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Sharing Traditions During the Holiday Season

Updated on January 16, 2014

Traditional Christmas Stories

It is very easy to get caught up in the holiday movies during the Christmas season, and I have written about my favorite: It’s a wonderful life, but, it is also important to acknowledge the tradition of reading favorite Christmas stories together.

Each year many new children’s Christmas stories come out from well-loved authors, but there are some classics that get pulled off of the shelf to be enjoyed over and over again. Parents and grandparents can help children make the correlation when they explain that books are usually written first and the movies are visual expressions of the author’s words. There are so many examples of this, such as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer , Frosty the Snowman, and The Polar Express.

One of the traditional storybooks that we have enjoyed as a family is, ‘Twas the night before Christmas’. Since we had a fireplace in one of the homes we lived in, we would build a big fire and sit around enjoying the story together with popcorn and hot chocolate. Naturally, our stockings would be hung by the chimney with care.

Ornament collection

One of the nicest things my dear friend Joyce Nelson Shellhart, author of Dress to Impress: How a Navy Blazer Changed My Life, gave to me as a baby gift for my first born, was a Christmas tree ornament with the instructions to continue building her a collection. She was a December baby, so it was a timely gift.

Following suit, I have given an ornament to my children, as well as my grandchildren, each year. They in turn have given me ornaments that have been selected with a particular reason in mind-either the color, the delicacy of the material, or a special interest. I have a beautiful hand painted butterfly ornament, for instance.

Children enjoy making crafts and there are so many easy ornament ideas that take little preparation. One of the first ‘ornaments’ that our children and my grandchildren have made was for birds. The directions are very simple: just tie a piece of yarn or string around a pinecone to hang it to a tree branch, cover the pinecone with peanut butter, then roll it in wildlife bird seed. It is simple and a child can do this without too much assistance from an adult.

Giving Christmas ornaments to friends can be a delightful and inexpensive gift to remember them by. Or, have a social gathering to meet for the holidays where invited guests bring a dessert and ornament to exchange. And, it doesn’t have to be before Christmas-any time during the season would be fun.

Traditional Christmas Gifts

There are two traditional gifts that I give each year, and I’ve noticed that my oldest daughter has followed suit. The first is the giving of books and the second is a new pair of pajamas.

It’s no surprise that I would be giving books as gifts, I do it all the time…yes, even in the day of the Kindle because I enjoy the actual feel of the book in my hand; the visual aesthetic of the pictures-or the print, on the pages, and the excitement of snuggling in bed with a brand new book.

My mother, who was a librarian, an avid reader, and an advocate for literacy, really started it all. I just continue the tradition, as I hope my children will.

I’m not sure when I started the tradition of new pajamas, but I have a suspicion it had to do with going on trips and wanting my kids to have nightwear that has no holes. Besides, who doesn’t like to jump into a cozy pair of pj’s on a cold winter’s night? I know I do.

Three traditions at one time

Books, Pajamas and T'was the Night Before Christmas!
Books, Pajamas and T'was the Night Before Christmas! | Source

Please take this poll

Does your family participate in any of these holiday traditions?

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    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Dianna, that is a wonderful family tradition. I can imagine the grandchildren gathering around for the story. :) Thanks for sharing our memory and tradition.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      I like to read favorite Christmas stories with my grandkids, something I did with my child as well. Traditions are what keep families together. Great share on this important topic.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Stephanie-thanks for the info. I'll look up Aydlett on the map. :)

      Hi Carmen-thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, my mother started that tradition. I agree-nothing takes the place of a 'real' book. :)

    • Carmen H profile image

      Carmen Beth 

      9 years ago

      I always love giving and receiving books as gifts. I agree that somehow ebooks don't bring the type or amount of joy as a bulk of pages do. Good to know that it is a tradition in your family.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      9 years ago from USA

      Hi Denise - I'm in Aydlett, NC. I'll be around here until after Christmas this year--though it's coming up fast!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Stephanie, hope you are well. I was thinking of you when I travelled back home from Greenville earlier this week. I don't think we live very far away from each other. Where and when are you heading out next?

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      9 years ago from USA

      It is fun to see traditions carried on from one generation to the next. My mother loved to make Christmas ornaments each year, and now that she's gone, they bring back happy thoughts of her as we place them on the tree. The lovely little traditions (reading Christmas stories, exchanging Christmas ornaments...) that you mention could easily become a precious part of any family's holiday.

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Aww, thanks Simone. I was glad that I was able to squeeze in submitting two pieces for last weeks inspiration.

      Honostly? I stayed up ALL day (don't forget, I am a night shifter) to finish them and did not sleep but one hour before my next 12 hr shift. It was a challenge...and lots of cola, to stay awake and alert that last shift, LOL.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      9 years ago from San Francisco

      Twas the night before Christmas is one of my favorites!! Your Christmas traditions rock, Denise Handlon!

    • Denise Handlon profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi RedElf-thanks for reading and sharing your tradition with ornaments. I agree that it is hard to find unique ornaments, which is what I try to do. I think of the person and their interest. This year I got a 'saddle' for my youngest grandson who is into being a cowboy!

      Hi Cherylone-nice to have you share your tradition story here as well. Thanks.

      Hi Linda-thanks for that enthusiastic cheer! LOL I think it worked-my score is up to 62 now. :) Glad you enjoyed it.

      Awww, that's a sweet comment, Islandnurse. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • islandnurse profile image


      9 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      I voted this up! You remind me of my Mom, who started giving me ornaments long ago and now I have so many I am passing some on to start the collections of my own children. We always give Christmas jammies too, makes the Christmas morning photos better too, especially when the little ones like to rise before the sun:)

    • LindaSmith1 profile image


      9 years ago from USA

      It is a crime for this hub to be a 57, when junk hubs with lousy content, if any at all, poor grammar etc get hub of the day, and rate 60's or higher.

    • cherylone profile image

      Cheryl Simonds 

      9 years ago from Connecticut

      Beautiful. I enjoy sharing traditions with my grandchildren and reminding my children of things from their childhood.

    • RedElf profile image


      9 years ago from Canada

      Beautiful traditions, and a wonderful photo! I give my sisters an ornament every year, as well. It can be challenging to find a new and different one every year, but great fun to hunt in odd shops - I never know what I will find.


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