Faith, family, and feasting are at the heart of the holidays. The holidays bring out the best in people and give folks a chance to reflect on the past year of their lives.
Some of the best traditions come out at this time of year. I think the best part of these traditions is the sharing of quality time with one another, regardless of what the tradition actually might be. Some are funny. Some are serious. Some are goofy. And some are just time consuming.
For example, one of my favorites is the family game night on Christmas and on New Year’s Eve. We also have grilled burgers at midnight on New Years.
I asked my esteemed colleagues here at EpicPew to share some of their favorite family Christmas traditions. Feel free to share your own in the comments below!
Christmas pajama exchange
Eggnog, Martha Stewart style (lots of alcohol)
The Italian feast of the seven fishes on Christmas Day
Christmas Eve bowling with sledding afterwards
Ugly ornament treasure hunt for mom on Christmas Eve. It magically appears on Christmas day. One time, we took it and each of my sibs took a picture with it on various adventures (Vegas, the Beach, Apple Orchards, Hanging off of Walker Texas Ranger’s biceps [photoshopped].)
Hide a pickle on the tree and whoever finds it on Christmas Day gets an extra treat
We read the Tomie DePaolo stories of The Poinsettia and Strega Nona on Christmas Eve while munching some pizzelles
The Cinnamon Bear! It’s a radio show from the 1940s. My grandpa listened to it as a boy, he got the tapes for my dad when HE was a boy, and my dad turned them into MP3s for us kids. They start December 1 and go to Christmas Day, and are the story of a pair of children and a bear who go through a magical, Christmas-themed land on a quest to find their silver star tree topper. It’s sweet and beautiful
Go to midnight mass and as soon as we get home we process with the baby Jesus to the Manger and sing O Come Let Us Adore Him
Christmas movie marathon – after present opening and breakfast, we watch a movie series we received as a gift! We’ve done Harry Potter, Star Wars, Ocean’s, Ghostbusters, Lord of the Rings, Pirates, XMen, Borne… It’s possible we’ve also done Spiderman and Indiana Jones
Watch “Just Friends” and some other classics like The Man Who Came to Dinner
Last year, in response to the elf on the shelf nonsense, we stared The Donkey in the Living Room. It’s a story book and it starts 9 days before Christmas- each day the kids get to unwrap and place a new figure in the nativity scene and we read a story about that character (bc the animals are included) starting with Mary and culminating with baby Jesus on Christmas Day (the 10th day)
Red velvet Christmas cake has become a birthday cake for Jesus since my niece and son arrived on the scene insisting for candles and a song
Santa gave up on milk and cookies in my house. Now he gets mincemeat pie, coffee, and a shot of bourbon… Strangely enough, that’s all my dad’s favorite stuff…
We eat homemade pizza! My Papa used to make 7 or more sheet pans of pizza and take all Christmas Eve afternoon to make them in his single oven. It was the best tasting Italian pizza ever! He would make one or more of Romano cheese and onion, pepperoni, black olive, hamburger, and an anchovy one (for primarily him and my brother). They all had Romano cheese, the crispiest bread crust (not like a cracker thin crust), and you could taste the real tomato and Italian spices. We still try to have one or two pizzas at Christmas (since he’s passed), but it’s not the same.
We also sing happy birthday to Jesus. We always add a second verse to the Happy Birthday song, “May the dear Lord bless you” to whoever birthday we are celebrating. For Jesus, since he is Lord, we sing “May the dear Lord bless us!”
What are some other great unique family Christmas traditions?