The holidays are a time for tradition. A time to cozy up by the fire, spend time with family and friends and enjoy eating and making delicious, nostalgic foods. This holiday season, we asked our team to share some of their favorite traditions that make this time of year that much more special for us.
“Every year on Christmas Eve, my whole family piles into bed and my dad reads us The Night Before Christmas from the same hardback version that my parents bought for my first Christmas!”
“Singing Broadway tunes with my family around the dining room table (so embarrassing since no one can carry a tune). Lunch at Mariposa at Neiman Marcus with all of the ladies of my family the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. We have been doing this for at least 15 years and while we always look at the menu, everyone always orders the exact same thing every year.”
Every year, we make a big batch of my late grandmother’s famous sugar cookies and icing. It wouldn’t be the holidays without them! We also follow the Christmas Pickle tradition – hiding a pickle ornament somewhere on the tree, and the first person to find it opens the first present on Christmas morning.
“My family usually celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve where we have a huge potluck and gather at my cousin’s house. At midnight, all of the younger kids get to open their presents and it’s just lots of fun all around!”
“I look forward to attending my church’s Christmas Eve service and being able to share that celebration with my family!”
“It’s a holiday tradition in my family to have a HUGE shrimp feast for Christmas dinner — this is the first year that my husband will get to participate in the meal with us and I’m excited to share with him one of my favorite traditions that stretches back as far as I can remember. Another tradition when I was growing up was to always go and see a matinee movie with my cousins on the Saturday after Christmas.”
“My family spends the first day of Hanukkah at my sister’s house each year. It’s adorable to see my three nephews light the Hanukkah candles. Every year we take the same exact photo, so it’s amazing to see just how much everyone has grown up in the last decade.”
“Putting lights on the Christmas tree while listening to cheesy Christmas tunes. Also, baking cookies.”
“My favorite holiday is Christmas; from the celebrations on Christmas Eve with my mom’s extended family to spending Christmas day with my dad’s extended family, the holiday is always filled with family and love. On Christmas Eve, my sisters and I are allowed to open one gift from my parents, our annual matching Christmas pajamas.”
“We celebrate every year with three of the families our family is closest to. Each year we rotate who hosts and it makes Christmas Eve so special…plus the gallons of Goode Co. campenchana doesn’t hurt!”
“Each year, my family gets together to celebrate Hanukkah. We exchange gifts, eat latkes and enjoy one night all together to commemorate the festival of lights.”
“Watching football games snuggled on the couch with family. Visiting the beaches of Sanibel Island – on the West Coast of Florida, with my extended family. A tradition that goes back three-plus decades.”
“Because giving presents technically has nothing to do with Hannukah, I grew up in a no-present household! Instead, we always went shopping for the needy. These days, spending time with family and friends, cooking up delicious latkes (potato pancakes), is my favorite way to celebrate the holiday!”
“Each Christmas, my mom and I spend an entire day baking cookies, brownie bites, pecan bars and everything else in between, then package everything up and mail to our friends and family. I love getting to bake with my mom, and the fact that the house smells like sugar for a whole week!”
“Every year after the Christmas Eve church service, which lasts until about 12:30 a.m., all of the kids get to choose one present to open when we get home (I’m pretty sure this started out as a way to bribe my siblings and me to behave during the late-night service when we were younger, but stuck even though our ages now range from 17-27). On Christmas morning, the family comes to my parents house to open presents, followed by a huge Christmas breakfast prepared by my dad and complete with bloody marys and mimosas (a more recent tradition).”
Although we all celebrate the holidays differently, what matters the most to us is that we spend it with the ones we love. This season, take some time to make memories and create traditions worth your while.
“I’ve always wanted to be a part of an ornament exchange, so I’m thinking this year is it!”
“My family goes to the Italian Market in South Philly on Christmas Eve to get our fresh pasta for Christmas dinner. On Christmas morning, the doors to our living room, which holds our stockings and tree, are always closed and, every year, my dad pretends that they’re stuck and that he can’t open them. Even though we are all much older now, he still pretends they’re stuck.”
–Mary Paolantonio Adler
What are your favorite holiday traditions?