Holiday Traditions

I’m linking up with Debbie’s Wednesday Word linkup today. Each week Debbie provides a word prompt for us to write about. This week’s word is tradition.

Deb Runs

Naturally, I’m going to talk about my holiday traditions. I’ll start with Thanksgiving. We do the big family meal with the turkey and all of the fixings on Thanksgiving, and over the past several years it has become tradition that Barry and I host. Another tradition, one I have kept from my childhood, is to watch Home Alone on Thanksgiving sometime after dinner.


I celebrate Christmas, but unlike a lot of folks I don’t dive right in to Christmas after Thanksgiving. Growing up, we always had to wait until after December 6, my dad’s birthday, to put up decorations (so as not to overshadow his birthday). This is another tradition I’ve carried into my adulthood, even though my dad has told me I don’t have to. 🙂 Once we get past December 6, it’s time to decorate! We have an artificial tree, and lots of other indoor decorations that I put up, in addition to our outdoor lights.


Christmastime is the one time of year that I do a significant amount of baking. I have a signature cookie I make each year, which is gingerbread men. They take a lot of work but I enjoy doing them!


Last year I also made ‘Gingerdead Men’ using a cookie cutter my uncle gave me. They are probably the hardest cookie I’ve ever iced/decorated!

Gingerdead Man

Another thing that takes a lot of work is wrapping Christmas gifts. I do most of my shopping well before December, and I like to take my time wrapping gifts. I’m not very crafty, but I do my best to make them look nice.


Along with wrapping Christmas gifts, I also spend time hand writing all of our Christmas cards. I’m very particular about which card I pick out each year, and then I like to write a brief personal note in each one to make them special.


Although we didn’t do it last year (because we totally missed the date) we have often taken Hank and Scout, our bloodhounds, to see Santa at the humane society. I think it’s hilarious to get their picture taken, and the money goes to a good cause. Hopefully we can get them out to see Santa this year!

Christmas 2013
Christmas 2013

One thing we did last year that I hope to do again this year is go see the Christmas trees at the Inn at Virginia Tech. They fill the hall with trees, for an event called Fashions for Evergreens. Each tree is decorated by a different group and has it’s own theme, and you can vote on your favorite.


Finally, one last tradition we have is to watch A Christmas Story on Christmas Eve. I have several Christmas movies that I enjoy watching throughout December, but I always save this one for Christmas Eve. My dad and I love the movie, and Barry and my little sister tolerate it. I think I can almost quote the entire movie, though!

A Christmas Story

In general, our holiday celebrations center around time with family. This typically includes some traveling for us, but I don’t mind. Family and friends are important, and the holidays are a great chance to spend extra time together!

What are your holiday traditions?
If you celebrate Christmas, do you use an artificial tree or a real one?
What holiday traditions from your childhood have you carried into your adulthood?

18 thoughts on “Holiday Traditions”

  1. I love that you wait until after your Dad’s birthday to decorate!

    My husband loves A Christmas Story, too. I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen the whole thing, certainly not in one sitting, but I have seen bits & pieces of it.

    I used to bake a lot of cookies, even though I’m not Christian, but I had to stop it or I’d weight 300 lbs. Cookies are definitely a problem for me. This year I’m thinking I’ll bake a variety of dog treats . . .

    1. I try to bake our cookies right before they either get mailed to family members or taken to a family/friend get-together. It’s so easy to get home from work in the evening and grab a cookie or two… every night! I think keeping them in a covered container helps me avoid doing so, though.

      Dog treats is a good idea!

  2. Lights are up outside but won’t be lit until Sunday night. Will most likely start my decorating on the weekend. Not sure when I will get to the baking part.


  3. I love that you wait for your dad’s birthday! We have a similar family tradition, where everything has to come DOWN by January 1 because my daughter’s birthday is January 5. It’s all about her after Christmas!

  4. Your gingerbread men are awesome! Mine always look like a Pinstrosity. But they taste good, so that’s all that counts, right?

    Our favorite Christmas movie is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. We quote from that thing ad nauseum…

    1. Ugh, I think when it comes to Pinterest we all fail. 🙂 Anytime I’ve tried to do something I saw on Pinterest it never turns out, so I just avoid it for the most part. I’m with you – as long as they taste good!

      We love National Lampoon, too, and also quote it constantly.

  5. I have a December birthday too, but you couldn’t wait on my day because there would be no time left to decorate. I love your gingerdead man! What a cute idea. We usually make time to watch Christmas Vacation…after all we ARE the Griswolds. Christmas Story is also a good one! I like to hand wrap all of my presents, as opposed to using gift bags. It’s all about the presentation!

    1. It’s probably more suited for Halloween, but I only do gigngerbread at Christmastime. I love Christmas Vacation, too. I think just about anyone can relate to some aspect of that movie (be it the family stuff, the boss not really knowing who you are, the neighbors, etc.).

  6. I think it’s really nice that you wait until after your Dad’s birthday to put up the decorations. My niece was born on Christmas Eve, and I know it sometimes gets overshadowed by all of the holiday festivities.

    We have lots of traditions as well, but I think one of my favorites is our advent calendar. It’s made of felt, with a tree on it, and there’s a pocket for each day with a little ornament inside. It’s so fun to open the pocket each morning with my daughter and see which ornament we get to pin to the tree that day. Plus it’s helping her to learn her numbers!

    1. We have an advent calendar that is very similar to the one you described! It’s also felt and hangs on the wall, and you put an ornament up for each night. It’s fun to have something like that to each evening. We had a similar one when I was a kid (that my dad still uses) that’s a little wooden tree.

  7. I watch the Muppet Christmas Carol on Black Friday and then again on Christmas Eve. All the other movies are in a random order each year, but that movie on those dates is what I like to do. We decorate after Thanksgiving and not a moment sooner. My family has always enjoyed the holidays as they arrive.

    1. Funny how many of us seem to have that one movie that’s the most special that gets watched on a specific date, while all of the others can just randomly happen.

  8. No x-mas decorations until the month of December. Usually by the 2nd week.

    We have a small artificial tree mainly because of lack of space. If I had a bigger house, I would totally have a a huge real tree 🙂

    I actually don’t remember any traditions from my childhood but have begun with my kids (letters to Santa and cookie baking on xmas eve).

    Look at those gingerbread cookies! That is super impressive!!

    Those trees at the Inn are beautiful,

    Great holiday movies.

    Happy holidays!

    1. Our tree is small, too, and although I miss having a large tree I do enjoy the small table top one. It can be difficult to find a spot for all of the ornaments, though!

      Happy holidays to you!

  9. I love A Christmas Story! My brother puts it on non-stop on TBS on Christmas Day so the rest of my family has gotten tired of it. HaHa!

    Julie and I went to see the tree at The Inn at Virginia Tech her senior year. It was so fun!

    1. We often have it on in the background during their marathon as well. I bet there will be some neat displays in Chicago for Julie and Joseph to see this year!

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