What Are Your Family’s Holiday Traditions?

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Very often the holidays can be a hectic, stress-filled time. Full of decorating, shopping, baking, wrapping, parties, over-spending, over-eating, and more.

What are bloggers Holiday traditions?

What helps lessen some of the frazzle?  Family, friends, and fun are what matter along with keeping holiday rituals and traditions alive. Holiday traditions are a big deal around my house every Christmas and that of many of my blogging buddies. I know your family has them, too. Traditions keep past generations of family alive and build a bridge to future ones.

Today, my friends and I are sharing some of our time-honored holiday traditions with you. The best moments of the holidays are the small simple ones that don’t involve wrapping paper and whopping credit card bills come January.

I know I am not alone in cherishing these special moments, presents under the tree get all the attention, but if you ask anyone, the holiday traditions that families keep alive every year are the real star of the holidays.

I love the music, putting up the tree, cookie baking, watching my favorite Christmas movies, but…

…It is not Christmas around my house without…

Christmas decorating candles in each window

Candles In The Windows – What I remember enjoying the most about Christmas growing up and still do is putting candles in every window when decorating the house.  Not wax candles, but electric candles that are meant to make the house look festive from the outside. When turned on at night, they create a magical ambiance inside, too. As a child, I loved falling asleep at night with the candle light glowing in my bedroom. My daughter’s feel the same way. When they were little, I put the candles on timers so they could fall asleep with them still lit in their bedrooms as they would go off automatically after they were fast asleep.

Since we moved, the lake house doesn’t have traditional windows like we did in our previous house. Now we have sliding glass doors.

Candles in the window for Christmas decor

To make up for this, the last two years when my daughters came home for Christmas, I put the candles on stools and placed them by the door in each room so they can still enjoy that magical feel of falling asleep with Christmas candle glow in their rooms.

Christmas Holiday Traditions - Countdown calendar

Christmas Countdown Calendar – I bought this countdown calendar from Avon 30 years ago. I would love to find another one so both my daughters who cherish it could have one since they both grew up counting down using it every Christmas.  They won’t have to decide who gets it someday.

Avon Christmas countdown calendar with mouse.

I have searched for one when out at yard sales and thrift stores, but so far I haven’t found one. I do see them on Ebay every year selling for $75 or more.  I have made bids, but am always outbid.


  • One very thoughtful and resourceful reader found one of these countdown calendars for me. Read all about it in this post: Countdown to Thankfulness.
Brewer's Advent Calendar

Last year, we started a another countdown tradition. Our daughter’s gave Ed a Brewers Advent Calendar they bought at Costco. He got another one this year. Every day in December you open it up to find a can of German Beer.

Christmas Ornaments that have a special meaning

Handmade Memory Ornaments

The Christmas tree is full of stories and tells our family’s history. Every ornament on it is special to all or one of us in some way.  Most are hand-made.  Some from our travels, other’s handed down through the generations, but the most loved are the ones that tell a family story. I refer to these as “Memory Ornaments”.

It is the story behind each ornament that means the most. My favorite are the heart ornaments I made a few years ago using the red velvet shirt my father wore every Christmas Day. The year he passed away, I made these heart ornaments from the beloved shirt.  Here is a link to the post:  Memory Heart Ornaments

Other memory ornaments that don’t require any DIY skills. Do you have any of these items in your house? 

What is a pickle ornament?

The Pickle Ornament

I didn’t grow up knowing about a pickle ornament. I learned about it as an adult when out shopping with a friend when we saw them on a store’s display. After reading about the tradition on the display, I bought one.

If you are not familiar with the tradition, in a nutshell…  When the parents go to bed on Christmas Eve, Santa hides the pickle ornament in the boughs of the tree. In the morning the children hunt for the hidden pickle, the child that finds it first, gets an extra present.

My daughter’s were little when we started the tradition of finding the pickle on Christmas morning. It would not be Christmas now without the ritual of searching for the pickle. The extra present is usually something small, but last year it was a very extra-special gift.

My daughter, Kelly’s boyfriend, Roger was here for Christmas and he knew about the pickle ornament tradition from spending previous Christmases with us. He asked if he could place a small gift pouch with an engagement ring inside over the hook on the pickle ornament and made sure everyone was on board to make sure that Kelly was the one that found it. When she did and was opening the pouch and saw the ring, Roger got down on hand and knee and proposed.  :-)

I bought this year’s pickle gift, it is really cute, but is not quite as special as last year.

There are no rules when it comes to creating holiday traditions. The real magic of them lies in the opportunity to experience special moments with family that last for generations to come. :-)

What are your family’s holiday traditions?

To read about more special holiday traditions, follow the links below to my blogging buddies posts today.

Duke Manor Farm 
 Kelly Elko      
Our Southern Home
Confessions of a Serial DIY’er
Town and Country Living
It All Started With Paint
Cassie Bustamante
Artsy Chicks Rule  
 Savvy Southern Style

Christmas traditions worth doing every year

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  1. I would love to put candles in our windows…but we have no window sills, so I haven’t figured out another idea. Until now, that Is! Stools…of course! We do the pickle…we have three boys…so three pickles…different sizes. Smallest pickle = largest present. However…our boys are now grown men. And you have never seen anything funnier than three men scrambling to find pickles in a tree…the ornaments even shake! We do that as the last thing…after opening gifts. Enjoy Your Day! ;)

  2. Love the candle in the door idea, I bet it looks wonderful from the water. I am an avid estate sale shopper, I will keep an eye out for the Avon calendar. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

    1. Hi Cassie – Since moving to the south, I rarely see candles in homes windows. It must be more of a northeast thing. When my girls were in college, I even gave them a candle to put in their dorm window so it would feel more like home :-) Thanks for keeping an eye out for the calendar.