Ask the Readers: What Are Your Holiday Traditions?

By Ashley Jacobs on 15 December 2015 54 comments

Editor's Note: Congratulations to Elena, Bethany, and Jennifer for winning this week's contest!

For some families, the holidays just aren't the same without certain holiday traditions! Whether it's decorating the Christmas tree, lighting Hanukkah candles, or gathering around the table for a huge potluck dinner, these are the things that make the holidays special.

What are your holiday traditions? Which one do you enjoy the most? Are there any traditions that you'd rather skip this year?

Tell us about your holiday traditions and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

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Guest's picture
Julie Wood

My favorite Holiday Tradition is getting the whole family together and picking out the perfect tree and decorating it while listening to Christmas music.

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Mami2jcn

We drive around to look at the Christmas lights.

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Dawnelle

We wrap every tiny gift in each of our kids' stockings (we have 7 kids). It's fun to watch them open all the little things, and it is their favorite part of the day.

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Gina

Our traditions are trimming the tree, hosting a party, and attending midnight mass.

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Bekki

I enjoy the candle lit Christmas Eve service, I could do without the waiting in line for anything! Lol

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Paul

For a long time, ours was open one present a day for the 12 days of Xmas (two on Xmas day). It allowed the kids to enjoy and appreciate each present and for us to celebrate all twelve days until Epiphany. My father also put a moratorium on socks and underwear as Xmas gifts, because if you're only getting one thing per day, who wants that. :)

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Elena

My favorite tradition is baking Christmas cookies with my kids

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Julie Lundstrom

My favorite Holiday tradition is when all of us girls in the family get together and do holiday baking for a day. Then we divide what we all made and send home baking boxes to our families. Several women in the kitchen all day at the same time is pretty interesting.

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Elle

We bake holiday cookies together.

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Mary W

My favorite holiday tradition is to give the kids and Grands Advent calendars filled with German chocolates. Even the grown kids love getting their special calendar.

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Kelli

We always spend Christmas Eve with the in-laws. My favorite traditions are driving around to look at Christmas lights with our dogs, eating too many cookies, and just lounging around relaxing on Christmas Day.

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Tina in NJ

We get an angel (or two) off the Angel Tree at church and give a gift to a child with a parent in prison. I sing in the church cantata and make some of our Christmas gifts.

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Julie

My husband and I always volunteer at a shelter before Christmas. You can read about it here http://participationmedalwife.com/my-favorite-holiday-traditional-elfing...

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Emily S.

We have a casual (think lots of appetizers) Christmas Eve dinner and watch Christmas movies!

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Jeff

baking cookies

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Clem

We have a huge feast with joyful holiday music playing in the background.

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Lindsay Dee

My giant extended family has a cookie decorating contest on Christmas day. It includes cash prizes. We all look forward to that! As far as things I could skip, would be my family's tradition of eating Pillsbury cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning.

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Trish

Christmas tree decorating, choosing special gifts on Christmas Eve day, recieving huge oranges for the kids at church on Christmas Eve, taking part in the church nativity, family, friends, making Santa's footprints on the stairs for the kids see on Christmas morning, a carrot for Rudolph and raspberry streusel on Christmas morning!

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BRB

Watching the Peanuts and Garfield Christmas specials along with Rudolf and Frosty! And getting an ornament from somewhere we went during the year.

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Guest

We love decorating our Christmas tree while listening to carols.

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Susan P.

We like to sing Christmas carols in December and open our presents on Christmas morning.

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Catseye

Going to my aunt's for Christmas dinner and gift exchange.

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Michelle D.

I really enjoy our dinner on Christmas Eve. We make traditional foods, have a feast, watch movies, talk, laugh and then open our presents at midnight. Then we just relax on Christmas day.

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lostAnnfound

There are a few that we look forward to each year. The Advent calendar with a chocolate behind each day, hanging up the stockings, going out Christmas Eve to visit friends (same house gathering for the past 29 years).

The one I am reminded of the most is to make sure we have cinnamon rolls for breakfast on Christmas Day after opening presents. We started doing that when the kids were very small as a way to be able to prep in breakfast in advance and have something ready to eat before we go visiting the family. Now that the kids are in their early 20s they still make sure we have the stuff to make the rolls on Christmas morning.

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Guest

My family always makes homemade candy (a ton of it!). Now that my sister and I are out of college and living further away, we still try to get back to help. Unfortunately, I have to miss the candy making day this year, but next year it will be in full force for me!

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Betty

My traditions change because my family changes. My DD moved out, so this will be the first Christmas she doesn't wake up in our house. She and her boyfriend are visiting his family Christmas Eve, and will come by us Christmas afternoon. I even decorated the tree by myself this year. It's all good. :)

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Donna Sako

Our family gathers at my house beginning on Christmas Eve with a feast of Ham, shrimp, baked beans, raw vegetables, and of course cookies and candies. While spending our time we watch "Its a Wonderful Life" to remind us to be grateful. Then every Christmas morning we gather to open presents and peek into our stockings. Our dog, Electra, who passed away always participated as well. She would wait until it was her turn to open one of her presents and then open it, leap for joy and then take it around to everyone to show off. She always insisted on her stocking hung as well. One year I felt I would not hang hers. She had a fit! She pulled it from the box and threw it at me and announced with a bark she wanted it hung! So it is still hung every year in her honor.

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Amerson Family

On Christmas eve, we order Chinese food and watch It's a Wonderful Life. Then we open new Christmas pajamas, put them on and take a family photo by the tree. Our "children" are 18 and 19, and still enjoy these traditions, and it's fun to look back and see the changes (in all of us) over the years.
Other favorite traditions include putting up decorations inside and outside and then, driving around to look at lights.

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Amerson Family

On Christmas eve, we order Chinese food and watch It's a Wonderful Life. Then we open new Christmas pajamas, put them on and take a family photo by the tree. Our "children" are 18 and 19, and still enjoy these traditions, and it's fun to look back and see the changes (in all of us) over the years.
Other favorite traditions include putting up decorations inside and outside and then, driving around to look at lights.

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Guest

Doing a puzzle together Christmas Eve!

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Guest

We have cooking days, decorating days, and then we celebrate together with some great food and fun.

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becky fong

pulling out the holiday decorations, picking out the tree and decorating it with xmas music in the background. then deciding on what recipes to bake to giveaway as gifts.

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Suz_Glo

After Christmas Eve service, we drive around and look at some of our town's best holiday light displays.

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Summer I.

I love to bake with my family. We also decorate the tree together.

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Rick

We always spend Christmas Eve at my parents house and Christmas Day with my wife's family.

Our biggest tradition are baking meringue cookies and Snow on the Mountain using recipes from my 98-year old grandmother!

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m a

i try to attend a candlelight service on christmas eve every year.

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Emily Eggert

Advent calendar

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Monique

I really enjoy baking holiday sweet treats and listening to all kinds of holiday music. And sipping hot cocoa! If I had to alter a tradition, I'd say I could do without the heavy Christmas dinner. I'd be perfectly happy with a lighter meal with less fuss.

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Guest

Big breakfast on Christmas Day, long walk, then back in PJs.

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Pam R

My favorite tradition is decorating the tree

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Cassidy L

Listening to Christmas music and drinking hot chocolate

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Ced

Watching Elf every year

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Stephanie G

We put clementines in the kids stockings.

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C hui

We love to pick out a tree and then decorate it

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Miss kim

We drive and look at Christmas lights.

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Susan Smith

My favorite tradition is picking out the tree and decorating it.

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An G

we have appetizers on Christmas eve with the family

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Bethany M

We go caroling!

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Ernest S.

We usually get together for a Christmas Eve dinner, and then a large Christmas day lunch, with the Charlie Brown Christmas album playing in the background. We've tried to also limit the gift giving as well, but someone always breaks the rules!

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Kristin Goodson

We always decorate the tree together and bake some treats. We drive around and look at Christmas lights and attend the Christmas parade in our town.

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Tara

We get the whole family together for a special Hanukkah meal - even if it means taking unusual measures. This year I was 38 weeks pregnant and we still drove across the country for it, even though I knew I was risking giving birth at the wrong hospital. It was worth it.

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Louly

I enjoy listening to Bing Crosby records. I'd love to skip the tradition of everyone buying each other gifts, I'd rather we just did it for the kids.

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SKB

We go to a morning Mass and then have brunch at home.

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Renee

Driving around and looking at Christmas lights and listening to the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas albums, it's been a tradition since I was a child!

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Rebecca B. A. R.

We always go to my dad's side of the family on Christmas Eve and my mom's side of the family on Christmas day.

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Donna D

Usually bake cookies with my mom, but she just had surgery.

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tonya

oing to my aunt's for Christmas dinner and gift exchange.

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Liz

I love making christmas cookies !

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Happy Love

We bake cookies and lefse together.

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Carmen N

We go to Grandma's on Christmas Eve to open gifts with all the aunts, uncles and cousins and then go to "midnight" (10pm) service at church

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Raina

My parents hide small gifts around their 20 acres, and then the 5 of us "kids" head out with a GPS to geocache for them.