My Favorite Holiday Traditions


The older I get, the more I realize my deep love for traditions.  I think it’s not until you get older, move out, and starting building your own life that you realize how deeply you treasure the traditions from home.  I love hearing about other people’s holiday traditions, so here are a few of the favs in my family if you’re looking to spin up something new with your family.


Christmas Tree Day:  Every year Chris goes hunting with his Dad the week of Thanksgiving.  I drop him off one town over so his Dad and the hunting crew can pick him up as they head out on their way for a week in the woods.  Over the last 9 years my tradition has been to drop Chris off, swing by Tim Horton’s to buy myself coffee and donuts, and then go home and wait for my Mom and Grandma to come over and help turn the house into a Christmas beauty.  We decorate the tree, eat whatever “treat” I thought I should whip up, debate how we hung the garland on the stairs the previous year — was it over other banister rail or was it straight across?, and then we hit up Hobby Lobby or Home Goods where I buy stuff I don’t need that my mom convinced me was a must-have.  They leave and tell me the house looks so good I should having a Christmas party.

Black Friday Shopping + Waffle House:  Guys, I know there’s a thing called Amazon Prime and this whole Cyber Monday non-sesnse . . . I’m not saying I may not order a thing or two online for gifts, BUT, my Mom, Grandma, and I have been hitting the pavement when it comes to Black Friday shopping for at least 17 or 18 years.  We have been getting up at 3 a.m. and touring every store in a 30 mile radius of Huber Heights/the Dayton Mall.  Listen, they may not be fancy places.  We may not look pretty.  We don’t really care.  We’ve been shopping early-morning followed by our one-time-a-year visit to the Waffle House for chocolate chip waffles since I was a mere broke college student.  We love it, it’s silly, it’s exhausting, it’s fun.  And don’t think it’s just us that are crazy — my Dad and Stepmom are normally out shopping longer than us.  Trust me, this Black Friday commitment runs deep on all sides of my family. It’s one of my favorite days of the season!

The Shopping Debrief:  This one is unplanned but it happens every year.  Around December 23rd, my Dad calls me and we do a whole rundown of everything we bought for people, what we’re happy with, what we still need to get, discuss how we’re debating on that one thing our spouses want but we’re not sure, chat about the great sale we found last week, and the number of hours we were out that day looking for something.  I love that my Dad loves gifts as much as me and I’ve grown to love the 2-3 day out Christmas gift prep conversations.

Hidden Gift in the Tree:  Since I was little, my Dad has always bought a gift just from him and hidden it in the Christmas tree.  It’s typically one of the last ones I open and despite being in my mid-thirties and bringing a husband to the festivities . . . there’s still always a gift for me to find between the branches and ornaments.

New Restaurants:  Chris and I are blessed with a lot of family Christmas celebrations and typically spend December 24 – 26 hopping from different parents and grandparents houses.  But, since “our family” is just the two of us, we started our own tradition — every year before all the family running around happens we try a new restaurant that neither of us have ever been to in Columbus, and then we go home and open gifts.  It’s fun to try new-to-both-of-us places and to get suggestions from all our friends on where to go.

“Ready“:  This is one of those things that will make no sense to anyone not in my family.  But when I was little, we (my Grandma, Aunts, Uncles, etc.) used to play a lot of card games or board games.  For whatever reason, when I was little I used to ask everyone to raise their hand and say “ready” when they were ready to start the next round or when they had their cards situated.  And sure enough, we always find a way to play a game at my Dad’s on Thanksgiving and the crew will still raise their hand every round and say “READY!” Ha!

What are your favorite traditions?