Family holiday traditions not only are fun in the moment but bring lasting memories to share with others and treasure. It is interesting to see the different ways families celebrate holidays and special occasions. Here are some of our traditions.
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Year-Round Holiday Traditions
- Restaurants are so busy so we stay home and make it special as a family. It is certainly less expensive this way.
- Decorate the table with candy, candles, flowers, paper hearts, and the like.
- Order out from the restaurant or cook your family’s favorite meal.
- Give each other the 19 cent little valentines from the box that kids exchange at school.
- One year we wrote what we liked about each other and gave that to each family member.
- One year, one of the kids was in the hospital on Valentines and we brought the tradition there in the hospital room!
Easter Holiday Traditions–
- Decorate eggs
- Paques eggs – for those not familiar with this, it is French and is done in our Cajun area. Each person takes a cooked easter egg and taps the end of it with another person’s cooked easter egg. Whoever’s egg does not cracks, wins.
- Put out “nests” the night before, made from the easter grass. The Easter Bunny then puts eggs and candy in the nests.
- Attend Easter Service with immediate family. If there is a Sunrise Service, that is our favorite.
- Hunt easter eggs with family and friends.
- Trick or treating in the neighborhood
- Started an annual Halloween party at my parent’s house where all the little ones can get together to play games, have a hayride, eat, and do various Halloween crafts, etc. Usually, do this a week or so before Halloween. Great way to get to wear their costumes more than once!
- We gather with family and friends to eat, give thanks, and visit. Everyone brings a dish to share.
- Watch the parade on TV
- Watch football games
Christmas Holiday Traditions–
- Put the Christmas tree up usually a few days after Thanksgiving.
- The kids’ aunt gives them an ornament each year so that when they grow up, they will have a good start of their own. Warning: if you keep these on your tree when they move out and they take their ornaments you will need to buy more!
- Ornaments are a mix/match of various ones received as a gift, purchased and, most importantly, the handmade decorations the kids made. These are great for making an ornament and I have several made from this on my tree.
- Family gathering with the cousins on December 23rd. It started out at our Grandma and Grandpa’s house. After our grandparents died, the tradition continued to keep the family connected. It was then hosted by our parents, aunts, and uncles and it is now being hosted by the next generation. It started big with gifts galore at our grandparents’ house, but over the years, we have scaled back and now do the White Elephant gifts for those who wish to participate. We all bring food. We usually have fried turkeys too. Another activity that we’ve played during the gathering is bingo.
- White Elephant exchange is where you bring a gift and everyone pulls a number. The rules are established early as to if the gift is a new and the value of the gift. Everyone that brings a wrapped gift pulls a number and we go in order, from either least to greatest or vise versa. There are different ways to play, so be sure the rules are set before you start. One way we play is that the person can unwrap a gift and if they want to keep the gift they can, or they can exchange that gift with someone else. Everyone goes home with a gift that brought one. We have rules that a gift can only be exchanged so many times – usually 3. There are generally 1 or 2 gifts that are hot items and being switched out.
- Attend Christmas Eve Church service with extended family.
- Exchange gifts with family on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
- We recently have started another tradition since our immediate family cannot get together every Christmas. Our family exchanged gifts with them before Christmas and leave a few gifts for them to open on Christmas day. We Skype with them on the day we would have traditionally exchanged Christmas gifts. The extra gifts left don’t have to be big, they can be stocking stuffing type items and wrapped. We even took a family picture of us all with the TV. When you can’t all be together, you make the most of it and tweak traditions as needed.
- It can get tricky to be with all the family as families grow. We rotate annually on which side we go to on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
- Take a picture by the Christmas Tree.
New Year’s Eve-
- We do jigsaw puzzles. One of the busiest times of the year with Christmas and New Year’s, but this has been a long-standing tradition. We try to finish the puzzle before midnight – the New Year!
- Stay home and watch the specials on TV.
Holiday traditions are a wonderful thing to establish with your family. As things change over time, tweak the traditions if needed to make them work for your new circumstances.
What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?