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broodings from the burrow

December 7, 2011

ten on tuesday: favorite holiday traditions
posted by soe 3:06 am

This week’s Ten on Tuesday topic is 10 Favorite Holiday Traditions. Here are some of mine relating to Christmas:

  1. Throw a tree-trimming party: I started this tradition the year after I graduated from college. I was working at a university and had a dozen students working for me. Remembering how sad it was to miss out on decorating for the holidays by the time you got home from school, I invited them to join my friends and me in trimming my tree. I no longer have interns, but I still invite friends over the first Sunday in December to kick off the season in style.
  2. Jack Helps Trim the Tree: 2008

  3. Decorate Spritz cookies with Mum: When we were kids this forced labor, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate a well-adorned cookie — and the less sweet taste of these pressed butter cookies.
  4. Decorate Gramma’s tree with Dad: At some point my grandfather said he didn’t want a Christmas tree anymore, but my parents over-ruled him and bought one for them, figuring (correctly) that he wouldn’t be able to turn it down once they’d spent their own money on it. I suspect the first couple years Gramma decorated it herself, but as she began to slow down, I’d come over and assist. And then it became Dad and me doing it once it was obvious that her heart wasn’t really in it anymore. Now my parents pick one up before Rudi and I leave after Thanksgiving so Dad and I can get the tree all gussied up before we head home.
  5. Make a Christmas cd: Cds are outdated technologies, but it feels nice to be able to hand someone a physical disc rather than pointing them to a url to download a playlist. It’s fun to listen to music to winnow down the contenders (and how I’ll be spending at least part of the coming weekend) and to find the perfect flow.
  6. Send Christmas cards: Rudi and I like finding fun and/or pretty cards, and I take seriously the writing of each one. It gives me a few minutes to think about each friend and what they mean to me and to think good thoughts for them. I pull out my red and green pens and stickers and send them to everyone in my address book. This year I’ll be starting at the front of the alphabet after beginning at the end last Christmas.
  7. Celebrate St. Nicholas Day: This is a tradition that has come from Rudi’s family, as his dad’s family was Dutch. On Dec. 6, if we’ve been good, we’ll likely find a few treats and a small gift or two in our shoes.
  8. Christmas Ornament

  9. Make merry with friends: Many of our D.C.-based friends also throw Christmas parties, and it’s become part of our season to stop in for some munchies at one party and to watch Christmas cartoons at another.
  10. Watch holiday specials: We watch cartoons and concerts on tv and movies (and any cartoons we’ve missed on tv or at Sarah and Megan’s party) on video. We’ve got John Denver and the Muppets and The Bishop’s Wife and Frosty Returns (the real one with Mrs. Frosty; not the one they show on tv these days) and Christmas Eve on Sesame Street (which I insist on watching Christmas Eve). And between our collection and Mum and Dad’s, we’re always able to find a new one we haven’t yet seen.
  11. Go to a Christmas Eve service with Dad: It’s the one time a year I go to church, but there are candles and carols and a sense of wonder and faith and magic and it feels nice to be a part of that for an hour.
  12. Spend Christmas morning with my family: We all curl up in the living room (most of us in our pj’s), with the tree lit up and a fire blazing in the hearth and Christmas music playing on the stereo. We open lovely presents (and hope that the presents we have picked out go over well with their recipients) and snack on sweet breakfasty things and ball up discarded wrapping paper to see who can get the most in a paper bag. It’s fun and relaxed and full of loved ones. Who can ask for more?

What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?

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