Holiday Traditions and Rituals

Laura Standefer, Senior Holiday Correspondent

December 9, 2019

You may have holiday traditions and rituals that are passed down from your childhood or you may be looking to start new ones with your own family. The holidays are an amazing time to spend time with family and friends, and traditions and rituals make this season even more memorable. My son just turned five and I started realizing that we should implement our own customs to make the holidays special each year. We family are considering starting Elf on a Shelf, but I’m worried I’ll regret it. Therefore, I asked a group of local moms about their holiday traditions and rituals and here is what they had to say!

“We put out our shoes the night before December 6th, since that is St. Nicholas’ feast day, and we put our Christmas lists in the shoes. Santa takes the lists and leaves a couple treats. Traditionally, he leaves us a chocolate orange.” -Cat K.

“Does drinking to survive my in-laws count?!” -Melaina W.

“The kids each get an advent calendar which I fill with some candy and little gifts, but also activities we will do during the Advent season.” -Julia M.

“We open one gift on Christmas Eve and it’s usually pajamas and a Christmas book or movie. We also make cookies on Christmas Eve for Santa. Then, during the holidays in general we watch Polar Express.” – Nichole R.

“I have a collection of Christmas/holiday books that I keep put away all year. When we are getting ready for bed Thanksgiving night, I pull out the bin and we read 2-3 Christmas books each night ending with T’was the Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve.” -Lindsay E.

“We have Christmas Crackers and table prizes on the table Christmas Eve – and on Christmas Day we make brunch, open presents and play games.” -Christine S.

“Christmas Vacation, Charlie Brown, Die Hard and a Christmas Story movies are watched while we trim the tree. Every. Single. Year. After they’ve been watched, it’s on to listening to Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole and Mariah Carey while the rest of the house gets decorated. On Christmas eve (sometimes a day or two earlier) we leave out carrots and oats for Santa’s reindeer, open gifts from family members, eat tamales and bake cookies for Santa […]” -Laura L.

Growing up, I spent every Christmas with my extended family in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is known to have a Christmas longer than any other place in the world. We would spend it in the mountains and we would eat slow roasted pork with rice and fried plantains. We would also sing traditional Puerto Rican songs and run around in the 75 degree whether chasing our cousins. That being said, learning about other customs such as the Christmas Pickle, or spending the holidays in the actual snow is absolutely fascinating to me. While, unfortunately, I won’t be able to spend my Christmases in Puerto Rico now that I have a child of my own, and one on the way, I wonder which customs I should implement in my own home. Feel free to share your holiday traditions and rituals in the comments below!