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Tell Us Your Traditions

dweber posted this December 14th, 2011

Sure we sell great holiday gifts, but in our humble opinion the best thing about the season has little to do with commerce – we love the personalized, untraditional rituals.  For instance, Lindsay and her sweetie pick a Friday night in early December to head to the brew pub across from the Christmas tree lot.  After dinner and a locally brewed beer or two, they select their tree and spend Saturday decorating.

Kate and her husband string chili pepper, sea urchin and lizard lights around their beach house. They don’t get each other gifts but spend time planning a trip or home improvement project they will take on together in the next year.

Every year Paige and her wife go to the movies on Christmas eve.  They eat waffles on Christmas morning and bake a red velvet cake for that night’s dessert.

Kim has an annual Christmas day brunch at her house.  Her whole loud family comes and, miraculously, they agree not to fight for the entire day.

We want to know the special thing you do this season.  Tell us in the comments by 12/18 at midnight and we’ll pick a winner who will receive one of our luscious Cashmoore blankets, just in time to give as a holiday gift or snuggle up with on a good old fashioned New Year’s Day movie bender.

110 Responses to “Tell Us Your Traditions”

  1. My kids and I bake and decorate Gingerbread men (and women, and decorate them on Christmas eve. They used to look very appropriately Gingerbread-ish. As the kids have gotten older, the Gingerbread people have evolved into rock stars, bikini-wearers, and anything else that causes huge amounts of laughter.

    by Jackie Gulino | December 15, 2011 at 5:12 am

  2. Drinking margaritas and listening to Christmas music while we wrap presents!

    by Sarah | December 15, 2011 at 5:34 am

  3. We do a Christmas light drive and look at all the fabulous lights…often followed by coming home for latkes and dreidel, when the timing lines up!

    by Sarah | December 15, 2011 at 5:35 am

  4. My boyfriend and I started a new tradition the past two years…We’ve cut down a very tall pine tree in our yard that needed to come down and used the top for our Christmas tree. They aren’t perfect, but to us they look great. Money is tight, so we are happy our trees have been free for 2 yrs! And we have lots of wood for bonfires. Not sure about next year, as the rest of our trees are looking pretty healthy. 🙂

    by Diane | December 15, 2011 at 5:38 am

  5. This year I am starting my life over as an almost single again 30 something female! I am planning on starting a lot of new traditions that I have always dreamed of, but never got around to. My life is starting over this Christmas with a new home for me and my puppy and I just can’t wait.

    by Rach | December 15, 2011 at 5:39 am

  6. I love to bake! Ever since my children were born (17 years ago), I bring a birthday cake for Jesus to our extended family holiday party ~ as a little reminder to them as kids what Christmas is all about…even though they are older now, they still ask for it! They think it’s pretty cool…

    by Carol | December 15, 2011 at 5:46 am

  7. After an awesome meal, our family hikes out to a local woods. We start a bonfire by the river, roast hot dogs and enjoy each others company. This year we hid a geocache in the area, so we will challenge our out of town family to find it and we’ll have hidden geocache treats for our little boys inside.

    by leah | December 15, 2011 at 6:14 am

  8. We celebrate quietly in our home most nights of Hanukah,adding one more candle to our menorah in the window each night and lighting all of the menorah’s that the kids have made through the years each night as well. it is a festival of lights for sure! Then on Christmas day we go to my sister-in law’s house for Christmachanuakah breakfast. We cook latkes, eat lox and bagels, eggs, etc. and we light one of our menorahs while their family exchanges gifts. This morning tradition is relaxed, infused with mimosas and lots of singing (even though we don’t sing very well.) Cooking as a family is priceless and tastes most delicious.

    by angela | December 15, 2011 at 6:22 am

  9. My husband’s birthday is December 24th so we try to focus on him and not Santa and a Cashmoore blanket would brighten up his mood fer sure! So our tradition has been to celebrate as a family with a very special chocolate cake, the more chocolate the better and presents with birthday wrapping paper and keep all hints of Christmas out of his special day! It’s very hard!! On Christmas eve we do however get to open 1 present of your choosing and shaking the boxes IS allowed! Then off to church for the family Mass, which always makes our heart smile. On Christmas day I love to take a family walk with our dog Sophie, not everyone likes this part, but I make it one of Mom’s presents from the family to Momma:-) We the open presents, slowly and watch each other as one opens there gifts. Every year breakfast consists of eggs with crabcakes and mimosas of course and lets not forget about the once a year godiva chocolates. We end the day with all saying out loud 1 thing we are most thankful for. Family traditions are unique and only special to that family which makes Christmas so magical! Merry Christmas Hornytoad … L-O-V-E your stuff!!!

    by katherine | December 15, 2011 at 6:28 am

  10. Every year for the past 34 years we have had a cookie day. Moms, grandmother, kids all get together and we bake cookies all day long while the guys watch football and eat cookies and everyone catches up. Such a great day, everybody attends every year. There are so few times that we all get together it is so special.

    by barb | December 15, 2011 at 6:55 am

  11. We have a blended family, and they have married into traditional and blended families. With all the pressure put on our kids to be somewhere on a certian time or night we strive to not be locked down on anything. We try to honor everyone else’s special time and get together around that. Funny thing is that our house becomes the one they place they all end up after their “You have to be at Dad’s by 6” requirements are met. Sometime over the holidays all 7 of our kids get together to just hang out and catch up. We end up playing games usually till late into the night. I guess you might say our tradition is not have a tradition.

    by Janet | December 15, 2011 at 7:00 am

  12. Our family tradition is PJs and Prime Rib! Our entire extended family gathers together on Christmas evening in our pajamas to relax and just enjoy being together. On the dinner table we use a tablecloth that we have all signed year after year. Instead of a massive exchange of gifts we each just bring one item and we have an exchange. I would love to bring a Cashmoore blanket as my gift for the exchange and introduce my family to more about Living Toadally.

    by Wendy Ranck-Buhr | December 15, 2011 at 7:01 am

  13. My mother in law started a traditiion on christmas eve to go driving through town to look at christmas lights and then eat chinese (a la A Christmas Story, a family favorite). It was a way to have time with her family during a busy season. All her boys still enjoy the tradition and as our families have grown to include children the fun continues. Her boys still love this time and with two of them working at the local fire department it can be diffiuclt to get together and we might have to change the date, but what a fun and relaxing way to spend time with each other. One of the best things is that the tradition has spread so much to include extended family that we rented a bus last year!

    by Braden | December 15, 2011 at 7:14 am

  14. Every Christmas Eve, no matter how cold it is, me have a family boccie ball game. With a red rider wagon full of holiday spirits and 3 dogs in-tow, we head down the street to the park and see which side of the family gets bragging rights for the year. I just got married so now the competition is going to be fierce since both families are coming to our house for xmas.

    by Ben | December 15, 2011 at 7:14 am

  15. Every Christmas Eve, no matter how cold it is, me have a family boccie ball game. With a red rider wagon full of holiday spirits and 3 dogs in-tow, we head down the street to the park and see which side of the family gets bragging rights for the year. I just got married so now the competition is going to be fierce since both families are coming to our house for xmas

    by Ben | December 15, 2011 at 7:15 am

  16. My tradition is to stay up far too late on Christmas Eve wrapping presents and saying, “Never again! Next year I’ll get things wrapped sooner.” And then the next year rolls by and I’m up until 1 a.m. wrapping gifts for my two kids again, listening to Christmas music on the radio and appreciating the quiet of the house and the glow of the lights on the tree, knowing I will have two excited kids at my bedside in just a few hours, ready to run downstairs and start the day. I’ve been solo parenting my two children since my husband died of cancer when I was pregnant with our daughter, so I’ve always had my hands full, especially at Christmas. Doing those final preparations in the early hours of Christmas morning is exhausting but it also allows me some time to reflect on the year, the nature of giving from the heart as a parent, and the limitless amount of love one can have for one’s children, and for a desperately missed spouse.

    by C.C. | December 15, 2011 at 7:16 am

  17. For our family tradition, we bake Christmas cookies on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, listening to Christmas stories and music as we decorate. Then, we pile into the car and visit my sister’s home for our traditonal family secret santa gift exchange. Poems and hints are written on the tags and the guessing and laughter begins! A crackling fire, rum spiked eggnog, a spiral ham and lots of Christmas goodies top off the gathering. We have done this every year since my children were born!

    by ann | December 15, 2011 at 7:20 am

  18. Each year I make a photo book for our family using
    photos I’ve taken over the past year — a great way
    to remember the good times!

    by JANET KLUEVER | December 15, 2011 at 7:21 am

  19. We practice the longstanding tradition of going to the Chinese restaurant on Christmas, naturally.

    by nancy | December 15, 2011 at 7:25 am

  20. My family is Jewish, so our Christmas tradition consists of enjoying a lazy day off. We used to get Chinese food for dinner, but the past few years, we’ve stayed home and made latkes together, since we’re usually to busy to do it during Hannukah!

    by Jess | December 15, 2011 at 7:28 am

  21. Our family tradtion is to bake Christmas gingerbread people on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. We listen to Christmas stories and holiday music while we decorate the cookies. Then we pile into the car and visit Auntie Beth for our annual Christmas secret Santa gift exchange. Everyone writes little poems and silly jingles on the tags and the guessing and laughter begins! We sit around the Christmas tree in front of crackling fire enjoying brandy spiked egg nog, spiral ham and lots of Christmas goodies. A “cozy cousins” photograph is taken each year before leaving so we have captured this tradition from babyhood on. It has been a 25 year tradition and we so look forward to it every year!

    by ann | December 15, 2011 at 7:32 am

  22. My husband’s Hungarian grandmother always made homemade chicken noodle soup for Christmas. Every Christmas Eve we start making our own batch “the old way” using our woodstove to simmer it throughout the day. We even use one of our own homegrown chickens! The smell permeates the house throughout the day until darkness falls. My husband and I, along with our 3 children enjoy a cup of soup with cheese and summer sausage in front of the fire, and exchange our presents for each other afterward.

    by Aimee | December 15, 2011 at 7:38 am

  23. A couple of years ago, my wife and I got a cat, and my wife worried about it destroying an indoor Christmas tree, so we opted for an outdoor one. As we had some firs that needed to come down, we went big. For 2 years now, we have had a tree taller that the house, with guy-wires, and lights as high as I could throw them from the top of the ladder. It’s kind of a hoot. You can see a pic on my website.

    by Todd Rohlen | December 15, 2011 at 7:45 am

  24. We cook albondigas soup and tamales for Christmas. It seems like it is the only time we MAKE time to enjoy the cooking ritual that brings a family together. Then we all watch football games. It lets everyone – young and old – focus on something fun to talk about and break the ice.

    by Debbie T | December 15, 2011 at 7:46 am

  25. When I was a child, my extended family — aunts, uncles, cousins, grandma — and my family all got together every Christmas Eve. Every year my mom or one of her sisters would take turns hosting the gathering. Everyone ate dinner before they arrived, so the focus of the gathering was visiting with each other and opening gifts. My nine cousins and I eagerly anticipated the arrival of Santa at the party — my dad or one of the uncles would don an old, somewhat moth-eaten Santa suit and show up with a bag of presents. Now my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles are all gone, so those gatherings are just a memory, but I want to recreate the same magic for my own kids. I make sure we get together with my husband’s family; his brother has four kids and to watch my kids run around with their cousins, full of the excitement of a Christmas family get-together, is the best gift I could ever receive.

    by Susan | December 15, 2011 at 7:48 am

  26. Justin, Dianne, and granddaughter, Honey Rose live in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. My son was born there and married sweet Dianne. Honey Rose was 13 on Halloween.

    Since Australia is 15 hours ahead of Louisiana, I call them on Christmas Eve here, whilst they are opening their stockings hung by the chimney with care on Christmas morning. They then “have Christmas breakfast” with me. It’s summer in Australia in December, so they have grilled shrimp on grits! I have a pot of tea and a hot, buttered homemade scone!

    Sharing that time is precious to me. Christmas of 2012 I will be there with them. They’ll have to put more prawns on the barbie, won’t they.

    by Patricia Oates | December 15, 2011 at 7:58 am

  27. Every year, the day after Thanksgiving, we head out to a tree farm almost an hour from our house. We have been doing this since my sons were born. There is a huge barn selling cider, baked treats and Christmas decorations. There is a Santa house with Mrs. Claus. She has watched my boys grow up, now 12 and 15. She puts their name on the nice list for Santa, and we board a horse drawn wagon out into the fields to cut down a tree. We buy our own tree pre-cut from their lot, but we cut down a tree for our boys to decorate. (The years of juggling two trees from the field are over:)) When we started having a kids tree, our oldest was two…so this tree was pretty short. Now that he is close to 6 feet tall, we laugh, because the tall kids tree, in our kitchen is only 10 feet away from the taller family tree. My sons fill their tree with colored lights, and their collection of ornaments we have given them over the years. There are Star Wars ornaments, firefighters, snowmen, trucks, alligators all topped by a jolly Santa tree topper. They decorate this one on their own, so the lights and ornament placement have that wonderful kids touch. We decorate our family tree together, and it holds ornaments from the beautiful family vacations we have taken. When I look at it, I am reminded of Hawaii, Colorado, California, fishing, skiing, and swimming with sea turtles. It also holds their talents of guitar and drums as well as tiny hand prints and framed smiling faces. Everyday, as I do dishes and cook, my heart is warmed by all the memories on these trees, and the size of the ‘kids tree’ reminds me how my boys are so big know. Our trees, are my December friends, coming to visit, and remind me what a beautiful, blessed life we have. I just can’t imagine Christmas without them.

    by Krista Burke | December 15, 2011 at 8:15 am

  28. Every year we take our daughter to the train park. The park decorates the tunnel with lights and decorations. The highlight is the snow making machine after the tunnel. Living in the southwest this little bit of snow is always welcomed.

    by Rena | December 15, 2011 at 8:25 am

  29. I start a big batch of green chile stew and we head out and cut our christmas tree. We decorate and watch football.

    by tamra | December 15, 2011 at 8:35 am

  30. Every Christmas eve I pull out my grandmothers recipes–most written by hand–and enjoy making their twice-baked potatoes, yeast rolls, and cherry pie. They have been gone for years now, but I always feel connected to them when I can see and feel the paper that their hands once touched. Happy Holidays everyone!

    by Sus | December 15, 2011 at 8:36 am

  31. We have been a Mom plus 2 kids family for the past 12 years, so we have made some of our own traditions. After checking out goodies in our stockings, we have a large hot breakfast that we eat right next to the tree. Then, still in the PJs we stay in all day, we open out presents slowly so we can really check them out and be grateful for them. We have a paper camera or 2 out and try to catch the great facial expressions of those who are opening presents. Later, its family game time, still in PJs.

    by Lynn Konchanin | December 15, 2011 at 8:39 am

  32. Ah Christmas. My traditions focus on mountains, skiing, friendship and reflection. It’s always a desire to find myself in the backcountry or maybe on a powder day on the mountain. I share a wonderful meal with my surrogate family at the close of Christmas day. This year I start a new tradition involving my new love. She has four legs, a beautiful face, and licks me in the morning. Can’t wait to celebrate with her.

    by Carol | December 15, 2011 at 8:42 am

  33. I’ve been single for most of the past years holidays, so I rarely have any solid plans. I try to stay open to going visiting some local friends and family. Sometimes, my friends and I get together for an “orphan” holiday meal which is fun. Sometimes I play gigs (I play the drums). I enjoy giving gifts and sharing meals. I’m not religious. I like to celebrate the winter solstice by spending time in nature.

    by Leo Ciaramitaro | December 15, 2011 at 8:47 am

  34. We come down in our PJs, open stockings and snack on whatever goodies may be inside, then have a hearty breakfast, and dig in to the presents. My husband’s family tradition is to take a good long walk after dinner, which we now do too.

    by Erica Grivas | December 15, 2011 at 8:52 am

  35. On the day after Thanksgiving we go pick out our tree at the lot. Then we spend the rest of the weekend decorating.

    by Sue Farrell | December 15, 2011 at 8:52 am

  36. Since my son is special needs and has been receiving services from age 2 1/2, we wanted to thank all the providers and teachers in his life. Each year the kids and I (KC age 12 and LC age 9) gather apples, make homemade applesauce and bake meringue cookies. We hand deliver our Christmas cards in baskets filled with goodies from our home. We get a chance to personally wish everyone a wonderful holiday and thank them for all that they do for us.

    by Corinna Cushing | December 15, 2011 at 8:54 am

  37. My husband’s mom is Swedish. We do a Swedish Smorgasbord with my Steve’s homemade Swedish Meatballs and Limpa Bread.
    We enjoy Christmas music by Harry Connick Jr. while I address homemade holiday cards.

    by Karen Tardrew | December 15, 2011 at 9:13 am

  38. The tradition that I most enjoy about Christmas is the Christmas day walk. After we open presents and eat a long and lazy breakfast, we bundle up in our warmest clothes and pick a park nearby. We currently live ten miles drive from two national parks, so we usually go to one of these splendors. We have a leisurely but substantial walk with our family and guests. I love the feeling of being so warm and happy inside, wrapped in scarves, jackets and gloves while walking through the quiet forests in the cool winter air. We are often the only ones out and go no matter the weather, the snowier it is the better it is. The forest feels like a peaceful sanctuary where we can appreciate our health, the natural world around us and our close bonds with each other. I look forward to this pinnacle of holiday warmth every year.

    by Kerry | December 15, 2011 at 9:18 am

  39. Our Holiday family tradition involves making rum balls! We started it as youngsters & had to be super careful to only eat a few but as an adult they are super yum! ;D

    by Erika M. | December 15, 2011 at 9:22 am

  40. Our extended family’s tradition is to eat lasagna for Christmas dinner! It’s a secret family recipe version, too……

    by Jessica | December 15, 2011 at 9:36 am

  41. My daughter and I watch It’s a Wonderful Life while decorating the tree on a weekend before Christmas. I cry every year!

    by LJ | December 15, 2011 at 9:36 am

  42. We have two main traditions in our family. One, my immediate family (just my parents and I) each get one ornament every year, usually one that symbolizes something special about that year, like a road trip or me starting law school. Two, when the whole huge extended family is over to open presents on xmas morning, we go in order of youngest to oldest, and there’s always a little joke scuffle about who’s younger than who. The youngest also has the honor of passing out the presents, though if it’s a wee toddler the next youngest will help them.

    by Rachel | December 15, 2011 at 9:37 am

  43. Every year the kids and I choose a family who’s a little down on their luck and give them the 12 Days of Christmas. On each of the 12 Days leading up to Christmas we find a way to leave a little gift that has something to do with each Day in the song. There are two tricks to this: 1)Not getting caught … the kids are having a great time while learning about anonomys giving; and 2)Finding items that relate to the song … for “4 Calling Birds” we found a little cell phone ornament 🙂

    by Meg | December 15, 2011 at 9:38 am

  44. My wife and I aren’t the greenest people in the wirld but we do have some die hard principals. things like less waste, living simply, buying organic when it makes economical sense and of course recycling. Carbon Dioxide is consumed by trees and we have taken a strong effort to limit the useless destruction of such a resource. We do not buy anything that is less than 100% recycled content when it comes to Toilet paper and Paper towels. Frome this stemmed our christmas tradition. Rather than buying a fake plastic tree or cutting down a live one for 6 weeks of use in a home decorated. Instead we buy a 4′ potted evergreen and when the holidays are over we find a place to plant it, contributing back to the earth rather than taking from it.

    by mike daurio | December 15, 2011 at 9:53 am

  45. Since moving the mountains five years ago, my husband and I go skiing on Christmas morning before all the tourists get out there. Christmas and New Year’s Day mornings are nice and quiet on the mountain.

    by Sally | December 15, 2011 at 9:54 am

  46. We stay up all night Christmas Eve, sleep in and take the day off on Christmas, and then proceed to eat, drink and be merry!

    by melissa mc | December 15, 2011 at 10:25 am

  47. My mom wakes up crazy early every Christmas Eve to bake orange glazed crescent rolls (a family favorite). Last year I started the tradition of waking up even earlier than her to make hot chocolate for us to drink as she teaches me to make orange glazed crescent rolls.

    by Maria | December 15, 2011 at 10:30 am

  48. My children and I bake cut-out sugar cookies and decorate oodles of them! Then we package them up and deliver to all the neighbors in our cul-du-sac. After they’ve all been delivered, we make hot chocolate and top each mug with 2-3 inches of whipped cream, then watch the original “Miracle on 34th Street” in front of the fireplace. Ahh … Christmas peace 🙂

    by Anne | December 15, 2011 at 10:40 am

  49. Our family tradition is to eat breakfast from our stockings (mmm, chocolate for breakfast!), then take the dogs out for a hike. It’s a nice way to get moving and cancel out some of the eating we’ll do later in the day.

    by Amy | December 15, 2011 at 10:43 am

  50. I love buying ‘gifts’ that give back. Last year, in our family gift exchange, I a Chip@tle gift card with half of the sum but the other half of the sum I bought rice and beans that would be distributed to those in need in Haiti. And for stocking stuffers I put notes in telling my family that immunizations were purchased for children in Africa.

    by Heather | December 15, 2011 at 10:44 am

  51. My dad’s birthday is Christmas eve, so we usually hang around his garage watching him cook turkeys, fish, collards, etc. And listen to him trying to convince his dear friend ivan (karien Terrier) that he is yet again turning 50). Merry Christmas!

    by Leslie Norris | December 15, 2011 at 10:50 am

  52. For many years, members of my Mother’s very large extended family have gathered in Portland, OR in early December to make gingerbread houses. Of course, there is then the question of what to do with them after the Christmas. We solved that by blowing them up with homemade explosives at our post-Christmas family gathering with upwards up 50+ people watching and video cameras rolling.

    by Cathy Wickwire | December 15, 2011 at 11:05 am

  53. When we were kids, we always spent the night at my grandparent’s house on Christmas and Santa came there. Well, my mom can’t let go of the tradition so we still sleep over and Santa still visits me (I’m 28), my hubby, and my 35 year old brother! 🙂 My Santa deserves a good blankey!

    by Jennifer C. | December 15, 2011 at 11:06 am

  54. 2011 has been a year of change, and this will be my first Christmas truly with my fiancé. Since next Christmas will be our first together as husband and wife, we’ve decided to forgo a cut tree this year to obtain all our decor for next year. In the meanwhile, we have a gorgeous minimalist tree, and we’re starting a new tradition with his family– a homey BBQ feast in lieu of the traditional Christmas fodder! As for my own family, we always had a bit of East meets West (as we’re Chinese) so we always have Western dishes like a gorgeous ham, as well as festive Chinese fare like savory sticky rice! I can’t wait for my husband-to-be and I to start our own traditions together!

    by tina c | December 15, 2011 at 11:08 am

  55. Christmas eve we do the bulk of our present exchange and on the day itself we nosh Triscuts spread with a classic Betty Crocker cheeseball and watch Gremlins. It’s laid back and crusiy.

    by Jessica Powers | December 15, 2011 at 11:30 am

  56. There’s a couple of traditions I ave for the holidays. First being that for the last 15 plus years my family all goes to mom and dad’s place Christmas eve for dinner and we ALWAYS order a ridiculous amount of pizza! This goes hand in hand with the outrageous amounts of “holiday cheer” that each of my family members bring (we have a BYOB rule mainly for variety)! But my favorite is getting up before the sun rises on Christmas day to hike with my dog Dante. We spend the morning sitting atop a ridge overlooking Lake Michigan and the sunrise before heading home to family, food, presents, and more “holiday cheer”! Happy and safe holidays everyone!

    by Michael EcoHiker Defenbaugh | December 15, 2011 at 11:36 am

  57. Morning hike with our dog Esther, booze coffees and snuggles. The blanket would be perrrrrrfect.

    by Maggie LaRoche | December 15, 2011 at 11:55 am

  58. We love going into the woods to decorate a tree for the birds with edible decorations.

    by bets | December 15, 2011 at 11:59 am

  59. We don’t celebrate Christmas because we are Jewish, so I roast a turkey and take it to a local Alcohol Anonymous 24 hour alcathon, where Alcoholics go to eat and attend meetings to keep them sobor. Many do not want to be with their drinking families, so they go where there is fellowship, good food and hear the message of Christmas spirit.
    Barbara Frisch-Klopper

    by Barbara Frisch-Klopper | December 15, 2011 at 12:08 pm

  60. We always do an advent calendar through the whole month of December, sometimes one that opens up with chocolate and sometimes one that opens up with sayings. We have ice cream sundaes on Christmas Eve after church services, and we always make my grandmother’s peanut butter balls. Yum!

    by Sarah Davenport | December 15, 2011 at 12:25 pm

  61. On Christmas morning the pre-elected Santa Lucia (usually the youngest kid) and her two helpers get up very early and head down the kitchen. Santa Lucia dons her headdress made of cedar bows and gives a candle to one helper and a bell to the other. They then proceed thru the house, room by room welcoming everyone to Christmas morning. After everyone is awake we congregate in our parents (now grandparents) room to drink coffee and eat pastries while opening our stockings.

    by Anne Kuiper | December 15, 2011 at 12:38 pm

  62. Christmas Eve we have cheese fondue and invite anyone whom we encounter who does not seem to have plans. We have pears, apples, sausage, mushrooms, other veggies and all sorts of bread options. It is pure heaven, communal and easy. It doesn’t hurt that I married a man who had two fondue sets!

    by Minda | December 15, 2011 at 12:43 pm

  63. We often visit family as we’ve moved several times. What’s constant is opening our stocking presents, even when we travel, then having a big pastry breakfast before opening the big presents under the tree. Our family rule is that whatever clothing you get must be put on and worn through the whole present opening process.
    Many blessings for the holidays.

    by Barb | December 15, 2011 at 12:48 pm

  64. We take a family walk on Christmas day and enjoy the outdoors and observing nature.

    by Grace | December 15, 2011 at 2:18 pm

  65. For many years now, I have been wrapping all my presents on Christmas Eve while watching classic holiday movies. By early morning many channels will begin showing church services and scenes from distant parts of the world (Europe, Russia, Vatican City…). It’s fun to flip through the channels and see the rest of the world waking up, before I go to sleep. Then on Christmas morning our family gathers for a sticky roll feast. My mom spends hours making the sweet, yeasty dough that is twisted with cinnamon and covered in a melted butter and brown sugar goo. We pig out and then open presents while in our sugar coma.

    by kathi | December 15, 2011 at 3:31 pm

  66. My boyfriend and I get on the internet xmas day and I get to pick out the “animals” to purchase for those less fortunate on the Heifier international website. We have “given” geese, ducks, chicks and someday hope to move up to bigger animals, as our limited income allows it. This is our gift to each other, and to someone we don’t know but hope it helps.

    by carol j | December 15, 2011 at 3:35 pm

  67. This is our first year in our new (first!) home so my husband, our yellow lab, and I will be creating some new traditions. We’ll be making some cookies…we’re not big on religion, so they will be winter solstice celebration cookies. We’re also going to start our Christmas dinner tradition of a big dish of lasagna and then watch some movies by the fire. Hopefully, we might even get a little snow so we can play outside with our dog to work up a good appetite!

    by Jessica ZP | December 15, 2011 at 3:56 pm

  68. My family has many traditions but there is one that means the most to me. Every Christmas night after we eat dinner, and open all our presents, the last thing is always the stockings. At the toe of each of the stockings there is our favorite piece of fruit. Sitting around the tree with piles of newly opened gifts and wrapping paper now in every remaining inch of room, my almost 90 year old Grandma always tells us then when she was little all she and her sisters would get for Christmas was a piece of fruit and reminds us to ponder what we have and to be grateful for everything, not just whats under the tree but all year long.

    by Max H. | December 15, 2011 at 4:29 pm

  69. When I was little, my mother didn’t make dessert very often. I, however, have a horrible sweet tooth. As soon as I was old enough, I started making desserts. I inherited my Grandpa’s candy recipes. Every year I make Grandpa’s caramels for everyone in the family as well as close friends. The caramels are a part of my grandpa that I get to experience every year. And when I go to my families and friends houses, they crack the door and say, “Do you have caramels?” with a smile on their faces. I am not the richest person in the world, but those caramels that I bring make me feel like I am. 🙂

    by Katie G | December 15, 2011 at 5:00 pm

  70. Since her 3rd Christmas, our 5 yr. old and daddy have, with good intentions, made their own star for the tree. Yet, after it falling again and again, we always end up buying a new one. We buy a small one so that the following year it will become a decoration and the home made star can be attempted. Again. We always laugh, but promise to try again the next year.

    by Peg M. | December 15, 2011 at 5:53 pm

  71. I have always loved watching my dad make homemade eggnog lattes and even hearing him lecture about how “perfect” he makes them. We would then leisurely eat breakfast and drink while music filled the room and random dancing ensued. When I was younger it was such a big deal when given the chance to grind the coffee beans and the feeling of togetherness was the best. Now getting excited for this year…

    by nolan | December 15, 2011 at 6:10 pm

  72. Early in the morning on Christmas Day we climb out from under our down comforter, bundle up, put on our snowshoes, and trek up through the woods in the park adjoining our Alaska neighborhood to a ridge where we can see mountains in every direction. If it is clear and cold we can watch the Aurora Borealis dance across the beautiful northern sky.

    by Diane Pedersen | December 15, 2011 at 6:13 pm

  73. We like to prepare Christmas breakfast (casserole and stollen) the night before, so on Christmas morning they just go into the oven and bake while we get started with the day’s festivities. When breakfast is ready, it’s time for a break.

    by Gaye M | December 15, 2011 at 6:35 pm

  74. Every Christmas, we get a tiny dwarf pine to decorate and then plant it in our yard when the ground thaws in the spring. This past summer was so hot and dry in Kansas, though, that all six of our past trees died. Time to start a new tradition?

    by Naomi | December 15, 2011 at 6:54 pm

  75. My favorite holiday tradition is baking cookies the night before santa arrives. Santa LOVES warm fresh cookies!! & we would LOVE a new snuggly blanket to stay warm with <3

    by wendy r | December 15, 2011 at 6:59 pm

  76. When we moved here from Canada 7 years ago, Christmas with palm trees and without snow just felt plain weird! Of the meager belongings that actually followed us south, one is the tackiest little ceramic Christmas tree my sister made for my parents 30+ years ago. Family from up north always send a few gifts so Christmas morning, we eat potato pancakes (my husband’s background is Ukranian) and sip champagne. We don’t have kids so the highlight is watching our dog open presents! We lost our sweet Dexter last year, but hope to continue the tradition with our rescue Blanche. I hope she can figure out how to rip into the wrapping!

    by Sylvie M. | December 15, 2011 at 8:15 pm

  77. Our local Christmas tree farm is rural and we have to cross a covered bridge to get to it. Usually there is snow on the ground. After arriving we get to take a tour of the farm on Clydesdale drawn wagons, make smores by the fire and hand feed the horses hay. This year because of work schedules we haven’t gotten our tree yet. I suggested to our children that we just go to a lot and get a tree. But they would have none of it. To them the magic is our experience together- not the tree. So we will go, three days before Christmas, but we will go.

    by lacy | December 15, 2011 at 8:21 pm

  78. My family celebrates Advent and Christmas with a Jesse Tree. Every evening we sing together, read a short Bible excerpt and see the miracle of Christmas unfold.

    On another note, I LOVE my new HT clothes…the Marty skirts are so comfy paired with wool tights (and so much cuter than jeans!).

    by monica | December 15, 2011 at 8:22 pm

  79. Christmas is always a special time for my family. My sister was born on December 24th, so in addition to getting ready for the holidays, we also celebrate her birthday. Our tradition involves selecting a tree as a family and putting it up a few days before Christmas. My dad puts the lights on, but we save the decorating for the 24th. We all gather around, listening to Christmas music and decorate the tree for my sister’s birthday. Sometimes I feel bad that she was born around Christmas, but then again, I don’t get to decorate a tree on my September birthday! Every so often, my family has suggested traveling at Christmas, but I always insist we stay home. I love our traditions and know Christmas won’t be the same away from home.

    by Corinne | December 15, 2011 at 8:36 pm

  80. Every year a few nights before Christmas, we slather lots of sugar pine cones with peanut butter and coat them with bird seed, slice up apples and oranges, tying string to each piece. We then fill our thermos’ with hot chocolate, load up the car cd player with holiday music and head out to the woods at night with headlamps and snowshoes to decorate the trees for the wildlife. It’s our “Night Tree” adventure and even though the kids are now in their late teens, they haven’t grown out of this tradition. Oh, and we do return in the spring to remove any string that remains!

    by Wendy Conner | December 15, 2011 at 8:59 pm

  81. I very much want to have real traditions, but until that happens, I’ll have to settle for decorating our tiny tree, watching the cats dismantle it, and then snuggling with my sweetie under our Cashmoore couch blankie with those selfsame cats crawling on top of us, trying to make amends for eating the tree!

    by Mary Capps | December 15, 2011 at 9:36 pm

  82. I have always loved the Christmas specials, especially Frosty the Snowman, Charlie Brown Christmas, and Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer. I’m not always able to see them all but when I can watch them with family or friends, it’s like I’m revisiting a little part of my childhood. And I love all the great food during the holiday season.

    by Jeff Eaves | December 16, 2011 at 1:03 am

  83. Each year sometime before Christmas day, between my wife, two daughters and myself, we decorate a couple of gingerbread houses. The best part is collecting the different types of candy (decorations) in preparation for the build and then only using half of the ingredients. And it usually turns into a contest to see who is going to have the nicest looking house.

    by Lance | December 16, 2011 at 2:06 am

  84. We have a tradition with my dad’s best friend’s family that dates back to more than twenty years ago – when my sisters and I were tiny. We spend weeks making popcorn and cranberry chains, coating pretzels with bird seed, stringing apple pieces, and creating edible decorations for animals. Then, on the night of “the night tree,” we have a huge potluck dinner together. After eating, we bundle up in incredible numbers of layers (this is all happening in chilly Vermont), walk a half mile through the snow to a specific tree (the same one year after year), decorate it with candles and the food, scatter hay around the base for deer, and sing Christmas carols. Everyone gets to choose their favorite. Then we walk down to the pond, which has been cleared for skating, light candles in the snowbanks around it, and play a round of pond hockey and enjoy the night. Finally, we hike back up to the house to de-bundle and eat a huge amount of dessert. It’s all pretty magical. The whole preparation and the night itself are one of my favorite parts of the holidays. (I don’t know if this was originally started based on Eve Bunting’s “Night Tree” book – I have never asked.)

    by Allegra | December 16, 2011 at 4:14 am

  85. My husband and I drink mulled wine from a local winery after the kidlets are in bed on Christmas Eve. We each take a few bites of the cookies left out for Santa and fill the stocking together. Then we play card games until we look at the clock and realize we better go to bed since we’ll surely have a 4 am wake up call from eager children who can hardly wait for Christmas morning.

    by becky | December 16, 2011 at 8:15 am

  86. Making Norwegian
    Lefse with Mom and Grandma
    While snow gently falls

    by nicole | December 16, 2011 at 10:06 am

  87. we get together with our chosen family a week before christmas and decorate their tree. typical, yes… but we make it a contest. it’s a fake tree and a biggie at that. every year we try to beat our time of getting it from box to fully assembled and fluffed. it’s a flurry of lots of hands, cats getting in the way and a countdown! this year, we have to beat 5 and a half minutes. then we drink some local beer, have some cookies and debate what ornament is the cheesiest.

    by renee | December 16, 2011 at 10:36 am

  88. We go to Mass and on the way home get hot cocoa and then drive through the 2 neighborhoods that do the best decorating – roll down the windows to hear the music that some houses play. When we get home we let our three boys open their new Christmas ornament. Bring out the snacks for Santa and the Reindeer. Then the boys sprinkle the Reindeer dust outside to guide in Santa’s sleigh that night. After we read the night before Christmas and tuck them in we get our charcoal and make deer prints in the snow to mark where the Reindeer landed and throw chopped up carrots and celery around to look like remnants of the snack (this is my favorite part). Usually my husband and I watch it’s a wonderful life and help Santa do his thing!

    by Tricia | December 16, 2011 at 12:13 pm

  89. My son (5) and I go to a small minimally groomed wild tree farm down the road. We live in Maine. We always pick a spindly tree that is WAY too tall for our living room, proudly bring back the ugly duckling tree to show Mom, cut off way too much to make it fit, and enjoy making our own “Charlie Brown tree” every year. –

    by Eric | December 16, 2011 at 1:22 pm

  90. Sugarplums may dance in our heads on Christmas Eve, but our minds on Christmas morning are fixated on our traditional feast of King Crab Benedict. Each person has a specific chore, from steaming the legs to perfectly poaching the eggs, to the Hollandaise that takes constant stirring, and the toasted to just crisp English muffins. We toast with Mimosas to our rare family time together, acknowledging how fortunate we are.

    by Barbara Kenyon | December 16, 2011 at 2:32 pm

  91. We spend Christmas Eve day with my parents and the evening with my inlaws arranging the presents around the tree for the 7 grandchildren. Christmas day my mother in law makes roast beast for a crew of 14. Yummy!

    by Joan Kear | December 16, 2011 at 3:44 pm

  92. From a very young age I always remembered that my mom would have a traditional apple strudel for breakfast after we opened all our presents. To this day, I have shared that tradition with my family and we do the same thing I did when I was a kid. Open presents and then eat apple strudel for breakfast. Every Christmas it brings back the memories of being a kid and how wonderful Christmastime is.

    by alison janecka | December 16, 2011 at 4:38 pm

  93. We have a pickle ornament for our tree, and from the 15th of December until Christmas, the first child to find the pickle gets to pick an early Christmas present. The pickle tradition started with my grandmother and we’re still using the original ornament

    by Susan Alles | December 16, 2011 at 5:01 pm

  94. We open presents early Christmas morning, then head up to Mt Bachelor and the tubing hill. We tube on the freshly groomed slopes until the adult to child ratio is 1:5 or greater, then head to the bar for Bloody Mary’s and nachos. We are heading home just as all the other folks are head up to ski.
    When we get home, we take the dogs into the woods for a nice, long romp.

    by Ellie Musgrove | December 16, 2011 at 6:05 pm

  95. Tamales, Tamales, Tamales, Christmas Eve, everyone who want one needs to make at the very least one, then they go eat appetizers, drink a merriment inspired drinky and us ladies indulge in tequila, laughing, crying and usually make about 400 Tamales! Pork with Red Sauce, mom’s recipe (thanks mom, RIP) and green chile and cheese for my non meat eaters. A lot of work but worth it.

    by stephanie Torres | December 16, 2011 at 6:38 pm

  96. We have our family to our house for Christmas Eve. It’s dinner with all the special things we normally don’t get or indulge in all year – everyone has a favorite and we try to have every one. Later we open our gifts with each other. We do this so the kids and go to their “other” parents house on Christmas day, and repeat (smile).

    by Johannah B | December 16, 2011 at 8:05 pm

  97. We fly kites in the winter winds and then bundle back indoors

    by rob | December 16, 2011 at 9:06 pm

  98. Every year we go shopping together to buy a new ornament for our tree, each family member gets a new one each year.Our tree is full of stories and memories and means so much to each of us.

    by kathy music | December 16, 2011 at 10:28 pm

  99. My boyfriend’s birthday is the 24th so we celebrate birthday and have chocolate cake, I make a very chocolaty and healthy cake on that day. We plan to do something goofy and special, just to make sure he still feels like a kid in his forties, if we are still awake around midnight, we will open a gift. Then we make a good brunch, open presents with our kitties, call in to all the families, and head for the movies. End the day with a slice of chocolate cake and warm milk. Ahhh.

    by Karina | December 16, 2011 at 11:56 pm

  100. Christmas Eve is the day my sister and I honor our Dad – who passed in 2008. Christmas Eve was always his favorite holiday which included a fabolous meal. We cook something in his honor and read “The Night Before Christmas” to the kids, just like he did.

    by kristi | December 17, 2011 at 6:55 am

  101. Our Christmas Eve fondue party!

    by Tammy | December 17, 2011 at 8:49 am

  102. Since beginning to share our lives together, we have celebrated the 12 days before Christmas with small, fun, romantic, quirky, goofy, etc daily gifts that cost <= $1 (just think-12 gifts for only $12; completely unheard of!). Our little tradition continues, despite the increasing difficulty of finding new fun gifts for $1 and recently discovered (after looking through our collection) that we have acquired almost every fun, romantic, quirky, and goofy $1 gifts available, but we will keep on looking and sharing because they are the most treasured gifts we receive/give 🙂

    by Jennifer Sansom | December 17, 2011 at 7:10 pm

  103. Our tradition started in 2001, three months into our marriage. We awoke to a blizzard on Christmas Day and needless to say we could not carry out our travel plans. Thinking we were going to be out of town for the next few days, we hadn’t stocked up on food. Our Sausage and Pepper Pasta bake was created that year and comes to life every Christmas Eve with a retelling of our first Chirstmas together to our children.

    by Matt | December 18, 2011 at 12:47 pm

  104. We have a tradition when all the gifts have been opened, everyone that would like participate in the “pickle find”, leaves the room. Then someone, usually the winner of last year, hides a pickle in the tree. After it’s well hidden everyone comes back and searches the tree to find the pickle, which is harder than it sounds since a pickle is perfect camouflage in a giant tree full of great hiding places. Once the tree is torn apart and the pickle has finally been found, the winner receives a bonus gift and the title for the year.

    by Elizabeth | December 18, 2011 at 4:01 pm

  105. We go stargazing. Growing up on an Air Force base, the excitement on Christmas Eve would reach its peak when a local tv news bulletin announced that the base’s radar had picked up an “unidentified flying object,” confirming Santa’s existence for me. When I became a parent I wondered how I could give that same magic to my son, and hit upon the idea of watching the skies with our own eyes. We head out to a nature preserve and bundle up with blankets and a thermos of hot cocoa. We watch for Santa’s sleigh, try to pick out the Christmas star, and discuss our wishes for our family for the coming year. Our son makes the family wish upon a star before he dozes off in our laps.

    by Kit | December 18, 2011 at 7:48 pm

  106. My 11 year old daughter and I decorate the tree and my 2 year old son plucks the ornaments off and hides them around the house, or puts them in the kitchen sink. We relax, bake cookies, make home made gifts, watch movies, and enjoy our time together.

    by Nicole | December 18, 2011 at 9:42 pm

  107. My husband and I started a tradition 2 years ago after losing our only son. We buy a live, replantable pine tree (as we are going to have a “Christmas tree forest” once we purchase some land) and decorate the tree with ornaments that are just for our son Elijah. Every year since our loss, we also make or pick an ornament to add to the tree. This year we blew a glass ornament to add to the tree.

    by Megan | December 19, 2011 at 12:57 pm

  108. Wow! What a wealth of great replies… It was difficult to pick a winner, but we think you’ll agree that the one we chose is original, fun and inspiring:

    “Every year a few nights before Christmas, we slather lots of sugar pine cones with peanut butter and coat them with bird seed, slice up apples and oranges, tying string to each piece. We then fill our thermos’ with hot chocolate, load up the car cd player with holiday music and head out to the woods at night with headlamps and snowshoes to decorate the trees for the wildlife. It’s our “Night Tree” adventure and even though the kids are now in their late teens, they haven’t grown out of this tradition. Oh, and we do return in the spring to remove any string that remains!”

    Thanks, Wendy Connor. We’ll send you an email with your promo code good for a Cashmoore blanket and free two day shipping (so it will get there in time for Christmas!)

    by sohlson | December 19, 2011 at 1:24 pm

  109. With my wife being German the family has Christmas on the 24th of December. We start the evening with supper which is German potato salad, bratwurst, and German bread. After that we watch a movie of Christmas theme this year it will be Polar Express, then read the Night Before Christmas then open presents. On the 25th we have the traditional meal with turkey and dressing with all the fixens.

    by James Journey | December 19, 2011 at 2:56 pm

  110. Every year on Christmas Eve my mother and I read “A Childs Christmas in Wales” vvby Dylan Thomas together in a roundtable. Even if we are not together we do it over the phone. A lovely tale of a small boy in wales and his Christmas memories. I also read solo a fabulous book ” A Cajun Christmas” a fanciful romp through the bayou with old St. Nick.

    by Kathleen Fitzgerald | December 20, 2011 at 11:34 am