Holiday traditions really make the holiday a holiday. Without them, it wouldn’t be the same. I get the same excited feeling I had as a young child, waiting to decorate the tree, making cookies for Santa, and especially opening presents! Here are my favorite family holiday traditions:
The Christmas Tree Holiday Tradition
I can’t imagine owning a fake Christmas Tree. One of the best parts of Christmas, is finding the perfect tree and going to cut it down yourself. We had some great Christmas tree farms to choose from when I was growing up in California. Every year we’d make the short trip to the Santa Cruz mountains and wander around the farm searching for a tree we all felt was just right. I couldn’t wait to get home and decorate it. Each of us kids would have a new ornament of our own to add every year to the collection. One year, when I was about five I think, I helped decorate the tree and then proceeded to take a bath. While in the bath I realized I’d forgotten my special ornament. I ran out of the bath, butt naked, and placed the ornament on the tree standing on my tip toes. That made for a perfect picture that my parents tried to threaten to show my friends when I was a teenager. As an adult, I continued the tradition of going to cut down the Christmas tree with my children. One year, while living in Colorado, I decided to buy a special permit to cut down a tree from the forest. I was a single Mom, and drove out with my eleven and four year old daughters into the National Forest where we were allowed to cut one down. We were happy and singing Christmas songs during the drive, imagining our perfect tree waiting for us there in the forest. Unfortunately, we found out that it was a bit harder than that. It was very cold that December, and my four year old was not happy about being out in the severe weather. Looking around us, we did not see our ideal tree. I quickly decided that we were going to have a Charlie Brown tree, and give a “needy tree” a home. I laid down in the snow, beneath the tree, and began sawing. After much time, effort and frozen fingers, the tree came down. Success! Dragging the tree back to the car, I had thought it would fit easily in the trunk. It did not. Plan B. Tree is in the back seat of the car. Not easy with three people and a long ride home! We finally made it home, and completed our tradition by decorating the tree with all of our ornament collection, and two special new ornaments for that year. Even though the tree was far from perfect, its the one that I remember the most. We loved that tree!
The Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Holiday Tradition
I guess I’ve always loved the Peanuts cartoons by Charles Schultz, as another fun holiday tradition that I started is a popcorn and jelly bean Thanksgiving! Of course, we have the real Thanksgiving dinner, but we choose another day near Thanksgiving to have popcorn and jelly beans like the kids on the cartoon always had, along with some other fun snacks, and watch movies all day. Its a great to spend the time together, staying in our pajamas all day, and even taking the day off from normal healthy eating. By the time its done, I’m really ready for some healthy food the next day.
The Cookies for Santa Holiday Tradition
Making cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve is a tradition I used to think everyone practiced, but I’ve since found out that many families don’t do this. I think its a great time to bake with your kids, and teach them a bit about it too. I loved helping to make cookies, tasting some along the way, and leaving them on a little plate for Santa with a glass of milk. I couldn’t wait to see if Santa had eaten them when I woke up! I was almost as excited about that as I was the presents. I continued this tradition with my children as well. They are grown now, but I’m tempted to make cookies for Santa anyway!
Whatever your holiday traditions are, I hope you are able to enjoy them with those you love this year.