I thought we could share our special holiday traditions. Do you do anything special for the holidays? Something that's just in your family, your city, state or country? Foods, drinks, gifts, whatever.
Of course Christmas comes to mind, but I am intreseted to hear about other holidays as well at the appropriate time of course (not that interested of Easter right now :lol)
So what do you do for the holidays?
ETA: I couldn't find a thread where this would fit in, but if there is, feel free to merge or delete.
My husband's family all get together for Christmas breakfast. We each (he has three sisters) take turns cooking breakfast for everyone - each year it rotates. It's our turn this year. So we all go to someone's house in our PJs and slippers, eat breakfast, the kids open their presents from Grandmom and Grandpop, and then we all go home to get showered, dressed, and meet up again in the afternoon for Christmas dinner!
One tradition that I began by accident several years ago was cleaning out my closets and going through my daughter's toys to get together donations for Goodwill. I went one December because I was cleaning out some clothes that didn't fit my daughter (a baby at the time) and one of the employees there thanked me profusely for bringing donations. She explained that they run extremely low on inventory over the holidays. Toys and childrens clothing, in particular. Since my daughter receives so many new clothes and toys at Christmas anyway, I've made it a tradition ever since to find old toys and clothes to donate. She helps pick out the toys she doesn't play with anymore and really seems to enjoy giving to a good cause. I know that the merchandise at Goodwill stores isn't free, but I also know that there are very proud families out there that wouldn't want to accept a free donation of toys and clothes. So it always makes me feel good to think that with a small amount of effort on my part, theres a family that was able to provide their children with presents to go under the tree.
In the past, I've also had employers give me hams and turkeys for the holidays. Since I've never had more than three people in my household, I've often donated those to area churches. They usually have lists of families that need food and other holiday supplies.
Either way, I think that giving to strangers seems to be the best way for me to really get into the Christmas spirit. The rest of it is so commercialized nowadays that it leaves me feeling a bit cold.
This tradition didn't start with my family, but we do participate every year. My son's Boy Scout Troop participates in a Christmas Good Turn Project. It all started about 30+ years ago, when a boy did this for his Eagle Project. We get the names of families in the town who could use a little help over the holidays. We collect food and buy gifts for any children in the family. We normally help support 10-15 families, sometimes even more. They get at least 5-6 HUGE boxes of food and each child in the family gets a HUGE box of presents. We spend the entire month of December getting all this together. Then on Christmas Eve in the afternoon, we all meet at Scout Hall and divide into two teams - Red and Green (of course!), and each team has a Santa. Each team has a route to follow, and we go to the houses of the families we deliver the food and gifts. Even though the families know this is happening beforehand, they are AMAZED at the volume of food and presents. It's a great experience for the Scouts. They see for themselves that they have a lot to be grateful for. It's a very humbling experience.
One family tradition that has been going on for as long as I could remember was getting new pajamas on Christmas Eve. I told my mom she should get me some cute pajama bottoms this year from Old Navy, they have weiner dogs in santa hats on them!
For a few years, we would always go to the zoo in Seattle, and there was almost nobody there, so we would have the entire place almost to ourselfs!
And it usually never fails that my dad gives my sister and I $100 and say,"go buy your mom something from me"
My daughter always gets to open one gift on Christmas Eve and its Christmas themed PJ's. We always go to the candlelight service at church on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning is alwyas Mimosas while we open gifts.
And we have birthday cake for Jesus. This started when my daughter was about 2 1/2 and she was helping me put up the Nativity and I was talking to her about it and said that Christmas was Jesus' birthday. So being 2, what goes through her mind? "Do we have birthday cake for him?" So that year we started baking a cake on Christmas Eve and on Christmas day, after dinner, we light the candles and sing Happy Birthday Jesus and still do this 13 years later.
When my dad was alive, he read the Night Before Christmas every Christmas Eve. Even after I was grown and before I got married and had my own child and of course, he read it to her. I have my mom's from the 1930's, Mine from the 1960's and my daughters, from the 1990's versions of these books.
I bake my grandmother's recipe of pumpkin bread and give away tons as it makes plenty, but we eat that with the Mimosas.
I also do a cookie exchange with my friends every year which is a LOT of fun. It's in its 7th year now.
Oh and no presents go under our tree until Christmas Eve night. This started because our "baby" wouldn't leave them alone, then when she got older, the dog wouldn't leave them alone, and now its just become tradition. Nothing under the tree until we get back from Church.
We have also done photo cards every year and now that my daughter is 15, I have people that ask me: are you still doing the photo cards? I have kept every one and watched her grow up in the cards. That always makes me feel good and puts the pressure on to STILL do the photo cards. This year, they have all 3 of us and the doggies too.
Oh and I almost forgot, this one dates back several generations in my family and I thought we were the only ones to do it until I read a book by Ferrel Sams Called: Christmas Gift!
On Christmas morning, as soon as you see a family member, you must shout out CHRISTMAS GIFT! We do this on the phone and in person. And its gotten to be a competition to see if you can "get" the other person before they "get" you. Even my husband who never did this before, now joins in. I am so into it, that I get disappointed if someone gets me first. The number of us that do it has dwindled way down. But I found out its a very old practice in some locations in the South that goes back hundreds of years. I actually think this is my favorite one as I have memories of being woken up to this as a child!
We use to buy each member of our family one gift for Christmas but now, that we have an extended family, we have a gift exchange instead.
My dad's family always gets together for dinner on Christmas Eve. Anytime someone marries into the family, the new in-laws are also invited, parents, bother, sisters, everyone. At one time I had 4 grandpas (two through in-law connections of my aunt and uncle's) and tons of extra aunts, uncles and cousins. They always say that with every marriage the family just adds another tree instead of just a branch. Babies are passed around and loved on, the host always has toys on hands for the kids to play with and you get to meet new people. Plus I love that my family isn't limited by race or nationality and everyone treats each other like family.
When my sister would have international roommates in college, they would come a stay with us for the break, so we would often have international flavors added to the fun. I can't wait for each Christmas Eve! :yay
My mother, sister and I always bake tons of cookies, breads, cakes and pies and make cookie bags for the kids to take and divide the rest of the sweets for the different familes and people who show up to take home with them. I remember my mother having to fold her apron in half to fit me when I was little as I would help her decorate cookies. While we bake, my father samples. :lol He's in charge of Christmas Day breakfast.
What wonderful traditions everyone has!! I'm so jealous!
The only tradition we really have is that I insist that we all get together for supper on Christmas (barring invites from the in-laws) and that we MUST see our Baba! No matter where supper is held. And for the past 15 years or so my immediate family has gathered at my little house to unwrap gifties and have a nice brunch with the kitties on Christmas morning. It is my duty to pass out the gifts to everyone and help the kitties unwrap theirs.
Christmas always was celebrated around my Baba and Gigi when they were both alive and well. Always at their home with some traditional Ukrainian food. We always started supper with a little dish of fruit cocktail. I have no idea why. Things have changed a great deal since those days :(
Over the past 10 years, my family's Christmas traditions have evolved into some new ones due to two major events - my parents moving from the house we grew up in to Florida, and the birth of my nephew. Up until then, we'd go out to a nice dinner on Christmas Eve, then to church, then home for dad to read The Night Before Christmas. We've held on to a few things (including the best breakfast ever) and changed some others this way:
Christmas Eve, we go to an earlier church service, and then home for dinner. Dinner is always tacos now - sometimes we add things like quesadillas to it. (this came about when after I'd made a full turkey dinner for Christmas Eve, my sister volunteered to cook the following year, and the only thing she knew how to make was tacos) It's fantastic, because it's so casual, laid back and fun.
After dinner, now instead of my dad reading The Night Before Christmas to my sister and me, my brother-in-law reads it to my nephew, while we all watch, and my nephew wonders why for this one night, everyone else wants to hear his bed time story. Then, before we go to bed, I have to review with my mom whose stocking belongs to who, since I'm the only one who remembers.
Christmas morning, we get up, have a big debate over whether we do presents first or stockings, and my sister and I finally prevail, and we do stockings followed by gifts.
After that, we make the same breakfast every year - scrambled eggs with sausage mixed in, cheese grits, biscuts, and french toast casserole. Then we play and do whatever. In the afternoon, we take out all the leftovers from the tacos, and have a nacho bar, with everyone making a plate to their liking.
Then later on that night, we have dinner which is always beef tenderloin (but the preparation of it changes each year).
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