“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”…and to many, the most wonderful time for favorite holiday traditions.
Family traditions are such a special way to connect with those you love and to reminisce over the way those very traditions have been carried down from year to year. Many of you may already have your own family traditions that you started or that have been carried down in your family for generations. I always find it interesting to hear about other people’s traditions. You never know… one might stand out at you as a new tradition you’d like to start with your own growing family.
With that being said, we’d like to share some of the holiday traditions that several of us in the Right Start office have enjoyed over the years:
- Amy – We have several Christmas traditions in our family that we enjoy each year: making cookies and a gingerbread house, purchase a special ornament each year at St. Nick’s to hang on our Christmas tree, and the always fun (and sometimes silly) Elf on the Shelf. If we stay in Colorado for the holidays, we love to go skiing on Christmas Day. Another fun tradition is to find the pickle ornament in the tree – this tradition started in Germany and is enjoyed by many. You hide a pickle ornament deep in the branches of the family Christmas Tree – the parents are supposed to hang the pickle last after all the other ornaments are in place. In the morning, the family knows that the most observant child would receive an extra gift from St. Nicholas. The first adult who finds the pickle traditionally has good luck for the whole year.
- Julie – Growing up, we would cut down our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. We would use this tree to hang the kids’ ornaments, popcorn garland, and homemade ornaments. We would also have a second tree, this one being artificial, which would then be used to display all of mom’s pretty ornaments.
- Candice – Each year, I set up an Advent Calendar containing little presents each day – candy, coins, chapstick, little toys… anything that will fit inside each day’s box. Then, on the last day of the advent calendar (Christmas Day), I insert a note with a scavenger hunt which will lead my son around the house to a bigger gift. I started this tradition with Gavin when he was around 4 years old and he loves it and looks forward to it each year. When he was younger, I would make sure the scavenger hunt clues were more simple (i.e. ‘you will find your gift on the Christmas tree’) but now that he’s older, it’s fun to make the scavenger hunt a little more challenging with multiple clues.
- Laurie – Each year, my sister, mom and I would help my Grandma make ‘Candy Cane Cookies’ – this is something we have done for 4 generations now. My mom also makes the most wonderful Christmas Morning Coffee Cake – it has a heavenly almond scent and tastes just as good, too! We also take an evening to drive to downtown Denver to see the beautiful lights the city has to offer – we always make sure to see Union Station, the Denver City & County building, and the canopy of lights over Larimer Street in LoDo. We also make sure to either bring along hot chocolate to sip during the car ride or we stop at The Market on Larimer Street (a cute cafe) for drinks/dessert afterwards. When Nate was younger, I would do the ’12 Books of Christmas’ – I would wrap 12 different Christmas-themed books individually and each day he would choose a new book to unwrap which we would then read together that evening. And of course, leave cookies/milk for Santa Claus – Santa would also write a letter back to Nate which he always looked forward to reading on Christmas morning (and to make sure Santa ate all of the goodies that were left out for him).
- Meghann – Each year, my brothers and I would get to open a present early – these gifts would contain new PJs and hot chocolate for us to enjoy… such a wonderful, cozy combo. We also had to take turns opening presents on Christmas morning, usually in order of youngest to oldest, and keep going around the family in that order until all presents were opened. It is so much more enjoyable to be able to see each person open their gifts; otherwise, it becomes a blur and you don’t get to see each person’s expression when they open their gifts from you.
- Yolanda – In our family, our kids know that they are not allowed to wake either me or my husband up on Christmas morning before 7am. But we love it when they have coffee waiting for us. That’s even better! Once we are awake, we will make our coffee (if it hasn’t already been done) and after that, our kids can start opening their presents. We know that they have already been up for a while scoping out the gifts under the tree so by the time 7 am rolls around, the anticipation of opening their presents has built up quite a bit!
What are some of your favorite holiday traditions? We’d love to hear about them!
Wishing you and your family a wonderful Holiday season!