family fun

Holiday Traditions: Making “Traditional” Holidays Fun, Not Perfect

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What is a traditional holiday? For many families, traditions are generations in the making — whether it's a cookie recipe from great-grandma's kitchen, or stockings that were hand-stitched, or fragile decorations that have been in the family forever and have a special place in the house each year.

In my house, we have a few of those things and they are lovely. But, I've discovered over the years that many times traditions aren't always carefully planned and just sort of evolve from one's own family experiences. Many of our family's favorite Christmas traditions are fun things we stumbled upon over the years that we never imagined would be such an important part of our annual celebrations!

Christmas Holiday Traditions

  1. I cannot decorate the Christmas tree without "A Charlie Brown Christmas" playing in the background. It's the first thing I play every year starting the day after Thanksgiving and it is often the last thing we'll listen to when we take down the tree.
  2. For my husband and kids, it's not the holiday season until I do my karaoke version of The Chipmunk Song. Apparently, I have a knack for the "Me I Want a Hula Hoop" section. This tradition started even before the kids when my hubby heard me sing the song in the car and couldn't stop laughing.
  3. At least once during the holiday season, we'll spring a surprise on the kids in the evening. They are already in their pajamas and instead of putting them to bed, we get them in the car and drive around to look at all the lights and listen to Christmas music. My girls are 13 and 9 now and still love this!
  4. Each year, my family picks two names off a local giving tree to buy gifts. Usually, they are the same age as our own girls. We take the girls shopping with us to remind them that the season is truly about giving.
  5. Our biggest tradition was a total accident!  Each year, we'd stop to get pizza for dinner on Christmas Eve on the way home from church. I hate cooking on Christmas Eve! One year, after I sang in the choir, we got out later than we planned and by the time we reached the pizza place, it was closed. It was after 9:00 p.m. and we were starving. So, we went to the only place in town that was open: the Chinese restaurant. My kids weren't thrilled because they weren't big fans of it, but we had such a wonderful time that year! Even though my kids still don't love Chinese food, every year they repeatedly ask "We're going out for Chinese on Christmas Eve, right Mom??!"

Our traditions may seem a little silly and certainly not what many would consider part of a "traditional Christmas." Without these little things, though, the holiday wouldn't be the same for us. And, I believe there is nothing more traditional than creating memories with the family — that is what makes Christmas special, after all.

What are your family's fun holiday traditions? What traditions do you hope to start this year?

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles from DigitalFreeImages.Net.

Marie Rossiter does her best to get a word in edgewise in a home with a teen and a tween girl. She is grateful to have a wonderful husband who is riding the roller coaster with her. Marie is the editor/publisher of two Southwestern Ohio online parenting publications: Macaroni Kid West Chester-Mason and Macaroni Kid Cincinnati-Metro. She recently launched her blog, Mom Gets Real. You can find it at

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