looking forward to returning this year, with kids in tow, to both show them the wonder of musical theater and hopefully start a new holiday tradition. Join us! Click here for showtimes and tickets.

The Christmas Revels
Last Christmastime, I took my first ever trip to the Sanders Theatre (pictured) for The Christmas Revels. It’s a holiday experience like no other. The theme changes from year to year, the audience is encouraged to sing along and dance, and the acoustics are splendid. It’s family-friendly, interactive, and perhaps the most unique experience you’ll have this holiday season. Learn more and grab your tickets here.

See? There are so many ways for you to give your family a memorable experience and look like a hip holiday hero while doing it. Make those memories. And Happy Holidays.