This time of year we can’t help but think about traditions. Just like Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof, we believe that traditions are the glue that bind us together. Holiday traditions are the familiar friends that come around each year and provide continuity, charm and comfort. But, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for new traditions. We love to hear about favorite activities from friends and customers – there are so many cool things to try!
We wanted to share some of our favorite Christmas traditions with you. Maybe you’ll be inspired to add an idea or two to your already time-honored traditions. Best wishes for a warm, beautiful, holiday season!
Around the weekend after Thanksgiving the girls in the family transform my laundry room into a chocolate dipping shop. With the window open to provide cool air, magic in the form of hand-dipped caramels (my grandma’s recipe), coconut almond balls, mint truffles, English toffee and peanut butter cups begin to appear on trays. The smell is amazing! The idea is that we are making gifts, but I think we end up consuming most of them!
Back in the day, my kids used to get their much-anticipated Christmas jammies on Christmas Eve. These days as our family grows and there are more grandkids, the Christmas jammies arrive on Thanksgiving along with a Christmas book. This allows the kids to enjoy their pajamas all season long!
We keep a hot chocolate bar set up in our home all season long! Stocked with all things delicious such as hot chocolate mix, marshmallows, caramels, sprinkles, peppermint sticks and a tea kettle close at hand, the perfect warm drink for those chilly winter afternoons (think post sledding or snowman building) is always close at hand.
And then, of course we enjoy Grandma Mary’s wassail throughout the cold months. This well-loved recipe warms you from head to foot with hints of cinnamon, ginger, lemon and orange. It started with my amazing mother-in-law who has since passed, but her influence continues to live on – one of the ways through the sharing of this delicious drink. As a bonus, we’ve included her recipe for you to use this season!
Our annual BINGO night consists of playing about a dozen rounds with some pretty A-mazing prizes along with some that are downright silly and definitely in the white elephant category. The winner of each round selects the way we play on the next round (black out, T, X, etc.) It’s just a fun, laid back evening for all of us!
When my children were younger we always gifted the annual Christmas jammies this night and then drove around to see the Christmas lights in town. We would make a list of some of the best displays and make our way through the city streets to find them. The light tradition lives on, we just gift the pajamas earlier in the season now.
More recent traditions include going to the Polar Express (not always on Christmas Eve) and/or making sack lunches and heading downtown on Christmas Eve day to give them out to those in a need of a meal. We also try to make it to a Christmas concert, play or performance at some point during the season. We have enough grandbabies now that some of these traditions may have to wait another year or two to continue.
Our traditions have changed and transitioned over the year. We have found the trick is finding meaningful activities to bless the lives of family members and others. Certainly simplification and adapting is important to preserve the spirit of the season, but time honored traditions are definitely worth the effort. They have blessed our family so much!