Holiday Traditions

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-25-2008
Holiday Traditions
Mon, 10-08-2012 - 11:57am

I've been giving a lot of thought to the kind of holiday traditions I'd like to start with our family. One from my childhood is getting a pair of new pajamas on Christmas eve to wear that night. What kind of traditions do you and your family do every year?

Julie - eagerly awaiting DH's homecoming & the arrival of our first DS, due 11/29/12

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Registered: 02-24-2012
Mon, 10-08-2012 - 12:45pm

That is tricky question - dh and I have not fully figured out how to handle them in line with our values and manage not to have the kids teased at school and / or have family understand.

Ie the santa clause issue - we don't do it. We don't go out of our way to dispell it but if it comes up we talk about the original Kris Kringle and story and the values behind why it happens.

Our main focus at christmas is family not the commercialized christmas that most people celebrate. We try to involve them in giving back to the community (we want to year round but at this age it is pretty much limited to christmas) re food, clothes, toys, money for food banks and needy.We try to keep presents to a minimum but dh's family buy's them far too much - so much that no one else needs to get them anything!

Last year we had our big dinner on Christmas Eve and invited people who didn't have any family to spend christmas with to join us (we live 6 hours from our family and can't go home on christmas day because dh works). It was actually really nice and it made for a much more relaxed christmas day where we just hung out and played togethor as a family after we went to church. Not sure if this will become our tradition, discussion will start in Nov sometime.

Good luck figuring out what works for you - you have about 4-5 yrs before Isaac will really notice a trend.

Proud Mom to Annika (4), Jamie (3), and 4 angels. Anxiously awaiting Baby #3!
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-25-2008
Mon, 10-08-2012 - 1:10pm
Last year our group of friends adopted a family instead of doing gifts for each other. We had a single mom and 4 children. Going to the store to pick out their gifts, wrapping them, etc was so fun. I can't wait to do that with Isaac. I don't want the focus of the holiday to be on him making his Christmas list and expecting a bunch of gifts. The family we adopted had a wishlist that included things like bedding, backpacks, and clothing. Really puts things into perspective.

Julie - eagerly awaiting DH's homecoming & the arrival of our first DS, due 11/29/12

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2007
Mon, 10-08-2012 - 1:57pm

Oh! Christmas is THE holiday around here :smileyhappy: Here's our list:

  • *Put up the tree the day after Thanksgiving
  • *Buy Christmas PJ's for all of the kids right after Thanksgiving so they have time to get a lot of wear out of them :smileyhappy:
  • *Bake cookies
  • *Bake doggie biscuits for our dog and family dogs
  • *Each kid picks out their own ornament every year, so that when they move out on their own, they'll have their own box to take with them.
  • *We always make ornaments. Either craft ornaments of some kind, or cinnamon dough, etc...
  • *We do a shoebox through Samaritan's Purse. We've just done one in the past, but I think I'm going to have each of my kids fill their own box for kids their own age this year. 
  • *On Christmas Eve, my husband reads the Christmas story out of the Bible, we have hot chocolate, and every kid gets to open one gift, and the rest are left for Christmas morning. We usually watch a bunch of Christmas cartoons (Rudolph, Frosty, etc...), but we're normally doing that every night between Thanksgiving and Christmas anyway :smileyvery-happy:
  • *OH!!! And the Avent Calendar! Buy far the most fun. We have 24 little Christmas socks that we hang on ribbon in our entryway. Every day, the kids take down their sock and pull out their treat. Usually, it's just a chocolate coin or one of those chewy peppermints, but some days, they get a small toy or ornament. They love that, and I love deciding what they get every day :smileyvery-happy:

We don't do Santa here either. We "play" Santa, but our kids know the true story of who St. Nick really was. So every kid has stockings from Santa and an unwrapped gift under the tree on Christmas morning, and we leave out cookies and milk on Christmas eve :smileyhappy:

We always go overboard. It's totally my fault. My mom loves Christmas, and so she always did stuff like set up a Martha Stewart type tree with a little snow village underneath, but she was lacking on the making cookies together, and the family time traditions. I want my kids to have all of that. I guess I just want them to have all the magic in Christmas that I didn't have. My mom did the stuff that made her feel cheery, but not really anything geared toward kids. She hammered Santa into me by saying that if I didn't believe, I just wouldn't get anything for Christmas... kinda ridiculous for a 13 year old girl, so I've rebelled and gone all out opposite of my sweet mamma!

theresa-2.gif picture by forceps40

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2007
Mon, 10-08-2012 - 2:03pm

We always do the pajamas on Christmas Eve, letting everyone open their own and then we snuggle up with hot chocolate and a Christmas movie before bed. We also always set the tree up after Thanksgiving dinner and start decorating the outside. And throughout the holiday season, we pick random times to load up in the car and drive around looking at Christmas lights. Oh, and we also do cookies for Santa and throw reindeer food out for the reindeer on Christmas Eve as well. I love Christmas, so I usually have just as much, if not more, fun than the kids do!

--Heather-- proud mommy to five amazing kids and one more on the way!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2007
Mon, 10-08-2012 - 2:19pm

Reindeer food! I always forget that one!

theresa-2.gif picture by forceps40

Avatar for thesunshinekid
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Registered: 09-22-2001
Mon, 10-08-2012 - 7:24pm
We celebrate pretty hard core around here. We "play" the Santa game (I refuse to lie to my children once they ask and we always tell the legendary type of stories), but our real focus is our Faith in the season.

Our tree usually goes up a little before Thanksgiving. The children each have a tree in their rooms with whatever ornaments they would like to have on it (it's small - like 24 inches) and some home made fun ornaments. Our whole house is pretty much decked. I love Christmas and I love decorating for the season. It just makes my house so darn pretty. That being said, most of our decorations are traditional to our combined heritage - we have plenty of Danish touches for my husbands family, some Irish and German ones from mine, and even a menorah to represent my mother's family faith. The children to get a new ornament each year of their choosing. It's a great reminder of what "stage" they were in at what time.

We also make sure that we give back - not just charitable giving (we do some locally and through Samaritan's Purse), but we also spread cheer and love all around by baking lots of goodies and leaving them on doorsteps or delivering them to DH's office or even just local places.

We love to make paper chains and hang them around the doors, too! The kids also like to make popcorn and cranberry treats for the birds.

In general, we really just found that we love the holiday and we love to celebrate and spread it all around. It is a great season!

Jules - Happily married and Momma to DS, DD and expecting our Caboose Baby 11/24/2012

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-06-2012
Thu, 10-11-2012 - 12:40pm

This is tough... My husband is so weird about holidays. We arent doing Santa... Our 3 year old knows he is not real and we dont push the issue....however, I still want to read Christmas Stories and watch the little cartoons, but my husband is CONVINSED that by doing that we are telling her santa is real... which I think is just silly.

I want to start the new Christmas Pajamas thing, when I mentioned it to my husband he acted like that was the silliest thing he ever heard of... but im doing it to bad for him.

I also am planning on adopting an angel from the angel tree and letting my daughter help me pick out the gifts, and explaining to her that not everyone can have a nice Christmas like her, and that we are trying to help makes the person we picks Christmas a little better. Im also going to try to think of some other things we can do.... we have a fire department RIGHT across the street, so I thought maybe bring them some treats and hot cocoa on Christmas Eve.. im sure they would much rather be home with their families, but instead they are there is protect us if we needed them too.

other than that, we do the regular decorate the tree, Christmas crafts... that sort of stuff.



iVillage Member
Registered: 10-05-2005
Thu, 10-11-2012 - 3:48pm

In my family we do the whole stocking stuffers thing with little things the person has been wanting like cooking things, cds, etc. My dogs have their own stockings and get raw hides in them and they get all excited. I am not sure if I will do the whole santa thing with my LOs but they will know the true story of santa and that Christmas is about giving back to those in need like the wise men did for Jesus (yes I do think of Jesus's family in a manger as a family in need).

My mom and I always get three or four local angels from the trees around town and buy gifts for them. We also go to Costco when they are just stocking up on the Christmas toys and buy some of those (my fav is the Potato-head family they have had the past three years) to put in the Toys for tots or soldiers toys boxes around town. 

We also always go and cut down our own Christmas tree (they are scrawny little logdepole pines most of the time) with the dogs and decorate the downstairs of the house with lots of decorations. My mom's family owns a Christmas tree farm back east so it is a little hard not to love Christmas decorations, songs, videos, etc. 

Another traditions is to always have a White Christmas so we never travel to southern locations if we want to go some place for Christmas.