12 Favorite Family Traditions

Whether you are interested in starting your own holiday rituals or just want to see what others are doing, these ideas, from moms like you, will be sure to inspire and delight.

• My husband and I try to teach our kids the joys of giving during the holiday season. I feel that doing things for those who really need support makes my Christmas that much better. We like to give back by taking stuffed animals to a nursing home and toys to the children's hospital. We also donate food to the local food bank. On Christmas Eve, we go out riding around looking at Christmas lights. When we come home, we drink hot cocoa and the kids prepare Santa's cookies and the rain deer carrots. We open up our Christmas pajamas - they are usually all matching - and get ready for bed. When we wake up, I make a breakfast casserole, sausage biscuits, cinnamon rolls and more hot cocoa. -- HUNNYJAR23

• My family has a treasured tradition that we started four years ago on Christmas Eve: We go to our church's children's service, then drive around to look at the lights. When we return home, we find that - gasp! - Santa has dropped off a game, but left before he could leave any of the other presents under the tree! We tell the kids that we must have arrived home too soon. We then eat a "fancy" dinner of ham and macaroni & cheese. My husband and I open a bottle of bubbly for ourselves and pour sparkling grape juice for the boys. We even get out the fancy dinner candles and champagne glasses for all of us. (So far the kids have been careful not to even chip a glass.) After dinner we play our new game, then the boys hit the sack and dream of Santa. It's a beautiful time spent together.

-- Ckhunter2

• On Thanksgiving, we usually split our time visiting the grandparents -- Thursday and Friday with one side and Saturday and Sunday with the other side. So a week before or after the holiday, we like to make a big turkey dinner ourselves and then invite friends over for leftover recipes like turkey pot pie or my husband's excellent Pennsylvania Dutch pot pie with homemade egg noodles. Yum! -- Soggyboysmom

• On Christmas morning, the kids come into our room and snuggle under the covers with my husband and me. Then we open presents while listening to Christmas music and just sit back and enjoy the paper, bows and boxes all over the floor. -- MrsPrissyPants

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