Family | Giveaways

Traditions

My favorite Christmas tradition is decorating the Christmas tree.

Christmas Trees are just magical.

christmas profile

They twinkle and glow, they tell a story, they shelter our gifts, give home to cheeky elves and they lend a sense of magic to our homes.

Part of what makes these trees so magical is what we choose to decorate them with.

I don’t know how y’all do ornaments in your family, but in my family the Family Tree is just that – it’s not a Macy’s display – it’s Family Tree.

 

It’s a 6 1/2 foot tall bedecked, glowing, family history.

Christmas Tree

In my family, we are given an ornament every year of our life.  While I was growing up, my parents and my maternal Granny each gave me an ornament every single year. When Nathan and I got married – they included him in the tradition giving him one, and giving us a couples ornament, too.  Once the kids were born it was an ornament for me, an ornament for Nathan, a couples ornament and an ornament per kid; plus we gave each kid an ornament.  (If you’re doing the math – 2 ornaments per year up to age 22 = 44 ornaments. 4 ornaments per year after that.. oh wait then we had kids .. my brain hurts)

One of the reasons that I love this tradition so much is that every year when we decorate our tree it’s a walk down memory lane.  It’s family history lesson. More often than not tears come into my eyes as I run my fingers over 30+ year old papier mache and yellowing lace edged angels, as my kids shout out the year and try to guess who each ornament came from and how old I was when I got it.

Memories swarm me.  Sometimes overwhelming, always welcome and always a blessing.

Every ornament that I choose for my children tells a story of who we are that year, what they’ve accomplished, experienced or where we’ve been.  Every ornament is a tale waiting to be told, a memory ready to be unwrapped.

This year we’ve done a lot of stargazing.

Lisa Leonard Ornament on Tree

While we camped on the beach, while we sat crying over losses and while we hoped for change. The stars have played a huge part of our lives this year.

My amazing friend, Lisa, created this Molded Star Ornament and gifted one to my family.  When I opened it, my breath caught. The handcrafted beauty, the weight of the metal, the soft velvet ribbon.

When we took this ornament out of its bag and hung it on our tree, Nathan and I both ran our fingers lightly over it – we exhaled and we remembered.

I cannot thank Lisa enough for this gift. Lisa’s timing is unbelievable, her gifts always seem to arrive on a day when we most need a blessing, a reminder.

Lisa Leonard Ornament

For our family this year, we wished upon many stars and Lisa’s star ornament will grace our branches for years to come.

I urge you to order one of her beautiful custom ornaments for yourself, a friend or a family member. The ornament you choose this year, will help share your family history for years to come.

So here’s what I want to do.  I want to give one of you a memory.

I’m going to buy one y’all one of Lisa’s Ornaments:

Molded Heart Ornament 

 

Lisa Leonard Ornament on Tree

Molded Star Ornament

Stocking Ornament

 

Please click on each link and go look at the beauty that is her handcrafted ornaments and jewelry, I promise there’s someone on your gift list who would love a Lisa Leonard Ornament

This post isn’t sponsored. Lisa gifted me with one of her gorgeous, custom Christmas ornaments and I have written about it because I adore her and her ornaments.

*** heart and stocking ornament images shared from Lisa’s blog with permission*** all other images are my own

 

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79 Comments

  1. We get ornaments every year, too! And it takes me f-o-r-e-v-e-r to decorate our tree because we also talk about memories attached to them. My grandmother gave us each ornaments and now I do it for my kids. I also buy an ornament on every vacation that we take. Some of the ornaments are actual ornaments and some are little knick-knack things I found in a gift shop and made into an ornament.

    Also? I love this post. Beautiful pictures, beautiful words.

  2. Oyster stuffing. It’s one of the few traditions that has continued from generation to generation and that everyone loves. It’s silly that a food can make us so happy, but it really does. I’ve often wondered why I just dont make it whenever oysters are available, but then it wouldn’t be special.

    OH and my favorite childhood memory was that my dad would wear all the bows. On his head, around his neck, wherever. I have great photos of him… miss him. Ok i’m rambling! This is lovely tho!

  3. Very poignant piece, my dear. If we hadn’t labeled them on the back with the date, we would have never kept them straight. I love this tradition.

  4. Beautiful my friend…. just beautiful. I feel about ornaments just as you do. Each one is a memory….a milestone…a moment. My kids dervive such joy in placing them on the tree. So many are photos – I love those and I always collect one whenever I travel…. One of my most prized was made for me by my 95 year old grandmother – unfortunately, our puppy used it as a chew toy, so it is only half of its original glory, but the sentiment is still there, so it still hangs 🙂 xoxo

  5. My favorite thing about the holidays is making homemade caramels. I use my Great-Grandmother’s recipe and it always reminds of her when I make them.

  6. I think my favorite would have to be the engraved ornaments my grandparents made for us when we were kids! We always dug through everything to find those so we could make sure we put our own ornament on the tree. We didn’t do it for our own kids, but slowly and surely we’re making our own tradition with each of use having a handmade stocking, which started the year my hubby spent Christmas in Iraq, and right on top of his care package box, I placed a stocking for him to hang that I painstakingly made by myself for him as a surprise.!

  7. Rachel everytime I read one of your post I am transported into your life and can see the faces of you and your family. I am so glad that the circumstances (odd people we both know) of ours lives brought us together. Ok enough squishing.

    My favorite Christmas memory is the tradition of Christmas Eve dinner at my Mom’s. We spend all day cooking, drinking wine, and laughing at the kids. After dinner we try and hold off the kids as long as possible, but then it happens. We all open ONE single present. We all take turns playing Santa and when every person has one present in their hands we all open it together. And watch the smile develop!

  8. We have the same tradition with ornaments. My mom still gets each person in my family one and we get one for each of our kids as well. I also collect ornaments from places I visit on vacation or that are special to our family. Our tree is so packed with memories I don’t even have room for all the colored balls I used to put up. They just end up staying in the box 🙂

  9. A couple of years ago I got an advent calendar that is in the shape of a wreath, it has 24 circular boxes on it. Every year, I have filled each box with either an activity for the day or some candy. My kids love it, talk about it, fight over who gets to open the box each day and eagerly anticipate it each Christmas. It has quickly become one our most favorite and treasured traditions.

  10. We are totally going to start doing this. Ornaments for everybody! Jayden already has 3 this year. He picked out 2 glittery candy canes and I put a Thomas and Friends ornament in his stocking… not as fancy as Lisa’s lovelies but hey. Our favorite tradition would have to be putting the tree up and gazing at its clear and multicolored lights. My husband says it doesn’t feel like Christmas without multicolored lights, so we do both :). We honestly have a lot of work to do in the traditions department. Le sigh. If nothing else, we can start with our little family. http://www.flickr.com/photos/sophistishe/6359950379/in/set-72157628042401835/

  11. My favorite tradition is Christmas morning. The kids wake up and see what assembled gift Santa left for them. They immediately begin playing and I snap a few pics. As the kiddos are enjoying themselves, the adults make coffee, hot chocolate, and steam my grandma’s homemade tamales. We mix some Velveeta and extra hot Rotel to drizzle on top. TV trays are set out around the Christmas tree and we sit with our traditional Christmas breakfast. As we eat, each family member takes their turn to empty out their stocking and show what goodies Santa left them. It’s a nice relaxing way to spend the morning. It delays the unwrapping of the presents, which I love. Anything to extend our Christmas morning!

  12. My favorite Christmas tradition is Christmas Eve at my mom’s house. We eat only appetizers and it is divine. Then we take turns opening presents in order of age so everyone can see what the other got. Such lovely memories and now I get to share them with my daughters.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  13. My favorite Christmas tradition is putting baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas Eve (but not til midnight!!) before we open our gifts. When I put up our nativity earlier in the month, i have to hide baby Jesus from the kids (they are 14 and 17 now but still like to look for him). The youngest person present always gets the honor of placing Jesus in the manger. Once he’s snug in his bed, they get to open their gifts. In the morning, there is one gift from Santa and a stocking full of goodies. Every day after that, the wise men inch closer from their position across the room until January 6th, when they are finally present at the nativity scene.
    I love your ornament tradition and do something similar for my kids – they get two ornaments, a year, one for me to keep on my tree and one for them to take with them when they move out to start their collection. The star ornament is so pretty! Thanks for the chance to win – and Merry Christmas1

  14. a touching piece, rachel! a few years back, ali edwards shared an idea of letting the kids open a wrapped Christmas book each day. i LOVE this season and love sharing the importance with my kids. i take each day as an opportunity to do this. this fun exercise makes me stop and enjoy and teach the story of Him.
    lisa leonard is amazing! Merry Christmas to you and the fam!

  15. Those ornaments are stunning. And I really enjoyed your post, Rachel. Tradition is what helps ground us through good times and bad. And our traditions can be some of the few constants we count on through life.

    My favorite holiday tradition is gathering with my extended family on Christmas Eve. My mom always makes lasagne, garlic bread, and a big salad. After dinner the kids get to open one present each. It’s just a glimpse into what will come on Christmas morning. The kids vibrate with excitement as the adults delight in watching them.

    Your post reminds me of how much my family has been blessed and that we are so thankful to have each other. Thank you!

  16. I’m just wondering, do you put all the ornaments in the tree at one time? Or do you rotate them every year? With all the ornaments collected since childhood, I’m imagining your tree to be so full of memorable trinkets. I want to start a similar tradition with my toddler but our tree is a small one so I fear it may get too crowded in there over the years.

    1. Hi Sheila,

      They are currently ALL on the tree – we’ve decided that next year we need a bigger tree! Well, I take that back – each kid has a mini tree in their room and they’ve both taken about 8 to 10 ornaments a piece to put on their trees in their rooms.

      We’re quickly reaching the point of multiple or a much larger tree 🙂

      When I was growing up, we had a “kid” tree – and then my mom had theme trees in the formal living and dining rooms, they were gorgeous 😉

  17. Two favorite traditions: we decorate the tree with Christmas music playing and drinking egg nog and/or apple cider. Second, my husband has read The Night Before Christmas to our kids (ages 20 and 16 now!) every Christmas Eve since they were born. 🙂

  18. This was a beautiful post. I love that you put all the ornaments that mean so much on the tree – not just ones in a certain color scheme. That’s what we do, and I love gazing at my tree and remembering where all the ornaments are from. My favorite tradition centers around our advent wreath and the song we sing as we light the candles. It helps to center us and remind us of the real reason for Christmas.

  19. I didn’t have a lot of long standing traditions growing up, living somewhere new every couple years will do that. When Rob and i got together we started the new ornament each year tradition for us and the kids. The 2 bigger kids now have their own mini trees with some of their ornaments. Our traditions start now and will hopefully carry through to our kids; it has to start somewhere right.

  20. Every year I watch two very special Little House on the Prairie Christmas episodes. My huband eatched them with me while we were dating and we continue to do this with our son. I have seen them hundresds of times, but I still cry every time!

  21. Growing up, my favorite Christmas tradition was getting to open ONE present on Christmas Eve. I’m an only child and the tree was always filled with presents just for me – it was so hard to choose that one present (I usually chose the biggest box I could find; my parents wised up to my selection method and started putting little presents in big boxes!).

    I’ve started the same tradition with my family now. We all open one gift together and force ourselves to show some restraint until Christmas morning. It’s a simple little tradition, but those are usually the most warming and heartfelt.

    Wonderful giveaway, thank you for sharing!!

  22. I get ornaments for my kiddos each year too! When they leave my nest to start their own they will be prepared with a tree full of ornaments their first Christmas. (Maybe I should buy 2 so mine won’t be empty 15 years from now!)

    I also started making your monkey bread recipe a couple years ago and we bake a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas day and decorate it together.

  23. Rachel,
    That is such a sweet post. One of my favorite traditions is decorating the tree while watching “White Christmas.” My parents also gifted me with ornaments, then us (usually a UT ornament!), and now I buy one each year for the kids as well. “White Christmas” is my favorite Christmas movie and one that my sister and I can recite from memory, so it binds me to her each year as well. I also love setting up the creche and watching as Mary and Joseph make their way into the stable.

  24. My favorite tradition is taking a special night to ride around with our son and check out all the Christmas lights! It’s just a nice, relaxing way to spend some time together and enjoy the holiday spirit.

  25. I’m in the process of trying to decide what traditions to pass onto my kids! We always went to look at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve and I loved it! I will def. be doing that with my own children!

  26. We actually did the ornament each year for our children also. When they moved out they had a start to their tree decorating. Now we do it for the grandchildren.

    My favorite Christmas tradition, besides watching White Christmas on the day after Thanksgiving, is our Christmas Eve Drive. It started as a way to get the kids to relax and go to sleep when they were younger. We would pack the kids up into the car, blankets wrapped if needed (we lived in Alaska for a while) and drive around looking at the Christmas lights. We would ooohhh anb aaahhhh and talk quietly, just the 4 of us. Even when they became teenagers they wanted to take our “drive’.

    Now, they do it with their children.

  27. We received ornaments every year as well… from our parents (usually something homemade), our maternal grandmother, and a cousin of my father’s. As my mother’s only surviving child, I inherited all of hers, plus my brother’s. I have a little mercury glass cardinal that was on my late uncle’s first tree (he was born in January 1934). I have no kids, and have started to disperse some of Mom’s & my late brother’s to my nephews & niece (one nephew was named for him). I continue the ornament tradition, and all the children that are a big part of my life, plus the bosses’ kids, etc. get an ornament from me each year. Just a couple of weeks ago, my niece-in-law commented about buying ornaments for their first tree & I told her that her husband has about 40 or so that I know of. Theme trees drive me crazy because our tree has always been such a hodgepodge of the ornaments we’ve been given over the years, and at 44, I can’t imagine having anything different.

    For years my maternal grandmother made the stuffing/dressing, and when it reached a point that it was difficult for her, Mom started making it, but could never get it to taste just right, until my grandmother came over & put her hands in it. That’s all she did, stick her hands in and stir it around. THEN it tasted right. The first Christmas after she passed, Mom worried that it wouldn’t taste right, without her hands in it, but it was perfect. The same thing happened with my (half, on my father’s side)sister the first Christmas Mom was gone, she worried that it wouldn’t taste like Mom’s, without Mom’s hands in it, but it did.

  28. I’m with you; our tree is a glowing family history! I love your phrase!! When I got married, my mom pulled out all the ornaments I had been given or had made as a child for our “new family” tree. We have added to them over the years and it never fails to pull me back to my childhood when we decorate the tree.

    Our family tradition, no matter where we are or where we go was started by my mom when I was about 6 or 7. She would make what we call a Christmas ring out of sweet dough and filled with candied fruit. Chrsistmas morning breakfast is always Christmas ring. The last two Christmas’ I started teaching my older son how to make it and he is so proud of himself. This year my younger son will get to start learning.

    Thanks for offering a beautiful ornament to some lucky person. I am sure they will remember you everytime they see it. Christmas blessings to each of you!

  29. My favorite tradition is driving around looking at Christmas lights. In my house growing up Santa always came on Christmas Eve. So to give him plenty of time my parents would drive my brother and me around looking at Christmas lights after we got finished doing Christmas with both sets of grandparents. We would usually swing by McDonalds for French Fries and a drink and then we would drive around.
    Now with our kids I make a meal of finger foods (sausage cheese balls, pigs in a blanket, veggies and ranch dip, cookies, candies, cheese and crackers etc) and package it up in bags and we take that on the road. We eat dinner in the car driving around looking at lights and singing Christmas songs. I think I enjoy that night more then Christmas Day.

  30. My head would hurt too if I was trying to figure out all that Mathmatics 😉

    I love Christmas time, and I have many treasured memories from growing up. Being Married & having kids, has changed things up (in the good way) with the merging of my husbands traditions & mine own. But I think one of our favorites is wrapping the doorway Christmas Eve {my husbands} & telling the kids that they can’t get up till Mom & Dad come get them {mine}, and then spending Christmas morning together, going through our Stockings & then watching each other open up our presents. And to end it all, having a wonderful, yummy, homemade breakfast 🙂

  31. I get a new ornament for my kids every year. I attach a very small tag with the year and their name on it. Our favorite tradition is to put our tree topper on after we have completely decorated our tree. Our tree topper is an angel named “Olive Oil” and is made out of tin foil and a napkin from our wedding. My husband made it on our first Christmas together and he puts it on the tree.

  32. Few things I love 1) getting out the ornament box and seeing the kids excitement. I even have an ornament I got from a friend when I was about 8yrs old (almost 42) 2) I have a basket of Christmas story books that gets put by the fireplace. Again, the excitement they have to look through those stories year after year. 3) Christmas Eve services. My kids are 15, 12 & 9 and I cherish every holiday memory with them. These are the days they will remember 🙂

  33. Every December my daughter and I make a gingerbread house, take pictures, and then eat all of it on the couch. Nothing like tons of sugar and milk while we giggle watching Christmas movies.

    Now that she’s older and we are adding another baby to the family soon, I want to make new traditions that they will carry over to their kids. I love the ornament gifting! So thoughtful!

  34. Growing up we had one very old, very cheap, very ugly tree topper. It was a gold-painted plastic thing held together in it’s later years with scotch tape. In the middle was a diorama-like nativity scene, and the top of it culminated in a pointy edge that had broken off somewhere in my middle-school years. Every year, my parents alternated lifting one of us to the top to put the topper on at the very end. We were very poor when I was little, and my parents were able to raise our family up to middle class by my high school years. I wouldn’t let the tree topper go though, despite my sister’s pleas to upgrade. To me, it held all of those memories and would always be the most beautiful part of the tree. I guess I simply couldn’t see it for anything other than what it was to me as a little kid. Thanks for making me remember this!

  35. Our tree is full of memories too and I love decorating it and remembering. But my favorite tradition is one I’ve had to take over since I’ve had children because my dad passed away 5 years ago this December.

    My parents divorced when I was 6. My dad was never a particularly sentimental guy. But we had 1 tradition that we never missed. Every single year, no matter where each of us was, he read me T’was the Night Before Christmas before I went to bed on Christmas Eve. Often it was done over the phone. During my college years and early post-college years, it was sometimes read while I hung out in the bathroom of a party or on the sidewalk of a bar once. But we never missed that tradition. Early on, it was for me. Later, I did it for him. And still later, it was for both of us. I had hoped to hear him read that story to my children but he passed away before my oldest celebrated her first Christmas. I have to admit that some years it is hard for me to be the grown up and read the story for my girls. I usually cry while reading it. And I’m fiercely protective of my tradition if anyone else tries to read the story to my kids.

  36. Such a touching tradition you have!
    Our family loves to make food, eat, and laugh – usually with our mouths full!
    One of my favorite traditions is making baklava with my niece. We call the honey syrup “Molten Lava of Love.” It makes me smile.

  37. We have several family Christmas traditions. The oldest is “tree sniffing” after thanksgiving dinner. We drive to a fresh Christmas tree lot and literally shove our heads into the trees and inhale. It starts the season off on a silly note. The more recent tradition is camping under the tree the first night it’s up and decorated. We have sleeping bags spread on the living room floor, eat popcorn and watch Christmas movies. It’s fun to “camp” inside and the boys love that they don’t have to sleep in their beds.

    Can’t resist telling you about one more tradition. Grinch night! We eat “roast beast” sandwiches. (usually chopped beef 🙂 ). And finish with “who pudding” while watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

    Christmas is a huge celebration in our house. It lasts all month, not just one day.

  38. You are SUCH a sweetie. And Lisa is beyond awesome. I love her work.. and maybe this is what we’ll get as our 2011 ornament. J’adore.

    Our favorite tradition is Christmas Eve. I make lasagne and fresh bread and Caesar salad – or at least prepare it most of the way – then go to Mass. When we get home, we have a family dinner with my parents and Little Miss’s godparents. Once everyone has gone, we hang our stockings, prepare a plate for Santa (cookies and milk) and the reindeer (carrots and water) before opening one present apiece and heading to bed. A few more stories like this, and I just MIGHT be ready to start listening to Christmas music.

  39. When I was a kid my dad’s side of the family always had a big Christmas party the Saturday after Christmas. It was a large gathering and a great visit with my many cousins.

  40. my oh my that is a pretty star. my tradition I would like to share is we have baking day with my daughters, my mother, my MIL, my aunts, and all the granddaughters. My hubby takes a picture of in our aprons. the he goes and gets a copy for everyone. then we bake something together. last year, my MIL taught us how to make her raisen filled cookies. we also make lots of cheese balls. everyone brings something to share. we have a lot of laughter. the grands enjoy being able to cook. lots of memories are being made. thanks for putting my name in the hat! love it….

    Lorene

  41. Growing up we had an elf that sat in the branches of the Christmas tree. When I moved to Virginia, I found one just like it. My brother came to visit and saw my elf in my tree. He immediately thought I’d gotten the family one from Mom. Needless to say, a call to my parents cleared everything up. The elf is the family tradition we each treasure…

  42. This was such a sweet post and I loved reading everyone’s family traditions. I also grew up getting a new ornament each year that I picked out or my parents did. I have continued the legacy on as well. Now that I have 2 children, I pick out a special ornament for each of them every year.

  43. Decorating the Christmas tree is my favorite tradition. We have been married 33 years and everytime we go away on vacation we bring back an ornament from wherever we have been. We have 4 daughters and I have bought them ornaments and my Mom gave me my grandmothers ornaments so there are a lot of memories on our tree. We listen to Christmas music and have hot chocolate. Its so much fun.

  44. This made me cry. I don’t have many long term traditions. I am starting over in life and creating them as I go. Wishing you a truly Happy Christmas!

  45. getting all of our combined family 6 kids , 25 grandkids , inlaw kids and grandkids and our 5 with 2 more on the way greatgrandkids here at some time for christmas

  46. Hey, your Elf on the Shelf is in the same spot as ours right now! We have lots of favorite traditions, but two of them would be growing up celebrating St. Nicks Day before Christmas and Epiphany after Christmas with stories and little “stocking presents” hidden all over the house.

  47. My most favorite ever tradition we started three years ago, Elf on the Shelf. Our Elf is Frank, who is patiently waiting to make his grand enterance tomorrow morning. I love watching the excitement in our children’s eyes and watching them run around looking to see where he “landed” after his trip back from the North Pole. Okay secretly or maybe not so secretly my husband and I love coming up with creative and funny places to put him. 🙂 It’s the best part of our holiday season.

  48. I truly enjoyed reading your post and most of the comments about it here. We started collecting Hallmark ornaments when our daughter was born and continued the tradition with our sons and now grandchildren. When our children married, we boxed their ornaments and passed them on to decorate their first family tree together. Now we buy each grandchild a Hallmark ornament that is significant to them in some way to remember the current year. I will never forget the first Christmas after our daughter married and we no longer had “her” ornaments. She had received a gift with an angel swinging on a star as a package decoration on one of her very first Christmas gifts. It was a Hallmark decoration and I saved it to use as our tree topper the following year. Well, then it became a tradition, so I never got anything else. I really missed that little angel (the real one and the one on the tree) that first Christmas after she married! If that isn’t enough of a story, another wonderful tradition is that my mother made red velvet, hand beaded, stockings for each of us when we were young. She and the lady she worked with made them for us and eventually some of my cousins. Each one was different in its decoration. My daddy’s had a snowman jumping rope on it. Mine and Mama’s have angels on them, and my two brother’s had combinations of Santa, trees, and toys. When each of us married, she made a stocking for our spouse. My husband’s actually has some of the collection of gum ball machine toys that he collected as a little boy on his stocking. Mama then made each of our children one. My last child was born after my daddy died, so he inherited Daddy’s snowman stocking, and Mama changed the name on it. The stockings have hung every year and still look almost brand new, even though mine is about 55 years old or so. I don’t remember the exact age I was when she made them, but I was still in elementary school. I know my husband’s is 42 years old. We have always filled them and used them as our “only” stockings. Since our children have all married, they each chose to leave their stocking at our house and we still hang and fill them each year. They wanted to have “matching” stockings for their own families and knew that they could not duplicate the beauty of the ones we have. Our youngest son did not realize until he married that everyone did not have stockings like ours!!!! Thanks for letting me share some precious memories.

  49. We have young children so we really haven’t established too many unique traditions yet. I bought the Elf on the Shelf and plan to do that for the first time this year. We have stockings every year and we also try to get a picture of the kids in their pjs by the tree on Christmas morning. If I wasn’t so “camera shy,” it would be a family photo in flannel pjs! 🙂 I’d also love to go to a Christmas tree farm every year and pick out our tree together. I think that would be a fun tradition to continue year after year!

    I am a fan of Lisa’s on FB and have been admiring her creations for a long time. She is quite talented! Thanks for the giveaway! 🙂

  50. I best love when my kids finish decorating the tree. They have taken it over in the last few years and it is one of the times they do not fuss at each other 🙂 I pretend to nap and listen to them chat and discuss the ornaments (all of mine have stories) and then they “wake” me to show their handiwork. Love…

  51. My favorite tradition was when we were kids we were allowed to wake up as early as we wanted on Christmas and open our stockings together before waking our parents or opening presents. It was a fun time for just me and my sister, a quiet time to be excited about the presents under the tree, and see all the little things stuffed inside our too-small handmade stockings. I hope that when my kids get a little bigger, they can share this tradition too.

  52. Growing up, we didn’t have many traditions besides trying to cram in no less than 8 stops in the two days of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Now that I am the parent, I try to make the holidays less hectic and we spread out all the family visits over a week or more so e can enjoy our visits and time. We spend as much time at home as we can, making cookies and watching movies.

  53. Christmas is such a beautiful and special time of year. Traditions add to the love of family and friends. We have my husband’s family over every Christmas Eve for dinner. We prepare a big pot of soup or dhili, cornbread, biscuits, sweets galore and fruit and vegetable trays with dips. This is a tradition my kids look forward to each year. Another tradition we have is we decorate the tree and every room in the house the weekend after Thanksgiving while watching Christmas movies. My boys and I also bake Christmas cookies on Friday night after Thanksgiving to have to munch on while we decorate. Thank you for the opportunity of sharing just a few of my traditions. Thank you for all you do! Many Blessings… Tammy in Alabama

  54. Before my grandparents died we would go to my dad’s parent’s house and eat spaghetti on Christmas Eve! Yes, spaghetti! Go to church and then go to my other grandma’s house for snacks with all of my family! I miss those days. It is the tradition I miss MOST at this point in my life! Now that I am married, my husband and I get up really early Christmas morning to open our gifts to each other. It is our special time, just the two of us. I really love it…nice and quiet, just us two sharing what we think the other would love, just like two little kids!

  55. I love our crazy HUGE family christmas gift exchange. 26 peeps under one roof opening gifts – oohing and aahhhing and filling up garbage bags of wrapping. I love the over the topness of it all.
    Blessings!

  56. What a beautiful gift to give to your readers. So pretty (I love the heart ornament!!). In our home we exchange our gifts to each other on Christmas eve night, while drinking eggnog and feasting on appetizers (for dinner). Then we go to the candlelight service (they have one at 8pm for families) at church, come home, put out the cookies and my husband reads the family “Twas the Night before Christmas.” And off they go to bed. Most years my hubby and I then exchange our gifts to each other while sipping some Glogg or wine. It’s so much fun, and magical, and I can’t wait for the night to be here!

  57. We buy a Disney ornament for the Christmas tree every year. Since my children are little, I try to incorporate a new tradition to carry on each year. I love reading the responses because of the great ideas that I can pass on to my family. Happy Holidays!

  58. I love her ornaments and well, all of her stuff. It is all so very beautiful.

    One of the traditions at our house started by a small toddler on one of her second Christmas who just wouldn’t go to sleep after Christmas eve service at church, so we drove around the coast in San Diego and looked at all of the Christmas lights and then when we got home we dressed her in her new jammies and put her to bed. The following year, we decided to check out our new neighborhood in Jacksonville Florida and did the same. The year after that we had a nearly year old baby and a new four year old who insisted we see the lights and we did and when we got home she opened her new jammies and they both went to bed.

    Now those girls are nearly 17 and 13 and we go out every Christmas eve after church to look at the Christmas lights while sipping on hot chocolate or a tasty coffee beverage. We listen to Christmas Carols on the radio and talk about the year that just passed as well as the year laid out fresh and new before us. Sometimes if a fresh dusting of snow is falling to the ground we may stop and get out and just enjoy the beauty and silence and wonder that you only get on Christmas eve in Northern Ohio. It’s the only time that we truly appreciate the snow and all of it’s magic. Then we pile back in the van and drive back home to let the girls open their Christmas jammies so they can put them on and go to bed to wake up to the magic of Christmas morning.

  59. One of our favorite holiday traditions is the Christmas party that we host for our family,neighbors and friends. We usually have a housefull of 75-100 people! It can get a little crazy, but it’s so fun and we all have a great time.

  60. Those ornaments are beautiful! That is the tradition at my house. Since the first year we were dating my husband has given me an ornament each year, and anytime we go anywhere on a trip, we get a ornament. My son made some of them when he was little, so, each and every ornament is special to me. We really enjoy putting up the tree and reminiscing about all the ornaments.

  61. Every year my daughter is allowed to open one gift on Christmas eve, and every year it is the same gift. She receives a book and Christmas pjs. She is 20 this year and we still continue this tradition.

  62. Over the years we have collected ornaments from places that we have visited and vacationed at. Putting them on the tree brings back all those memories of wonderful fun times we have had as a family..that usually leads to remember when stories and eventually a house full of laughter.! So Precious!

  63. I just found your site through pintrest and wanted to tell you how much I love it – and how wonderful I think it is that you’re offering something so beautiful and special to your followers. I feel as though a lot of the true meaning of Christmas has been lost to overspending and the glitz and glamour of it all. It’s nice to see someone who supports the real meaning of Christmas.

    7 years ago, 6 weeks before my first son was born, my mom passed away after a very long battle with cancer. Although we knew she was very ill, we had still intended to give her the Christmas that she so desperately wanted with her family. Christmas was always her favourite time of the year. We had gotten the tree, but hadn’t had a chance to put it up before her passing. So, with heavy hearts, the day after her passing, we gathered in the living room of my childhood home and we lovingly pulled ornaments from the boxes and laughed and cried all the while listening to Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Nat King Cole and of course a little bit of Burl Ives and Elvis croon Christmas carols.

    In the 7 years since her passing, every year on the weekend closest to her passing we have gathered together to decorate a tree in my home now where we still laugh and cry and listen to the music that she always loved to hear during the holidays. Christmas was always very important to her and we’ve tried to make sure that we carry that on in her memory.

    I wish you and your family a very merry Christmas. May your hearts be full of love, laughter and all the magic that Christmas has to offer.

  64. When my second son was born, my husband and I decided it was time to claim Christmas for ourselves. My whole life, we were at my dad (or grandparents) house at NOON on Christmas Day. Just when we were starting to enjoy all of our gifts, we would have to get dressed up and leave. We continued that tradition until just a few years ago when I finally took a stand and said NO.

    I wanted to be able to have a Christmas Day at home, just us. Boys up early to open presents, my mom’s breakfast casserole heating in the oven, random naps and holiday movies all day. No where to go.

    So that’s what we do. It’s my very favorite tradition because it’s just US, all day.

  65. My favorite tradition is going to the Christmas Eve service. We do go to church each week, but the Christmas Eve services are just magical to me. Before I got married, I used to go to services at 3 different churches on Christmas Eve. Now that I am married and have a toddler, we are lucky to make it through one of these services!

  66. I love Christmas! My husband and I have traditions that we have started that are a combination of traditions from both sides of our family. We have to have a tree before my Birthday. We use to have Jack our dog helps us pick it out. We lost our beloved dog 2 years ago on Christmas day. We have a new dog, Stewie and this year he will help us pick out our tree. We both are excited to have “our dog” help us find that perfect tree. You see, My husband and I do not have kids, so our animals share our traditions. Stewie will give us slippers for Christmas. What would Christmas be without the delicious food that is associated with the Holidays. We have homemade cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. Merry Christmas to you!!!

  67. So many favorite family traditions but if I had to pick one it would be our Christmas Eve Open House. My parents hosted this gathering for almost 25 years and then a few years ago my husband and kids and I began hosting. The food is always the same, a reading of the night before christmas, and an ornament for all the guests with our name and the year to always remind them of the fun we had.

  68. Every Christmas Eve my husband and I stay up late, wrapping presents. Once we are done, we like to tip-toe outside of our kids’ bedrooms and ring these old sleigh bells we’ve had forever…we started this when my 13 year-old was a baby. We like to think they hear the bells as they sleep and dream of Santa and Rudolf.

  69. Every year each kid picks out a new ornament. Ever year the kids love to get out their ornaments to put on the tree. The younger ones always get mad at the older ones because they have more. I love the tradition in this- pulling them out and talking about them. :). Happy holidays!!!

  70. My favorite memory will be the ones we create this year, as we moved away from all our family this year. My husband and I are creating new memories for our daughter who is only 18 months. Which will include Skyping with our loved ones in Oregon. I just love the look on my daughters face when she sees her gram, grandad, and all her aunts and uncles

  71. I specially like and wear hand made jewelry. Whenever you come to India then you ahve to visit State Rajasthan’ pink city jaipur for hand made beautiful and stunning jewelry. My mother always buy traditional jewelry for herself and for me. She loves to wear ornaments on special occasions. She looks so pretty in those ornaments which are hand made and looks very historical and traditional. Thanks for sharing this post.

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