Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Favorite Christmas Traditions

As a child my favorite tradition was opening a present on Christmas Eve. Every year my dad would tell us we didn't do that and never had. So we were obligated to start asking if we could open something first thing in the morning on Christmas Eve. Matt and I have carried on this tradition, but it's always pajamas that get opened.
As a teen, my sister's and I were in the ward youth choir and my favorite tradition became the day our choir would go up to the Oakland Temple and sing at the Visitor's Center there. Our aunts and uncles and cousins would come up and support us and then we would eat donuts and hot cocoa in the parking lot. Good times.
Also as a teen, my sisters and I started reading The Forgotten Carols every year. It's a story book and music that goes along with the story. Matt and I have carried on this tradition. It's fun and we feel the Spirit as we read and listen.
We started a strange tradition our first Christmas married. I was pregnant with Sam and my parents had moved to Utah earlier that year. We decided, since it was our last Christmas without kids to go visit my parents for Christmas. Peter still lived at home, but Becky was in Florida working at Disney World. On Christmas Eve, Peter ended up sleeping in the same room with Matt and I. For some reason, everything was freakin' hilarious and we laughed all night long. The next year we stayed in California for Christmas, but by the next year we were living with my parents, so the tradition continued. With the exception of the Christmas Pete was on his mission he slept in our room on the floor. While he was gone we moved into our townhouse. For the last three Christmases here, Peter has come and slept in our room on Christmas Eve. I don't recall it ever being as funny as that first year. And I doubt the tradition will continue, now that Petey Pie has a wifey.... Whitney?
Now, my favorite tradition is something that has been going on for years. My mom's Christmas Brunch. Every Christmas morning we get up early and go through our stockings, then open up gifts, one at a time. Then we linger around in all the wrapping paper until we can't linger anymore, then it's off the the showers. At 11am my extended family congregates for some good eatin' at my mom and dad's house. It's the best. Waffles with strawberries and whipped cream, hash brown/egg/bacon/green chili/cheese casserole, sausage, orange juice, etc. It's so good and the smells are the same every year. Yum!
What is your favorite Christmas Tradition?


Jeanna said...

Not a tradition, but one of my fave things to do at christmastime is to turn off the lights in the house and just sit in the glow of the lights on the tree. Love how it makes me feel: Warm, happy, content.

We open the pjs on christmas eve as well, and every year I work out a budget for christmas and always forget to add the pjs to the budgeted items...did it again this year in fact.

The past couple of years we've been with mom and dad for christmas morning and I really like it. Our small family has an extension and opening presents takes longer and feels more like it did when I was a kid.

I remember my parents used to "hide" one gift a year. It would vary who the gift was going to, but it was usually something pretty special. One year my stereo was hidden and one year my new Swatch was hidden in the tree. I like hiding gifts in the tree. I need to see if we have something to do that with this year.

I like the christmas eve appetizer (see, I didn't even try to spell hors doevres) night. I told my mom, I'd like to start a tradition similar to your family with the brunch on christmas day (for those of us in town and not already committed! :) )

I feel like we don't have that many traditions. Hmmmm.....time to start a new one this year, before it gets too late and my kids get too old!

(I've been waiting since 6 a.m. for this post by the way)

The Hungry said...

PJs it is - on Christmas Eve. Hiding all the nativity baby Jesus figurines and making the kids find them before they open presents Christmas morning. I guess the way the house gets decorated is tradition - everything goes up in the same places. Christmas brunch with the exact menu you have in Utah but in San Jose is a tradition that has gone on for decades. The music is tradition, Barbara Streisand's A Christmas Album has been apart of my whole family's traditions since the 70s - first on record of course, then I bought it for myself on tape, and now on CD. It seems growing up we had more traditions than we have for our kids. That should be my post for my blog - failure to make lasting traditions! But I won't, because even in that, we haven't tried very hard - there would only be one thing to write about. OH - traveling *used* to be apart of our holiday; that is a tradition I was happy to set aside. But I fear our two oldest will never recover, especially Eric, from that change in policy.

Amy E. said...

Just catching up on your daily posts. Have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE your blog? I think a daily post should become a December tradition!

Holley, Dane Brien & Wesley Berry said...

Because I live so far away from my family, we've had to make our own traditions. Each year we open stockings on Christmas Eve so that we can fully appreciate them. We do BIG stockings in our house. Almost 1/2 the budget is spent on filling stockings.

We also participate in the adopt a Grandparent program at a local assisted living center. We go a few times in December to visit our Grandparent. This year we have a lovely lady named "Nanny". That is her actual name. I love it. She is a very cool, Sassy southern lady. The boys have been enjoying the stories of her life.

Also something that we recently started was that each member of the family only gets 3 Gifts (one of which is new pajamas) that symbolize the gifts of the Wisemen.

And we don't open presents until we've had Family Home Evening. Then in order to be able to open a present, you have to answer some Christmas trivia questions. This last activity has been a wonderful way to get my teenagers excited about Christmas and more fully involved. We all prepare trivia questions and their is a prize for the person who is able to stump the family.

Becky said...

My fav is Christmas brunch...we'll be having our own little one here. I also miss dad teasing us about not opening a gift on Christmas Eve.

One year I started to read the Forgotten Carols with you guys. But, I couldn't stay awake and ended up going to bed in my own bed...what a party pooper.

Jules said...

My favorite tradition was started by Adam and he has kept it going since the first year of our marriage. What he does is instead of writing to Julie on the tag of my gifts, he writes things like to the love of my life and other cheesy stuff. I love seeing what he will label my gift with almost as much as I love the gift itself.

The Wells said...

I ditto yours - except the one involving Peter.

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