What Are Your Favorite Holiday Traditions

posted by Andrea | 12/11/2012

This picture was taken LAST year on Christmas morning. 

Some of my favorite things about the holidays — specifically Christmas — are the fun family traditions I know I can always look forward to year after year.

Growing up, we had many family traditions:

  • We almost always set up the Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving.
  • My mom would make all sorts of bread and a HUGE batch of her special homemade hot chocolate mix.
  • My mom would often wrap our presents in “code” so we never knew which ones were ours — (she used a specific pattern or type of wrapping paper for each kid).
  • We always got together with all the relatives from my mom’s side of the family on Christmas Eve and then with the relatives on my Dad’s side of the family on Christmas Day.
  • We ALWAYS had ham for Christmas dinner.
  • We usually got to open one present before church on Christmas morning but then had to wait to open the rest of them until Christmas night
  • Etc. etc. etc.

And now that we have our own little family, Dave and I have started a few traditions of our own…

  • Decorating the house Thanksgiving weekend.
  • Using an advent calendar (I can’t wait until Nora is older and understands).
  • Sending out Christmas cards (I’ll be sharing our 2012 card next week).
  • Toy purging before all the Christmas gifts (not sure this is a “tradition” but I’m definitely planning to do it every year!)
  • “Ugly sweater party” with our friends — (we just had it last weekend at our house!)
  • Christmas parties with my side of the family on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
  • Christmas parties with Dave’s side of the family on New Year’s Day.
  • Taking Nora’s picture by the Christmas tree (seriously, she was SO tiny last year!)

Two other traditions I’d like to start once Nora is a bit older:

1. Do something to give back to a person, family, or organization in need. But not just a financial donation… I want our whole family to physically do something like volunteer at a soup kitchen, or deliver gifts/ meals to a needy family. I think it’s good for them to see others who are less fortunate, and to realize that Christmas really is not about getting gifts, but rather giving them.

2. Implement a more “simplistic” gift-giving routine where we would give our children only a few gifts: 1 clothing gift, 1 educational gift, 1 experience gift, and 1 fun gift.  Not only will this make shopping and planning a lot easier, it will also help the kids to realize that Christmas isn’t all about gifts (which is really easy to forget these days!)

I know there are SO many other fun and creative holiday traditions… so today, I’d love to know:

What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?

They don’t have to be big or fancy and they can be traditions from your family, your work, your friends, or even from when you were a child. I’m just interested in what other people do to celebrate/remember the holiday season.

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27 comments

  1. Rhonda

    12/14/2012

    The first Christmas that we moved into our house, our oldest child was 1-1/2. I started a tradition of of making his handprint with paint on our Christmas tree skirt. I continued this when our daughter was born. Every December, our children look forward to putting up the Christmas tree and making a handprint on the tree skirt. We have been doing this now for 12 years. It is wonderful to see how the size of their hands have changed from year to year as they have grown. Sadly, we put my son’s last handprint on this year (his side is all full), and will only fit about two more for my daughter’s. I think it is one of my most cherished Christmas decorations!

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  2. Julia

    12/14/2012

    Each year I take my children them to the decoration shop at Myer (a large department store here in Australia) and they each choose ONE decoration to buy and hang on the tree. These are stored in separate named boxes with our other Christmas decorations. When they leave home – they take their box of decorations with them to use on their own family Christmas tree.
    It is lovely to see how their tastes change over the years and they recall buying the decorations each Christmas as we put up the tree.

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