This year, our holiday memories center around favorite holiday traditions: A fresh-cut tree smelling of the pine forest, warm cookies scenting the house with vanilla, doubling up on family celebrations, and so many more…
We hope our friends and neighbors have cherished family traditions for the holidays, too, whether it’s lasagna, an ornament that brings back years of happy memories, or a simple shoelace reminder that all we really need are those beloved faces bright with happiness to share in the moment.
Whatever holiday you’re celebrating at this time of year, we hope it’s filled with love, laughter, good food, and family.
When Johnny was 3, I was a single Mom with not a lot of discretionary money for things like Christmas tree decorations. So, that year Johnny and I began the tradition of making tree ornaments out of construction paper, scrap pieces of wood, or anything handy laying around the house that could possibly be hung on a Christmas tree.
That first year we were by ourselves, one of the items we added to our tree was a white shoelace, that we tied around a branch. For the past 45 years, that same shoelace gets tied on our tree every year as a reminder to stay humble and grateful for how far we have come and for what we have.
On Christmas Eve, since my children starting having children, we gather for an early evening Mass. My kids and their kids then go back to my house for the traditional lasagna dinner. It wouldn’t be Christmas without lasagna!
Then comes the exciting part for the children! Presents!!! Kids do a hot potato game to see who goes first and then so on. They open one at a time and move to the next one and so on until all gifts are unwrapped. Lovely sight!!!!
My birthday is Christmas Eve and my son’s birthday is Christmas Day.
We have a family tradition of celebrating Christmas morning in a very traditional way around the tree with gifts and holiday cheer for the entire family. At noon, Christmas is over and the birthday celebrations begin. Just like when I was a boy, Connor gets to pick the family meal and the day becomes a birthday celebration in his honor. So far, every year he has picked pizza! He’s a teenager now.
One of my favorite traditions is that the James gang always cuts our own tree down. It has always been a big family event. My kids make fun of me; they say I prefer a bush rather than a tree! I like petite trees!
The first year I was cancer free, Bob went out and bought a 10-foot tree that filled the entire room! We had no room for furniture, the tree kept falling over, and to get it out of the house we had to saw it into pieces!
I love seeing that my kids are now keeping the fresh-cut tree tradition alive with their children!
Christmas Eve night was an event in my family. We always went to church, had dinner at a family friend’s house then went home to put out milk and cookies for Santa.
My dad would read ‘Twas the night before Christmas before bedtime. Now, we have the same traditions with my own kids. It is so magical!!
I had a Holly Hobbie oven (similar to an Easy Bake oven), and when I was about 6, I learned to bake cookies and follow recipes from that “toy.” Chocolate chip became the family favorite. Even after graduating to a real oven, Santa always had his traditional plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies and a cold glass of milk every year at our house.
I kept this milk and cookie tradition going with my nephews and we also added in a pile of carrots for the reindeer, just in case they are hungry also!
My favorite part of Christmas is attending Christmas Eve service with our family. The church is beautifully decorated and we sing all the traditional Christmas carols. There is so much joy and excitement in the air!
Our extended family tradition is a special visit from “Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus during our gathering! They spend time with us playing games, making us laugh, dancing and passing out small presents to all young and old!
What are the holiday traditions in your family? We’d love to know!
Happy Holidays and a Happy, Healthy New Year to all of you!