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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I might have asked this same question last year. But, I thought it might be fun to share some of our holiday family traditions.

As a young child, Santa filled our Christmas stockings with candy and little trinkets. But, one of the best things always left in the very bottom of the stocking ... was an orange. The orange always tasted so sweet and juicy. Throughout the years, I always looked forward to the orange in the bottom of my Christmas stocking. The orange always smelled so wonderfully fragrant.

When I had my own children, I followed through with the same tradition. And, then after our grandchild, Ashley, was born ... Santa left oranges in her Christmas stockings. To this day ... at almost eighteen years of age ... Ashley still asks not to forget the orange in the bottom of her Christmas stocking.

I think it's so nice that such a simple thing, as an orange, can have so much meaning ... especially at Christmas.

The newer tradition my husband and I started years ago, was going on a holiday shopping trip with our granddaughter, Ashley. However, this trip has special meaning ... for it is not gift shopping for any of us, but, instead ... for the less fortunate who are experiencing struggles to try and make ends meet.

Ashley already has been here this year to do the special shopping trip with us. I am so proud of her for taking time with us ... to think of others. She puts a lot of thought into to what the children might like. Educational and fun toys. Books, dolls, games, and clothes. Every year Ashley helps carry the huge bags of gifts over to our local newspaper office with us ... so that the newspaper staff can distribute the gifts to families in need of some help from Santa's elves.

Those are two of our cherished family Christmas traditions.

Would you like to share some of your favorite holiday traditions?
 

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Marie - I love your holiday tradition of the oranges. Makes me want to get a carton of Clementines. :wub:
Hmmm - traditions. Well, I'm Jewish so it was Chanukah growing up, but since my dad died when I was 6, I don't really remember much about that holiday. Usually 8 nights, eight small gifts, playing with the dreidl and the best brisket and potato pancakes in the world made by my mom. Used to be jealous of all the kids getting to celebrate Christmas. Chanukah kind of pales next to it but did enjoy decorating our neighbor's tree. We celebrate the other Jewish holidays more at our house than Christmas.
So, skip ahead to approx 28 years ago and I married my DH who is Catholic. Well, we have gone in for Christmas in a big way.:chili: Our tradition every year is to cut down our own tree. :w00t: None of those pre-cut or manufactured babies for us. Nope,usually balsam and from Vermont, or sometimes NH. The "fun" (and I use the term loosely) is picking said tree. DRIVES ME CRAZY!:smilie_tischkante: My DH, DS and I usually end up picking it during the coldest day of the month, with a foot of snow on the ground literally climbing through mountains of tree farms. "This one," "No this one," "No not that one," "Over here." "Over there," "Over EVERYWHERE!!":smstarz: Finally, after about an hour of numbing cold and indefinite indecision, I don't care if we cut down a power pole. :angry: Just pick one:smpullhair: We finally pick the PERFECT tree, cut it down, bag it and plop it on the roof to take to the city. Every year we think we've gotten the best one. :thumbsup: Yup that's our tradition. I'm ready for a Valium and a stiff drink when we're done.:aktion033:
But, on the brighter side we also have a tradition with his family of having the big family Christmas gathering on a weekend other than Christmas. As DH's sisters and brothers (and us) had kids, we wanted to be in our own homes Christmas morning opening presents and not rushing anywhere. Also there are in-law issues when you feel bad that you can't be with in-laws because you're with spouse's family. We love this tradition and are doing it this year on Saturday, December 11 AT MY HOUSE. Yup, 23 people (including kids) will be descending.:new_shocked: I love it. :wub:
I love the smell of the fresh pine, homemade food and desserts, the laughter, the togetherness, seeing the holiday through kid's eyes, and the love. :heart: That's our holiday.
 

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Marie & Susan---loved your posts! truly!
My husband is Swedish (yep, 100% born in US but his heart is still in Sweden) soooooo we always celebrate Swedish style beginning on St. Lucia Day, the 13th. We often have a completely dark (except for candles leading to the house & decorating the home) special guest night w/Lucia appearing w/a reading about Christmas from the Swedish tradition & the story of Lucia---with her appearing in a white gown (from a true Swede) w/a crown in her hair!
The other tradition is the dancing out of the Christmas tree which ends the season of Christmas---Three Kings Day---Jan. The girls never wanted to take the tree down so we take all the decorations off (gathered over the years from around the world) and replace them w/gingerbread & chocolate decorations. We invite families (large & small kids) & dance around the tree & dance it out to be collected---or to keep it to make a cross for Easter from to show the connection between Christ's birth & his death for us---and then we finish off the Christmas goodies, cheer and play games together! It seems to package everything together for us as a family!
 

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I forgot to add that before the tree is danced out---we have the children (smallish) plunder the Christmas tree for the goodies!
 

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Every year, hubby, the kiddos and I have an Advent wreath to count down to Christmas. Every Sunday we light a candle and do a devotion that tells the story of Jesus' birth. On Christmas Eve, we light all the candles and my DH reads the Christmas Story from an illustrated book (very well done). Afterwards, we roast marshmallows in the fireplace and make s'mores. The kids always get to open 1 present as well..containing a pair of "Christmas jammies" (just a pair of pj's that I picked out for them). They get to wear their new jammies to bed and wake up to presents!

We have never told the children that Santa is real. Rather we say he is pretend and we would much rather focus on Jesus (even though he was most likely born months prior to Christmas...but that's not the point). Instead of cookies and milk for Santa, we have always made a birthday cake and light candles and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. :)
 

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:wub: Just want to say I am enjoying this thread and hope more will post. I have 5 brothers, 5 sisters. As we all had our own families.. it was so much fun to have Christmas at my parents home for all the cousins to get to be together. After my mom died, it got to be too much for my dad and when we quit having it together all the cousins were disappointed. Now since I have 11 grandchildren.. and my home is small we celebrate at my daughter's beautiful large farm house Christmas morning. Our only tradition is for all the ladies including my 8 year old granddaughter to make all our christmas cookies the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It is a big mess but lots of fun. We divide them up and freeze them in hopes they will last until Christmas. This year I will miss being with my son, wife and 2 young kids who are livng in Norway. My daughter in law is Norwegian and we hope to visit them in the spring and my heart wants to be there next Christmas to experience a Norwegian Christmas.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Marie - I love your holiday tradition of the oranges. Makes me want to get a carton of Clementines. :wub:
Hmmm - traditions. Well, I'm Jewish so it was Chanukah growing up, but since my dad died when I was 6, I don't really remember much about that holiday. Usually 8 nights, eight small gifts, playing with the dreidl and the best brisket and potato pancakes in the world made by my mom. Used to be jealous of all the kids getting to celebrate Christmas. Chanukah kind of pales next to it but did enjoy decorating our neighbor's tree. We celebrate the other Jewish holidays more at our house than Christmas.
So, skip ahead to approx 28 years ago and I married my DH who is Catholic. Well, we have gone in for Christmas in a big way.:chili: Our tradition every year is to cut down our own tree. :w00t: None of those pre-cut or manufactured babies for us. Nope,usually balsam and from Vermont, or sometimes NH. The "fun" (and I use the term loosely) is picking said tree. DRIVES ME CRAZY!:smilie_tischkante: My DH, DS and I usually end up picking it during the coldest day of the month, with a foot of snow on the ground literally climbing through mountains of tree farms. "This one," "No this one," "No not that one," "Over here." "Over there," "Over EVERYWHERE!!":smstarz: Finally, after about an hour of numbing cold and indefinite indecision, I don't care if we cut down a power pole. :angry: Just pick one:smpullhair: We finally pick the PERFECT tree, cut it down, bag it and plop it on the roof to take to the city. Every year we think we've gotten the best one. :thumbsup: Yup that's our tradition. I'm ready for a Valium and a stiff drink when we're done.:aktion033:
But, on the brighter side we also have a tradition with his family of having the big family Christmas gathering on a weekend other than Christmas. As DH's sisters and brothers (and us) had kids, we wanted to be in our own homes Christmas morning opening presents and not rushing anywhere. Also there are in-law issues when you feel bad that you can't be with in-laws because you're with spouse's family. We love this tradition and are doing it this year on Saturday, December 11 AT MY HOUSE. Yup, 23 people (including kids) will be descending.:new_shocked: I love it. :wub:
I love the smell of the fresh pine, homemade food and desserts, the laughter, the togetherness, seeing the holiday through kid's eyes, and the love. :heart: That's our holiday.
Oh, Sue, Felix and I LOVE Clementines! Snowball loves them too! We give him tiny pieces. Especially the Darling and Cutie brands are the best ... in this area, anyway. Both from the US, too. Sweeter and juicer.

One of my doctors is Jewish ... and, his wife is Catholic. They honor both holidays. I think that is lovely for their daughter, who is in her teens now. And, one can get to learn about both religions and traditions. I was born Catholic ... but, love many of the Jewish traditions, too. I had so much fun being Moxie's SS (well, Hanukkah woman and doggie) last year. Hey, and I love the Hanukkh colors! Even our lights out front are blue! : )

Felix made us potato pancakes the other day! They were leftover potatoes from Thanksgiving! They were delicious ... but, I'm sure your Mom's were extra special.

Oh, and the Christmas trees! We, too, used to go with Felix's brother and family to pick out our trees at a farm ... far, far away! LOL Really, we took this long drive to a Christmas tree farm. And, it would always be one of the coldest days of the year! They were fun memories ... we had our nieces and nephews with us, too. :wub: After we picked and cut down our trees to tie on to our cars ... we would go back home and have homemade chilli and other goodies. :chili: And, then a day or two later ... we would all become sick with the flu or colds! :w00t:

Oh, and one year we brought home the perfect most beautiful Christmas tree! When we went to decorate it ... all the needles fell from the tree! I was so devastated ... it was such a beautiful tree. We placed it outside ... and lit a bare tree ... it still was able to shine with lights!

We used to also go with Felix's brother and family to visit the National Christmas tree. Very memorable and lovely. Now, being older ... I enjoy the tree lighting and festivities like that at home ... on the TV! :HistericalSmiley:

I also love the smell of fresh Christmas trees and baked goods. Every year I bake my divine pumpkin loa.f (my family recipe saved for my granddaughter who has helped me bake it the past few years) And, I used to bake sugar cookies for Felix and his office ... so delicious baked from scratch.

And, yes, the children. Nothing like seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child.

Thank you, Sue, for sharing your Christmas traditions. :tender:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Marie & Susan---loved your posts! truly!
My husband is Swedish (yep, 100% born in US but his heart is still in Sweden) soooooo we always celebrate Swedish style beginning on St. Lucia Day, the 13th. We often have a completely dark (except for candles leading to the house & decorating the home) special guest night w/Lucia appearing w/a reading about Christmas from the Swedish tradition & the story of Lucia---with her appearing in a white gown (from a true Swede) w/a crown in her hair!
The other tradition is the dancing out of the Christmas tree which ends the season of Christmas---Three Kings Day---Jan. The girls never wanted to take the tree down so we take all the decorations off (gathered over the years from around the world) and replace them w/gingerbread & chocolate decorations. We invite families (large & small kids) & dance around the tree & dance it out to be collected---or to keep it to make a cross for Easter from to show the connection between Christ's birth & his death for us---and then we finish off the Christmas goodies, cheer and play games together! It seems to package everything together for us as a family!
Oh, Sandi ... I loved reading about your holiday traditions! Now I want to learn more about St. Lucia.

I love your tradition of replacing the decorations on the tree with gingerbread and chocolate decorations! What a lovely tradition for both adults and children to enjoy together. And, the idea of keeping the tree to be made into a cross for Easter ... so touching.

Thank you so much, Sandi, for sharing your lovely family holiday traditions! I enjoyed very much learning what is special to you and your family and friends. :tender:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Every year, hubby, the kiddos and I have an Advent wreath to count down to Christmas. Every Sunday we light a candle and do a devotion that tells the story of Jesus' birth. On Christmas Eve, we light all the candles and my DH reads the Christmas Story from an illustrated book (very well done). Afterwards, we roast marshmallows in the fireplace and make s'mores. The kids always get to open 1 present as well..containing a pair of "Christmas jammies" (just a pair of pj's that I picked out for them). They get to wear their new jammies to bed and wake up to presents!

We have never told the children that Santa is real. Rather we say he is pretend and we would much rather focus on Jesus (even though he was most likely born months prior to Christmas...but that's not the point). Instead of cookies and milk for Santa, we have always made a birthday cake and light candles and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. :)
Thank you, Kelly, for sharing your family traditions. :tender:

I love reading that your family has an Advent wreath ... and, light candles every Sunday and do a devotion to tell the story of Jesus' birth.

And, what a lovely way to spend Christmas Eve. Not only are you honoring the true meaning of Christmas ... with your husband reading the Christmas Story with your children ... you are also making such memorable and warm memories for your family. Oh, and I LOVE roasted marshmallows!! :wub:

How sweet and such an appropriate gift for your children to receive on Christmas Eve. Warm and new fun jammies!

And, although your children know that Santa is not real (he is to me though :yes: ... he's in the living room right now) ... your children still get presents to openin the morning. The birthday cake, candles and Happy Birthday song to Jesus is so lovely.

I enjoyed reading about your traditions, Kelly. Thank you, again. :tender:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
:wub: Just want to say I am enjoying this thread and hope more will post. I have 5 brothers, 5 sisters. As we all had our own families.. it was so much fun to have Christmas at my parents home for all the cousins to get to be together. After my mom died, it got to be too much for my dad and when we quit having it together all the cousins were disappointed. Now since I have 11 grandchildren.. and my home is small we celebrate at my daughter's beautiful large farm house Christmas morning. Our only tradition is for all the ladies including my 8 year old granddaughter to make all our christmas cookies the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It is a big mess but lots of fun. We divide them up and freeze them in hopes they will last until Christmas. This year I will miss being with my son, wife and 2 young kids who are livng in Norway. My daughter in law is Norwegian and we hope to visit them in the spring and my heart wants to be there next Christmas to experience a Norwegian Christmas.
Oh, thank you so much, Jeanne, for sharing your holiday traditions with SM. :tender:

I haven't had a chance to respond to your PM yet ... but, I, too, hope more friends on SM will share their holiday traditions. I am learning so much about different traditions. So many wonderful traditions and wonderful ways to celebrate and honor the holiday season!

Jeanne, that has to be soooo much fun to have all the women and your granddaughter get together to make Christmas cookies the week after Thanksgiving. (let me send you my address ... I'm just kidding :HistericalSmiley:) Although you said there is a big mess ... I bet it's easier when there are more to help clean up the mess. : )

I do hope you get to enjoy the Norwegian Christmas ... I'm sure you will. And, I wish you a wonderful trip in the spring ... that can be Christmas for you then, too.

Wow ... five brothers and five sisters! And, eleven grandchildren!

I wish you a very lovely and happy Christmas with your family ... at your daughter's farmhouse on Christmas morning.
 
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