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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Haskell


This year is my first Christmas with a child who somewhat understands the house is decorated differently, however doesn’t quite understand there’s an elf watching her every move. Next year will be the first year she will hopefully start to grasp the concept of Christmas.

Watching this Christmas season unfold through my daughter’s eyes has really sparked my interest in holiday traditions. Including the traditions we want to carry on from our parents, and which we want to start on our own. After talking with a few other people, it is very apparent the traditions cover a wide range. So I’m curious… how do you celebrate Christmas in your house?

Do your kids have an elf? Is he a funny elf or a lazy elf? Does he arrive on Thanksgiving?

What about Santa? Do your kids write him letters? Do you actually send them in the mail? Does he leave all the gifts, a few gifts, only the stockings? Does he hide any? Does he wrap them? Specific paper for each family member?

Do you give your kids gifts on Christmas? Want, need, wear, read?

Do you leave him milk and cookies? Does he eat the milk and cookies? Carrots for the reindeer?

What about advent? Do you have a wreath? Do you actually light the candles? Do you have an advent calendar? Do you get a prize or piece of candy every day?

And Baby Jesus… is he in the nativity all season or do you wait til Christmas day to put Him out? Do you make Him a cake and let your kids sing Happy Birthday?

Do people still hang stockings? Are they the same every year? Do you get fruit in them?

And what’s with this St. Nick and leaving your shoes out?

Do you go to Midnight Mass? Church Christmas morning?

And what about custom ornaments or crafts? String popcorn? Drive around and look at lights?

Do you volunteer? Participate in Angel Tree gifts? Toys for tots? Do you give to those less fortunate? Send military care packages overseas?

Family movie night? Family game night?

Dress up or dress down? Big meal? Special breakfast or desserts?

Any special baking that only happens annually? Christmas cookies? Gingerbread houses? Send me your must have recipes!

What about Christmas Eve? What does your family do to celebrate the evening?

In our family, we were typically out of town on Christmas, so Santa had left the gifts out for us when we returned home. Our stockings were by far our favorite part, each handmade by my mom, filled with lots of goodies, small trinket items, and always an apple and an orange – a tradition passed down from her grandparents.

When we were home, we would always go to mass on Christmas Eve. At the very end, Santa would walk in and would pray over Jesus in the manger and leave a few wrapped gifts around Him. It is one of the most beautiful things I’ve witnessed. The Church, decorated with evergreens and poinsettias, so packed people are standing, with a beautiful choir singing, as Santa prays over Jesus. Tears would flow, children’s eyes were in awe, and the silence surrounding such a simple moment is still something that moves me even now. You could truly feel the magic of Christmas in that very moment.

Every year for as long as I can remember, my mom and I have made Christmas cookies together with some classic country Christmas tunes playing in the background. She bakes, I frost and sprinkle. They are the absolute best cookies, and I think the secret to them is she only makes them once a year at Christmas time. Last year, Savannah and I made Christmas cookies together for the first time (see pics!), and this is one tradition I hope we get to continue every year!

One tradition I’ve heard of families doing, is making a birthday cake for Jesus and singing Happy Birthday on Christmas. This is something we didn’t do growing up, however I love the idea of this, because after all, isn’t this the whole reason for the season and what we are really celebrating?

Let us hear your must do holiday traditions!


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