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Fun Family Traditions for Christmas

Making Holiday Memories



When you think of Christmas what comes to mind? Let me know in the comment section below!


Shopping, hunting for the perfect tree, parties, family, candlelight services…


Looking back over the years, especially my childhood memories, I don’t remember so much the gifts as the warm memories.  I remember our family Christmas Eve party where my uncle dressed like Santa, how my grandmother gave all us girls a new doll, traveling to the local tree farm to cut down the perfect Christmas tree, and the smells of certain “holiday” food.  I remember trying desperately to go to sleep on Christmas Eve…only to sneak out of my room to see my parents putting together gifts from “Santa.”  I remember watching for snow as the magic of Christmas filled the air.  It’s the memories of the holidays, not the gifts, that I’ve held in my heart.


Today, Christmas has become so commercialized that I fear we are in danger of losing our family traditions…those things that make lifetime memories.


Traditions are the stories, the beliefs, and customs that are passed on to us from year to year…generation to generation.  Research shows us that traditions are a part of healthy families.  They give our children security.


Traditions help us fill the need to belong.  They give us a sense of being a part of the special things in a family. Children remember the special experiences of family traditions while teaching family values.  Traditions are a binding force.


Traditions shape who we become.  It’s an opportunity to pass down, from generation to generation, cultural customs and beliefs that reinforce our values.  As a mom of many it’s of great importance to me that our children grow up with wonderful family memories. Over the years we have continued some traditions while added a few more. 


What holiday traditions does your family have? Let me know in the comment section below!


Are you looking to make some holiday memories?  Here are some fun Christmas traditions that our family shares:


The Hunt for the Perfect Tree


We take this very seriously!  We dress warm (as this might take a while) and head to our local Christmas Tree farm.  We trek all over the fields, up and down the hills, in search for the Donnelly Christmas tree.  Then, usually after much debate, we proceed to chop it down and haul it down the hill.  Then we head back home, and the decorating begins!  (this is an all day event!)



Gingerbread house contest


This is one of our favorite family holiday traditions.  On Christmas Eve we get into teams with each getting the items they need to create the best gingerbread house.  Then I take pictures and post to Facebook for our friends to vote for their favorite.  Being the competitive family that we are turns this contest into a messy, loud, fun memory.


Gift Exchange


With a large family, it only makes sense for our children to exchange names, therefore eliminating buying everyone a gift.  And this gift exchange is secret and serious!  I love how they put so much thought into getting their sibling a special gift and go to great lengths to hide the gift. 


The Christmas Story


On Christmas Eve, after all the fun, we settled down together to hear my dad read the biblical story of Christmas.  This is one of my favorite traditions.  With the Christmas Tree lights all aglow, a warm cozy fire and some hot cocoa, my dad sits with his grandchildren and passes down to the next generation the real reason we celebrate.  


Christmas Pajamas


Every year we purchase everyone matching Christmas jammies and take a holiday picture.  Then, while in our warm jammies, we eat Grinch popcorn and watch our favorite holiday movies:  How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.



Grandma Linda’s Rice Pudding


My mother in law would make the world’s best rice pudding every Christmas.  Since she went to be with the Lord, my daughter Kyrsten has continued this delicious tradition. 


Living Nativity


Each year we find a local Living Nativity to visit. It’s a wonderful way to spend time as a family while celebrating the birth of Christ with our community. 


Christmas Date Night!


My husband and I enjoy Christmas shopping together.  With a very detailed list in our hands, we head out for an exciting day of shopping and a special dinner together.  With a large family, we don’t always get to enjoy date nights and special dinners together.  It’s a day we look forward to all year long.


Christmas Eve


We celebrate the holiday on Christmas Eve.  This works well with our family as we have children who are married, and this allows them to spend time with their “other” family.  So, this includes a special meal, the Christmas bible story, sibling gift exchange, our gingerbread house contest, giving Grandparents’ their special gift, eating our yummy rice pudding and opening the gifts from Santa and Mrs. Clause (that’s us!) …all while in our Christmas jammies. 


Christmas Morning Breakfast


My husband and I rise early, while the kiddoes are still in their beds, and make a special Christmas breakfast.  I set out our special Christmas dishes to enjoy the meal and a hot cocoa bar with our holiday mugs.  Then we relax and enjoy the day playing with our new toys and eating left overs all day. 



Our family holiday traditions matter.  It makes us a part of history and helps to shape who we are today.  They give us a sense of comfort and belonging while giving us something to look forward to.  Holiday traditions will inevitably bring your family together. 


Traditions don’t have to big a huge event, or costly. They don’t even have to be just about the holidays.  It’s about doing things together! It’s those memories…the ones that become a topic of conversation as we look back… that last a lifetime.


What holiday traditions does your family have? Let me know in the comment section below!

#Holidays #Family #Christmas

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About Me

Welcome to our home, my name is Michele. My husband, Walter, and I have been happily married (most of the time) for 28 years. My husband is the Pastor of Strong Tower Church while I work as a Critical Care Nurse. Together, we have been blessed with 10 beautiful children.

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What holiday traditions does your family have

Michele Donnelly

12/6/2019