View Full Version : What are your Holiday Traditions?

11-12-2007, 06:25 AM
Well what can I say..... after years of hoping that the day would come when everyone wouldn't try to control our Holiday Season this year it has come! I have longed for the opportunity to simply stay home on Christmas Day and not have to run all over the state to visit everyone. Not that I don't want to see family....b/c I will be doing that as we're all celebrating days befor or after Christmas Day. I remeber growing up and all we wanted to do on Chirstmas Day is stay in and play w/ our new goodies and I want my boys to be able to experience this too!

Now that my wish has come true and I don't have to rush around, I feel like I can finally start new traditions w/ my DH and kids. The funny thing is I have no idea what to do or what traditions I would like to start. I was sort of hoping you would all use this forum to share your holiday traditions and plans. What type of things do you do w/ your families each year? What have become some of the most cherished and looked forward things you do during the holidays?

This is really my first year that I can do whatever I want and while I'm totally stoked about it, I'm already asking myself....OMG, what am I going to do!

All this freedom!! Ok... I'm anxiously awaiting to hear all of your traditions and plans! In the mean time, I'm off to search the web to see if I can find some recipes so I can make my FIRST attempt at cooking Christmas Dinner!!! :gogo:

11-12-2007, 06:43 AM
We usually start Christmas morning with fresh baked hot cinnomon rolls and coffee (tea for me). Then the kids get to open presents (mine are older and can wait a few minutes). The year we dont have the kids for Christmas morning ( being divorced we rotate the kids for holidays, but we always have them either Christmas eve or Christmas day) we open them as soon as they hit the door lol. Usually we spend Christmas eve with my sister and her family along with our parents and Christmas day we have here with sis and parents also. There are only my sister and I and we live very close to our parents. Johns family dont do much at all.

11-12-2007, 07:45 AM
The 1st year my DD was born we were like you, Theresa, running all over and it was crazy. The next year we stayed home on Christmas Day and have ever since with no company. It was really cool when they were younger so that they could play with their toys all day...it still is cool but now its all about the electronics. Wanted to start going to a movie as a family on that day but that hasn't been a hit yet.
We have no tradtions as far as food. Have tried prime rib, shrimp and lobster dinner, roast...

11-12-2007, 08:55 AM
I can understand where you are coming from Theresa, I actually dreaded the holidays because my girls never got to stay home and play with new things until my in-laws moved to Florida (we were living in NY then), after that we changed all the rules. My parents lived two hours from us so we would go up there to spend the day before Christmas Eve and part of Christmas Eve with them, we then were able to stay home on Christmas Day. My husbands Grandmother was still living then so we did one Christmas Eve with her and the next with my family. The tension of what and where to go on Christmas Day was over. We now all go up to VA to Michelle and Todd's, she was smart and made the rule when Madeline was born that they would never leave home on Christmas, both Todd's family and our family is now together for Christmas, the new tradition is watching Madeline open the mounds of gifts that she gets.

11-12-2007, 10:01 AM
We're in the same boat Theresa .. it's so hard to please everyone come holiday time, but we sure try our hardest. Unfortunately it usually means lots of time spent in the car going from house to house. I think we are trying to start the tradition that we stay home Christmas Eve/Morning and let grandparents come to us - it has been the other way around up until now, but I would like my kids to wake up at home to see what Santa brings!

11-12-2007, 11:34 AM
This was the routine we had growing up: after the Christmas Eve candlelight service at church, we each got to choose one present to open. Then Christmas morning we would open the goodies left in our stocking from Santa. After breakfast (and showers and fresh clothes, per my mom's request:wink:) my little sister would play Santa and pass out everyone's gifts, then we'd take turns opening them. My Dad's birthday is Christmas day, so after the big meal, we have a bday party and a chocolate cake. Lately we've been going to see a movie on Christmas day - not sure if that was intended to become a tradition or not!

11-12-2007, 11:51 AM
Our christmas traditions are a bit different from yours. Growing up, we always decorated the christmas tree on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, then we were banned from the living room until dinner. We ate and then the presents were opened (yes, all of them - that's the way we do this in Germany). When we were younger, we opened the presents before dinner. We always have the same food on Christmas Eve, it's a traditional northern german dish.
We then had time to play with our gifts and then off to bed. The next two days were spent in peace and quiet.
My whole family was living 4 hours away so my Mom decided they could very well join us if they wanted to but we stayed home. My grandparents usually came to visit us.

Now that we have children, we decided in the very first year that we would stay home on Christmas Eve no matter what. Everyone is welcome to our house, we have a big family dinner and presents afterwards. But this way it is much more comfortable for the kids.
On Christmas Day we usually visit my MIL as she does not want to leave the house on Christmas Eve. We spent the day there and whoever wants to come from her kids (my DH has 2 brothers and 1 sister) is welcome to join.
The next day is usually again at our house, eating all the leftovers... - and again, everyone is welcome.

I rather have a house full of guests (who are all helping setting up dinner and cleaning up afterwards) then rush from one place to another in order to satisfy the whole family.

11-13-2007, 04:32 AM
Theresa, here is a blog with a Thanksgiving Dinner. Keep your eye on it and she might do a holiday dinner, too. http://thepioneerwomancooks.com/

11-13-2007, 05:10 AM
Kathy, this website is perfect!!! It has step by step instructions with pictures i might add and a little bit of humor!! What more can a girl ask for! It's perfect for me! Thanks so much for sharing this with me!!!

Big Hugs!

Theresa, here is a blog with a Thanksgiving Dinner. Keep your eye on it and she might do a holiday dinner, too. http://thepioneerwomancooks.com/

11-13-2007, 05:58 AM
Wow Kathy what a site, even after my years of cooking I still love getting new tips, and there was one I never heard of, using cream cheese in your mashed potatoes who would've thought, I do use half and half but will now have to try the cream cheese. I'm adding the link to my cooking files.

Theresa, here is a blog with a Thanksgiving Dinner. Keep your eye on it and she might do a holiday dinner, too. http://thepioneerwomancooks.com/

11-14-2007, 09:40 AM
Our family is still stuck in the Christmas Road Rally stage. Both my parents and my in-laws live in town (as do my brother, his two sons and the mothers they also have to visit, and his current girlfriend)--so the logistics get hairy, to say the least. And, my father-in-law's birthday is Christmas Day; he insists that we come to HIS house to celebrate.

My poor husband is attempting to negotiate a settlement. He's already told his parents that we are doing Christmas at our house in the morning. He's trying to get them to come to our house for brunch before we go to my folks' house in the late afternoon and do the big dinner there.

When I was growing up, it was soooo much simpler! My dad is an only child. We lived in the same city with his parents, so they came to our house and got to enjoy the children celebrating Christmas. My mom's folks lived in Indiana---we never saw them (over the holidays or any time). Even when I was first married, it wasn't too difficult, as Jeff and I could easily open our gifts to each other and still make it to two other houses without a problem. With a child, though, {sigh}.

Despite the hassle, I always enjoy Christmas though I'm exhausted by the end of the day!

11-14-2007, 01:04 PM
I so know the feeling of having to go everywhere on Christmas day...imagine having go celebrate in 3 states! that what we did for Katie's first Christmas home..ugh...but that's another story....

now we stay home or if not we go to Florida to my Mom's and do our thing at Mom's house..but not running around..and Mom lets me run the show on Christmas :)

We start the morning with hot cinnamon rolls...they can be made ahead of time and just baked in the am ... or can be as simple and the pillsbury kind in the can you bake yourself..the thing is just serve them warm! We have special Christmas mugs we use for our coffee and.. a milk for the girls... A bit later, we have a brunch.. I have stuff made ahead...like a quiche or a breakfast casserole...some pastries, bagels, cheese, lunchmeats....and fruit...simple but still nice.. I use all my fancy crystal Christmas serving pieces ... afternoon time the kids play with their goodies..hubby usually is right there with them .....and I get dinner started... a roast of some sort.. Katie is getting to the point that she really loves to help with the cooking so that's fun.... last year it was a standing rib roast....(actually last year the whole family ate so much brunch (I kind of went overboard) that we voted to have Christmas dinner the day after and we enjoyed that so much!) I try to make everyone's favorites at Christmas...so we have scalloped potatoes for hubby...fresh broccoli for the kids (their favorite veggie)...I pick up a loaf of good crusty bread and freeze it before hand to keep it fresh then thaw and warm in the oven...just like fresh baked... apple pie for dessert (hubby's favorite)...a good green salad with blue cheese (yum..my favorite)...

we decided to be flexible with traditions...keep them simple so they are enjoyable for all....there are a lot of 'traditional' dishes I could serve but it wouldn't make my family happy...I'd rather have harmony at the dinner table then unhappy kids (and hubby)...Hubby and the kids do cleanup .. and I make sure to clean as I go to make it easier too... and it's all about being together...so we would be happy with sandwiches...as long as we all sat down together.

Christmas Eve was always when we opened out gifts as kids..so dinner was always something fast and easy...and as we got older that meant pizza or some sort of takeout! To this day I like to have takeout for Christmas eve dinner...early, around 4 or 5...now I let my kids open one gift on Christmas Eve...we usually have some childless friends over that night...so I put out a spread of snacks and munchies...they always have a gift for the girls and that along with the one gift I let them open from us is enough to keep them entertained for the evening...

as for other Christmas traditions...we have a special stuffed Santa that comes out every year, even when I limit the decorations because of travel.. we actually have several trees to choose from..the big one for when we are staying home...a medium one for when we will be traveling but still want something for with the kids..and a really small one I used to use before kids when we would be travelling.. I know, many think it's awful to have a fake tree..but these are pretty nice...and we have allergies so a real one is out of the question.... each year we buy a special ornament...it's so fun to talk about our special ornaments when we decorate the tree....

again, I've learned with age not to sweat the small stuff...traditions are great but they shouldn't wear you out or frazzle your nerves....I can remember sitting on the basement steps and crying 10 years ago when the visiting inlaws totally ruined all my plans..they didn't follow my itinerary for the day :) my brother in law slept through brunch..my father in law wanted breakfast..and then lunch later! and my sister in law ..well, I'll spare you all the details.. .. .. :)

well, that's my take on traditions!

11-26-2007, 07:04 AM
Well, one tradition that we seem to experience every year is having to stay up very late into the wee hours wrapping gifts for the boys from Santa. We don't put any gifts under the tree before Christmas and I guess that allows us to be procrastinators on wrapping...UGH!

As for Christmas day...I have close family in two other cities in our state. My Dad usually makes it down our way very early so he can see the boys open up their gifts. My brother stays home to celebrate with their own family usually.

Luckily we only have to travel across town to visit my in-laws and exchange gifts on christmas day. Sometimes they come to our house. Not sure what they will be doing this year but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they will be heading our way.

One day very soon we are actually going be the travellers you hear about flying up north to spend Christmas with Deb and her clan! The boys so want to visit her and also experience snow for the first time.

11-26-2007, 07:42 AM
Oh good idea Holly!!! I think they'd love spending a snowy holiday w/ their Aunt Deb!

11-30-2007, 09:12 AM
Before we had children, we celebrated Christmas 3 times a day: first we had our private little Christmas, then we drove to my parents and after that to my PIL - it was so stressing ! But the first day we had our DD, we decided that we celebrate Christmas as a little family at home. Now we have all the grandparents in our house for Christmas. Sometimes our siblings are here too, but not always. On the second day of Christmas we drive to my family (uncles and aunts ...) and on the third day, we visit my DH grandmother.

Fortunately Austria isn't that size of the USA and so we don't have to travell so far... But it is still stress enough - with two little children. But I love to see the family - without someone had died.