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My Family's Favorite Christmas Traditions

Updated on November 28, 2013
Note the hand-crocheted angel (from my mom) on the top of the tree.
Note the hand-crocheted angel (from my mom) on the top of the tree. | Source

How Most of Our Family Traditions Started

Many years ago, looking through the book section at the grocery store, I discovered a small book entitled The Little Book of Christms Joys by H. Jackson Brown, Jr., Rosemary Brown and Kathy Peel. It made a big impact on me - so much so that I often give the book as a gift to others and I re-read it every Christmas season.

Over the years I have tried many of the suggestions/traditions in the book. Some of them I have tried and abandoned and some have stayed with me. I've added other traditions and maintained others that have been popular in my family.

Our Favorite Family Christmas Traditions

To make Christmas special in our family, here is a list of our "must-do" activities:

Always make a donation to every Salvation Army bell ringer, even if it's only a few cents. Every little bit helps!

♥ Our gift tags have special names for the "to" and "from." Sometimes they give a clue as to what's in the package. For example: To: The Bird Lover / From: Aubie (the cat). The gift tags are cut from last year's Christmas cards (yay - eco-friendly!).

♥ I prepare a breakfast casserole on Christmas Eve, refrigerate it overnight and pop it in the oven while we open the Christmas presents Christmas morning. It's ready to eat when we are.

♥ Along with re-reading The Little Book of Christmas Joys, I also re-read A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg, The Christmas Train by David Baldacci and Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich to get me "in the Christmas spirit."

♥ We have a seafood dinner every Christmas Eve. This has been a tradition in my family since before I was born. This year's menu includes seafood gumbo, fried shrimp and boiled crab legs. Yum!

♥ I have quite a collection of Christmas socks and I wear a different pair almost every day. These also make great stocking stuffers.

♥ I have an inexpensive set of Christmas dishes we purchased about ten years ago. I bring them out after Thanksgiving and use them often during the Christmas season.

♥ We watch the movie, A Christmas Story, all day Christmas Eve.

♥ On Christmas morning, first we take the goodies out of our stockings and open them. All stocking stuffers are wrapped, too. Then we take turns opening presents. Only one person at a time opens a present. This makes it last longer.

♥ For many years we bought a new Christmas ornament each year. That has added up to quite a few over the years. We also buy an ornament for our son and put it away in a special box. When he moves out, he will have a box full of Christmas ornaments for his own tree.

♥ On Christmas Eve, every family member opens one package. The gift-giver gets to choose which one.

♥ Homemade gifts are very important in our family. My mom and I always make each family member a homemade gift of some kind every year.

♥ We have quite a collection of Christmas movies, usually adding one each year. We only watch them at Christmas time. Our sixteen-year-old son begged us to watch a Christmas movie Thanksgiving night this year! We have many favorites but adore Christmas Vacation and both versions of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

♥ We begin decorating for Christmas over Thanksgiving weekend and not a moment sooner.

♥ Our Christmas tree lights and our outside lights stay on all night Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.

♥ Most years, we bake Christmas cookies. This is an all-day affair and we make way too many cookies to eat ourselves, so we give most away to friends.

♥ Our stocking stuffers are a big deal. See the hub below for more details on stocking stuffers.

♥ As a bird lover, I always put out birdseed for our feathered friends for Christmas. Our cats and dog also get a treat for Christmas.

♥ Our son gets a Silver Eagle dollar in his stocking each year. We have done this since he was born so he now has quite a few. When he moves out he can continue collecting or cash them in for college money or whatever.

Traditions can be as simple or as complicated as you make them. Start a new one this year. You'll be glad you did.

What are some of your family's traditions?


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  • typeface profile image

    typeface 6 years ago

    Haha, ours have reindeer dressed as showgirls and Elvis on well as peacocks...and a small tribal mask. Yes insane... :P haha

  • Esmeowl12 profile image

    Cindy A. Johnson 6 years ago from Sevierville, TN

    Thanks, typeface! I'm all for an insane tree (if our cats don't tear it down!).

  • typeface profile image

    typeface 6 years ago

    Such a lovely list! I adore Christmas! I've always felt that Christmas should be a time for family tradition. I'm not religious but my family all have a huge enthusiasm for anything Christmas! My mum bakes Christmas Cookies and we have the most insane tree ever!

  • Esmeowl12 profile image

    Cindy A. Johnson 6 years ago from Sevierville, TN

    Thanks, cclitgirl!

  • cclitgirl profile image

    Cynthia Calhoun 6 years ago from Western NC

    I see what you mean about your traditions. I might have to adopt a few myself. :) Especially the "green" ones. Hehehe. Voted up!

  • Esmeowl12 profile image

    Cindy A. Johnson 6 years ago from Sevierville, TN

    Thanks, rjsadowski and Alicia! Obviously we love our traditions! We have them for all holidays and birthdays.

  • rjsadowski profile image

    rjsadowski 6 years ago

    A really nice hub. Our two children are grown up now and one lives in another state. Not too many of our Christmas traditions have survived.

  • AliciaC profile image

    Linda Crampton 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

    It was interesting to read about your Christmas traditions. I like the gifts that you give to your son to prepare for his future! The breakfast casserole sounds like a good idea, too.

  • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

    Gypsy Rose Lee 6 years ago from Riga, Latvia

    A really great and heartwarming hub! It's great when you have a family to share the traditions with. There are just the three of us = me, my husband Martin and our cat Sid. Doesn't make much for tradition but we combine the thought of Christmas and Jesus birth. Latvian's have had the tradition of opening presents on Christmas Eve. So I took that a step further. On Christmas Eve we have dinner at about 10 PM and at midnight we read from the Bible the Christmas passages and then open our presents.

  • Esmeowl12 profile image

    Cindy A. Johnson 6 years ago from Sevierville, TN

    Thanks MM, Cheryl and Lisa. I don't know quite how we got so many but I love them all!

  • cherylone profile image

    Cheryl Simonds 6 years ago from Connecticut

    Lot's of traditions. We have so many of our own but I like your idea of adding a new one each year. Thank you for sharing.

  • Movie Master profile image

    Movie Master 6 years ago from United Kingdom

    What a lovely list of Christmas traditions, I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas, best wishes MM

  • profile image 6 years ago

    WOW! That's a lot of traditions.