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Old 12-17-2013, 09:09 PM   #1  
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Default What Xmas family traditions do you have?

My husband and I both LOVE Xmas, and when our kids got to two we decided to create some Xmas family traditions.

Our Xmas tree goes up on 1 Dec, and suddenly we have "Xmas fairies" that visit. Its like Elf of the shelf, the fairies move every night because they fly back to Santa to tell him if the kids have been good. Two fairies, one for each child in the hope that when they move out and have their own kids they will take their fairy with them and make it a tradition with their children. I should add, I'm from NZ where no-one has heard of Elf on the Shelf LOL

We have grinch day where we eat lots of green food, wear green clothes and watch the grinch movie.

This weekend its baking for people in the neighbourhood (we have a few old ladies who have no family, so we take them Xmas treats), and taking food to the food bank for the last of the people needing food parcels right before Xmas.

Then Xmas eve we do a chocolate fondue with marshmallows and fruit. This year I'll be more about the fruit and try not to eat too much chocolate. We make sure to leave some of the chocolate covered yummies for Santa of course.

So how about everyone else, what do you do? Be warned I might just steal it!

Last edited by jitterfish; 12-17-2013 at 09:10 PM.
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Old 12-18-2013, 12:12 AM   #2  
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We spend the days leading up to Christmas with our own 'advent' tradition of reading a little more of the story of Jesus' birth. We spend time together with my inlaws in gratitude of God's immense sovereignty and fellowship with good food and laughing children. I usually bring my knitting. It's bliss.

I try really, really, hard not to over-commercialize the holy day, but treat it rightly. Our few traditions revolve around scripture and our church family and our relatives here in town, impressing on our kids the truth of why Christmas exists.

I can't say we have any other hard and fast traditions, but as my kids are getting older I'm thinking of instituting a more deliberate Christmas breakfast and gift routine. I like Christmas morning to be relaxing and close to home, with any travel in the afternoon. But we really don't do much in the way of instituting traditions, as it were, and I like it that way. Less to stress over.
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Old 12-18-2013, 12:41 AM   #3  
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The last few years that I haven't traveled home and have broken away from decades of family tradition, I've felt rather lost and sad on Xmas day. (It's a deliberate choice to stay home, I should add.) I'm trying to recognize my beautiful fortune now to forge new traditions with my own family (me + husband), but it's a work in progress.

Xmas an entirely secular concept for me - but I also reject the over-the-top commercialism/consumption that defined my childhood traditions.... so if it's secular but giftless, I'm not sure what that leaves.

We put up some outdoor lights for the first time this year. I may try to unearth my burning Yule log DVD -- my husband thinks it's totally ridiculous, but I love the kitschiness of it. In the past we've set up a giant complex board game (it takes an hour to set up, so it's fitting for a once-a-year tradition).

It probably sounds a bit blasphemous to say on this board, but I think I need to settle on some annual food traditions, too - like maybe having mulled wine or chocolate-covered orange slices, plus a fancier dinner. My life manages to completely sidestep the excess of cookies and treats that are everywhere this time of year -- not eating wheat has its virtues. But then the utter lack of anything special is palpable, too.

I admit I mourn the passing of certain food traditions of my family - like my great grandma's sherbert punch and sloppy joes on Xmas Eve, or the holly cookies my mother always makes -- but I simply don't eat a lot of it any more, and haven't for years (chemicals, additives, etc - not to mention nutrition or calories). But who knows - maybe this year I'll make turkey sloppy joes and raise a mulled wine glass in honor of the past.
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Old 12-18-2013, 12:57 AM   #4  
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we always have the kids write their letters to Santa ahead of time and then they put it under the tree on Christmas eve with cookies....most years we make homemade cut out cookies with my mom's recipe...I alwayssss make krum torte (also called date torte) which was a recipe belonging to at least 3 generations back on my mom's's one of my very favorite recipes ever!....beyond that, not a whole lot of traditions...we always have a tree and we always open presents on Christmas morning....that's about it
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Old 12-18-2013, 07:33 AM   #5  
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Like Desiiderata, Christmas is secular to me.

My extended family has a Christmas day gathering, that has been the main tradition since before I was born.

DH, I and the kids do a lot of baking leading up to Christmas, cookies and such that I put away right after Christmas and do not make again until next Christmas. We try to do the tree black Friday (we dont do shopping that day), unless DH or I are working, then we do it that Saturday.

We have a Christmas album that is family tradition, I listened to it growing up and now I play it on my record player at Christmas. I love the sound of real records We also do many Christmas movies like the original Grinch the stole Xmas and rudolph. We watch them as a family, and I *try* to read the night before xmas nightly before bed for the month of december, but some nights are too crazy lol and of course cookies for Santa.

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Old 12-18-2013, 07:52 AM   #6  
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We have several Christmas traditions.........Each year someone in the family is designated to make an ornament. The ornament should be homemade and display the year. (when the children leave the house they should have their own set to take with them). Also.......we have a tablecloth that everyone at the dinner table signs each year and then it is embroidered in a different color each year. Its nice to remember the ones we've lost and see the new additions each year.
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Old 12-18-2013, 08:45 AM   #7  
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Last year was the first time I ever heard of Elf on a Shelf and I still don't quite understand

My husband who grew up as an atheist really likes Christmas for some reason. My family is non-practicing Catholic. My parents love Christmas, mostly the decorations and bright lights.

My husband and I generally watch the Charlie Brown christmas shows. We own them on DVD. We also watch Elf if we get a chance as we both love that movie. Emmett Otter's jug band christmas is another good show to watch. (PS, we have no kids so this is just for us)

We've also decided every year to visit my family in California. I spend time making cookies with my mother. We don't do any gift exchange but there are a few things that we do like spend time with my extended family. One of my relatives has a tamale dinner on Christmas Eve where 50-60 family members show up on a rolling basis and hang out.

So I'd say for us it is a very secular holiday but its nice to get away and spend time with family. (Although I wouldn't describe either of us Atheist, it is safe to say we are not Christian)

Also, another tradition is my husband and I avoid stores starting late november to early January... it helps keep us sane. We won't even go near streets that are busy due to shopping. I bought a ton of toys this year for Toys for Tots but was able to do so through Amazon.
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Old 12-18-2013, 08:46 AM   #8  
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Originally Posted by meplusthree View Post
We have several Christmas traditions.........Each year someone in the family is designated to make an ornament. The ornament should be homemade and display the year. (when the children leave the house they should have their own set to take with them). Also.......we have a tablecloth that everyone at the dinner table signs each year and then it is embroidered in a different color each year. Its nice to remember the ones we've lost and see the new additions each year.
Hey, one of my cousins does the embroidered signatures thing. Since we have a large family, there are many, many tablecloths as it only takes a couple years for one to get filled up.
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Old 12-18-2013, 12:18 PM   #9  
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My family never celebrated anything at all, including Christmas. I remember going to friends houses and feeling happy yet sad at the same time. I guess that that is the closest tradition I have.

On the plus side, I do not associate Thanksgiving/Christmas with food, on the downer side, I rarely feel an instinctual joy (or misery!) around this time. Just normal days lol.
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Old 12-18-2013, 01:30 PM   #10  
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When I was younger we would decorate thanksgiving weekend (while my parents were off of work). We had a little santa claus beard calander, where one of us would move the star each day, and the other would change the number on the chalk count down to how many days were left. I used to high-jack the chalk board after christmas, and start the 5 day countdown to my birthday, since we never put the christmas stuff away that quickly. Every Christmas eve we would go to my grandparents house and go walk around the neighborhood to look at the lights. While we were gone Santa would stop by and drop off our presents.

One year I got suspicious and told my grandparents they were doing it, not prove was one person stayed each time. So they tricked me and said "Okay, we'll all go." and we came back and there were presents under the tree. Kept me believing in Santa for a good 5 more years. I found out as an adult that they had the neighbor come do it. Tricky grandparents!

At my other grandparents house we used to make cookies. My grandma would let my brother and I each have two cookies, but she knew I liked cookie dough so she would sneak some to me while we were baking. We also opened presents for Christmas, then after everyone opened their Christmas presents we would do my birthday presents.

I miss having young kids for the holidays. Hopefully my husband and I have a child soon, then it can be magical again. I love the fairy idea, that's really cute.
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Old 12-18-2013, 08:43 PM   #11  
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We do an extended family lunch or dinner on Christmas day for my mom's side of the family. For Christmas eve hubby and I will likely cuddle up and watch a movie (not necessarily a Christmas one). Christmas morning will be coffee/tea/hot chocolate while we open presents, then relax til we have to go to my Aunt's for the family meal.
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Old 12-18-2013, 09:58 PM   #12  
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Every year the weekend before or maybe two weekends before my family and I get together to make Christmas treats. We make everything from Buckeys (Kind of like Reeces except in a ball), Potato candy, cookies, puppy chow. Yeah it's a lot of stuff. Then we open one gift on Christmas eve. Try to watch Christmas movies as a family. And so on....
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Old 12-19-2013, 07:02 AM   #13  
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i always had lots of traditions but this is my first christmas since 2006 that ive not been with my husband ( we seperated in march 2013 ) so i feel kinda strange doing the xmas things ive done with him with my new bf so ive been trying to do things differently but so far all ive done is put the tree up earlier ( at the bf's house )
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:58 PM   #14  
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We always read the Bible. We read Luke 1:1-14 on Christmas Eve to Renee the reason we celebrate. We also always have meatloaf for Christmas dinner. This year is different though. We are, for the first time in my 21 years of life, going to my uncle'a house in Iowa. I've never had a holiday away from home.
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Old 12-19-2013, 02:05 PM   #15  
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First, I put out our Yule log (aka. stump) centerpiece. We had found a piece of wood years ago that was hollow in the middle and fit a pillar candle perfectly. DH made some more holes for tea light candles. I also decorate it with a bow.

Then on Christmas eve, we eat Buche de Noel cake. I haven't made one from scratch yet. (oh, and Santa gets a slice of cake left out at our house...)

Because my son's birthday is in December, I put out Christmas crackers for him and his guests. That way they have party hats and jokes to tell each other. It seems to be a hit. And we always have a few left over for Christmas eve.

Christmas day is opening gifts in the morning at home (we do 3 gifts per child and their stocking) and then dinner with the extended family out of town. I loved this book about traditions--not just Christmas ones.

Last edited by veggiedawg; 12-19-2013 at 02:08 PM.
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