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Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,084
Registered: ‎06-15-2016

Unusual holiday traditions

[ Edited ]

I didn't see another thread like this so forgive me if there is one! I love tradition! I am an only child who has never lived close enough to any relatives to enjoy holidays with them. So, with only the three of us, my mother tried to carry on traditions. In turn, I added to those, and shared them with my two children. For now, I am talking about traditions based on fall and winter holidays.

 

My mother kept the cleaned, then gilded wishbone from the Thanksgiving turkey. It hung on our tree, then Jan. 1, we would wish on it and split it! I'm sure she always rigged it so I won, but it was fun!

 

The night we trim our tree we make homemade donuts! (Canned biscuits with hole made by oil bottle lid!). She also said a bird in the tree was good luck, so we had an ornament like a bird. Later, we heard a Rose was good luck, too, so we have one of those, too! Then, she said my German grandmother said we must eat some form of cabbage on New Year's Day to bring wealth all the year. She always made vegetable soup as we had eaten so much heavy food that it really hit the spot!

 

I carried most of those on plus I added the pickle to my tree! I found a glass pickle ornament, and then, when my ds was born, I added another smaller glass pickle ornament. I "hid" them in the tree while the donuts were being made. Whoever found  one got a present! (Of course, I had presents for both pickles, but now I only use one, which my grand hunts for! ) When my kids were young, I placed a small present on their pillows Christmas Eve! It was something little, just enough to tide them over without begging to open just one! Then, for our "brunch" Christmas Day I use the special red goblets that originally were my grandmothers! That's the only time each year that we use them! 

 

On New Year's Day we write down predictions for the year. I keep them and we enjoy reading who was right! We guess things like teams winning big games, actors marrying, having babies, Academy award winners, things like that.

 

I always wanted to find a great Advent tradition, more than opening a window for candy, which my kids soon lost interest in doing, and ended up eating them all after Christmas! So, I'd love to hear any traditions you have!

 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 27,366
Registered: ‎03-20-2010

Re: Unusual holiday traditions

@jewelwisher

 

Sounds like your family has some wonderful and fun holiday traditions......traditions are what makes the holidays special........Woman Very Happy

 

We didn't have many traditions----

 

Every year my sister,brothers and I would bake sugar cookies --we loved using all those Christmas sprinkles and beads to decorate them....but some of my brothers' cookies were an absolute mess---LOL!!! But they still tasted good.....

 

We each got to purchase our own special ornament to hang on the Christmas tree

 

We always attended the candlelight Christmas Eve service....

 

We did get to open one small Christmas gift on Christmas Eve

 

My mom always cooked Italian food for Christmas dinner (lasagna or manicotti).....even though my mom has passed we still continue this tradition.......

 

Ham is for New Years and in Texas it's a tradition to eat blackeyed peas for Good Luck for the coming year......

 

Two other traditions that my sis and I carry on with friends is going to see special Christmas light displays  in our city and into the Texas Hill Country.....And we get together with some friends and watch Meet Me In St.Louis and other Christmas movies and Christmas themed snacks are provided.....

 

 

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Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,084
Registered: ‎06-15-2016

Re: Unusual holiday traditions


@Spurt wrote:

@jewelwisher

 

Sounds like your family has some wonderful and fun holiday traditions......traditions are what makes the holidays special........Woman Very Happy

 

We didn't have many traditions----

 

Every year my sister,brothers and I would bake sugar cookies --we loved using all those Christmas sprinkles and beads to decorate them....but some of my brothers' cookies were an absolute mess---LOL!!! But they still tasted good.....

 

We each got to purchase our own special ornament to hang on the Christmas tree

 

We always attended the candlelight Christmas Eve service....

 

We did get to open one small Christmas gift on Christmas Eve

 

My mom always cooked Italian food for Christmas dinner (lasagna or manicotti).....even though my mom has passed we still continue this tradition.......

 

Ham is for New Years and in Texas it's a tradition to eat blackeyed peas for Good Luck for the coming year......

 

Two other traditions that my sis and I carry on with friends is going to see special Christmas light displays  in our city and into the Texas Hill Country.....And we get together with some friends and watch Meet Me In St.Louis and other Christmas movies and Christmas themed snacks are provided.....

 

 


 

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,084
Registered: ‎06-15-2016

Re: Unusual holiday traditions

@Spurt. I had friends who had the black eyed peas tradition! How do you prepare them? Could I add them to my veggie soup? I had forgotten about the movie thing until I saw yours! I like that movie, too, but my absolute must is A Crhistmas Carol! My ds and I watched it together every Christmas Eve! ( my kids are 9 years apart. My dd was either working or married when ds and I bagan this!) we cleaned the house in the morning. I'd put the pork roast in the oven, and we started the movie! It ran just long enough to cook the roast! He's married now, too, but he and I still love the story! He helps me with my Dicken's village, and we both get excited when we find something special concerning it!

Trusted Contributor
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Registered: ‎01-22-2013

Re: Unusual holiday traditions

All my grandparents lived about 50 miles away. Two grandparents and two great grandparents in 1 town and 2 grandparents in the other but aunt's, uncle's and cousins galore gathering atboth.  We would spend Thanksgiving Day at one house and Christmas Day at the other, rotating the next year.  If we were not there on the holiday we were there the weekend c!oldest to the holiday.  There were many cousins so we drew names to buy the gifts.  We helped our moms make a gift for each household.  There were lots of us but we loved gifting.   Having a spending limit we had to shop well and look for sales.  Great training for my sister and I.  I remember the year we had gone away Christmas Eve and when we got home Dad went in the house to turn the lights on as he always did.  When he came out to get us he said Santa was inside.  We had to close our eyes tight and promise not to peak.  He led us past the living room and Santa and upstairs to our room.  Mom and Dad had to stay on the stairs and not peak until Santa left.  We kept our promise not to peak but we could here him chattering as he put our gifts under the tree.  When he left he did the ho ho ho, chuckled and the bells on the door rang as it was closed.  Santa told my parents because we had not peaked he had set aside 1 gift each that we could open before bed but all others had to wait until morning.  We were so excited we hardly slept that night.   In the AM we had our tree and went to our grandparents for the day.  Almost every year while we were at the age that  we started to doubt Santa he would come up with something that just had to be his doing.   Both my parents are gone now and they are greatly missed all year.

Valued Contributor
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Registered: ‎03-18-2012

Re: Unusual holiday traditions

[ Edited ]

Love this thread!

 

Our family did the pickle ornament, but my dad's family, from the south, did "Christmas gift", whoever says it first gets an extra, small gift. Putting the Santa ornament (my parents bought it their first Christmas married) on the tree last; it's 75 years old now.  We always have a bird's nest in the tree; used to be a real one, but now store bought.  Oyster stew on Christmas Eve, and Hoppin' John on New Year's Day.  

 

The weirdest tradition I know about was a family who took the lights off the tree on New Year's Day, took it out in the yard and shot all the Christmas balls off it.  They bought new every year.  They were business acquaintances of my dad's.

 

Try one of the old-fashioned German advent calendars with just the pictures in the windows.  Usually the pictures are good talking points.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 17,892
Registered: ‎07-03-2013

Re: Unusual holiday traditions

We didn't have any unusual holiday traditions.  We would go to the maternal grandparents house on Christmas eve for dinner and presents.  Christmas morning we'd open presents once my father was up and dressed.  We'd have breakfast, we'd pickup the paternal grandparents and then go to Christmas mass.  My mother stayed home and cooked a turkey with all the trimmings.  After church we'd hang out at the grandparents house for a couple hours.  I don't remember ever getting a present, but an envelope with cash.  Then we went home and ate turkey.  This is more or less how every holiday went.

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 98
Registered: ‎04-08-2016

Re: Unusual holiday traditions

[ Edited ]

@jewelwisher Your traditions are wonderful! I've never heard about the pickle or the present under the pillow but know that your children will fondly remember the special Christmases you gave them. Thank you for sharing!

 

We lived in a very small town, close to hills, valleys, and mountains. In winter it was cold and the ground would usually be frozen by Thanksgiving. Nearly all of our Christmases were white.

 

As a family we would drive to the mountains and cut our Christmas tree. It was usually a Spruce or often a Blue Spruce. It would be one that my dad had discovered the prior summer while working in the woods. We would hike in the snow to find it. My father would actually add a limb or so if there happened to be a bare spot. It would fill our home with the smell of Christmas.

 

My mother had two sisters and their families living close to us (walking distance) who would join us for Christmas dinner. There was so much food preparation going on: baking pies, cookies, peanut brittle, popcorn balls, fudge, penuche. My mother always made a German Chocolate Cake......from scratch! We even pulled taffy. There would have been at least twelve of us for dinner. My aunts always brought a ton of food too.

 

On Christmas Eve, we always watched Scrooge, It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story.

 

We always had a snow scene by the fireplace that was made up of all kinds of decorated paper houses, a church, an igloo, a snowman, trees and animals; it was a little village. When my mother was only about 2 or 3, her godmother gave her a small porcelain doll. She was naked, so my grandmother made her a very pretty dress. Grandma told my mom that she was very special and she could not play with her, but instead she would always hang at the top of the Christmas tree. She always did when I was growing up. Today she still is at the top of our tree every year and has been since our daughter was little. My grandmother on my father's side gave me a little glass bird ornament. It was red and she told me that it had journeyed over the mountains of Czechoslavakia in a gunny sack to make it's way to us. It has always been on our tree too.

 

This has turned out to be much too long. It's fun to remember. Thank you

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,084
Registered: ‎06-15-2016

Re: Unusual holiday traditions

@1920712. oh, that all sounds so wonderful! Pulling taffy? How neat! I love the story of your tree topper and bird ornament! I hope the stories never get lost!

 

I can't believe I forgot the most important of all my family traditions! The year I was born my parents did all their shopping at a Wallgreens! They bought a little felt Santa band and what is now called a spaghetti Santa. That was a bank. Every year since I was born we've put a penny with the current year on it in the bank! Of course it will amount to no more than memories, but they are priceless! I get mushy when I think that my father or mother's hand were the last to touch some of those coins!

 

I am so envious you lived close to family! That was the only dream I had my whole life! On holidays I would pretend I was there with them. Once, as an adult I spent Thanksgiving there and one Christmas as a baby. I can't tell those who are separated from family by choice how important those times really are, and can never be gotten back! Enjoy your memories! Write them down! It would be a shame not to have them passed down forever!

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 98
Registered: ‎04-08-2016

Re: Unusual holiday traditions

@jewelwisher

Glad that you liked my memories. There are so many more stories. I was so lucky to have so much fun to remember.