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Family Holiday Traditions
Old 10-25-2019, 08:35 PM
  #1

What holiday traditions does your family celebrate? I am looking to do something fun for us for the holiday's .. christmas, thanksgiving, even Halloween.

One thing I thought about was maybe getting us all pajamas that match in someway. Maybe the patterns are all the same or something. Then then everyone gets to open their new PJs on Christmas eve and wear them to bed. In the AM we then open our presents in our new matching pj's.

I would love to plan some traditions for my family to have.


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Old 10-26-2019, 12:02 AM
  #2

My mom always got us new pjs for Christmas Eve and a book. She then did it for my children when they were little. It was the one custom my DD in Germany has me continue for her children.


One year the tradition of 'last gift' began. After the tree was down and the house un-decorated there was one last gift to open. Not a big gift-an outfit for the Christmas doll, another car for the train, drawing paper, next book in a series.
Made everyone more co-operative about putting away the decorations. think it started because I HID some gifts and forgot where I put them.
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Old 10-26-2019, 02:46 AM
  #3

I love holidays and traditions and love the ideas of matching PJs and the idea of a last gift. Those are lovely.
I'm not sure if these are really "traditions" but here are a few things that DD and I usually do around the holidays. Hallowe'en: DD and I usually go to a pumpkin patch. She's 16 so WAY too old for the target age group but we go, wander around and look at the different things, go to through the corn maze and go on the hayride and have lunch, then get a pumpkin on the way out. I've often wanted to take her to a bigger corn maze (the one we go to is not big and you can't r really get lost in it)....I know there's some in PA that are a lot of fun.
Christmas: I like seeing decorations so sometimes we'll go on a drive to see the lights. We put Christmas music on in the car and sometimes have gone dressed up in our PJs with hot cocoa. There's a nearby park that has a drive-through light show but I've driven through our neighborhood too.
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Old 10-26-2019, 04:21 AM
  #4

Our Christmas pajamas are given to the cousins at the end of Thanksgiving cleanup so they can be worn all season. On Christmas morning, nobody is allowed into the living room until everyone is ready, so there is a lot of peeking around corners and visual analysis 😆
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Old 10-26-2019, 04:26 AM
  #5

I love holiday traditions - I was the kid who freaked out if we didn’t do everything exactly as it was supposed to be done!

One of my favourite traditions I’ve started with my kids is our Advent Calendar. I made a wall hanging with pockets for each day in December. Into each pocket goes a slip of paper with a holiday activity. I include all of the holiday things we’d be doing anyway (getting our tree, Santa visits daycare, etc) and some special activities like baking cookies and doing crafts. We always make some sort of craft with a hand or foot print. This is the first year I think DD (who will be 3 in Feb) will really get it and be excited.

My husband has Dutch heritage, so St Nicholas Day is another of our holiday traditions. We put out our shoes on the night of Dec 5 and St Nicholas leaves a little treat. This is when my kids get their Christmas PJs so they can wear them all of December. They usually get a new Christmas book as well. This year St Nicholas is going all out and DD is getting the Little People Nativity so we can learn the Christmas story. This is the first year that we are all going to have matching PJs as well.


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Old 10-26-2019, 04:31 AM
  #6

1. Thanksgiving - we have homemade wassail (like spiced cider) while we're cooking.

2. Day after Thanksgiving - put up Christmas tree, then watch a movie and eat popcorn and hot cocoa.

3. Christmas Eve - go to church service, drive around to look at lights, wear matching jammies, and open one gift.

4. Christmas morning - take a family picture in the hallway before everyone comes out to open gifts, eat a big brunch after gifts are opened.
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Old 10-26-2019, 04:34 AM
  #7

I've started the Christmas pj thing recently for my dds. They open then Christmas eve and wear them that night.
We always go cut our tree down or tag it the day Thanksgiving. All of us have to agree on the perfect tree as we trudge around the Christmas tree farm sometimes in winter boots depending on the weather.
We all decorate it together. Each daughter has her own bag of ornaments we've been collecting for them since birth. We listen to our favorite Christmas cd's (A Very Special Christmas 1 and 2) and drink hot cocoa.
We don't open our stockings until all the gifts have been opened. It's like one last hurrah of gifts
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Old 10-26-2019, 04:52 AM
  #8

One Christmas tradition I had with my children was I bought a Christmas story book to read on Christmas Eve before they went to bed. I would write the date on the inside cover. The following year I put the previous book(s) out in a basket and add the new book. DD26 has a favorite one called the Christmas Crocodile....not quality literature but when she was little she loved alligators and crocodiles. Kids are now 26, 23, and 23. now. No longer buy the books, but still put them out each year and my kids loves to thumb through them still.
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Old 10-26-2019, 05:29 AM
  #9

I’m Italian so we do fish on Christmas Eve. Everyone gets new pajamas Christmas Eve. We also read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas in our new pajamas and everyone signs the book. I gave older ds his to use with his family.
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Old 10-26-2019, 06:24 AM
  #10

I like hearing everyone’s traditions. Thanks for sharing!

My family does...

Christmas Eve:
- Together with family and we continue after the church service. We have a party with food, fellowship, and dancing. Then at midnight we sing, “Happy Birthday, Jesus”. When I get home (it’s really late) I usually put a ham in the oven set with an alarm and timer to cook while I sleep.

- We also do Christmas pajamas Christmas Eve.

- Christmas morning we read the Bible, thank God and sing some praise/worship songs.

- Christmas breakfast: I make a French toast bake the night before & pop it in the oven when we wake up. We eat kielbasa & sauerkraut also. We also have the ham.

- We like to drive around with coffee:tea/hot chocolate and look at the Christmas lights.

- Also, the week between Christmas and New Year’s my husband and I eat all sorts of charcuterie .... we buy fancy meats, cheeses, pickles, olives, spreads, sides,etc. I make quiches, a big pot of kielbasa & sauerkraut (I’m German & Ukranian), and French toast bake. We just graze and eat fun food all week. (Although, this is the 1st Christmas with the baby so I’m not sure how that’ll be this year - Last year I was 3 weeks post-partum so it was kind of a blur )


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Old 10-26-2019, 06:47 AM
  #11

Holiday traditions for my family tend to be more about activities than "stuff" and tend to happen in the days/weeks leading up to the actual holiday.

Halloween: pumpkin patch, a celebration at a local historical park (they do "themes" like Sleepy Hollow or Brothers Grimm), Zoo Boo at the local zoo. Actual Halloween is trick-or-treating when there are younger kids involved or pizza and a scary movie for adults/older kids.

Christmas: an old-fashioned Christmas at the historical park, celebration of lights at the botanical garden
Christmas Eve. is church and gift opening. Christmas Day is stockings and Christmas dinner.

No special traditions surrounding Thanksgiving. I might cook a special meal but Thanksgiving tends to be overshadowed by football and deer hunting.

ETA: We also usually celebrate the Winter Solstice with a wassail bowl, a special meal (usually Swedish kalpudding and a buche de Noel) and, when kids are involved, a book or story like The Return of the Light by Carolyn McVickar Edwards or Grandmother Spider Brings the Sun by Geri Keams.
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Old 10-26-2019, 08:29 AM
  #12

I enjoyed reading about everyone's family traditions. We have lots of traditions in my family for the holidays.

Halloween: Dh and I go to those haunted attractions each year. This year we went to NYC and did Bane (Link) and just yesterday we went to 13th Hour (Link)
We carve jack o lanterns with DS. We enjoy going pumpkin picking to a pumpkin patch to find the perfect pumpkin to carve.

Thanksgiving-no traditions on the actual day besides the food. That weekend though is always Christmas decorating weekend. The trees go up, shopping gets completed on Black Friday, and the gifts get wrapped. I do it all that weekend so I can actually enjoy doing things with my family in December.

December/Christmas- We take DS out to see the Christmas lights around the local neighborhoods. We buy a special ornament each year for the tree. We go ice skating, take him to NYC to see the tree in Rockefeller Center. We bake Christmas cookies the weekend before Christmas. We have a family movie night where we watch a Christmas movie together. We leave Santa a snack (wine and chocolate lol) and spread reindeer food outside on Christmas Eve. Of course we do Elf on the Shelf and my ds is obsessed with it. I'm running out of ideas at this point. He still believes so I guess the elf thing is happening again this year. His Elf arrives the Friday after Thanksgiving and leaves on Christmas Eve night. The Elf brings him his Advent calendars each year. He gets two-the simple chocolate one and the Lego City Advent calendar. I host Christmas Eve every year. We do a special drink every year to serve our adult family members. It is usually some kind of winter/holiday martini of some sort. We have the kids open gifts on Christmas Eve from family. We are Italian so the 7 fish thing happens. On Christmas morning after we open gifts at home, we have a bagel breakfast at my MIL's and open presents there. We stay in pajamas or sweats on Christmas. We don't get dressed up at all. We have a pretty relaxed day at my Mil's just playing with the kids and their new toys and grazing on food the rest of the day. I truly love this holiday. I love being with family and the joy the day brings.
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Old 10-26-2019, 09:17 AM
  #13

My kids are preschoolers so keep that in mind. Some of the traditions will change as they age.

Halloween/Fall: We go pumpkin picking and apple picking. We make applesauce. We deliver cards and goodies to the Veterans Home.

Thanksgiving: Nothing really here. We do paint the window as a bare tree and add one leaf for something we are thankful for each day.

Christmas/Advent: We have an Advent wreath and do a Bible reading each day. We have a kindness mouse that brings an act of kindness we do each day (donate food, pray for someone, smile at someone, send a card, etc.). We make Christmas cookies and treats for the neighbors. We go to look at lights and make gingerbread houses. We don't go all out until Christmas Day.

For actual Christmas, Santa sends us on a scavenger hunt with clues. We have a special ethnic dinner on Christmas Eve. We also celebrate all 12 days of Christmas (which START on the 25th). We pick names for our immediate family and become their Santa for 12 days doing one nice, easy thing for them daily. We do something special (a movie, a game, activity) every day for the 12 days. It is loads of fun.

**I do all my shopping, wrapping, and as many tasks as I can before Dec. 1 so I can enjoy Advent and Christmas fully.
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Gingerbread House
Old 10-26-2019, 09:19 AM
  #14

After Thanksgiving dinner we decorate the gingerbread house I made ahead of time with a kit.

Then it is a decoration in the house till New Year's Eve.

Then on the eve of the new year we blow up the gingerbread house in the yard with a bunch of firecrackers. Gingerbread goes everywhere. My boys loved it as kids and my youngest who is now 31 won't let the tradition go.

On New Year's Day our yard is covered with birds picking up the pieces of cookie and candy.
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Old 10-26-2019, 11:33 AM
  #15

We have a Christmas tablecloth that my Mother made. The year that she died my sister who was in her 60s said that she did not ever remember not using the tablecloth. Each year that we used the cloth we signed our names on it and put the year. We did a search of the dates on the cloth and found that we had been using the cloth since 1954.
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Old 10-26-2019, 11:57 AM
  #16

Instead of filling stockings we buy lots of very small gifts - fleece socks, shampoo, razors, $5 gift cards.....and wrap them up for each person in the immediate family. Obviously we open the first one on Cmas Day then each day during the 12 days of Christmas we open one, until January 5, the 12th day. Our gift for the 7th day (NYE) and the 12th day are a little bit more special.

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Old 10-26-2019, 07:20 PM
  #17

I have really enjoyed this thread. Thank you everyone for sharing all of your holiday traditions with me! I am so excited to celebrate the holiday's with my new small family and large extended family.

1956BD - I've read about your gingerbread explosion before and I love the idea!!!

What age were your sons when you started doing this?

Quote:
After Thanksgiving dinner we decorate the gingerbread house I made ahead of time with a kit.

Then it is a decoration in the house till New Year's Eve.

Then on the eve of the new year we blow up the gingerbread house in the yard with a bunch of firecrackers. Gingerbread goes everywhere. My boys loved it as kids and my youngest who is now 31 won't let the tradition go.

On New Year's Day our yard is covered with birds picking up the pieces of cookie and candy.
hahaha I can only imagine the fun! Do your neighbors get in on it too? My DH told me in his family they used to do fireworks on Halloween.

Holiday's make for really fun times, traditions, family, friends and food! I hope everyone has a fun and spooky Halloween.
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Old 10-26-2019, 09:07 PM
  #18

Last year we had a lot.of change with our family. My dad had died, my daughter was getting married , & my future son-in-law had just lost his parents. So I decided we needed to start some new and different traditions. We had an ugly sweater cookie decorating contest. I found a sweater cookie cutter and got lots of different sprinkles & icing. We had a lot of fun sitting around the table decorating the cookies & then posted them on facebook to see who got the most likes.
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Old 10-27-2019, 05:31 AM
  #19

I love reading all your fabulous traditions! I feel so warm inside.

We used to have many Christmas family traditions when the kids were little and DH and my parents were alive (besides special foods, my faves were chocolate advent calendars and opening 1 gift on Christmas Eve), but times change.

We had a small family to begin with and now the only people here are DD and me (sad, but this is us right now). I downsized and decluttered, but I kept half of my Santa collection because I knew the first time I saw my condo that I had the perfect ledge for them. I only decorate a mini-tree, but I have lots of Christmas candy (my fave is a glass tree filled with M&Ms). Last year, my first Christmas here, we decided on a new tradition we’d enjoy: on Christmas Day we opened gifts on the sunny balcony overlooking the ocean then we went out for a Chinese feast. It was perfect for who we are right now.
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Old 10-27-2019, 10:25 AM
  #20

Quote:
It was perfect for who we are right now.
Quote:
So I decided we needed to start some new and different traditions
There is a lot of wisdom in these two sentences. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 10-27-2019, 01:42 PM
  #21

I love the idea of decorating them and then putting them on FB to see who gets the most likes!!!

I think the teachers at my school would LOVE this idea!!!!
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