Favorite Christmas Traditions

Favorite Christmas Traditions

For my BIG December Christmas giveaway – scroll down to next blog post – one of the options to add points for winning a prize is the question: “What is your favorite Christmas tradition?”  I have enjoyed reading the responses from those of you who shared, and want to post them for others to enjoy. Here they are, in no particular order and with occasional commentary in italics from me!

“For Christmas we like to give Jesus a gift on His birthday.  The Word says He wants us to cast our cares upon Him. So we write down the things we want to release to Him.  Then we throw the paper in the fire.  It is sort of a spiritual cleanse.  Through faith a weight is lifted.”  ~  I really love this! It is a lovely tradition and symbolic gesture that, as a believer, I adore. Thanks!

“Cook a turkey.”  ~  We have always cooked ham for Christmas, but have, on some years cooked both. One can never get enough turkey!

“I love it when, after the big lunch, we all go for a walk, the whole family, and breathe the cold and refreshing air. We all play on the sand (because I live near the sea, in the south of France) and then we go to the Christmas market where we buy a hot chocolate =) I’m looking forward to that moment!”  ~  I sure wish I could stroll along the sea in the south of France! At any time of the year, for that matter.

“Holiday movies.”  ~  Absolutely! We have many favorites – Elf, Scrooged, Miracle on 34th Street – but our traditional Christmas Eve movie is Die Hard. Yep. Think about it…

“Put up the Christmas tree.”  ~  Just got my tree and house all decorated this weekend. It looks fabulous!

“Christmas Eve service at church with candles at the end.”  ~  We also have a wonderful service with carols and candle lighting. Love it! 

“My best memories are of watching my nieces open up their gifts.”

“Elf on the Shelf”  ~  Okay Nicole, I have to know what this is!

“Caroling.  We always sing in my family.”

“Christmas is a traveling day for my family.  My two sisters and I get up early to drive an hour to see my father’s side of the family.  Then, back in the car in the early afternoon to head an hour and a half in the other direction to see my mother’s side of the family.  Finally, with only a few hours left in the day, it’s forty-five minutes back “home” to my mother’s place.  It’s not about having three (or sometimes more) Christmases all in one day.  When I think of Christmas, I think of my sisters and I driving in the car, sharing time that is becoming harder and harder to come by as years pass.  If one tradition for our family stays alive, I would always want it to be that one.  And, I will always see the three of us packed in a car, singing along to the soundtrack to Wicked, driving down a snow-covered highway, first thing whenever I think on Christmas.”
~ This is beautifully heartwarming! Wonderful sentiment, Alicia. Thanks for sharing, and may you have many, many more traveling Christmases in the future.

“Listening to Christmas songs.”

“Write Christmas cards and wrap presents for family and friends!”  ~  I haven’t finished my annual Christmas letter yet, but I will!

“Trim the tree with friends, cookies, and holiday music.”

“Light the house with just candlelight on Christmas Eve to usher in The birth of THE Light of the World.”  ~  AMEN! Wonderful idea that I may just steal.

“Bake cookies.”  ~  Dieting this year, and with my daughter far away, I may skip this one. Bake an extra dozen for me!

“Christmas Eve dinner with my daughter at a favorite restaurant.”  ~ Enjoy, Cheryl!

“Going to a tree farm an hunting down the best Christmas tree with my brothers.”  ~  We did this once, years ago, and brought home a big spider that ended up living inside my tree topping angel, leaving an interesting silhouette on the ceiling. Gross! Last year we did that. LOL!

“My favorite Christmas tradition is making the annual Christmas Yule log.  It has been in my husband’s family for years, and my husband’s aunt has passed the recipe and the torch to me to continue on the tradition.  I love it.  I look forward to making it every year.”  ~  Fantastic, Jennifer Z! I would love to hear the “recipe” if it isn’t a well-kept secret.


“Wrapping presents… almost all of them myself!”  ~  Yep, me too!

“Popping open crackers after Christmas dinner.  It’s not Christmas until everyone is wearing a paper hat!”

“Our family cuddling together in pajamas watching Christmas movies, then opening one gift.”

“Opening one gift on Christmas Eve.”  ~  Us too, when the kids were young.

“Lighting candles at my dad’s and grandparent’s graves.”  ~  Sad, but also touching.

“Kiss my husband in the morning!”  ~  Just like Lizzy! Give him a cheek-peck for me, Seli.

Keep sharing your traditions, everyone, either here in the comments or on the giveaway entry form (next blog post down the page). The deadline to win a fabulous Christmas gift from me is the end of the month, so lots of time!


17 Comments for Favorite Christmas Traditions

  1. Here is the Yule Log Recipe, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do

    3 eggs
    1 cup sugar
    1 tsp vanilla
    1/3 cup water
    3/4 cup flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp salt
    powdered sugar

    Pre-heat oven to 375

    Line a jelly roll pan (11×16) with parchment paper and grease generously with shortening.

    Beat eggs in small bowl on high speed until very thick and lemon colored (about 5 minutes). Pour eggs into a large mixing bowl. Beat in granulated sugar gradually. Beat in water and vanilla on a low speed. Add flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until batter is smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until wooden pick in center comes out clean (about 10 to 12 minute – watch carefully!) Immediately loosen cake from edges of pan and invert onto towel genereously sprinkled with powdered sugar. Carefully remove paper from cake. Trim off any stiff edges if necessary. While cake is hot, carefully roll cake and towel from narrow end and place on cooling rack for at least 30 minutes.

    1 cup heavy whipping cream
    3 Tbl siffed powered sugar
    1/2 tsp cinnamon

    Whip filling ingredients together until light and frothy (about 5 to 7 minutes).

    Unroll cake from towel and spread filling onto cake. Loosely re-roll cake starting at narrow end.

    Frost with Dark Chocolate Ready to Frost Frosting in a can (Dark Fudge works best). Once frosted drag fork through the frosing to make it look like bark. Sprinkle lightly with powered sugar. Decorate with Silk\Plastic Holly.

    (Tip: To prevent frosting from getting on the plate as you frost, cut strips of waxed paper and tuck around the cake, once frosted remove waxed paper strips)

    Enjoy and Happy Holidays to all.

    • Wow! This sounds great!! Now I just need to remember how to cook. LOL! Thanks SO much for this, Jennifer. I hope you don’t mind, but I am going to put this onto a blog post in a couple days, just to make sure everyone sees it!

      • That is fine. I wanted to share it with everyone, but was not sure where to post it 🙂 I know that you had requested the recipe and it is not a family secert, so I wanted to share. Have a GREAT day!

  2. My favorite tradition is church on Christmas Eve and then being allowed to open one gift before Christmas Day after begging my Grandpa for permission. He still gets a kick out of it. My husband’s is a big brunch, after opening the presents, that his mother used to make on Christmas Day for the whole family instead of lunch. I’m doing it this year…bacon and eggs and cinnamon rolls, French style!

  3. I am the entrant with the tradition of lighting candle on my fathers and grandparent´s graves. I just wanted to add, that it´s not a really sad tradition for me. My dad died when I was a child, like one of my grandmas too, but visiting the graves has always been a positiv thing in my family. My mother took us with her visiting the graves and that´s why I can´t imagine a christmas without prior having been lighting a candle there.
    And I love visiting the cemetary on an occation like christmas, because you can truely see that many people have been there too, remembering and lighting candles too.

  4. There are several things that have always been special to me at Christmas and are traditions, of sorts. Putting up the tree, of course, is the start of it all. Baking the special things that I bake only at Christmas is a big part of my traditions. The smell of the goodies baking in the kitchen, fixing some up to give away and tasting the finished breads are all such good times. I guess, as I have gotten older, some things have changed in their importance. I still love to wrap packages but it is not as much fun as it used to be and I’m not nearly so creative. Now I am just glad when they are all wrapped and under the tree. There is one thing that hasn’t changed for me . When the tree is up and the house is all decorated and festive, I love to turn all the lights out, light the lovely scented candles throughout the house, fix a nice cup of hot tea, spiced or regular, or maybe a cup of hot mulled cider, then sit in front of the tree with its myriad of lights and have Christmas music playing softly in the background. I can sit and look at the beautiful tree and feel the peace of the season. It is such a lovely time of reflection and remembrance. When my son was a little boy, he would always sleep on the floor by the tree for the first few nights after we put it up. Now he is grown with his own little children that like to sleep by the tree. I guess we all enjoy the ambiance of the lights glowing in the dark, the soft music in the background and the warmth that feels our hearts…all five senses being equally touched.

  5. For years, my Gram and I spent hours and hours making goodies, putting them in tins and tubs and giving them to everyone we know. She’s been gone several years now but it’s just not Christmas to me if I can’t continue that tradition. As I’m creating I just know she’s looking on from above and cheering me on.

  6. We attend church on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning, I make a dutch pancake that bakes while we’re opening presents. The rest of the day we spend together.

  7. I just like the fact that this year I get some time off work for the first time in 16 years and can spend it with my nearest and dearest. I hope that becomes a tradition! And I also will have some time to eat some nice food, drink some good wine and read a bit. I am such a simple creature!

    • Eating food is always a wonderful tradition – any time of year, for that matter! Have a wonderful time with your nearest and dearest, David. Thanks for stopping by and for sharing!

  8. We always hang two ornaments on our tree Christmas eve. A Christmas Pickle and a Christmas Spider. You can google their meanings, as they are too long to post here. Mainly a German tradition.

    • I have actually heard of the pickle, Sara, but never the spider. Yuck! I hate all spiders and bugs. I’m afraid that is one tradition I would have to forego. LOL!

  9. For several years it has been a tradition with family adults to go thru the words of C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S and select a gift starting with the letter of that word. (This year it is “S”.) Determine the amount spent ahead of time, wrap your gift with no tags and place on coffee table. The hostess then has adults pick a number from a hat or bowl. Whoever gets #1 chooses a gift from the table. Whoever gets #2 can choose a table gift or take the gift #1 has chosen. The last number chosen has the advantage of seeing all the gifts so far and “stealing” one he likes from someone else or taking the last wrapped gift from the table. Anyone who has a gift “stolen” can pick another gift from the table or go after someone else’s he covets. It becomes a game and everyone gets what he wants most! Gifts are usually androgynous unless someone marks the package for Men or Women only. Saves having to spend a lot on gifts for EVERY other adult. (Children still receive their gifts from everyone; Christmas giving IS mostly for children anyway!) Once you run out of C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S, other words like Holiday, Yuletide, etc. can be substituted. (I always have a little extra gift for the most creative letter gift chosen by vote, but this is optional.)

    • I LOVE the stealing game! We play that at parties, and it is terrific fun. Adding the letter twist is nice too. Great idea! Thanks, CJ.

  10. Having an empty manger that our children fill with hay everyday from the good deeds that they performed. On Christmas morning the awake to find the Baby Jesus in the manger filled with nice soft hay from their good deeds.

    • Ooh! That is a nice tradition too! I especially like the ones that keep the focus on what Christmas is really about. Thanks for sharing, Stephanie.

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