What are your family Christmas traditions??

kim_BDecember 3, 2001

When I was growing up we just did the exchanging of gifts on Christmas morning and then had a big dinner that day. Now the DS is 3 soon to be 4 and I'd like to start some traditions that he we always reflect on. Here are some of my ideas:

Baking a birthday cake for Jesus - DS love to help me bake!

Saving change in a cider jug throughout the year to use to help the less fortunated at Christmas. We always have mulled cider on Christmas Eve and I think this would be kind of neat!

We have kicked around the idea of a mini parade in our subdivision including the residents riding mowers, go karts etc. (DH thinks I am looney!) I do have some support from other neighbors though - give me honest opinions on this.

Christmas Eve has always been celebrated at our house for the last 10 years and I suppose this will continue.

Anyone care to share?


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Here's some of ours that I like, and that we'll pass down to DS:

My family owns a tree farm, so every year after Thanksgiving dinner we bundle up and troop out into the fields to pick our trees. Usually we just tag them and come back later, but there's always one or two who want to put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving.

My extended family on my mom's has always gathered for Christmas Eve. Some of us go to church prior; others just go to my cousin's house and wait until the church goers get back. We have appetizer-type food; deli meat, shrimp, cheese, some sandwiches, etc. And we exchange gifts. Luckily, a few years ago we decided to draw names at Thanksgiving and set a $50 limit because we kept expanding as people got married, had kids, brought their in-laws along, etc. My uncle is my only close relative on my dad's side anymore, and he's been joining us too.

I've always liked this because I'm close with my extended family and this is a chance to share Christmas with them. Because we're all close enough to drive, it also means that we get to spend Christmas day with our immediate families (though there is a Christmas Day dinner at my aunt's).

I think it would be fun to start one immediate-family specific tradition though; maybe a food you have on Christmas day that's a little unusual (like in The Christmas Story when they go for Chinese), or select names and instead of buying a gift do something special for that person.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2001 at 10:13PM
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Some ideas that I think are very nice (some are from my own family, some from friends)

- attending Midnight mass on Christmas eve
- Reading a traditional Christmas story before bedtime on Christmas Eve (the biblical story, 'twas the night before Christmas, A Christmas Carol, etc)
- having a special breakfast on Christmas morning - my MIL makes her "famous" cinnamon rolls, hash for FIL, sunny-side up eggs for DH, omelettes for she and I
- prolonging the gift opening - in our family every person takes a turn opening one gift at a time while everyone else watches - it is fun to see what everyone has gotten, emphasizes the importance of giving as well as receiving, and makes the fun last that much longer!
- singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus
- making a big deal about going downstairs to see what Santa has brought. In our 2-story house, we were not allowed to go downstairs until Mom and Dad were awake and dad led the way. The kids would wake up M&D and be as antsy as can be while they got up and *finally* came to the top of the stairs to lead us down and see the huge pile of gifts!

I like your idea about the parade - I think that would be fun! (And let the kids burn off some of their built-up energy!)

    Bookmark   December 4, 2001 at 9:09AM
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That parade idea sounds great! I wonder if it's too late to organize one here?
Here are a few of the traditions that dh and I follow (this is our first christmas w/dd!) that are gleaned from both families:

-The tree is put up about 2 weeks before Christmas and it is a family event with a special dinner (this year it is Low Country Boil! Dh's whole family will be here!)

-Christmas Eve or the night before we all pile up in the car in search of a live nativity

-Mass on Christmas Eve

-Chili for dinner Christmas Eve with the opening of gifts from family

-Santa gifts Christmas morning

-Lox and Bagels Christmas morning

-Put a candle in an Angel Food cake and sing Happy Birthday to Baby Jesus

-Extended family together in the afternoon for potluck and gift exchange

    Bookmark   December 4, 2001 at 12:32PM
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My husband used to get dressed up like Santa Claus for the kids. His sister would get dressed up like a teddy bear and pass out homemade candies and crackers.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2001 at 6:05PM
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We moved away from my husband's huge extended family a few years ago, we always did a Christmas Eve gift-eat-visit... $25 limit on gifts. It was great, grandparents live out in the country and always had other exxtended relatives dropping by, too. We have started the tradition here, with my FIL and a few others, but it's just not the same! Once my new house is built, I want to do a Christmas drop in party, a week or so before Christmas.

We drive around town and look at the lights, also we go to a walk through presentation by a local church; my FIL is a Shriner and we always go to their Christmas party - all the patients they transport to the burn center and crippled children hospital (the name of it, I'm not being insensitive) are there. It really makes me feel thankful for my children's health, and is a great compassion- building tool for the boys also.

A mom at my ds' school had a great tradition she told me about recently, they put up the nativity set in its' place, except for the baby Jesus. He's across the room, they move him a little closer every day, putting him in the manger on Christmas morning before the gifts are opened.

Okay I know you didn't ask about EVERY Christmas tradition! We do have a few I didn't talk about, actually as I typed I kept thinking - wow! We do have traditions!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2001 at 10:19PM
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We have mostly the usual traditions but one thing we always do that is a little different is give my kids (and whichever other kids we happen to be with at the time) new red pajamas on Christmas eve. Even though they are old enough now that they know what the wrapped Christmas Eve gift is, they still love it--new soft warm jammies for the special night--and the best part is they always make for great Christmas morning pictures!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2001 at 3:35AM
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Great ideas - keep them coming! I love the p.j.'s and the Nativity ideas!


    Bookmark   December 6, 2001 at 8:49AM
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New jammies every Christmas Eve are on the top of the gift list, for exactly the reasons that Sadiesmom mentioned! My children, too, look forward to this every year.
Christmas Eve candlelight church services and then on to Mother In Laws house for a big family gathering. Actually we now do MIL's every other Christmas Eve, and on the off years we just spend a quiet evening at home after church services. We do the big family gathering before Christmas Eve on those "off" years. Everyone brings something and we feast and exchange gifts. I make my "famous" Santa bread every year as well as Sugarplums. I made my Santa bread one year never realizing that everyone would "demand" it every year to come! The bread is adorable...just made with oven biscuits in the shape of Santa's head...complete with rosy cheeks and stocking hat!
My husband always reads the Night Before Christmas to the children before we go to services, because otherwise it is too late when we get home from MIL's. I always take pictures of the kids on Dad's lap during the reading and afterwards the kids all hang their stockings. What I REALLY look forward to every Christmas Eve is talking to my Dad on the phone. My parent's live about 1500 miles from me and during our Christmas Eve phone call my Father always reads me the Night Before Christmas, just like he did when I was a little girl. We even go through all of the motions where he tells me to "quit squirming on his lap!" One year I got to thinking about how greatly I would miss the story once my Father passes on...I was thinking maybe he could record a tape for me, so I called him and asked. I guess we think very much alike because he told me that he had in fact already done exactly that and it was one of my gifts that year. The tape is tucked away safely in my antique hopechest, however, I probably should move it to the strong box.
Also, every Christmas morning the kids come out to the tree to find that Santa has left them a note stuck to the tree itself. The note is written in Santa's special handwriting and all of the notes from all of the years are kept inside the "Night Before Christmas" book. We all get a kick out of re-reading Santa's notes every year.
Some sort of streusel/coffeecake/hot buns thingy makes up our breakfast on Christmas morning...things get too hectic for a big breakfast and after a night of little sleep it's easy.
Christmas Eve traditions are the absolute best. There are some great ideas that people have mentioned here...I'm sure you'll find some that will be perfect for your family! Happy Holidays ~Pam
P.S. The kids all get their pictures taken with the Santa at the mall every year and all of the pictures are displayed in special frames that only come out at Christmas time.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2001 at 11:18AM
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Pam - I do the frame thing too! Would you mind sharing the instructions for your Santa bread?

These are all so much fun to read!


    Bookmark   December 6, 2001 at 11:39AM
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I'd like the Santa Bread recipe, too!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2001 at 1:52PM
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I would be happy to share the Santa bread recipe and will try to scan the picture and instructions just as soon as I am able. It really is alot of fun! ~Pam

    Bookmark   December 7, 2001 at 8:39AM
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Yeah Pamm!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2001 at 10:34AM
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Kim and Kerry -
Okay, the Santa Bread pics and directions are all ready to go. However! I can't figure out how to get it posted on the Gallery, so, please send me your e-mail addys and I will gladly forward it all on! ~Pam

    Bookmark   December 7, 2001 at 1:36PM
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    Bookmark   December 7, 2001 at 1:45PM
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Pam - kimb@emwcpa.com

Thank you so much and Merry Christmas!!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2001 at 2:11PM
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I think the simple things are the most fun....
--going out to look at Christmas lights, some newspapers may even give you lists of the best places to go (ours does)
--going to get a picture made with Santa (without all the mall hoopla and buying all the extras, lol!)
--going to local parades (but having your own would be just as fun!)
--for me, Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without petit fours--I love these little cakes and my dad buys them for me every year, so maybe a special food would be a good tradition
--we always celebrated Christmas Eve with a pot of vegetable soup and bunches of snacks and I'd get to open one gift, usually the one that couldn't wait til the next day, like goldfish or something
--maybe introduce your son to other cultural celebrations, like December 5th is St. Nicholas Day in Germany, kids put out their shoes for treats
--my son is 3, soon to be 4, too and last year I started decorating a small tree just for him. The theme last year was cars, he loves Matchbox cars, so I used them as ornaments

    Bookmark   December 8, 2001 at 1:31AM
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Pam - I would like the instructions too. (mharper@potomaccapital.com) Thanks

Some of our traditions:

* Purchase ornaments for kids that represent each child's interest for that year for my son (7) and nieces (11 & 4). The collection is getting large.

* Put up kids tree with kids. We use their ornaments, colorful bulbs, and the lights that play Christmas carols and blink to the beat of the songs. The star on top has lots of colors and it blinks to the beat when plugged into the lights. We place stuffed animals and pillows given to the kids over the years underneath. All gifts are placed under the adult tree.

* Christmas Eve the kids get the pajamas.

* Last year, with the help of thathomesite, we made a lot of gifts. Everyone loved them. We don't have as much time this year but I plan to make some of the favorites with my son.

* Make gingerbread house, cookies or poop packages.

* Put out cookies and milk for Santa

I would like some suggestions on Christmas day traditions. I need a filler for the after gifts / before dinner time.
Also, my son is getting a dog as an early Christmas surprise. We pick him up next week while he is away at a party. I would like to start some new traditions with our new pet. Any suggestions???

    Bookmark   December 10, 2001 at 1:35PM
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We always hang stockings for our pets, and Christmas morning they get treats in their stocking! We also try to get our pets into our Christmas picture. It won't happen this year because we had to leave our dogs in NC and our cat is too skittish!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2001 at 1:44PM
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Nikki ~
We buy ornaments for our children each year as well. My thinking (which I got from somewhere???) was that when they grow up and leave home they'll have ornaments to start their new lives with. Their collection is getting quite large! Yesterday, as we were decorating our tree, my daughter asked what we were going to do come next year cuz there would be too many ornaments. I told her we wouldn't put all of the ornaments up...meaning we would leave some of the *family* ornaments off. She got real excited cuz she thought she could leave her Barbie ornament off! HA! NOT! However, Barbie now has found her place in the back of the tree.
The recipe is on the way! ~Pam

    Bookmark   December 10, 2001 at 3:04PM
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We got ornaments every year, too, and I do have most of mine for my family tree now - my mom kept some for their tree, too! Dh's family has done the same thing!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2001 at 3:10PM
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Pamm - I do the ornament thing too with exactly the same idea in mind. However, DS is only 3 and we have a total of 9 Hallmark ornaments that we have gotten for him, and I'm already attached to them! It may just break my heart to have to let him take them - not being stingy - I just can't stand the thoughts of my baby growing up!

Another tradition that I read somewhere and is not mine, but I really liked. This lady always kept the items on hand needed to make homemade cinamon rolls. Every time it snowed, she'd make the cinamon rolls.

Kim B.

Keep the ideas coming!

Filler time - how about a family game?

    Bookmark   December 10, 2001 at 3:15PM
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There are 5 specific traditions we have that are purely our own and not shared with extended family. My husband and I go out and buy the Christmas ornament to add to the collection that dates back to our first Christmas together. Each ornament is representative of a highlight of the specific year. We don't put them on a tree but rather line them up in date order and it reminds us of our first years together, the lean years, our gradual interest changes, family development, volunteerism, and travel. We go out and purchase a new holiday music CD. We make a family trek to the Salvation Army Christmas Wish Trees to pick out a needy boy and girl to buy for. We try to find a child that wants something we would have liked at their age. We curl up and put on Dicken's Christmas Carol and watch several versions of this timeless classic even though we have it just about memorized.
In the days leading up to Christmas the traditional baking and cooking begins; macadamia almond brittle, freezer fruitcake cookies, cranberry orange biscotti, peanut butter fudge, cookie brittle, some gingerbread . . . oh, and how could I forget our trek to See's to pick out the holiday candy . . .I guess I figure that isn't actually my own tradition but one I carried over from when I was a child and my father took us to pick out our favorite types of the candy.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2001 at 9:00PM
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Love them all!
Pam..I'd like the Santa bread recipe too please.
Melissa..would you share recipe for your "macadamia almond brittle"? ( brecheen@earthlink.net )
Thanks to all for sharing !

    Bookmark   December 10, 2003 at 10:47AM
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In our family everyone lights a bayberry candle after dinner, and we let them burn down to the socket. Tradition says that the longer your candle burns the more good luck you'll have next year. I've been very lucky in my life, so I'm kinda superstitious about this! :) We also light one candle in memory of deceased family members.

I just adore this tradition, and it makes for gorgeous pictures as well as a lovely scent! The only thing is making sure that soemone stays awake until every candle has burned out, for safety sake. And, the candles MUST be bayberry, which can make for a jolly hunt some years. They're trickier to find than you'd think!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2005 at 10:11PM
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I am looking for a easy tradition with my inlaws. They have no traditions they have a large family and not sure if everyone would go for picking names out of a hat for christmas presents. They dont attend church like My husband and I. We ars having a hard time thinking of a cheap and easy christmas tradition to bring the family closer. We do have large house so thats not a problem.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2005 at 1:50PM
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My husband never wanted our kids to visit a mall Santa, so he played Santa for them. He would make an excuse to go out somewhere (the store or whatever), go in the garage to change clothes, then come ho ho hoing to the front door, jingling bells so loud. The kids just got so excited, and Santa came in. They sat on his lap and told them how good they had been and what they wanted for Christmas. One year I could see my son's knees shaking he was so excited. It was many, many years before even our oldest son realized it was Dad. After Santa left, Dad came home and the kids got to tell him all about Santa's visit.

We also have a lot of the other traditions mentioned above. Traditions are so important and not difficult to do.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 7:50PM
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Couldn't someone please post the Santa Biscuit Recipe here??? Hubby would have a fit if I gave my email addy to the public!!!!! Please!!!????

One of our brighter traditions is a centerpiece for the table. Starting about the 10th we put up the tree and the other decorations. Plus I set one Christmasy candle on the kitchen table. We light it at supper. Then every night I add another candle. It gets brighter and brighter. Our Christmas eve pix blind you! I use tapers and short and squatty ones, sometimes sets of candle holders, whatever looks good together!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2005 at 2:33PM
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Looking for a new fun thing to do this year....

I have 3 teens every year they and my extended family do something fun or different....

one year we surprised them with a trip to disneyland, one year had their big red traditional stockings replaced w/the miniature ones and filled them with coal, the real ones were hidden,,,,

last year santa delivered christmas jammies on christmas eve, forgot grandmas gift in the sleigh and returned with my sister and niece from Colorado....

Plus others....but what can I do this year?

Oh and the santa bread recipes would be great too..thanK!!!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2005 at 2:00AM
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Jesus celebrated the feast of dedication a.k.a. Hanukkah/Chanukah according to the bible John 10:22 (KJV)
Nowhere in the bible does it say that He celebrated Christmas so why not include lighting a menorah too

    Bookmark   November 4, 2005 at 10:14AM
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My oldest has had her own apartment for two years now. My youngest is away when college is in session. The middle one commutes. Last year #1 spent the night in her own old bed after we all attended Midnight Mass - at the kid's insistence! She is staying with us again this year. My three girls - 19, 20, 21 - are not 'regular' churchgoers :( but do attend at Christmas. I even shoot about 3 minutes of video on Christmas morning of them opening up their gifts. It's nowhere near the documentaries I've recorded of them when they were little, and they give me funny looks when they see me, but I enjoy doing it. I know the days when we will all be together on Christmas morning are numbered, so I cherish every last one.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2005 at 11:50AM
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I am due to have my first baby in March but have already been thinking about what christmas traditions i want to start. Christmas traditions were really important to me growing up and i want to pass that on.

My friend came up with a really great on that i want to post. I am a really big fan of books and want that to be something that is passed on to my child. So i plan to buy 24 of my most favorite children's christmas books and wrap them up. Then every christmas put the wraped books in a basket by the tree and every night before we go to bed unwrap a book and read it. leading us up the last book on christmas eve.

I love the New jammies every Christmas Eve thing too.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2007 at 1:50PM
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I just read through all your wonderful traditions and I checked out the website "Cafe Traditions" that scarlson suggested. That website gave me so many ideas I can't wait for Christmas to get here.

This year I'm planning on starting the "You've Been Elfed!" tradition in my neighborhood. It sounds like a great way to get all the neighbors in the holiday spirit.

Here is a link that might be useful: You've Been Elfed!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2007 at 3:56PM
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One new tradition that I'm starting this year is to buy each of the kids an ornament with the year on it. I am doing Hallmark ones because they have specific themes but there are less expensive alternatives. We've decided to store them in boxes labeled with each child's name so when they grow up, they can leave home with their collection of ornaments (and lots of memories)

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 5:11PM
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Did anyone ever get the recipe for the "Santa Bread" I would really love to have it. If anyone has it would they email it to me at


Thanks :)

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 12:46PM
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On Christmas Eve we go to church and then come home and have my annual seafood chowder that I make every Christmas. We each open a new pair of pjs and then a new ornament. We watch a movie together and then it's off to bed. We open gifts on Christmas morning.

The most memorable holiday we had was when I was still a single mom and the 2 kids and I rang bells for the salvation army. It was just a few days before Christmas and we had a lot of snow and it was really cold. We had to take turns going to the car and warming up. It was great though and I would love to do something like it again. Either serve meals at the mission or ring bells.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 2:01PM
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Pam, I want that Santa Bread recipe also.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2008 at 6:35PM
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One of the things we did on Christmas eve was go to the local planetarium to see the presentation on the Christmas star. But because of budget cuts...

It used to be one side of the family on Xmas eve, planetarium, Xmas morning at home, Xmas afternoon and dinner with the other side, and Xmas evening at church, and the day after at a certain aunt's house if for all the people who celebrated that year at an inlaw's house and couldn't be at the Xmas day gathering.

But then we moved out of state not near family and had to find ways of making it special ourselves. It seemed lonely. Now every other year we go back home; and on the year we stay here, my mom flies down for 2 or three days, and my BIL comes every year for NYE.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 8:23PM
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We have so many Christmas Traditions, just about all that are mentioned above, however there are few not listed.

Every Sunday afternoon in December, after church we bake some sweet treats for one of our neighbors and put it on their doorstep for them to find (after we knock on their door and run that is). They always wonder if it will be their turn to get the treats, or they may have to wait another week.

We buy an advent candle, you can get them practically anywhere, although I order them online with my Christmas cards. You burn it every day until Christmas when it is done. The kids can really see how close Christmas is.

We go to a local light parade. They advertise them in the newspaper and at the local chambers. It is really neat to see all of the different vehicles lit up with lights.

We also the day after Thanksgiving make a December Calendar. We have so much going on this time of year, we put it on posterboard and put Christmas stickers over the days when they are done, so the kids know how many days are left. Since there are parties,birthdays, family gatherings, we use clip art that we print out of bells or candy canes, also of when we decorate the tree, when our family picture will be taken, etc. All clip art images printed out and taped on our calendar. Since my kids can't read yet, they really enjoy seeing what is coming up.

If I think of more traditions, I'll add to this.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2008 at 10:44PM
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Ive had a few people email me for a Santa bread recipe. I am not the same person who posted the message in 2001. I have the same user name but I registered in 2006. IsnÂt that weird? So I am sorry to say that I donÂt have any recipe like that. It does sound fun though!

Another Pam

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 3:45PM
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We read a Christmas story to our kids three nights a week. This year we are reading A Child's Life at Christmas time. We watch Christmas movies twice a week. We take pictures and keep a family Christmas album. We really try to encourage and be thankful during this time of year.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2008 at 8:50AM
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I would love the santa bread recipie! (paulitaescobar@aol.com)

My DH and I have a 9month old this xmas! So we brainstormed some ideas of traditions we would like our son to participate in...

**Collect toys/clothes we dont play with anymore and make a trip to salvation army or charity that collects for his age.

**Make MIL's "secret recipie" for cookies and leave them with a cup of milk for santa (who may leave traces of his visit)

**Write a letter after we open presents, to grandpa (in heaven) and tell him all about our adventures and what we did for christmas...then ill mail it (i think it will be nice when he is older/adult to see what he did...

**Going to niagara falls for their light display/show & through the neighborhood

**of course santa pics!

**want MIL to teach me how to make her tamales for my husband (in the future..)

Im always looking for new traditions!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 11:17AM
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since we've had kids we always stay home for christmas day.
my mom and mil were big on this. mil- always had to travel
across Ma. to her grandparents for the day. they got to be there for about 2-3 hrs and then return home. no presents from her grand parents and no chance to open them at home before they left. no turkey dinner either. pretty sad tale of woe, she didn't wish that sort of xmas on any one. my mom said it was important for us to have our own traditions.
so we stay home. usually our family gets together sometime over the holidays, but no matter whose house we're at everyone has a 300-400 mile drive-- so we usually have to commit to a weekend of guests.

my wife and i have always giving everyone in both our families an ornament for christmas. we try to stay under $5.
for these, but are on the look-out whenever we travel during the year or pay attention to what people are interested in, or some significant event in their life that year. for the kids, it gives them a collection so when they leave home they have something for their own tree. for the adults it avoids having to buy a fan-tab-u-lous present. since we live the farthest away from all our relatives, ornaments are easy to ship. when kids were little we usually send their moms & dads a check so they could do the shopping for us, now we send the ornament and a gift card.

we've tried a gift exchange where we draw names, but my youngest brother whose kids are 10-15 years younger than the rest of our kids thinks that his kids get gypted (everyone still gets his all kids presents, because they still get a big thrill out of opening them, and no one else has kids under 10 anymore)with this method--so we all get everyone a present-- an ornament works nicely there too.

at home because my kids are autistic and don't deal with
their routines being changed, we eat xmas dinner at dinnertime. so we have plenty of time in the morning to get up and open, play, watch tv, before we have to cook.
we usually let the boys open their stocking(usually all the goodies are consumed for breakfast) as soon as they get up, but they wait until we get up to open presents under the tree. We we join the land of the living-- about 8am, we get out the cranberry bread, stollen and panetone the coffee and hot chocolate and start unwrapping: kids first, then mom and dad. about 11, we'll make 'brunch'-- eggs and sausage, toast and juice. then we get started at dinner.

about 4pm we put out a relish tray and cheese and crackers
so we can make it until dinner time.

since my wife and i arew both in food service, and the week before christmas is the busiest time of the year. we usually have a tradition of doing laundry all day long every holiday while watching football games.

on christmas eve we usually have seafood for dinner about 10:30 PM after finishing wrapping and then go to service at the church, so that when we get home we can go to bed!!!!
sometimes we'll exchange a special present when we get home from church.


    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 5:52PM
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For the last 2 years I have taken my 2 girls to a Paint your Own Pottery Place to create ornaments. They turned out great after they returned from the kiln. It was a great experience and memory too that beats buying them an ornament at the store. I took them one at a time for a great "mommy date". They will be able to hold on to these for years when they grow up and leave home.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2008 at 7:56AM
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We made our own ornaments one year (dough) and painted them. It was a fun project and it took a lot of time and effort, although my in-laws didn't appreciate them. They like money and care about it more than people and relationships. (Only expensive gestures impress them). We also purchased wines from the local wineries and placed them in homemade gifts baskets filled with jams (also made from local produce that sometimes we even picked ourselves). My in-laws never appreciated gifts from the heart--only money. They don't care about anything else. I used to bake too, but seldom do that anymore either.

These days my efforts are simple and I don't bother to give anything from the heart to people who don't care about my efforts, time and attention.

Our traditions change and I like to keep an open heart to new experiences. I live in a colder climate now too, so weather influences what we do as well. Even if it is cold, I like getting outside. I usually make a seafood soup or chowder and bake a cranberry-orange and almond pudding. We decorate a tree (with the rejected dough ornaments). I bake for a few people. It depends. We bundle up and go downtown to see the lights. Situations change...

Last year, we purchased some cracked corn (healthy and good for them) from the wild bird center and went to the park to feed the geese and ducks, during a severe cold spell. We had so much fun we did this several times. We enjoy these simple pleasures and the geese and ducks appreciate our giving.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 2:36PM
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MY husband and I have celebrated Christmas together for the last three (as of this year) years together, and we seem to have the tradition of "always something new."
This year it looks like it's going to be another surprise! We planned on Christmas this year with a close friend of mine and her husband who are also "estranged from their children." But there car broke down and it's going to be costly to fix and my husband came home with 101 temperature. SO... we may be going to their house instead of them coming to ours the following week-end (my husband has to work Christmas Eve and it's a long drive)or we both may be laid up in bed with the flu (or whatever he has). Well,like I said "SURPRISE."
Yea, it's ok, we'll laugh and take pictures and make memories!
Take care everyone and "Merry Christmas" no matter how you celebrate.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2008 at 11:01PM
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Having my daughter choose to honor her MIL and not her own family and sitting here alone and wishing I hadn't spoiled her rotten.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 8:29AM
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Like someone said earlier situations change so it is very hard sometimes for families to keep things going year after year. However I will share some of the things I have tried to do through the years with my son who is now a nineteen year old college student living at home and working also. When I was small we did not have a lot of kid oriented traditions so I have tried to make some of those for him. Sometime during the season we get a dated year ornament for Seth, my son, and a family one also. We get out the advent calendars early and start counting down the days to Christmas around December 1. When Seth was little there was the Santa visit with pictures right after Thanksgiving and the making of the annual formal family picture. I have a row of the yearly pictures displayed all year long in my family room. They show how we changed year to year. I started this the year Seth was born. When Seth was little on Christmas Eve we baked Christmas cookies for Santa and decorated them. Then leave some for Santa with milk and a note. Some carrots for Rudolph too. We open one gift on Christmas Eve and watch a Christmas movie and we always watch National Lampoons Christmas Vacation just about every day. On Christmas Eve we have snack foods and my inlaws come to our house. I usually bake a ham and make some salads and a cheese ball. Nothing formal. In our climate it is difficult to get to church sometimes depending on the weather especially evening service so sometimes we do not get to include that activity. On Christmas day after opening gifts I may do a brunch of breakfast foods and then play the rest of the day or we may have a sit down dinner. Since Seth has grown up we have been doing a dinner for the past few years and my inlaws come over.We have a small family and my mother is with us all the time and my inlaws are close by. We really do not have many visits with extended family but we do hear from them. We decorate the house to some extent every year inside and out. Of course there are always lots of pictures. Sickness and family changes always happen during the year, I guess the tradition that counts is that you somehow try to make the season happy for yourself and those near you that year. I love reading of how everyone celebrates and makes memories. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 12:07PM
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Santa Bread Recipe? Yes please!! :)
Thank you..

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 1:17PM
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I think I found the sought-after bread recipe! :)


    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 12:10AM
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