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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Christmas traditions - I need to get me some!

Hi all,

We need help and inspiration!

We don't have any Christmas traditions - I was going to 'google' it but then I thought I should just ask you all and then copy the best ones.

I'm thinking we need some for:
- Xmas Eve (but not big on the whole church thing)
- Christmas day (we have stockings so need to work those in!)
- Boxing day (do sales count??)

I've read that the happiest kids have family traditions so thus my new-found desire to develop some!

Thanks in advance! Rian's happiness is resting with you...


  • At 7:26 PM, Blogger Tammy said…

    Ah, Kris. Your plight speaks to me. I don't know if we've ever talked about this, but I am a fuh-reak for Christmas. As you do know, the mister and I live across the country from our families, and I think that, after nine years of living here, we've sort of gotten pretty good at creating our own traditions. Here are some of the things we do:

    - We make a big deal out of picking out and decorating our Christmas tree, putting up the wreath and lights, etc. (I think you've got this covered, no?)
    - We each buy a special new ornament every year. (We've been married for 13 years, so our collection of REALLY gorgeous, unique ornaments is getting big! Almost time to get rid of the crappy, filler ornaments we bought as newlyweds!)
    - We go to holiday events in our community. (Ooh, the Drive's Solstice Festival is coming up on the 21st. Lantern-making workshops at Britannia this weekend!)
    - We have special holiday drinks that we enjoy in the evenings, like mulled cider and homemade hot chocolate (maybe with a dollop of Bailey's poured in -- yum!).
    - We often have a Christmas Eve open house for our friends. (Basically, we put out cheese and crackers and appetizers, and my husband makes a vat of his special mulled cider, and we just have a casual drop-in-when-you-feel-like-it policy that starts in the early afternoon and usually goes till quite late. All of you Vancouverites are invited!)
    - We make a big deal about filling each other's Christmas stockings. (We don't do "big" gifts, just stockings, which is kind of more fun for us since it lifts the pressure.)
    - We go for a long walk or hike with Dobbs on Christmas afternoon, and say "Merry Christmas!" to everyone we see.
    - We have a huge Christmas feast, even if it is just the two of us. (More leftovers for us! Yum!)
    - We rent our favourite Christmas movies to watch on Christmas evening.
    - We have special meals that we make with the leftovers. (My husband makes an awesome casserole he calls "Christmas in a Pan" and he also makes amazing soup.)

    That's all I can think of right now. The thing that we've grown to enjoy is the fact that, without so many family obligations, we can slow down and really appreciate the spirit of the holiday at our own pace. We talk to our families all the time on the phone, and we send and receive gift boxes, which are so much fun, both to put together and to open.

  • At 7:31 PM, Blogger Tammy said…

    Oh my dear lord. I almost forgot about the advent calendar! Soooo much fun to assemble and fill with candies and tiny toys!

    Also: baking cookies. Pick one or two "signature" holiday cookies and make those your must-bakes. (Ours are gingerbread and shortbread, because you can make plain versions if you're working solo, or you can decorate them en famille.

  • At 7:43 PM, Blogger White Trasherati said…

    The Poaikots and I do stockings for one another. And we have several other traditions, some of which the boys take part in, some not:

    - Christmas decorating, music, and movies the entire MONTH.
    - A little something we call "Stupid Dip" in our family; essentially cream cheese, browned spicy sausage, and Rotel tomatoes with green chiles in a crockpot served with tortilla chips. They don't call us White Trash for nothin'.
    - We buy new pajamas for the boys, wash and wrap them. This is the present they get to open on Christmas Eve. Answers their urge to open something, and gets them in nice soft jammies for waiting for Santa.
    - We buy each boy an ornament, and mark it on the bottom or in some unobtrusive spot with an initial. By the time they move to their first solo place, they'll have a modest collection for their own tree.

    One I hope to start this year that I read about somewhere (like you, Doppelganger, reading has become like the movie Groundhog Day - they're all new...yet vaguely familiar) is after the boys go to sleep, we'll sneak outside and leave reindeer crumbs all around and maybe some hoofprints. I don't yet know what to use for reindeer crumbs...any suggestions?

  • At 8:40 PM, Blogger Anne-Marie said…

    Holy Crap - I gotta say i never picture you as a Christmas fanatic Dop (dopel? Dope?)! I'm utterly impressed. We, on the other hand, are not much into the spirit. Most likely due to pure laziness really - seems like a lot of work. However, reading your post has perhaps started something... We do do (do do, he he!) the food and the drinks and some prezzies and a little decorating and a tree but other than that... Oh! We watch 'Christmas Vacation' on Christmas day - there. That's about it... I'm thinking we may end of at your place christmas eve for some of that mulled cider... yum...

  • At 9:17 PM, Blogger Melissa said…

    Hey Kris -

    For us it's ALL about the food & the eatin'. i do lots of baking and have lots of snack foods around. chips, sausage rolls (i do mine with veggie hot dogs), truffles, mince pies, cheese, crackers. We tend to overindulge, which is lots of fun. we stock the house with tons of wine & fun drinks like Baileys. we have stockings & nick insists on putting a tangerine in the toe (a tradition from his british childhood). Apparently they also used to leave a mince pie and some port by the tree for Santa. We usually buy a new pair of PJs or at least PJ bottoms. On Christmas morning we open presents & have a huge christmas brunch with champagne cocktails. We stay in our pyjamas ALL DAY. we sit around and read books, play board games (a must!!) and watch movies while snacking and chatting & lazing around. And then we make christmas dinner.

    So, yeah, it's pretty much all about food, drink and hunkering down at home. All of my Christmas memories for as long as i can remember are all about being at home with loved ones & having a very full belly for several days. And it's always really informal (another must).

    Since Rian (like Nile) is half English, it might be fun for you to explore some British traditions & incorporate them.. Merry Christmas!! ps - Nick wants me to mention that Christmas isn't Christmas without a 007 movie and brussel sprouts. pps - LOVE the photo of Rian. they just keep getting better & better!

  • At 9:27 PM, Blogger Melissa said…

    hi, it's me again..I was just thinking about a wonderful woman who i used to work with who had some really fun christmas traditions in her family. we worked together in a chocolate shop and i'll never forget her stories..she said that her family had a jumbo shrimp eating contest every year during the holidays. And they had 2 christmas trees every year: a fancy one with traditional decorations, which was kept upstairs and a tacky one with tinsel and flashing multi-colored lights that was kept downstairs..they went to town decorating both trees. they had a big family with siblings living all over the country. Christmas was their time to come together, be silly and have alot of fun.

  • At 9:31 PM, Blogger Idaho Dad said…

    I'm a big fan of the Christmas traditions too... A few of ours include:

    Opening one present on Christmas Eve.
    Potato soup on Christmas Eve.
    Cookie baking begins about one week before the 25th.
    Christmas DVDs are piled up next to the TV the week after Thanksgiving. We watch 2 or 3 movies/shows a week, with "A Christmas Story" going last.
    Build a gingerbread house.

  • At 6:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We celebrate on the winter solstice; we take the day off work and have the entire day to ourselves. We have a fire going in the woodstove, big breakfast, and stockings galore. Our big gifts tend to be “a new STOVE…cauz the MF died 3 weeks ago” or “a new DISHWASHER cauz the MF died a month ago…” I think you get the picture.

    Christmas Eve day is celebrated with dear friends and a GIANT holiday brunch. We have in fact had to cut back on the extravagance of more items than most restaurants, because we are now old and fat, but we still do a damn good job. The brunch lets us ease into the chaos that is FAMILY HELL WHEN THEY ALL LIVE LESS THAN 30 Min AWAY!!!!! Eve night is with his family. We do the x-mass pajamas too! That was a gift from my da and when I moved out I carefully explained to the boy “if there is only one thing you get me it had damn well better be a x-mass nighty, and not some Fredrick’s of Hollywood crap either. I want flannel, or something snuggly and CUTE!”.

    X-mass day is with my family (and extended family) that goes on to the wee hours. And now we have TM who at 9 months just can’t wait till we turn around so that he can eat the tree. I can’t wait to see what traditions he comes up with. “Barfing on Santa, Pulling Blitzen’s ears….”

  • At 7:46 AM, Blogger queen of the harpies said…

    Every year we go to a tree lot and pick out a tree. I think live trees keep the season a reasonable length – Christmas starts when it goes up and ends when it comes down and a cut plant will only live so long.

    We listen to all of the cheesy Christmas records we own. I recommend Elvis, of course, because he adored Christmas and the lyrics are especially hard to understand and you get to hear your kids singing the weirdest things for a long time after.

    The Jingle Frog comes out. When my son was small my mom (mom=adorable) bought this thing – a frog in some kind of ‘country’ Christmas outfit. When you squeeze it’s flipper, it croaks “Jingle Bells”. [I am not making this up.] My son had just turned one, and like most people who are still unembarrassed about their drooling, was not afraid to show that he was very enthusiastic about the Jingle Frog. So my mom gave it to him. Now it comes out every year. As it’s been nearly a decade and the Frog has become something that my mom is now embarrassed about, I love it more and more. This year, when we brought out the decorations, Mia was all over it and chased us around croaking, “Merry Christmas! I’m coming to kill you!” Ah, the memories.

    We hike to the park and look at all of the Christmas light displays. I think this may actually be rather magical for the children. For me and Ulysses it’s a chance to discuss why any sponsoring corporation would think “dinosaurs in mini-lights would make a fantastic seasonal display!”

    The Black Berets have a white elephant gift exchange, often at our local tavern. This year we’re also having a potluck at my house. (So far it’s all starch!)

    Multiple readings of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

    Minimal shopping. Ulysses and I went to the mall to buy ourselves new pyjamas on the third of December (I was having an adult slumber party that night, which I recommend because you don’t have to worry about how the drunk people are getting home, and besides, jammies!) and I’m not going back. I try to buy local store, hand-made, or – when it’s impossible to get what I need – phone or internet order. Malls make me really grumpy.

    Feast with my family (mom, dad, siblings, siblings spouses), followed by the extended family holiday party a few days later. My mom used to do the whole Christmas turkey thing for everyone, but a few years ago, she replaced it with an “everybody bring an appetizer and a $25.00 gift for the exchange” evening party. Which is much easier on my mom, the appetizers are fun to make, and we all get to exchange bottles of booze. Whee!

    Tobogganing. We haven’t actually done this yet, but this year I hope to make it a tradition. What is the point of having kids, otherwise?

  • At 1:57 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    Interesting Topic. I am compelled to respond. We of course do the whole Christmas Decor thing. In recent years, husband and I have teamed up to decorate the OUTSIDE, when in the 4 years prior, I had done all the stuff inside and out by myself. The tradition begins with husband grumping and growling as he carries all the red and green totes of decorations down from the attic, and then totes all the fall decorations back UP. Then he gets in touch with the grinch when he shoves the fully assembled Christmas Tree around the bend in the stairs and up from the basement, through the Kitchen, and into the living room. Then he bitches and moans as he tries to cram it into the stand. Then He walks away and the rest is All mine! I crank the Christmas Music light the candles and usually decorate in my t-shirt and underwear and fuzzy slippers. It takes me HOURS and DAYS and I make a hellacious mess but when I am fininshed it is all beauuuuutifulll!

    When we put up decorations outside, it is usually me holding the ladder, untangling lights, and saying things like "shut up and hang it like I said." and him saying things like "Why does it have to be decorated the same every year."

    But really the love is strong.

    We open one present on Christmas Eve. Then we go our seperate ways as he goes to pacify his family and I go to enjoy mine. Then we might meet up later at home or the local bar. Before we got old, we would host a rocking Christmas Eve party at our house that would go from 10pm till 1am or 3am and everyone would pass out wherever they fell. There was food and drink and cigarettes and card playing. But now we can't bounce back for Christmas day, so we had to scale that back!

    Now as for the reindeer poo- I have seen it done before, and they use chocolate chips mixed with glitter and sparkly beads.... and sprinkle it outside over the snow for deer droppings. Cute and Clever, eh? Maybe an Illinois thing.... I don't know. This is assuming you have snow. otherwise I suppose you could aim for the sidewalk.

    We usually have "non-traditional" meals these days, like Italian Beef or a HUGE pan of Cheesy Lasagna with Garlic bread. Yum. We watch whatever DVD's we all received as gifts. We Video tape every Christmas morning at my parents, still to this day.

    We tend to park it on the couch, although in recent years we have done neat things like going to the Botanical Gardens or the Festival of Trees to walk off some of that food. Last year we saw Nascar at the imax theater (speaking of white trash...)

    Last year my dad bought some of those mini-RC cars from Radio shack and we sat as a family and put them together and raced them. We built ramps out of magazines and such and had a good time. Little projects like that are good for some fun on Christmas day.

    I LOVE the pajama idea... how cute is it for everyone to have nice pj's on when you get photographed or video taped on Christmas morn? Sweet. I will definately steal that one.

    If there is snow on the ground, we will snowmobile, or tear around in the drifts with the dogs. That's the best part. Dogs in the snow.

    Husband's family has the tradition of suspenders. Years ago when Evan was little, his grandpa wrapped up a pair of Christmas Suspenders and gave them as a gag gift to Evan. The look on his face was priceless, so they started making the rounds. The year we got engaged, I got the suspenders as a "welcome to the family" thing, even though I had been in the family for 8 years already. Ha ha. The other side of his family has a child who has gotten a box of rocks since he was 4. Now he is 16 and still gets rocks every Christmas.

    I really wish I had some cool traditions to share. I will keep checking back to see if I can get some from the rest of you!

  • At 4:11 PM, Blogger landismom said…

    Wow, you know it's a good post when the comments are like twice as long as the initial posting!

    Usually, we do Christmas Eve with my brother's family (who live nearby). The kids open some presents there, so when they come home, they go straight to bed. This year is kind of weird--I do usually buy my kids some kind of special holiday outfits, which they get as Hanukkah presents (we only do gifts on the first night of Hanukkah, not all 8 nights), but this year, Hanukkah is after Christmas, so they'll get their outfits on Christmas day. We open gifts and stockings on Christmas morning, then landisdad makes pancakes or some other kind of special breakfast.

    After breakfast, everyone gets dressed and packed, and we pile in the car to drive up to NYC to visit my MIL for a few days. I love being in the city at Christmas time, and it's great to drive up on Christmas, because the roads are virtually empty. Usually, landisdad and I get to have some time together in the city while the MIL watches the kids, and really, what better Christmas gift is there than that?

  • At 7:11 PM, Blogger Melissa said…

    Kris, what a great post, and what great comments you've gotten! I also want to start traditions and am not sure where to start.

    The one tradition my husband and I have is that at some point during the season, we pour ourselves a glass of Bailey's and put on a Christmas CD that I bought for 99 cents. It contains a ridiculous version of The Twelve Days of Christmas, sung by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters. We sing along to the appropriate parts and can never get through the song without breaking down in laughter. I love some of the traditions you guys have!

  • At 8:59 PM, Blogger Cataclysm said…

    Yippee!! Ok, to re-cap what I've got so far, we have:

    - Ornaments (my Ikea sale ones from last year just won't cut it - need to upgrade or get Rian busy makin' some)
    - Xmas eve @ Dopplegangers with Anne-Marie & Sam
    - A box of gifts (got my lil' sister something like this but must get in the post before 24th - tick on that one!)
    - stupid dip and xmas in a pan (both sounding, well, so interesting)
    - special new PJs (tick! Got Rian some cute red and orange ones just the other day!)
    - mulled cider
    - Baileys
    - Tree - tick! (though its a cheapie from Home Depot - its true, you get what you pay for I've realized!)
    - 007 and Brussel Sprouts (Pete the brit thought these were the best of the ideas!)
    - gingerbread house (intriguingly challenging... there must be a kit for this kind of thing)
    - Celebrating Solstice - its done in style here on the Drive with Winter Lantern Festival so another tick!
    - Jingle Frog (my mom has Douglas the dancing Xmas tree that plays Jingle Bell Rock so wow, another tick!)
    - I was hoping for a better book than the "night before Xmas" so the Grinch is great!
    - Hear you on the decorations (only we didn't take down the ones in the front bush and Pete cut through them with the hedgetrimmer... knew we were doing something wrong there...)
    - NYC - ahhhhhh!
    - special breakfast - totally do-able so tick!
    - Baileys

    Thanks all!!! Any others????


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