Dec 8, 2009


My friend Laralee asked me if I would share some Christmas traditions that we do to help give her some ideas of new traditions for her family. I have to say that after I thought about it I couldn't come up with that many traditions that we do which gave me an idea to have a tradition to start a new tradition each year. But I did come up with a few to share.
-This year is the start of using our Christmas Countdown tree. I think the idea of a countdown to Christmas is fun for all kids. If you haven't done one yet but still want to, why not just count down the last 10 days until Christmas.
-When I was a kid we had a tradition for a while of drawing another family members name and having to make a homemade gift for that person. I loved that tradition. I think a completely homemade holiday would be so fun.
-We always bake cookies to give to friends and neighbors. I like to try new things each year and put together really festive plates. Here is one cookie I made last year and they were adorable.
-I know lots of families that open up new pj's on Christmas eve.
-One thing that we do in my family is open up presents very slowly. Each person takes their turn and no one else opens anything until the other is completely finished. It makes the morning last forever but it is really fun that way.
-We have cinnamon pull-apart bread for breakfast on Christmas morning. It is super sweet and delicious. Here is the recipe we use:
Cinnamon Pull Apart bread
1 pkg frozen dough balls (Rhodes or you can make your own if you a bread baker. I think a bag has about 2 dozen dough balls but don't quote me on that)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup instant vanilla pudding powder
2 tbsp cinnamon
Before bed grease a bundt pan. Place all dough balls in pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar, pudding powder and cinnamon then pour melted butter over the whole thing. Cover with a damp towel and leave on counter overnight. In the morning place the pan on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350F oven for about 30 minutes. Pour out on a plate or pan to eat.
Notes about the recipe: -for additional goodness pour some caramel sauce over the dough balls with other ingredients before baking.
-If your kitchen is really cold then you will need to place the pan someplace else overnight. It needs to be partly warm so the dough will thaw and rise
-Even though the outside is brown the inside may not be done. Give it at least 30 minutes to bake.
-My husband and I started a tradition of doing a secret Santa for someone in our community. The past couple of years we picked friends to do it for but this year we have chosen a family that needs some extra help during Christmas. Click here and here to print a copy of what we do for our secret Santa. I didn't come up with this idea myself. It is from a past issue of Paper Crafts magazine. Since this is more of a fun secret Santa we are adding extra stuff to some of the days for the family we are doing it for this year. For example day 2 says to give 2 rolls of sticky tape so we tied ribbon around our 2 rolls and then gave them along with a wrapped gift for the children. We added a note that says "we had to borrow some tape to wrap this present". On other days we are giving extra of whatever we are supposed to give. On the 11th day you give a turkey. I really like this secret Santa. It is different and the gift ideas are really fun. We have already started ours for the year. If you live here in Green River-please don't steal our idea. Our town is not big enough for more than one of us to do this particular secret Santa. The other thing that we don't do with our secret Santa's is ever reveal ourselves.
-We always read the Christmas story from the Bible on Christmas eve.
Those were the only traditions that I could think of. Makes me anxious to start more of my own. Which brings me to a question: what are some of your family's Christmas traditions? Feel free to leave a comment and share. It would be great to get more ideas myself.
Please let me know if the links included in the post don't work. Thanks and Merry Christmas.
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  1. Those are really some great ideas! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love your traditions! We always do a scavenger hunt on Christmas day for one of our presents that was maybe a little hard to wrap (bicycles one year, bean bags another), and go to a movie in the afternoon while we wait for dinner. We also always do a super fancy Christmas dinner and each year we take turns for who does the cooking.

  3. You have some great traditions. Thanks for sharing. I did hear of one tradition that I thought would be fun. A family I know tries a new drink from a different country every Christmas Eve.

  4. I believe that you forgot the tradition of racing to the tree Christmas morning and turning on all of the lights, touching the trunk, getting your stocking and securing your present opening spot. Also, you forgot that we were never allowed to shake or touch our presents and mom and dad never put out any of our presents until we went to bed Christmas eve. I always loved that. Christmas morning was so magical with all the presents plus the gifts from Santa. I guess you could call the scavenger hunt for a present a tradition too. That was always fun, silly as it was. Remember when dad hid one of his clues in the microwave?! And you must not forget the most important childhood Christmas tradition of all, those blasted santa hats!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Great ideas! One of my favorites is on christmas eve we pile in the car with hot chocolate and treats and drive around looking at christmas lights (well except for last year, we hadn't even gotten in town and we were hit by a deer, it just ran into the side of us, needless to say that was the end of the evening! We'll have to try again this year...)

  6. Loved the ideas, Heath. I love the secret santa one. You are so good. I think I will steal your idea since I don't live in Green river:)


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