Holiday Tradition Help

December 18, 2010


With Christmas just a week away I’ve been finishing my shopping and sending out my cards. But I’ve been spending so much time and focus on work that it all feels a bit rushed. I was thinking the other day that it’s time for David and I to come up with some traditions for our own little family; some things that will be set in place ahead of time to help us remember and enjoy the holidays.

My family growing up wasn’t completely steeped in tradition, but we had some, most of which we still adhere to today. They are:

  • Having Christmas lists prepared and distributed by Thanksgiving
  • Going shopping with my dad
  • Attending Christmas Eve church service
  • Starting out Christmas day eating pigs in a blanket for breakfast
  • Opening stocking gifts first
  • Getting an ornament from Mom every year
  • Someone volunteering to play “Santa” and pass out gifts
  • Having a big dinner in late afternoon
  • Seeing a movie Christmas evening

Since we still have Christmas with both of our families, I want to come up with some traditions of our own that don’t interrupt the flow of the day. They could involve how we decorate, gifts we give each other, holiday activities we spend time on, or anything else related.

So I’m wondering, what are some of your family traditions? Is there something that you’ve always wanted to try or make a part of your holiday season? Any ideas for our little family?

Posted in: personal, domestication, personal, holidays, personal

Comments on Holiday Tradition Help

  1. 1

    From Lauren:

    One of my favorite traditions are Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve. We all get to open two gifts on Christmas Eve (everything else is opened on Christmas morning). One present is always (somewhat) matching Christmas pajamas. It makes for a great Christmas morning picture!

    Another favorite is hiding the pickle in the tree. This may be a German thing? No idea. We hide a little pickle ornament in the tree and whoever finds it (just the kids look) gets an extra $50. It’s always a fun game.

    We do a movie on Christmas night, too! It’s one of my favorite traditions.

  2. 2

    From Amber:

    We always opened one gift the night before. We got to pick it, but our parents got to veto. On Christmas morning, there were always two little piles of unwrapped gifts ‘from Santa’ for my sister and me. The Santa pile was one of my favorite parts as a kid. After everything was unwrapped, we modeled all of our new clothes for each other.

    Our traditional Christmas meals were Christmas Eve Chinese food (at Bush 41’s favorite Chinese restaurant, in the Toilet Bowl Building) and Christmas morning Cinnabon rolls. I think we were usually too stuffed from grazing on stocking treats to care what we had for dinner!

  3. 3

    From Holly:

    We always spent a couple of hours with everyone on my dad’s side of the family at my grandma’s on Christmas Eve, then drove around town looking at all the Christmas lights on the way home. We also got to open one gift on Christmas Eve … Now that I’m married with a little one (and living on the other side of the country!) our traditions are a little different. We go to the Christmas Eve service at church, then have Christmas dinner and open gifts with my husband’s side of the family. Christmas morning we do our own thing at our house :D Since this is Topher’s first Christmas I’ve started collecting Christmas books – I eventually want to have a different one for every day of December until Christmas with “The Night Before Christmas” on Christmas Eve but that one’s a work in progress :D

  4. 4

    From Tabaitha:

    We were always allowed to open one gift on Christmas Eve and it was always PJ’s, so we looked cute for pictures the next morning. We have started that tradition with the kids and it’s so fun.

  5. 5

    From Uncle David:

    Dear Kat,
    I get to hang the last ornament on the Christmas tree and it is always the same one. I call it “little noddy” as it represents a character in a set of children’s books from England that we enjoyed. Noddy is in a wooden biplane and having a great time. When Marchar finishes all the decorating, I get to place Noddy in the best remaining spot.

  6. 6

    From Emily Jane:

    We’re having trouble with this too – it’ll be our first Christmas as a married couple and we’re getting advice from all over the place saying to start our own traditions now, and not feel so obligated to go to everybody ELSE’S stuff… but it’s hard because we come from polar opposite Christmas upbringings; my family always did presents Christmas morning, helped cook Christmas lunch for about 1pm, then all watched movies the rest of the day. David was raised basically how we spent Christmas last year – running around to 7 or 8 different functions between Dec 24 and 26 and being flat out exhausted at the end of it!

  7. 7

    From Nora:

    I love this! So great!

    We do very similar things on the holiday =)

    Other things that we do that are kind of fun…
    * Go look at Christmas lights while listening to Christmas music + munching on cookies and sipping hot chocolate
    * Read “a Christmas Carol” between Thanksgiving & Christmas Eve
    * Advent Calendars
    * Watch the Catholic Mass in Italy on TV
    * Sunday night = Christmas movie night with the family (or whoever is around)

    Love this list and can’t wait to hear what new traditions you institute in the future :) Happy Holidays friend!

  8. 8

    From LG:

    I like the idea of a wrapping paper fight after the gifts have been opened, but in my house growing up it would generally be a paranoid search through wrapping paper to make sure we weren’t throwing out any gifts or cards. Thanks to my mom. :0)

    We always had a tradition of watching the Queen’s Address on TV. I still enjoy this and my Father-in-law is an Aussie, so he’s into it too. Something else I enjoy is a Christmas walk with the family.

  9. 9

    From Stef:

    We always got to open one gift on Christmas Eve after my dad had read us the Christmas story from the bible that night. I like the idea of pajamas on Christmas Eve for everyone. Also, someone told me they always have a birthday cake for Jesus and sing him Happy Birthday at some point. I think this is a great idea for kids.

    Merry Christmas!

  10. 10

    From Laura:

    I love the pajamas idea that was mentioned – I’m thinking of starting that one next year.

    Growing up my traditions were:
    Christmas Eve:
    Eating take-out barbecue from a favorite local place on Christmas Eve with my family and mom’s parents, followed by opening most of the presents.

    Christmas Day:
    Opening “Santa” presents on Christmas morning
    Having Christmas lunch with my dad’s parents and brothers

    This is my first real married Christmas (we were still on our honeymoon last year, so it didn’t count) so we’re also trying to come up with some traditions of our own. A new thing we’re doing this year (and that will hopefully become a new tradition!) is Chris and I singing advent-themed songs on Christmas Eve together (songs of longing for the coming Christ and hope over His arriving.) Then on Christmas morning we will sing more typical “Christmas” songs of rejoicing over His birth before we leave for our the various family celebrations. I’m not sure how it will turn out, but I’m hoping it will be a great reminder of the reason for the celebration this weekend.

    Merry Christmas!

  11. 11

    From Katy:

    Last year, I decided to pay homage to our very German last name and both of our German heritage. So, I made German food for Christmas lunch. Hot potato salad, dilled cucumbers, sauerkraut, brisket, brats, beer and something for dessert. This year, it evolved a little with my parents’ addition of standing rib roast (still a good cut of beef) and a pecan pie. Kind of a Texas-German blend of foods. This year’s resolution is to perfect schnitzel so I can serve that on Christmas day. It’s a fun tradition because it’s such a different type of food from traditional Christmas ham or turkey. And by the time we get to Christmas day, we’re sick of ham, turkey, dressing, and typical holiday food.

    Brandon’s family also reads the Christmas story every year. And this year, we went to a manger-side service at their church.

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