Do you have holiday traditions? We have a few, but the one that first comes to mind is the one that takes place on Christmas morning, wherein my mom becomes a loving drill sergeant in a Santa hat.

After the kids enjoy the toys left by Santa and we’ve all had breakfast, we gather in the living room to open the presents that have been placed under the tree. My mom passes out a gift for each person, which we hold until everyone has a gift in hand and she says we can open them. After we have the ok, and the gift has been opened, we find the person who gave us the present and give them a proper thank you. This usually goes on for three rounds or so. Slowing things down means you can really appreciate the gift and, more importantly, the giver. Thanks, Mom!

Here are a few more traditions from our readers:

Barbara says: When all of us are together for the holidays, it’s about 20 people. We gather on Christmas Eve, and we sing Christmas Carols using songbooks we’ve had in the family since the 80s. Each person selects a song they want to lead. We start with the youngest and end with the oldest. This year, that might be me!

Brianna says: We read “Twas the night before Christmas” and pass envelopes or treat boxes around one direction every time we read the word “and” and the opposite direction every time we read the word “the.” Makes for fun chaos, and everyone gets something in the end: chocolate, a gift card or money. We also always have family pajamas.

Jeanne says: We have a few traditions. We pick a weekend in December to be “cookie weekend.” We bake, decorate, eat snacks, visit with friends and have a great day! Friends leave with a plate of freshly baked treats. After Christmas Eve mass, we head to Sonic for milkshakes and pay with a $100 bill, leaving the change for the staff working on Christmas Eve. We also do matching or coordinating Christmas Eve or Christmas pajamas. It started with my mother when she had her first granddaughters, and this year will include her great-granddaughter.

Angela says: We literally have the “sweetest” holiday tradition. Every year, usually on Christmas Eve, my sisters and I compete in a Holiday Bake Off. Think Family Feud meets The Great American Baking Show, but against each other—my immediate family against theirs, and we surely bring the fire! This fun competition doesn’t just include a dessert; there are also skits, songs or even comedy shows, all holiday-themed. It’s great to get together and compete for family bragging rights for the full year ahead!

Olivia says: We open one present before Christmas Eve dinner, something small, but it gives a special meaning to that gift, as smaller presents get lost in the shuffle of the Big Day.

Katie says: We always make Gingerbread houses during the holidays. And, because my husband is Argentine and the celebration begins on Christmas Eve and lasts until the early hours of Christmas morning, we celebrate “traditional” Christmas morning (presents, etc.) on the morning of Dec. 24. Argentine Christmas Eve is too late for my kids, and I hate trying to have a nice Christmas morning the morning after when the kids are grumpy from having been up with their cousins until 2 a.m. the night before. Santa knows I’m not Argentine, so he bends the rules for us!

Jehan says: We do an Advent calendar every year, but each day is a good deed/way to help someone else. We also open one present on Christmas Eve night, and it’s always a book so the kids can read in bed that night.

Paula says: We love to bake and decorate Christmas cookies! We also watch the Sound of Music with lots of seasonal snacks!

Jade says: On Christmas, we have always taken turns reading the story of Jesus’ birth before we open presents in the morning. We each take turns reading a section and try to take a moment to show gratitude before we rip into the presents.

My thanks to everyone who shared their holiday traditions. And from my family to yours, Happy Holidays!


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