During this holiday season, we usually get dragged to parties with family members we have never met or to other random obligatory events. Sometimes we might get stuck in a city far away from family and we rely on friends to carry us through the holidays. Instead of biding your time until the new year and all its well-intentioned resolutions, try creating your own traditions that can stick with you for a lifetime. These eight traditions can be low-budget and provide easy ways to keep your friends close during this hectic time of year.

1. Pre-holiday celebrations

I've never been one for the ugly sweater parties but I am always down to build a gingerbread house while sipping on some wine. Before the Christmas crazy begins, host a game night with friends and bake Christmas treats or share the traditions of Kwanzaa. You can also make a non-holiday party if you feel yourself choking on the extra-ness of the season.

2. Share your favorite prayers/quotes

Because this time of year is about reflections and giving thanks, it is a great opportunity to spend a little extra energy sharing in spirituality with others. For a few years, I had a friend send hymnals and devotionals to our group every morning until Christmas. It was a great way to remember the reason for the season.

3. Holiday movie day

It is always fun to go back to the basics, i.e. cable television. Step aside from the Netflix for a day and get your Christmas-movie fix from ABC Family or Lifetime Channel. You can't go wrong with a day full of cocktails, friends and feel good Christmas stories.

4. Bake cookies

Cookies make great gifts that are much more cost-effective and useful than the random trinkets you pick up at the mall. If you got it like that and you can spoil your friends, offer cookies to coworkers or make it a tradition to have them accompany your regular gifts.

5. Set up decorations in your friends' houses

Spend a few days rotating between your friends' houses to help each other put up decorations. It's a great opportunity to share ideas and let the Pinterest master of the group go to town.

6. Holiday spa day

The holidays are easily the most stressful time of the year. What's a better way to relax than a day at the spa with your closest girlfriends? You can get your mind and body right for the hectic weeks approaching. It also becomes a tradition for you and your friends to look forward to.

7. Mini-vacation

Set a time during the holiday season where you and your friends can meet up and escape reality for a few days. It can be as simple as booking a hotel for two nights or a bigger commitment like flying to China. I am on a mission to do New Year's in a different country every year and I take whoever wants to join.

8. Create your go-to recipe

Always scrambling for something to bring to the holiday potlucks? Create or perfect your signature dish. Learn how to make the best sweet potato pie or vegan mac and cheese ever and make it a tradition to always be the one to bring that dish. You are always guaranteed to be a hit if your food comes with a good reputation.

What traditions have you started? Let us know in the comments below!