Christmas traditions

10 Different Christmas Traditions

As the Holiday Season approached and the hustle and bustle and the long list of things to do began including: putting up Christmas lights and the tree, buying and wrapping gifts, baking deserts and cooking meals,  I began to wonder how Christmas morning is different in every household. Each and every family around the world has a different tradition of how they celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Christmas Traditions from Erin at Little Miss Kate

While we have old traditions of spending Christmas Eve with my side of the family and having a large potluck style dinner with all our loved ones including aunts, uncles and cousins – our total crew is about 21 people. My mother’s family takes turns hosting each year and when we were all children we use to all get a stocking to open that each family had contributed a gift too. We always spend Christmas Day with my husbands family and start the day with a family activity such as skating or a movie depending on the year. After the family activity, we then exchange our gifts and get ready for a delicious family dinner. Highlights of the family dinner are amazing food, and my mother in law buys Christmas crackers every year that we open at dinner and then all wear the ridiculous crowns and take turns sharing the lame jokes.

However this year I am excited to start new traditions in the Robinson household as this is our first year having a child at Christmas, so we have decided on a few small traditions we plan to start this year and continue for years to come. Firstly, on Christmas Eve Thumper will receive a new book so we have a bedtime story that we can read together as a family. Then each of us will get matching pajamas to wear to bed, this years pattern is Buffalo plaid. Thumper and I also created a plate for Santa that I plan to put out with some cookies and a carrot for the reindeer’s. I plan on doing a family photo on Christmas morning in front of our tree. On Christmas morning we will exchange and open stockings in bed as we have done for the past few years, then we will head downstairs make some tea and open each other’s gifts including Thumper and our dog Nala. 

Traditions new and old, Christmas is my favouite time of the year as I love the sense of magic and wonder, especially through the eyes of a child. Kids opening presents is something quite special no matter no big or small the gift!

 

christmas traditions

 

Christmas Traditions from Jana at Mommy’s Little World

I am from Slovakia and my husband is American, so our family traditions are somewhat mixed. We celebrate Christmas mostly on Christmas Eve. During the Christmas day we don’t eat meat, only fish, so I usually make fried fish and potato salad for lunch. In the evening we eat sauerkraut soup and kielbasy, sweet poppy seed dumplings and cake. My husband also loves shrimp and cocktail sauce. Sauerkraut soup was a totally new dish to my husband. He’s had sauerkraut before, but only a raw one from the jar, and he didn’t like it. He does love the sauerkraut soup and kielbasy though!

Most of my husband’s family does presents on Christmas Day, but growing up, my family always opened presents on Christmas Eve, so that’s what we do. After dinner, everyone sits around the Christmas tree and we open presents one person at a time. It’s a really nice family time. This year will be our baby girl’s first Christmas and we can’t wait to sit around the tree, helping her open her first Christmas presents!

My family’s tradition, as well as my husbands, is to go to church for a midnight mass. We used to do it every year until I got pregnant. Last year, my pregnant self was too tired to stay up till midnight, and this year our daughter will be too little to go for a midnight mass so this year we will go to church in the evening before dinner. I love singing Christmas songs and holding the candle in the Church. Even after all these years, I still feel like a little girl who’s excited to hold a candle for the first time.

In my home country, Slovakia, we celebrate December 25th and 26th as a holiday as well. Most of the stores and businesses are closed and these two days are reserved for visiting families and friends. Growing up, I always visited my grandparents. Since I don’t have family here in Colorado, we go visit my husband’s family.

I love our family’s traditions and I hope our daughter will continue the same traditions when she grows up.

Merry Christmas to all!

christmas traditions

 

Christmas Traditions from Sharon at Digital Nomad Wannabe

Here in Melbourne, Australia, Christmas celebrations mainly happen on Christmas Day which revolve around family and food. The night before, sometimes we will sing some carols and put out a note for Santa along with beer and a carrot for his reindeers. Getting to sleep is extra hard as the days are really long at that time of year. Santa comes and leaves presents for the kids and we all wake up excited and far too early.

After opening presents, we’ll have a special breakfast. Our family tradition is fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries with cream and maybe some chocolate.

Lunch is the main meal of the day and is spent with extended family. Sometimes, this will be a roast lamb and ham with vegetables, but often now it is a BBQ outside as its usually very hot on Christmas day and BBQ meats and salads work better. Whatever we eat though, there will always be far too much food and we’ll all end up feeling sick! On top of this, there will be lots of chocolate treats and desserts and usually a pavlova which is like a big meringue cake with cream.

After lunch we might cool down in a wading pool and many families go to the beach. Dinner is usually low key after the huge lunch.

 

christmas traditions

Christmas Traditions from Lindsay at My Trampoline Kids

Matching Pj’s for the whole family and hot cranberry punch are two of our favourite Christmas traditions that we enjoy each and every year! It seems like Christmas PJs are getting more and more popular making it much easier to find matching ones for all members of the family!

If you want some nice Hot Cranberry Punch for your Christmas morning, I often make it in the crock pot as the stove is often busy on Christmas Day! Here is the simple recipe:

  • 1 container of cranberry juice
  • 1 tetra pack of apple juice
  • Whole cloves 10-20
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • Whole Allspice 10-20

Steps:
1. Boil together and serve with a cinnamon stick!
2. You can adjust the spices to your liking (as well as the apple juice).

christmas traditions

 

Christmas Traditions from Ingrid at Fabulous Fun Life

Despite living in Australia where Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Day, due to my Estonian heritage my family and I still celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. Christmas in Australia falls in the middle of Summer and is usually a hot day. This is why a lot of Australians indulge in a seafood Christmas meal of prawns. I treasure the traditions that make our family’s Christmas unique in Australia to us!

Growing up I loved this tradition as it meant I received my Christmas presents earlier than all my school friends. The whole family attends an Estonian Lutheran church service in the afternoon and then returns to my mum’s house for a Christmas dinner and presents from Santa. Having lots of food on Christmas Eve symbolizes that you’ll have enough food in the coming year and our tables are always laden high with food. Based on my family’s heritage however we celebrate Christmas with a Christmas dinner of roast pork, roast vegetables, sauerkraut, jellied meat and Estonian black bread. We also indulge in home baked gingerbread cookies, kringle, dried fruit, nuts and chocolates. For each present the children receive from Santa they are expected to sing a song or recite a poem to Santa. Babies are allowed to shake hands with Santa to receive their present.

 

christmas traditions

Photo Credit: Joanna Kosinska

Christmas Traditions from Rachel at Creators of Coffee

When I was a child we lived in a two storey home, with bedrooms upstairs and the living rooms was downstairs. Our Christmas tradition was for all the kids (all five of us) to go and wake up our parents at some crazy early hour. We would then have to wait, in their bedroom, while my mum went downstairs, made a cup of coffee, turned the Christmas lights on, chose some music to play and confirmed that Santa had indeed been to our home during the night.

This Christmas tradition is deeply embedded in my childhood memories. The anxious wait to be called downstairs, the sense of excitement seeing the gifts that had appeared in our lounge room as if by magic, and opening those gifts to the tunes of Bing Crosby in the background. I now continue this tradition with my own children. And I understand why my mum maintained this tradition year after year.

As a mum I love being woken up by my over excited kids on Christmas morning. It makes me laugh to hear them agonizing over the wait while I turn the lights on and make a cup of coffee. Then to see their faces light up and hear their squeals of delight when they are finally allowed to see what Santa has delivered for them is priceless.

christmas traditions

 

Christmas Traditions from Mary Beth at A Reluctant Mom and MB Sees
A combination of traditions new and old

My husband and I have been married 3 years, so our Christmas traditions are relatively new, but I already have a favorite… putting up the tree! We chill some bubbly rosé and set aside a whole day for hanging decorations. All our ornaments commemorate some kind of experience we’ve had, destination we’ve visited or milestone we’ve experienced. So, our day is spent sipping wine and getting nostalgic as each ornament is unboxed. We get a kick out of reminiscing about what each one represents… not least of all, the handmade Tinder ornament I gave my husband to commemorate how we met! Sounds slightly cheesy, I know, but it is such a fun day of togetherness. With all the chaos the holidays entail, especially for those of us with kids, who wouldn’t want to take a relaxing day hanging out with their favorite person? Perhaps it’s the newlywed in me talking, but I hope this tradition lasts until we’re old and gray!

My family on my mother’s side is Slovenian, so potica has always been a Christmas staple in our home for as far back as I can remember. This traditional holiday “cake” is essentially a square of dough topped with a sweet layer of ground walnuts, then rolled into a log and baked. My grandmother, a first-generation Slovenian-American, used to make it by hand. I didn’t like it much as a kid, but I do as an adult. I don’t know if my taste buds changed, or if I’ve just gotten more nostalgic as a “grown up,” but now I can’t do holidays without it!My mom never quite got the hang of making it herself. Luckily, she’s found a traditional Slovenian bakery that makes it just the way grandma did, so we don’t have to go without at Christmas. It’s halfway across the country, but she puts in an order every year and has it shipped in just in time for the celebrations.

Our holidays wouldn’t be the same without potica. If I ever can’t make it home for Christmas day, mom ships one to me so I’m sure to have a slice!

 

christmas traditions

 

Christmas Traditions from Sierra at Free to Travel Mama

Christmas traditions are numerous in our family! My children love looking forward to some of the same ways of celebrating each year and I love seeing the joy on their faces grow as they get older. On December 1st each year, our three children open a new pair of Christmas pajamas to wear all season and we set up our advent calendars; usually a we have one with a new Bible scripture to read each day and one with festive activity to do each day like look at Christmas lights, make an ornament, or watch a Christmas movie with hot chocolate and popcorn. We draw names with extended family and fill a stocking for each other as our gift. Our children dress up in costumes and recreate the story of Jesus’ birth with their cousins. Our favorite tradition of all is our family gift of a trip to Lake Tahoe to play in the snow in the mountains.  Sometimes we leave the day after Christmas and sometimes we have to wait awhile until schedules clear or snow arrives. But regardless, we treasure the time away to soak up our time together after the hustle and bustle of the season. We look forward to our time in the snow all year and will treasure the time always.

 

christmas traditions

Christmas Traditions from Mel at Yellow Stone Trips

My family’s favorite Christmas tradition is to spend Christmas Eve in Yellowstone National Park. We are lucky to live about 50 miles north of the park and can pop down there whenever we want.

We start our Christmas Eve with a soak in the Boiling River. Here the very hot (hence the name) Boiling River flows into the very cold Gardner River. People have stacked rocks to create pools where the water meets and mixes to a pleasantly warm temperature. As we sit there we talk about other Christmas Eve’s and watch American dippers bounce up and down on the rocks as icy chunks float by. Next up is a picnic in the Map Room of the Mammoth Inn. We snag a table and lay out fancy cheese and dips, fruit and nuts, and whatever else we brought. Sipping hot cocoa is a must.

We follow our picnic with a cross-country ski around the Mammoth Terraces. As we climb and descend hills we get to check out hot springs including the Elephant Back and the Orange Mound. We often take off our skis and walk down the boardwalk to see some of the other hot springs at Mammoth. I can’t  think of a better way to spend a winter holiday than soaking in a hot spring, picnicking in an historic hotel, and cross-country skiing.

 

christmas traditions

 

Christmas Traditions from Teresa at Wounded Birds Ministry

My husband started one of my favorite holiday traditions: The Christmas Morning Hot Chocolate. Every year, he sources a new hot chocolate for us to try. For him, part of the tradition is the hunt to find something he thinks we will all enjoy. He cruises the internet and searches for something he thinks everyone will like, which is not easy since we are split between dark chocolate and milk chocolate lovers!On Christmas morning, after we’re done opening our presents, it’s my job to make the hot chocolate. I follow the recipe and ladle the hot chocolate into our special Christmas mugs (which he also bought for us).

Last year, hubby added to the tradition by buying us little gingerbread man cookies that hang on the side of the mugs. It’s a special Christmas morning treat and one we all look forward to. Our favorite so far has been Williams Sonoma’s Peppermint Hot Chocolate. It’s made of chocolate shavings, so it melts quickly and smoothly into the milk. There are no lumps and it tastes great!

christmas traditions

Christmas Traditions from Katy at Untold Morsels

Every year as Christmas approaches I start planning a baking day for our family. We love making seasonal cookies for our friends and loved ones. We put on some festive songs and gather in the kitchen to mix and stir dough. Recipes that we make each year are speculoos (a spiced cookie from the Netherlands) and Scottish shortbread. There’s nothing quite like the smell of butter, cinnamon and spice to make me feel festive.  
But our absolute favourite are cranberry and white chocolate cookies. They are soft and chewy and you get the Christmas taste of cranberry with each mouthful. Usually we need to make two batches of these because quite a few disappear into our mouths before we can deliver them as gifts. We always leave a few for Santa too. Our tradition of baking cookies started before our kids were born but it is one they look forward to each Christmas.
Happy Holidays!!
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