Thursday, November 6, 2014

Holiday helper - ideas for family traditions

I have always been one of those people who believed that traditions mattered, but I realize that not everyone shares my emphasis on tradition. Well, in the last couple of years, I've come to discover that my daughter cherishes the memories she has of the holiday traditions I insisted on when she was growing up. She's 22 now, and it often surprises me that she remembers certain things we always did. As such, it has just reinforced for me that traditions really do matter. In the spirit of that, I thought I'd share with you the things we used to do when she was growing up and the things we still do today that make the holidays special for us. (Kelsey, if I forgot anything, just add it for me in the comments. I know you read my blog. Lol!)

Halloween traditions at our house
-- Visit Jackson's Orchard on a weekend in October (we still do this)
-- Carve pumpkins together
-- Shoot pics in costumes
-- Make a big pot of chili to eat for dinner once we got home from trick-or-treating
-- Take dogs with us to trick-or-treat, often in costume
-- Go trick-or-treating at home first then visit family by car

Thanksgiving traditions at our house
-- Watch Planes, Trains, and Automobiles as a family (I still do this)
-- Make peanut butter pie (I still do this)
-- Pour over the ads in newspaper that comes out on the day before the holiday (I still do this even though I almost never go to any of those sales in person)
-- Go shopping the day after Thanksgiving for the hottest kid toy in a given year (so glad I don't do this anymore)
-- Make one new recipe (I still do this)
-- Put up the Christmas decorations the Saturday after Thanksgiving (I still do this)
-- Make an entire turkey dinner even if I'm not hosting a meal for anyone (I still do this)
-- Go to the movies Thanksgiving weekend (I still do this)

Christmas traditions at our house
--  Play Christmas music and sit in the dark looking at lights on tree and drink spiked eggnog in evening after work (I still do this)
--  Pester Kelsey for a Christmas list until she sends me one (I still do this)
--  Drive around town a couple of different nights to look at decorations/lights
--  Watch Christmas Vacation as a family (I still do this)
--  Give Kelsey pajamas on Christmas Even (I still do this)
--  Attend Mass on Christmas Eve (I still do this)
--  Shoot family photos at Opryland Hotel
--  Make one new recipe (I still do this)
--  Make either cookies or candy (I still do this)
--  Attend Festival of Lessons and Carols at church leading up to Christmas (I still do this)
--  Adopt an angel from the giving tree
--  Make homemade gift tags for presents (I still do this)
--  Collect donations from students to give to Heifer International (I still do this)
--  Eat on Christmas dishes during December
--  Make a gingerbread house with Kelsey
--  Make sausage casserole for breakfast Christmas morning (I still do this)
--  Leave all Santa toys unwrapped and stacked on fireplace hearth
--  Go shopping at Opry Mills
--  Help Kelsey make ornaments or other small gifts
--  Take pics of decor (I still do this)
--  Get pissed off while decorating Christmas tree (I still do this)
--  Wrap all gifts in the same wrapping paper, sometimes I used a certain pattern for certain people though (I still do this)
--  Cook an entire ham dinner even if I"m not hosting a meal for anyone (I still do this)
--  Take down Christmas decorations before January 1 (I still do this)

New Year's traditions at our house
-- Buy a book on astrology to read for fun (I still do this)
-- Cook cabbage and Hoppin' John on New Year's Day for health and wealth in the coming year (I still do this)
-- Choose my OLW (One Little Word a la Ali Edwards) (I still do this)
-- Buy a new desk calendar and break that baby out once I return to school (I still do this)

What are some of your family's favorite traditions?


  1. I like the idea of eating on Christmas dishes throughout December! A tradition I enjoy is to pick a novel with a Christmas theme to read during December.

  2. This post was so fun! I have the childcare kids help me decorate the first week of December, then I take everything down the first week of January, but this year, thinking I might get it done the weekend of NYE instead. I always bake some goodies for the neighbors, mail carriers, bus drivers & trash collectors (often overlooked employees). I watch White Christmas a couple of times, & often play Christmas music in the childcare throughout the days. I used to pull out some snowman dishes to eat/serve on Thanksgiving through Valentine's but I have quit that in recent years.