Thursday, December 1, 2011

Holiday Traditions

This year will be our first Christmas as a family of three (or four, counting the cat) and I've been thinking a good bit about what kind of holiday traditions would be nice to have.

The Christmas season has always been such a special time of year to me, in large part, because of the many special memories I have of it.  Going out to chop a tree down, and decorating said tree.  Playing out in the snow until we were soaked to the skin and then coming in for a drink of hot chocolate in front of the fire place.  Putting our shoes out for St. Nicholas.  Baking dozens and dozens of cookies to take to our neighbours.  Some of these things were annual "events" others happened more organically. 

What traditions stand out in your memories of the holiday season?  What new traditions, if any, have you started with your family or would you like to start once you have children?

I'm planning on spending some time this month blogging about traditions, both old and new, that we're thinking of holding with our family of three (or four, counting the cat).


  1. We always go out to see the "Glittering Lights" display that opens here in town after Thanksgiving dinner. We also decorate our home and tree together - usually the weekend right after Thanksgiving. Oh, and our children's grandpa always buys each of the kids an advent calendar with chocolates. They love those! :)
    I hope you enjoy creating your own family traditions!!

  2. I've been reading a lot of Waldorf blogs as we look for preschools and I love the festivals and celebrations some of those families celebrate with winter, solstice, and St. Nicholas day. We never set out our shoes or anything but I want to do this next week and tell my son about St. Nicholas riding in on his horse.

  3. My mom is Swedish so we always celebrated on Christmas Eve. We had presents from Santa on Christmas morning but when we got older, we opened everything on Christmas Eve. My mom does a big Swedish meal on Christmas Eve and my favourite memory is having the leftovers for breakfast on Christmas Day. Now we go to Kim's parents' on Christmas Day so I insist on going to my parents' on Boxing Day to enjoy leftovers.

    As for our own traditions:
    We have a special ornament for each kid that they hang on Christmas Eve so Santa knows he's at the right place.
    We don't have a chimney, so we have a special door key for Santa. It's a magical key that only works for him. We hang it on the door on Christmas Eve.
    We go out as a family to admire Christmas lights.
    We decorate the tree as a family while listening to Christmas music. Kim and I buy the kids a new ornament each year that represents the past year and what they liked. This year Erik is getting a Lego Darth Vader ornament and Ian is getting Elmo or Dora.
    I take the kids to buy a couple of toys and then we go to the fire hall or the police station to donate them.
    On Christmas Eve, we give each of the kids new jammies and new Christmas books and we read the books before bed.
    Kim now makes this special French toast on Christmas morning. She made it one year and it was AMAZING so it became tradition. Erik calls it "Swedish French toast" LOL. It's not Swedish at all, but he thinks because it's different from what we usually have, it must be Swedish.

  4. Your cat looks thrilled. LOL

    We haven't nailed down our traditions. We started getting real trees and for the first time last year we cut it down ourselves. I'm not sure that was really "fun"...not sure if it will be a tradition or not.

    We do the chocolate avent calendars, we check out those crazy houses with the millions of lights, we see Santa and this year we're going for a Christmas Eve sleigh ride at Knox Farm. It sounds fun!!! So we're just seeing what traditions will stick. :)

  5. @Holly - We used to drive around and look at the luminara in the neighborhoods near my parent's house on Christmas Eve - it sounds similar to your light display. I'm not sure if there's anywhere near here that does luminaria, but when The Bean gets older I think it would be neat to check it out and take him.

    @Katy - The St. Nicholas thing is new to me. Allison has some neat German traditions that she did growing up and that was one of them. I'll have to see if I can badger Allison into doing something for it. :-)

    @Shannon - One of Allison's co-teachers is Swedish and her kids take Swedish lessons at Ikea! I've always loved that. Your door key tradition sounds really cute. And I like the idea of dropping gifts off at the local fire/police station. We've talked about having The Bean (when he gets older) go through his toys and pick some to donate to charity (that sounds kind of horrible when I write it out), but the idea of buying some new ones to donate is good too.

    @Stacey - Allison and I have very different ideas about how fun cutting down our own tree would be. If you've ever seen National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, I'm very much the girl who complains about being cold the whole time (and whose eyes freeze open). The sleigh ride at Knox farm sounds awesome.