Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Traditions

I love traditions. There is something about being able to spend some time looking back fondly and recalling a particular event that means something more than simply the act of doing it. Christmas traditions are just like that. Place markers in your past that signify a powerful emotion instead of merely doing something with your family.

In today's ever increasing technology gadgets I am finding some of the traditions, I've grown to love are slowly becoming extinct. I cringe when I think that one day, Christmas Cards will simply be a thing of the past. Looking back at my Christmas Memories book that holds the last 18 years of celebrations, I can definitely see where it has fallen by the way side. Now I struggle to find just one Christmas card to post in my book. Sadly it seems most people are either too busy to find time to send them out when a Ecard works just as well. I don't think this should ever be replaced. Now you find commercially produced family Christmas postcards, e-Cards or Printed Family Newsletters are becoming the new norm. I was thrilled when my favorite Aunt sent me one unexpectedly and she is in her late 70's. She is a firm believer in not succumbing to the loss of those family honored traditions. I agree with her on that point. In fact I just mailed out a handful of cards today.

Here are some of my families favorite traditions and I look forward to having you share some of yours with me in the comment box below:

1. See the light display in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. We park the car and stroll the streets looking at the beautifully decorated houses, stop and listen to Christmas carols being sung by people, and purchasing some hot cocoa or soft pretzel. We take the entire family and then head out for dinner afterwards before driving back home. ( This was one of the homes from last year 2013.)

2. Painting Christmas village houses. My husband actually incorporated this tradition in our home and we add more houses and buildings every year. What an incredible way to look back at our lives through this unique one of a kind creations. (Steve's hard at work!)

3. Christmas Eve presents. My family gets to open one gift the night of Christmas Eve. It is always a new set of warm cozy pajamas and socks. When they were younger, I used to include a new Christmas book. (From 2012).

4. Christmas Ornaments. Each year my family decides which ornament best represents them or something they hope will happen in the year ahead and we initial and date them and add them to the Christmas tree each year. (The one above is Caitlyn's, our oldest daughter who loves owls.)

5. Christmas Cookies. I bake tons of cookies a few days before Christmas and include must haves of Chocolate Chip, Sugar Cookies, Magic Bars, Snickerdoodles, Pecan Balls, Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls, Candy Canes, Candy Coated Pecans, Fudge, and Chocolate Covered Caramel Kisses. (Pictured above Snickerdoodles. These never make it to the end of the day before there is only an empty plate!)

6. Egg nog. Enough said. It goes in everything. Pancake batter, French Toast, morning coffee and just drinking it cold with some cookies.

7. Sugar Cookie Contest. This actually got started last year. My daughter's boyfriend suggested we have a contest and each person picks one sugar cookie they decorated to enter the annual Facebook Cookie Contest. Where we ask Family and Friends to pick their favorite without disclosing which cookie goes to which person. The ones above are last year's entries! The star won!

8. Christmas Cards. Yes, I do still send these out. No Christmas Letters, Mass Printed Family Postcards with the Christmas Photos attached or e-Card. Nope, prefer snail mail with handwritten sentiments inside. If you're interested in being part of the Christmas Card bunch. Send me an email at

9. Christmas Lights! The more the merrier. I love adding to our outside Christmas decorations and this year I found garage sales were the perfect place to score some one of a kind outdoor decorations. They simply don't make them like they used to. I'll post some pictures later for you on what it looks like. We're waiting for the remainder of the leaves to fall from our Willow tree so you can see it all at once. (The photo above was from 2012 where we had a window painting company come around and paint your window for about $20).

10. Christmas Eve. We always order food to be delivered for dinner and then we simply sit around all day and watch our families favorite Christmas Movies. They change every year. Not sure what will be on the movie play list this year, but I know The Muppet Christmas Carol is always playing.

So in a nutshell is some of our families Christmas traditions. What are some of yours? Remember if you want to do a Christmas Card Exchange with me, email me at


Sharon said...

Yup, still send out Christmas cards - and it's one of my husband's favorite things to do! And yes, it's also great fun to decorate the tree together, and remember all the special ornaments and what they represent!


LV said...

Great tradition presentation. I have very fond memories of traditions of a long time ago. All those traditions that I shared with are gone. Nothing is the same anymore. Too commercialized. Keep yours going as long as you can., said...

Hello kat. So enjoyed this. Sounds like you really have time to enjoy the Holiday. I love sending cards, and also receiving them. I have always looked forward to Card time. I wound up with such a long list through the years that the stamps were pretty costly, which I couldn't really afford. But just couldn't cut my list down. Who would I leave out? But it has shortened through the past several years as my friends go to Heaven to celebrate there. Several I have found out by getting my cards back or looking online at Obits. Just have to know when my card doesn't arrive. As you said it is one of the Traditions that is getting lost. So many just say it on FB because it is faster. I really hate a lot of the things that are getting lost. Like hand written letters. I always loved writing and receiving my letters. But, so many quit because they use the phone and now text. Or email. I'm glad to get them, but it just isn't the same. I really don't have anyone who writes me anymore and sure miss it. Looking forward to a letter. Think everyone is running late this year or stopping. For I've only received 3 and that's unusual this near Christmas. I too love decorating my tree. Lots of my older friends haven't even had trees for some years. I have to have my tree. It's hard putting up the lights now that my helper has been gone for over 16 years. But one of my daughters comes to help put the lights on. Then I take my time adding all of the very many ornaments gather through the many years of my life. As you said, memories. At least 2 of my girls give me new ones every year still and have many from the other one from other years. I even have some homemade ones from my mother and a sister. Plus some my kids have made. I love spreading manger scenes around on the tree, too. Plus around my room. A tradition we have always had since I married back in 1951, is that the siblings living in my are4a took turns having all of our families over for Christmas dinner and visiting. Now, my children do this. I really look forward to seeing all of my big family, since some of the grands and greats I don't see very often. One thing I have always enjoyed was decorating my house. I had so much stuff, but the past few years the kids don't like me climbing so can't do it the way I want. I miss that. I do usually leave my tree up a long time tho, as it seems so empty as my husband used to say, when the tree came down. And, I decided in the past few years, what does it hurt? We always open our private family gifts on Christmas Eve, then exchange gifts where we spend Christmas day.I do wish people would have much simpler christmases now like when I was much younger, when people weren't too busy right up to Christmas day to enjoy the celebration. Seems most are so tired by then they are ready for it to be over. They should spend less time shopping and more time just visiting friends and family and enjoying the season. Guess I'm just old-fashioned. God bless you and have a very Merry Christmas. And, I would love to exchange cards with you. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com