11 Favorite Holiday Traditions (Normal and Not so Normal)

I love holiday traditions!  I’m not talking Pottery Barn perfection.  I’m talking real families with jokes and laughter and warmth and love and silliness.


1. “Christmas at Our House” – Ever since the boys were small we have celebrated “Christmas at Our House”.  Because we have BIG family celebrations on the 24th and 25th, we carve out some time just for us and the kids ahead of Christmas.  We completely pretend it is Christmas Day. We wake up early to open presents and fix a special breakfast.  For Santa believers, we ask him to come early.  Then we spend the whole day putting stuff together and playing.   If you are hosting a party on Christmas Day, it lets you enjoy your family time without worrying about cleaning up and hosting duties.  If you are traveling, it gives you time to enjoy the presents without trying to get everyone out the door.  The kids think it is a huge bonus because they get to open presents earlier than most of their friends.



2. Photo Ornaments –  Each January I make maybe 6-8 photo ornaments.  It is so fun to share memories as we decorate the tree.  I usually pick up the frames at Micheals.  I can’t put this one up without thinking of how many times a certain little boy fell asleep in his high chair (or lots of other places).


3. Reading the Christmas story – When I was a girl we always read Luke 2 before opening presents at my Grandmas house.  The tradition continues with my family.  I love hearing my brothers deep voice reading the passage.  After the reading we have a circle prayer of thankfulness.

4. Cinnamon Rolls – My mom always made overnight cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning.  I have continued that tradition for our celebration.

5.Playing with the cousins –  Video games / Monopoly / Pool / Fuseball – Which game depended on who was hosting, but the cousins were always playing games together.  Monopoly for some reason was a favorite and hotly contested match that went on for hours and included trading sessions, partnerships, and shady back room deals.   Now my kids are the ones chilling out with their cousins playing games for hours.  I recently asked the boys what their favorite part of the holidays is and the both answered, “Playing with the cousins.”

6. Soup Day – The day after Christmas is “Soup Day”, declared by my sister-in-law.  It’s a refreshing way to get back to healthy eating.

7. Chocolate pie for Santa – I seriously don’t know how this got started, but the boys always leave chocolate pie for Santa.  One year I was making pie at 10 PM because they were so adamant Santa wanted pie.

8. Mixing up the chocolate box –  For years my parents bought a box of chocolates that had a diagram showing where each piece was located.  By about noon it would start getting a bit picked over and someone would move the least desirable pieces (orange cremes) so you never knew if you might get the unpleasant surprise.  One year my dad cleverly substituted something we liked in place of the orange cremes before the “official” opening.  We were all so confused when the offensive pieces never surfaced.

Growing Borax Crystals

9. Homemade Christmas Ornaments / Science Experiments –  Borax snowflakes!  Gotta love these.  We also enjoy salt dough ornaments and polymer clay ornaments.  This year I’m hoping to make some snow globes.


10. Gingerbread Houses –  Candy and frosting and construction?  Yes please.  I have a friend whose family drives over their gingerbread houses on Jan. 1st.  Smashing them with the car, I like that.

11. Calendars – The grandparents look forward to a calendar with photos of the grandkids each year.  Putting together the calendar is probably my favorite part of getting ready for the holiday.  I love looking back at the pictures from the last year and remembering all the fun we’ve had together.


What are some of your holiday traditions?  Do you have any quirky or unusual ones?


HHH List_it_Tuesday

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