Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Traditions: Old & New

Here are some Christmas traditions we had while I was growing up (OLD):

Dec 1st was the day my mom would put up the tree and decorate the house. She had so many knick-knacks and paddy-whacks. My favorite was little mini figurines of Mr & Mrs Claus kissing. (Did you get that, Mom? Put me down for those when you "check-out", will ya?)

We made Gingerbread houses EVERY year. My mom would make us enter them in the local bakery's Gingerbread House contest.

An Orange and a Candy Cane. No matter how big the stocking stuffer or what sort of candy we got, we ALWAYS got 1 orange and 1 candy cane in our stocking on Christmas Morning.

Christmas Waffles. One year, my mom received a Waffle Iron for Christmas. We had waffles on Christmas morning EVERY year since.

Family Party. My dad's side would have a Christmas party every year. There was always a table for homemade candies. And after we ate, my grandma would pull out her caroling books and we'd sit around and sing.

Secret Santa. The 7 of us siblings drew names each year for secret santa. We still draw names today.

Foods that were typical around the holidays... Date Pudding. Boiled Custard Drink. Wassail. Caramel Corn. Waldorf Salad. Red or Green Finger Jell-O. Homemade Pie. I'm sure I am forgetting some.

The Nativity. Each year either on Christmas Eve or the Sunday just before Christmas, my mom would read us the story of the Nativity.

Christmas Race. If my parents woke up first on Christmas morning, my mom could either play her Christmas Records (Johnny Mathis, Bing Crosby, etc) or carols loudly on the organ. If the kids woke up first, we would jump on my parents' bed and scream, "Merry Christmas!" I don't know how it started, but perhaps it was an incentive to get us to go to bed early. Oh - and the rule was no one could wake up before 4:30 am.

Youngest to Oldest. Christmas morning, we always took turns opening our gifts from youngest to oldest. I think one time we thought we'd change it up and we went from oldest to youngest. My youngest sister about wet her pants trying to be patient for her turn.

Here are some traditions I have continued or started with my own kids (NEW):

New PJ's. Each year on Christmas Eve my kids get to open a gift (selected by me). It is always a new pair of PJ's and a new pair of socks. This way, they get to look clean and fresh for Christmas morning (and all of those pictures).

Ornament. When I started my family almost 15 years ago, I had barely any ornaments and little money to speak of. I decided then that each year my kids would get 1 brand new ornament. Then, when they leave the house as adults, they will have their own collection.

Stockings. We have stockings and they are allowed to open those as soon as they wake up on Christmas morning. I always put their new ornament in there along with a small toy and their favorite candy. Additionally, I've started to include a mini box of cereal and juice pouch. This way, they can eat something besides Candy while I clean up the aftermath of presents.

Christmas Movies. Usually a night or two before Christmas we select a Christmas movie from our collection to watch.

Christmas Day Activity. Since my family is spread out, usually it's just us on Christmas. After opening up the gifts and eating a real meal (brunch or something), we either go to the movies or go sledding. Sort of depends on the budget and weather as to which one we do. But I try to make it a fun day.

That's about all I can think of for now. What traditions do you have???

Oh - and as a side note... we don't do the 4:30 am thing at my house. My rule is: You don't get Christmas till Mama wakes up. :)


Cindy said...

Merry Christmas, my new friend. May you and your family have the greatest holiday ever :)

Two Blessings From Above said...

I like that, "You don't get Christmas till Mama wakes up." You have some wonderful Christmas traditions.
Merry Christmas to you and your family. I hope your day is perfect.

Megan said...

Wonderful traditions! =)

We always do the pj's and ornament, too. But since I've been married we do them Christmas morning. Before I was married my mom gave them to us Christmas Eve.

Every year, I still give my mom pj's and every other year or so, she gets a new robe, too.

(And my hubby isn't very good with keeping up the tradition. lol Goober!)

Merry Christmas!

RhondaLue said...

You're the best mom ever. i read your traditions and feel totally lacking in giving my kids traditions to remember!! Ack!

We sort of just go with the flow-and I don't buy them ornaments but I probably should! We get a pair of Christmas PJ's for them right after Thanksgiving so they wear them the whole season but I like your idea better! I hate bedheaded kids with worn out pj's for Xmas morning pics!

You have such a neat family!

purplehaze said...

Great traditions. You know nursemom last year had a contest for us at work to make gingerbread houses! A few people did make them and it was great to see! We don't have to many people left in our little group. I always get my kids new pj's too, but they get them on Christmas day. My youngest I didn't get any this year because he refuses to wear them he goes to bed in in clothes. I don't know how he stands that. Hope you have a very Merry Christmas! God Bless you and your family!

The Willeyes said...

We get our kids a new ornament every year and they open pj's on Christmas Eve as well:) Now that I'm married we eat the same breakfast every year. Sticky buns, eggs and bacon and of course eggnog. We couldn't wake up before 5:00 when I was growing up. One year we even went so far as to set my dad's alarm clock ahead 2 hours so we could get up earlier:) Needless to say, my poor parents were shocked when they realized they had been up for an hour and it was only 4:)
Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas friend!

Ruthykins said...

i just hated when we "changed it up" that year. i'm sure it had to do with my deep seeded need for tradition and not because i'm extremely impatient.

Susie said...

Those are great family traditions!!! Have a very Merry Christmas:-)

Vickie said...

What wonderful traditions! Well, I don't know if this is a tradition, but we take turns opening up gifts. So we can see what everybody got.

When I was a kid, my sister and I would get up around 5 in the morning and make little noises from the hallway, to try to wake up my Mom. Never worked:)

Have a very Merry Christmas!

pinkelephant said...

You have good traditions going on! I like the ornament one a lot. I bet the kids treasure that a lot when they grow up.

Well, ours...
We go eat KFC for dinner on Christmas eve. It just started last year and kids asked it to be a tradition.

We do nativity play.

From youngest to oldest, we take turn picking a gift no matter whom it is for. Then the receiver gets to open it.

Well, this is the reason I am up late tonight. We do treasure hunt for the gifts. Only one for each! I leave a few notes here and there for each of them, except me, to go hunt for.
I am running out of places now...

Merry Christmas to you my friend.

With love

Sabrae Carter said...

That is a alot of traditions! lol Happy day!

Puphigirl said...

For the record, we were not allowed up until about 6am. We could only come out of our rooms once the Christmas music was playing. Then ONE year we changed it and talked Mom & Dad into letting us wake them up. And even then I had to drag you kids up. You all still didn't wake up to I went into Mom & Dad's room myself jumping on their bed to wake them up.

Oh, don't forget about still in their shell peanuts in the stocking.

okeydokeyifine said...

So it started out as Dad saying "No one up until 0600."
Then as the children got older it was "Can the parents beat the children up?" as in getting up.
Then it was Dad and Mom lying in bed waiting for the children to get up and we pretending we were asleep and listening to all of them gather for the great Jump on the bed. Good memories....