Isn't it fun to learn about traditions that others celebrate? Over the last decade (and more), we've collected traditions readers have sent us and shared them so you could enjoy reading them and perhaps find one that you want to "adopt" for your family!
- SHARE YOUR TRADITIONS -
Hello, I'm so happy I stumbled upon your website. I have to admit I was a little teary because I wish my mom, whom my kids called Noggie, was able to see your site. She would have loved chatting with you on fb and reading and shopping. What a neat idea!
I saw your article about sharing family traditions, and I wanted to share our tradition. Before my mom died, two years ago, she asked me to write about it so that others who wanted to make Christmas more about Jesus would get some good ideas.
I did end up writing it out one afternoon, this last July, almost two years to the day that she passed away.
I started this one Christmas when my babies were 1, 2, and 5, when we woke up on Dec. 26, and realized my kids only talked about Santa and my husband and I, along with the rest of our family, spent way too much money, and we still weren't satisfied. Something was missing and we had missed the entire reason for celebrating Christmas. We are Christians, and Christ's birth is a big celebration in our faith.
I decided to wrap a large box with snowflake paper and then filled the box with 24 small items. Each item corresopnded with each day leading up to Christmas morning. For instance, on Dec. 3, we opened the Dec. 3 package and pulled out a balloon and blew it up, then let the air out. I then talked to my kids about the Holy Spirit. I explained that, like the air in the balloon which we could not see, we cannot see the Holy Spirit, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I went on to write short devotions for each day leading up to Christmas morning. We have done this for many years and I'm happy to say, my kids are now focused on the true meaning of Christmas. This was something fun for the kids, as they were opening a small gift and they were surprised every year when they saw what was inside.
We called our box "The Good News Box." It was never a chore to them and as the years went on, they actually looked forward to opening it every year. I had accidentally created a family tradition that my family adores and looks forward to.
I did want to share this idea with anyone who was in the same situation as I was when I had young children. The book is called "The Good News Box" and was just released this past month. I know my mom is smiling about this and I felt like I needed to share this with you.
I hope you have a blessed day. I love your website! Keep up the great work you are doing!
Since my daughter and her husband and my grandkids live in Louisiana and I live in PA and had lived in Maine, it has become a tradition for me to call them on Christmas eve and read "Twas The Night Before Christmas" and my own version that I wrote, "Twas The Night Before Christ's Birth" to them before bed. Then we SKYPE the next morning as they see what Santa has brought and as they open their gifts, they run over to the computer to show me. I get such a laugh every time I hear "See what I got Grammie?!" Thanks for the opportunity to share. I hope you and families have a blessed time during the holidays.
-Sharon H, Broad Top PA
When my daughter was four, she went to Sunday School. The week before Christmas they had a Birthday party for Jesus. It included party hats, table paper, napkins, cups & banners...all made just like a birthday only it said "Happy Birthday Jesus." They had cake and ice cream and blew out the candles after singing Happy Birthday to Jesus. On Christmas day after dinner, she asked us where Jesus's Birthday Cake was. She actually cried because we were supposed to sing and have a party for Him. My brother went to the nearest 7-11 and bought Hostess Twinkies. We put candles in them and sang and we all blew out the candles. We never forgot Jesus after that. My daughter is now 31 and we are passing the tradition down to her daughter. We will have cake and ice cream and sing Happy Birthday.
When my son was little - very young - maybe about 3 years old, we would celebrate on Christmas Eve by making a cake for Jesus. For every year that we celebrate, we would add a candle. It was a birthday for Jesus...after all, it is His birthday. My son loved it and I intend on doing this with him when he gets older. Wow, I am going to be a Nana on August 19,2008! I can hardly wait to carry on the tradition.
We have several traditions that our family enjoys each Christmas. One of my favorites is giving my two young daughters a new (age appropriate) story book about Christmas each Christmas Eve. This Christmas will be our 5th Christmas doing this. The first year we started with a board book!! Last year it was Dr. Seuss. We read the new book together just before bed on Christmas Eve.
I have also continued the tradition started by my mother when I was a child of giving each of our girls new PJs to open on Christmas Eve. I always wrap the PJs in wrapping paper personalized with their first names (makes it easy to find the right boxes under the tree on Christmas Eve!!).
Last year, I purchased a decorative storage trunk to store all of the Christmas Eve books that we anticipate accumulating over the years to come. I am also keeping a photo album in the trunk with photographs of Christmases past. We place the trunk next to the Christmas tree during the holiday season. My girls were thrilled this past weekend when we brought the "treasure chest" up from storage. We've been reading Christmas books each night before bed. Many years to come, I think it will be very special to look through the trunk on Christmas Eve, read stories, and reminisce over old photographs.
-Lisa H., Tennessee
In our family, we celebrate the 12 days of Christmas by opening 1 stocking stuffer each night for 12 nights. The anticipation has always made the kids’ excitement skyrocket and cuts down on them asking to open a gift from under the tree too early. The stocking stuffers are normally no more than $1 – 3 each, so it’s not expensive but so much fun!! Then, on Christmas Eve we open the gifts from under the tree (from the family), and Santa’s gifts are waiting on Christmas morning! (way too much fun!).
-Jennifer D./Boca Raton, FL
My 24 year old daughter made me a Grandmother September 5, 2005. It touched my heart when she asked me last week if we were still carrying on the tradition at Christmas. Without any hesitation I said, "Yes honey, we still sing Happy Birthday to Jesus on Christmas morning." She then told me that her family does the same. Merry Christmas!
-Donna B./Myrtle Beach, SC
Before Christmas my mother and I or my sister in law get together and bake cookies and treats. We put our tree up the day after thanksgiving and I always buy my kids each a new ornament to add to the tree each year.
Christmas Eve we stay home and have family time except we attend Christmas Eve service at our church. During the day the kids and I make gingerbread cookies for Santa and they mix together glitter and oatmeal for the reindeer. When church is over we come home and put on our pj's and watch Christmas movies we rented the day before and eat popcorn. The kids get to set out the presents they got for each other and then they set out the cookies for Santa. Before going to bed we sprinkle glitter and oatmeal out on the front lawn for the reindeer.
Our family tradition started 34 years ago when my oldest sister was born. My parents gave her her first ornament and a new pair of pajamas. Since then every Christmas Eve my parents give my sister, brother and I a special ornament and a new pair of pajamas. Even as adults we have a fun time opening the gifts. It has evolved now to where my sister's husband and my husband buy our ornaments and pajamas. My husband and I have continued the tradition with our son, my parents first grandbaby. As we all have gotten older and moved out of the house, my parents gave us a wonderful collection of ornaments to decorate our own trees. Growing up every year we would attend Christmas Mass, come home, open our new pajamas and ornament then head to bed so Santa could arrive. We are in new pajamas in all of our pictures on Christmas morning. It is a simple tradition that has the deepest of meaning to all of us. Warmest Holiday Wishes.
Kristine, New Hampshire
I started buying each of my children a Christmas ornament (most of them dated with that year) from the time they were born. Each year, we put all the old ones on plus added the new ones. When they grew up & left home, that 1st Christmas, they received ALL their ornaments (lovingly wrapped & in a gift box) as one of their gifts that year. They now enjoy all of their ornaments on their own trees, in their own homes!
P.S. I'm also doing this for my grandbaby!
Our Christmas Family tradition actually started last year...I wanted to start one so we all got together and brainstormed. My sister Julia came up with making a Christmas ornament. We pick names and make an ornament for that person. :) It was so much fun. All of the family sitting around the table that was full of crafts and creative things to use. It was really interesting to see someone like my husband who doesn't craft and how great his turned out. :) So that is our family tradition.
Our family holiday tradition is every x-mas eve, we have a pasty dinner. This started when our kids were little, Josh, Jessica & Ella. We didn't want to travel on Christmas Eve to any of the grandparent's homes as we lived a distance away, so I started baking cornish pastys, a family favorite, every xmas eve. Now that the children are grown and have children of their own, our home is their x-mas eve stop. Everyone loves to come home on Christmas eve. I bake pastys for everyone including the little ones and serve with cucumber & onion slices marinated in vinegar. Jessica and Ella help me prepare them as it's a big job, chopping the beef, slicing thin slices of potatoe & onion, grating carrots and then using this mixture in individual home made pie crust. (I deserve a "star-good" for that) We bake them and then feast. Another part of the tradition are the laminated paper placemats Ella made in 2nd grade. Larry and I (dad & mom) Josh, Jessica & Ella each have their own placemat. So I use for xmas eve dinner. Son-in-laws & grandkids have cloth placemats. A small gift with x-mas theme is given to everyone (ornament, x-mas socks, pins, etc).
Up until last year, everyone would spend the night and play cards, mom (me) would fall asleep on the couch. We would open remaining gifts x-mas day. But now, with other family obligations, gifts are opened Christmas eve.
-Sandy W., Brighton, MI
Since my granddaughter Katie has a birthday on 12/23 and my mom has hers on 12/21 (she'll be 88!), we have a tradition of having a holiday/birthday brunch the Saturday morning before Christmas. Even though we try to keep the birthdays separate from Christmas, I think they get cheated so I started a half birthday celebration in June for them.
My favorite Christmas tradition began when our children were preschoolers. Each Christmas Eve they (along with any cousins present) act out the Christmas story while an adult family member or older child reads the passage from Luke 2. Now our grandchildren are continuing the tradition. The children help with the simple costumes, props and assign the various parts...angels, shepherds, Mary & Joseph etc. It is very special when there is a new baby in the family to play baby Jesus.
About 2 weeks before Christmas, my 2 daughters and I pile up in the car and go shopping for our Christmas tree. We have so much fun piling them all on one car! Each daughter and their families decorate their own tree, then they all come to my house to decorate mine. We play all my Christmas albums and bake cookies and sing.
In the past, the first 2 ornaments that were hung on the tree were 2 red Santas that were the first ornaments my husband and I bought for our first tree. I have given each daughter one of those ornaments, and now they are the first thing hung on their trees, in remembrance of their Dad. The first things hung on my tree now are ornaments that were hung on my grandparents first tree in 1948, the year I was born.
Another tradition we have is driving around every weekend before Christmas looking at the beautiful homes around Dallas. I used to take my daughters, but since we all have smaller cars now, I gather up all the grandkids and take them. On the way home we always stop for hot chocolate.
It's so wonderful being a grandma and to see all the traditions being handed down in my family. Happy Holidays Everyone!
Our holiday traditions are going to midnight mass, hanging stockings over the fire place. We have the traditional sit down dinner, with ham, sweet potatoes,and all the trimmings. Then everyone sits around the tree to open their presents. I love watching the children's eyes, as they open up their gifts.
We decorate five christmas trees, have about 20 moving dolls, and we have Santa in his sleigh. The inside of the house looks so good you hate to take the decorations down. Christmas is a very special time of the year, and I make it worthwhile. I also bake all sort of cookies, that everyone likes. One thing I will say if you leave my house hungry, it is your fault.
So Merry Christmas from the Bushka family, to all of you.
When we were little girls, my parents allowed us to open one gift the night before Christmas. My grandparents would always buys us pj's and that was the gift that we would open the night before Christmas. We would and still have our evening meal which is tortier (meat pie) and then have our baths and then sit around the tree and open our gift.
My parents who are now grandparents are now the ones to buy the pj's for their grand kids and just bought my four month old daughter her first christmas pj's.
Our holiday traditions include cutting down our Christmas tree, which is an all day affair. We head out to East Texas in the morning, to our favorite Christmas tree farm. If we're really lucky, Santa is there. There is always a bonfire and hay rides, and it usually takes several hours and many hot chocolates to find the perfect tree. Then it's off to the cutest restaurant you've ever seen for a late lunch, early dinner. The whole town gets together every year and decorates every inch, inside and out, of the restaurant. Lots of lights and animated characters, with a different theme every year...just beautiful.
Another tradition is throwing a carrot on the roof Christmas eve for the reindeer on their journey.
And music -- we have started going to the Transiberian Orchestra Christmas show every year. Then, there's the annual Gingerbread house made with the grandkids (way too much fun!).
We don't have a real tree (tried that once), but we love to decorate our tree with all the sentimental ornaments -- things the girls made when they were young and now decorations from the grandkids to add.
Prior to Christmas, we make different kinds of chocolate candies. Our favorite (because it tastes great and is so easy to make) is Rocky Road. We make lots of it and package it to give to our neighbors, friends and family.
We like to attend Christmas Eve service -- I especially enjoy singing all my favorite Christmas hymns.
The whole family gets together Christmas day -- after everyone tries to figure out their schedule so they can be with all family members. The girls like to tease me about my holiday table -- I become "Martha Stewart" with my decorations (much less work involved for my decorations, though). And, several years ago, we all decided we wanted a change in our usual menu of turkey and dressing (a repeat of Thanksgiving). So we voted to make Fried Shrimp our new traditional Christmas dinner -- along with everyone's favorite foods.
KISSES FROM GRANMA
When my 3 year old twin granddaughters' baby sister was born, our lives became forever bonded together. I stayed with them for the week while mom and dad were at the hospital. We had fun tea parties, we cooked and cleaned, we had slummber parties where we painted our toe nails and talked about our favorite boys (daddy and Grandpa) and did fun crafts from Granma's special bag. (I have a grandma bag filled with construction paper, glitter pins, scissors, glue sticks and crayons. All of my grandchildren love to get it out.) I currently have 6.5 grandchildren. After our fun week was done, I went to kiss the twins good-bye. They were real upset that our fun time was over and I wouldn't be there to tuck them in at night. I had just refreshed my lipstick, so when I kissed them I left lip prints on their cheeks. I told them this kiss would last 'til bedtime and I would be there with them while they slept. Well, now every time I leave I have to give them the kiss that lasts and they make sure that baby sister Katie now gets her kiss too. When their daddy asks why they want the kiss, they politely inform him it is a "tradition." And it can't be washed off until morning. They even sometimes have me hide the kiss under their bangs so they can keep it longer.
--Cathy C (Granma)