Since Christmas is this weekend, we thought we'd share some of our favorite traditions with you. :)
Amber - Oyster Stew on Christmas Eve. Disgusting! Every boy of 13 has to eat one...some get to eat the same oyster many times. :) I've never eaten one...don't ever care to!
Michele - We always read the birth of Jesus Christ from the New Testament on Christmas Eve and then will read another Christmas type story. We also have a "special" Santa key that we put out on the front door. Santa prefers to come in through the front door.....we have a gas fireplace and it's not a very comfortable situation for St. Nick if you know what I mean. ;) Christmas morning, we have a breakfast casserole and kick back and enjoy the day.
Paula - Since we have all the family to our house for Thanksgiving, we travel for Christmas. We usually start on the 23rd (which is my oldest son's birthday) at the furthest point away and work our way back home, normally we arrive back home Christmas day afternoon.
Paula I - Since as long as I can remember we always have a nativity scene set up at our house. It is not just there as a decoration, we truly try to remember what is so special about this holiday. We stay up until midnight to place baby Jesus in the manger. We have young children so the opening of the gifts and the cookies and milk for Santa are some of our favorite traditions as well.
Jenn - Our biggest tradition is being nontraditional. Last year, we spent Christmas in the Caribbean Islands. We saw Santa in St Marteen last year, and we Christmas caroled at sea. One year, we grilled NY Strip's on the grill, and swam in the pool on Christmas. While, we remember the reason for the season, we choose to celebrate it a bit differently than most.
Corrie-When I was a kid we were always allowed to open a gift on Christmas Eve, and always ended up being pajamas. It wasn't till I got older that I realized that this was all my mom would put under the tree. We used to take great care to pick our gift and it was always the same. Now that I have kids we let them open one gift on Christmas eve, but its always a book so we can read it that night as a bed time story.
DeeDee - we have a "new" family and are just figuring out our own traditions... but so far the one that comes to mind first is dinner... Thanksgiving and Christmas are so close together.. that we try our best to make each dinner special... for example we had turkey and ham at Thanksgiving.. and for Christmas we'll do Prime Rib.. Thanksgiving desserts were fruit pies and fudge.. Christmas will be cookies and a boston cream pie (so far). It's fun making the two giant festivities different.. and our bellies love it, too!
Beth - our first Christmas in Ithaca was also my nephew's first Christmas. Since we live 20 minutes from my sister, my parents travel to us (alternating their place of stay between my sister and I) so that the kids can be at home for the morning of. Once we had kids, traditions within the immediate family became more important. A few traditions we have are: we put up the tree as close to the first weekend in December as possible, the kids open Advent calendars starting December 1, we attend the Christmas Eve service (my favorite part is always when they turn the lights out at the end with everyone holding a lit candle and we sing Silent Night), Christmas Eve dinner is always at our house, we read "The Night Before Christmas" as a family, we put cookies and milk out for Santa, open presents at home Christmas morning, and then go to my sister's for more presents and prime rib and grasshopper pie for Christmas dinner (a tradition my parents started when we were kids). Then later that week or sometime in January we travel to PA to celebrate Christmas with my in-laws. It draws out the fun and suspense of the holiday, which is both good and bad!!
Karen - In our family, Christmas is celebrated twice (how's that for a good tradition???!). When I was growing up, Christmas Eve was the big day - we had our big dinner including a variety of different kinds of fish, and then sometime around 7:00pm, Santa would ring the doorbell, my brother and I would go and hide, and when we came out, the tree would be surrounded by gifts! On the other hand, my husband's family celebrated a more traditional Christmas on Christmas Day. So, in our family, we have combined the two traditions. Santa comes to visit Christmas Eve, and then comes back for a return visit during the night to fill stockings (with all the little leftovers he finds in the bottom of his sled). It does mean a bit more work with two dinners, but I love the excitement of Christmas Eve followed by the relaxing feeling we now have on Christmas Day!
Jamie- Christmas is our favorite holiday. We always decorate the house and tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. We count down to Christmas Day with Advent Calendars (one for each of my girls). On Christmas Eve we listen to christmas music and have our big dinner (ham, greenbean casserole, potatoes, and pie). Mmmmmm.... We put on our christmas jammies and put cookies and milk out for Santa and carrots for the reindeer. We have monkey bread, eggs and bacon on Christmas morning (after the presents have been opened). Then play and relax the rest of the day.
We hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and really take the time to enjoy the time with family and friends this weekend.