- My Family’s Holiday Traditions
Christmas is — and has always been — a very exciting time for my family. What makes it all that much more special is having our very own Isabella holiday family traditions that we look forward to each year.
The very first thing we do to prepare for the Christmas holiday actually takes place about a month or two earlier. We have a friend or neighbor take a picture of our family. I then order Christmas photo cards using the best shot (i.e., where as few people as possible are blinking!).
After the cards arrive, my kids and I sit down at the kitchen table and form an assembly line. I will write a note on each card while the kids each pick a different task: stuffing envelopes, sealing envelopes, writing addresses, affixing return labels and licking stamps.
The beauty of this tradition is, not only do friends say they really look forward to getting our cards, but we now have over 25 years’ worth of family photos to see how our kids have changed and the family has grown.
(Shown here is this year’s card taken during my oldest daughter’s wedding.)
Our other family traditions include:
- Baking cookies. I bake all of my children’s favorites — while listening and dancing to peppy, Christmas music. The kids help too. We also share these goodies with neighbors and friends.
- Putting up our tree. We all decorate the tree together. The best part is hanging the ornaments we bought while on family vacations and reminiscing about all the fun memories. The last step is having my husband place the star on top.
- Decorating our house, indoors and out. We have special decorations we’ve saved over the years, mostly arts and crafts from the children’s early school years. We take these out and place them around the house for happy memories. We also put a wreath on our front door and lights and garlands on our outdoor railings.
- Hanging Christmas stockings. Since my first daughter was born, we have hung up a red, felt stocking on our fireplace mantel for each member of the family. I use glue and gold glitter to spell out their names. Now we even have one for each son-in-law and grandchild. The kids still rush to their stockings on Christmas morning to look for their small treats.
- Attending a Christmas production. Whether it’s the Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, The Nutcracker Ballet at Lincoln Center, or a local Christmas concert, we try to attend an event every year that celebrates this beautiful season.
- Buying gifts for the needy. Our church has an annual “giving tree” that accepts gifts for families and children in need. Our family shops together for these items, wraps them and donates them with joy.
- Fish dinner on Christmas Eve. Since our family is Italian, relatives get together every Christmas Eve to prepare and serve a special meal called “The Feast of the Seven Fishes.”
- Attending Midnight Mass. We go to church together on Christmas Eve. We particularly enjoy the beautiful music during this special liturgy. Afterwards, we drive the long way home to admire people’s outdoor light displays.
- Christmas morning photo. No matter how young or old, my children always sit together in front of the tree first thing Christmas morning. I take their picture, and then they open all their gifts!
- Making a big dinner. We prepare an extra special gourmet meal for this day. The grandparents usually come too. Afterwards, we sit together under warm blankets and watch a favorite movie while sipping hot chocolate with either marshmallows or whipped cream, or both!
Although Christmas traditions vary from family to family, they always have special meaning. Whether passed down, created or a combination of both, they are unique to your family — as mine are to mine.
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas — from my family to yours.