Holiday traditions

traditions

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Traditions can really make the holiday season a fun, wonderful time of the year.  We want to share a few of our favorite traditions with you.  We have also gathered traditions from others.  We hope as you read you will be reminded of your wonderful traditions and possibly find another (or a few) to start doing.

Lindsey here.  I can’t express how much I love this time of the year!  I wait for it all year (and am already sad that it’s almost over when it just barely started…).  I thought I’d share some of my favorite traditions before we shared ones others have shared.

My family helps pass the LONG afternoon before Christmas Eve by playing football at the junior high school down the street.  Then we get Chinese food to take home and eat.

The day before Thanksgiving we make pies at my momma’s house.  This year the nephews joined us.

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My mom and dad were introduced due to a gingerbread-making class my mom taught.  We now make gingerbread houses every year right after Thanksgiving.  Now that we are grown up, each sibling makes his/her own gingerbread, brings candy and gathers to decorate.

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We debated putting our recipe and pattern here. We ended up not adding it, but if that’s something you’d like, leave a comment or shoot us an email and we’d be HAPPY to get it to you!

Christmas Eve we gather around the Christmas tree at bedtime, turn out the room light, and read the story of the Saviors birth from Luke 2 by the light of the tree lights.

There is a picture book called The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey.  At some point during the season we read this aloud as a family.

Christmas morning (despite the fact that more than half my family lives away from home) we meet in my parents’ room around 6:00.  We have a family prayer then walk down the hallway to the living room together.  My dad always goes first so he can turn on the video camera.  We then go around and take turns opening presents.  We all watch as someone opens so that we don’t miss anything and it takes longer than if we all opened at the same time.

My husband’s family has a White Elephant gift exchange every year.  We bring food, eat, visit, steal gifts, and end up with a present at the end of the night.

My husband’s family also does humongous stocking!  You know the stockings that are 3 feet tall?  They use those.  Since they are so huge everyone helps fill them up.  Each family member buys a few things to contribute.  Late Christmas Eve we all go over and put our gifts into the big stocking.  They are usually filled with food, treats, gag gifts, small trinkets, and little gifts.

Whew!  That’s enough with me!  Let’s move on.  Thanks to those who shared their holiday traditions with us.  Here are traditions we have collected from readers, family, and friends:

A 9-year-old girl said they go to their grandparents’ house (in another state) to spend Christmas. On Christmas Eve all the grand kids build a “nest” out of blankets and pillows in the Family Room then lay in it. They watch Christmas movies until they fall asleep.

Several mom’s said their families drive around to look at Christmas lights then drink hot chocolate, on the way home or when they get home.

One reader wrote “Last year, we went Christmas Caroling to widows and widowers we know.  They loved to see our girls!  We sang a couple of song and gave them a card my girls helped make.  Baking was too much for me. We kept the list short so we could visit a few minutes with these sweet people who miss their closest loved one, especially during the holidays.  It was such a sweet experience for us and for them!”

“I like to have my kids make an ornament every year–it can be simple or complex–but have them write their names on them and the year.  My kids love putting them on the tree each year!”

One girl said that her mother re-married and changed all their traditions. She missed the things they used to do. So remember, if you’re blending a family there can be so many changes that keeping traditions the same can be an anchor for the children.

One family reads the book, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

Another family eats Mexican food on Christmas Eve and reads the story of the birth of the Savior from Luke 2.

One family in my neighborhood has a number of fun traditions.  They open matching pajamas every Christmas Eve.  They then wear then to bed and match the next morning.  They also read The Little Match Girl by Han Christian Andersen.  During the holiday season, their grandma comes over with a batch of sugar cookie dough; they then cook and decorates cookies with her. In addition to all these wonderful traditions, they play the Right Family Christmas game.  I had never heard of this one and I love it!  They also invite a few family members over to dress up and act out the nativity.  Christmas Eve they always read T’was the Night Before Christmas in the Desert.

Another fun tradition that was shared was a family that goes to see A Christmas Carol every year at the Hale Theatre.  Some years they invite another family, sometimes they enjoy it with just their immediate family.

One of my good friends grandpa owned a hotel.  Christmas is one of the busiest days in that industry.  If her father’s family opened presents on Christmas Day, his dad would miss it.  So they would open presents on Christmas Eve.  Now, 2 generations later they still adhere to that tradition (even though the family is no longer in that business).  Santa still brings one big gift for Christmas morning, but other than that all the presents are opened the night before.

I heard from two separate families that they have a white stocking for Christ.  On Christmas Eve each family member gives a gift to Christ.  It’s supposed to be a way that you will remember Him during the holiday.  They write it on a piece of paper and put it in the stocking.  It could be anything from being nicer to a family member, to being more helpful to others.

Many families shared that they eat a fancy dinner Christmas Eve.  They have a ham, use China, and have a nice big family dinner.

A Christmas Eve hike with a fire on the top of the mountains is a tradition for one family.  At the top as they are around the fire, they talk about forgiveness and tell stories.

A couple families who have private pilots in their families fly over Christmas lights at night.

A friend told me about her sister who has an enchanting tradition.  She, her husband, and young child had just moved across the country for her husband to start attending Harvard.  Money was incredible tight that year.  Since they couldn’t afford a tree of any other decorations she decided to make her own decorations.  She took newspapers and old school textbooks and cut out paper snowflakes.  She hung them ALL over the house.  Since then (over 20 years ago), the whole family makes snowflakes each year.  They pick their favorite one each year, write their name and the date.  They have saved snowflakes from EACH year and when they decorate, their living room is covered with snowflakes from all the years.

What ever your traditions are, we hope that you have a wonderful season!  Thanks for stopping by and have a happy holiday!

 

2 thoughts on “Holiday traditions

  1. I love the stocking for Jesus idea! I have felt that I get caught up in the commercialism of the holiday and love the idea of thoughtful gifts for the Savior. I’d also like to do the one of talking of forgiveness. All of these traditions are so special!

  2. Thanks for posting this so early in December! I’ve been looking forward to it, and now I have some time to enjoy doing some of these with my family. ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year!’ I love Christmas too and how it presents another wonderful opportunity to teach my children more about Jesus. There are so many symbols at Christmas that point to Christ that all of these traditions can be tied to our Savior and His beautiful teachings. Thank you for sharing these beautiful ideas! Merry Christmas!

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