What are Your Traditions? (And May Your Nights Sparkle!)

trout lights

From now on though the holidays, our house will be bursting with family and friends, so we’re going to have fewer posts for the next few days.

In the meantime, we wanted to do two things. First and foremost, we wanted to wish you all happy holidays, and give you our best wishes for the New Year.

Second, we’d love to know how you all celebrate this season of lights, so if you feel so moved, leave a comment and tell us what you’re doing this year.

We don’t have fixed traditions, ourselves, but rather what we do depends on where we are and who we’re with. This year we have a busy LA Christmas, jam packed with entertainment and activities. We’ll be going to some neighborhood parties–we may even be coerced into caroling!–and we’ll be doing some classic tourist stuff for the out of towners. We’ll celebrate both my birthday and my mom’s, as we have the misfortune of being born in the Christmas week–though at least we’re in it together! And we’ll be going to see that darn movie, along with everyone else on the planet. On Christmas Eve we’ll go to beautiful St. John’s Cathedral downtown to harken the herald angels singing. On Christmas morning we’ll unpack our Christmas stockings and later visit with in-town family. In between, we’ll be stuffing ourselves with cookies and candy and perhaps deploying elastic waistbands as a result. Repentance will begin in the New Year.

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  1. My seven siblings and I will get together to celebrate, go for a pre-dinner walk,eat dinner and exchange stockings.We have done this since childhood,we are all in our 60s.

  2. Two Christmases ago, newly single, one of my BFFs invited me to join her and her family to see a performance of A Christmas Carol and come over for dinner. That first year, I was a wreck, dragging myself around downtown in abject misery, made it through the play, and then tried to get out of dinner. She saw right through it, bullied me into go, and I ended up laughing and laughing and laughing. This marks Year 3 of that Christmas Eve tradition and it is one I hope we keep going for years to come.

  3. The Bear and I both came down with colds in the run-up to Christmas, so we’re going to stay home and relax with our cats. You know things have been crazy when we’re actually a little grateful to have been sick so as to have the excuse to cut back on activities!

    I just haven’t been able to get into the holiday spirit this year, so there may or may not be a little last-minute decorating. Last year, one of your posts talked about making low-impact ornaments, like paper stars and popcorn strings, which is something that has stuck with me. We have lights strung on the ceiling and I have a wooden bowl full of pinecones and little hand-blown glass ornaments with a candle in a jar in the middle, which makes for a festive little corner. Maybe we’ll go find a few pine boughs to add some greenery.

    Other than that, we’re going to unwrap a few presents (wrapped in cloth bags and wrappings that we reuse every year) and do some fun cooking. Smoked turkey soup for Christmas Eve, salmon pasties for Christmas day, maybe some beer pancakes for breakfast, and chocolate bourbon pie for desert. Oh, and the annual watching of the Muppet Christmas Carol, my favorite. 🙂

  4. Our family tradition seems to resemble yours in a way… we tend to do what is in the air each particular year. It turns out that my partner has NEVER seen How the grinch stole Christmas (the real version), so we will be doing that on Christmas eve. On the 25th, we will be going for a long family walk in the woods, followed by a quiet dinner. I hope that becomes a yearly thing.

    So, all the best to the root simple community! Merry Christmas!

  5. I have done different things according to whether I have been single or married or had children about. Constants are; I eat a whole pumpkin pie in one day;
    Hershey’s Miniatures and Kisses abound; oranges even though I have them at other times; favorite old ornaments are used; listen to Christmas music or attend a musical event.

  6. Outside house lights go up the day after Thanksgiving, the tree the next week and then we move on to preparing for Birthday Cake. Our three children and my sweetie are all born the week of Christmas, so we get creative what we stick birthday candles in – everything from cheesecake to brownies to a gallon of ice cream. When the kids are home for the holidays we bake cookies, harvest oranges and tangerines from the yard and play card games, like Tripoly, Rage, Uno, you name it. And watch Muppet Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve. As our parents pass, we are starting to spend time at cemeteries.

  7. For nearly a decade I’ve been a Holiday Stray–no one of my own to share the time with. I will go to church for the candlelight service on Christmas Eve but otherwise I will very likely spend the remainder of the holiday alone. Usually someone will kindly ask me in to share their holiday but, truthfully, I’ve come to value and indeed prefer the time spent by myself. It’s good to reflect in peace on the real meaning of the day and on the birth of the Christ Child.

    My one true holiday tradition is A Christmas Carol. Ever since I saw Mr. Magoo as Ebenezer Scrooge (oddly enough that made a massive impact on me when I was three), I have always sought out the story. I will watch any movie of it (although I really do like the George C. Scott version which got lots of things right), and I re-read the book each yuletide. It is good to be reminded that no one is beyond redemption and that we can choose to become something more, to do good in this world, to open our hearts. People tend to use the word Scrooge in a pejorative way but that’s missing the point; Scrooge is the very emblem of hope for the ability to choose to change for the better.

    Thus one can’t help but quote the other famous character from that great Dickens work:
    God bless us, every one.

  8. This year Christmas feels different because not only are we lacking snow in the Netherlands, it is also 15 degrees (60 fahrenheit) outside! It just doesnt feel right..

    In any case, happy holidays everyone!

  9. Recent years we have had a Christmas Eve group dinner. All of us are childless or have grown children so the dinner is sort of elegant and relaxed. The meal is more of an excuse to come together than celebrate the holiday. It’s been warm and relaxing and very comforting.

    Christmas day involves gift exchange, a game of Scrabble and dinner. Our family attendance shifts and changes depending on where the grown children are. This year it was my wife and I hosting 3- her parents and my mother. We draw names and buy a simple gift for one other person. Dinner was one of the meat ducks raised in the backyard and a collaboration/shared cooking for the rest of the dinner.

  10. This is our first Christmas with a baby, so it got me thinking about what we should do for Christmas as People With Kids. I suggested to my partner that we start a new tradition of going up the mountain to play outdoors on Christmas day. We aren’t always so lucky, but this year we have big drifts of fresh powder, so we strapped the baby up in the carrier and went snowshoeing. It was so much fun. Hopefully it sticks, because I am definitely the type that likes to have special holiday rituals.

  11. I always make holiday cookies with my kids (for gifts and for “Santa” aka me). Partly to justify keeping those tree and ornament and man shaped cookiecutters around all the rest of the year, LOL! We always get a tree and decorate, usually in the second week of December, and I like to put a fresh wreath on the door. We drive around and look at Christmas lights. I know lots of people have much more complex traditions, but I believe in keeping it simple! 🙂 Happy new year!

  12. Matt (my husband) still lives in his hometown, along with his brother and parents. So we do a Christmas Eve church service, look at lights, and enjoy gifts and special food and drink. For Christmas day we have stockings and a brunch as Matt’s brothers with singing and guitar playing and games. We always make lefse–a Scandinavian delight–in advance of the holidays because its just not Christmas without lefse. We also send a New Years letter and give the cats a special can of wet cat food, which they’d love every day, but I hate so they only get it on special occasions.

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