Isn’t there something comforting about pulling the top off the old ornament box? Whether time honored or brand new, traditions can certainly strengthen the holiday season. They remind us that some things were meant to last -- from Christmas carols to holiday feasts. This month, we asked some of you for your most memorable “Traditions” and what they mean to you… Happy Holidays!
The holiday season is my favorite time of the year. I love the food, the decorations, the MUSIC. Oh, gracious, the music...I just can’t get enough ‘O Holy Night’ (Nat King Cole’s version is my favorite).
When I met my husband, his family introduced me to what is now one of my favorite parts of the whole year - Christmas morning breakfast.
As an only child, I was accustomed to spending Christmas Day with my folks, enjoying and testing out our gifts, eating leftovers, watching movies and relaxing. My husband has a very large and very inclusive family. I won’t lie - that first year, when we were dating, I was like a deer in headlights for most of the day.
Everyone gathers to enjoy “Nana’s thin pancakes” - a recipe from my husband’s Great-Grandma that is TO DIE FOR. (Not sharing, family secret. Sorry.) The best part is that almost everyone just rolls out of bed and comes over. Bed-head and pj’s are the norm.
It’s crowded and loud and I love it.
-Erin O., Managing Editor
I miss being away from home and the madness and merriment I shared there. Trees are fake but the excitement real. I can still see the tug of war with the tree lights and the anguish on the face of the poor victim chosen to figure out how to get it working. No need to mention who won. You know how you start from one end changing each bulb and just when you think you got it another fuse blows and you start all over again? The constant baking so that you can take treats to all neighbors and family, all in the hope of outdoing each other. Of course choosing the outfit to wear is only as complicated as flipping coins as to who gets to go to which house with those baked goodies. Sultry summers back in South Africa are drastically different to the snowy winters here in Boston. Listening to Christmas songs play outrageously loud as we belt out tunes, totally off key yet uncaring. Being surrounded by so many family members that you feel comforted amongst the chaos. As I stare at my two little girls I realize it is time to make memories of our own!
-Mommy Niri, blogger
Christmas is a loaded time of year for my family, as December 23 is not only my birthday, but also my dad’s birthday. I was named after him, and though I bemoaned the absence of friends on my birthday while growing up, I came to love the quiet tradition of our family going out for dinner and a movie that night.
So it was that I usually spent Christmas Eve playing with my birthday gifts, and that evening we joined my dad’s small family for dinner, more birthday cake and both birthday and Christmas gifts. That night, my brother and I would provide milk and Oreos for Santa. We also left a few mini marshmallows for our elf, “XYZ.” XYZ spied on us during December to monitor our behavior, and often left very tiny notes on our pillows and footprints on the frosted window glass.
We spent Christmas Day at our house, and usually stayed in our pajamas all day unless it was a Sunday Christmas. Both sides of grandparents visited us, and we casually munched on cold cuts and shrimp (and Santa’s candy) so my mom wouldn’t have to cook.
After getting married, my husband and I spent years traveling to see our family for the holiday. This year I’m excited to stay home on Christmas Day to begin our own traditions with our kids, but I won’t be able to see my dad for a few more months. Though Christmas is truly about celebrating our Savior’s birth, I know I’ll miss my dad when the birthday cake arrives and there’s no one to share a wish and a warm smile over glowing candles.
-Erica F., Production Editor
Grandma Katy helped us start a fun, holiday tradition with our daughter’s 1st Christmas. She gave us a large, fleece blanket decorated with snowmen & candy canes, trees & bears, candles & berries. From the 1st of December through the end of the year, we spread the blanket out each night and pick a book to read from our Holiday Book Basket. It’s hard to say if the kids are more excited to bring out the basket of old books or the new book that Grandma adds to the collection each year.
Here’s a sample of some of the favorites in our collection: “Snowmen at Night” by Caralyn & Mark Beuhner, “‘Twas the Night before Christmas” by Robert Sabuda, “Bear Stays Up for Christmas” by Karma Wilson & Jane Chapman, “D is for Dreidel” by Tanya Lee Stone, and “Morris’s Disappearing Bag” by Rosemary Wells.
The best part of our tradition is knowing the kids still have some quiet, reading time each night, despite the hectic tug-and-pull of activities during December.
-- Amy J., COO - TodaysMama.com