This post is sponsored by Uber.

Like your family, we have traditional things we do every holiday season. There’s the particular dip we only eat on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve. Or choosing out a new ornament for the tree. Or lighting candles and reading books from our stack of holiday titles instead of the usual bedtime stories. Or how the kids open new pajamas the night before Christmas.

And then, there are other traditions that only make an appearance every few years. Sometimes we love attending a Messiah Sing-a-long, or a performance of the Nutcracker. Some years we like to give a 12 Days of Christmas series of gifts to an elderly neighbor. Once in a while we get a craving to cut our own Christmas tree.

We also like to try something new and different each year — thinking of it as a potential new tradition. This year, we thought for something new, we’d visit the Oakland Zoo lights. Back in our New York days, I remember taking the kids to see the holiday lights at the Bronx Zoo — but it’s been so many years! And we’ve never tried it here. So last Monday night for Family Home Evening, we decided the Zoo lights was the perfect outing.

But I confess, getting everyone there was feeling a bit tricky. Ben Blair and me and the 3 youngest kids were coming from one direction. Olive needed to stay late at school for theater rehearsal and wanted to meet us at the Zoo. Maude didn’t think she could make it, but decided to join us at the last minute. So we solved our transportation issues with Uber. Using our Family Profile, Olive requested an uberX for a multi-destination drive.

First, she was picked up at the high school, then she stopped at our house to drop off her bag and pick up Maude, and then they both met us at the zoo. All with one car and one driver and one fee, and a simple request on the app! Holy moly Uber makes our lives easier, and is a safe, reliable solution on busy nights like this.

Also, with the Family Profile, I can see where the kids’ uberX car is at any point, so we knew exactly when Maude and Olive were arriving at the Zoo and could meet them at the entrance.

It was such a lovely evening. I admit, I am totally soaking up family time right now. As the kids get older, their schedules really fill up, and getting a night together where we just get to walk around and hang out and enjoy each other’s company is heavenly!

The Zoo Lights were fun. It’s an easy, simple outing that felt festive. We enjoyed the walk around the grounds, we were in awe of the sleeping giant turtles, we loved exploring the reptile house, and we had an awesome ride on the new Gondolas too. The Gondolas seat up to 8, which is perfect for us! And they give an amazing overview of the Zoo and really show all those holiday lights to their best advantage.

When we asked June her favorite part, she said it was either the snowflake stamp on her hand that lit up under the black lights, or the kid-size door in the Reptile House. : )

We’re less than a week away from Christmas now, and I feel like many of our holiday season traditions are already done. But we still have Christmas Eve to look forward to, a little bit more shopping, and I’d love to fit in some ice-skating too.

How about you? What are your favorite traditions? The things you make sure not to miss each holiday season? How often do you try new possible traditions? Have you discovered anything this year that you want to add to the mix? And have your kids grown out of any traditions you used to love? Maybe you’ve said goodbye to Elf on the Shelf? I’d love to hear!


Credits: Photos by Kristen Loken for Design Mom.