Christmas Traditions and $100 Balsam Hill Giveaway

Some Christmas traditions are fun, some are sentimental, and some are celebrations of our faith, and today I’d like to hear about your favorite traditions – whether it’s decorating gingerbread houses, visiting a living nativity, or setting out cookies for Santa.

I can’t wait to hear yours!

Balsam Hill is hosting a Countdown To Christmas blog tour, with 25 – $100 gift card giveaways (I’ll tell you more about that in at the end) and today’s my turn!

If you are visiting from Malia @ Yesterday on Tuesday  – Welcome!  Tomorrow’s blogger is Maria @ Rusty Hinge.

(See all 25 blogs here)

The Christmas traditions we celebrate often become nearer and dearer our hearts – especially as we get older.

Christmas countdown sign with DIY Christmas can hanging mittens and candle lantern | Share your Christmas traditions at

My grandmother had 8 kids and  20+ grandchildren, and she certainly couldn’t afford to give us all gifts, so she baked an extra large Christmas cookie for each grand child, and one by one, we would take turns receiving our cookie from grandma, and it was a big deal to us.  It’s been over 20 years since my sweet grandma passed away, and I’m so glad I have these treasured memories of her.

This is her with my daughter. Wasn’t her hair beautiful?

my sweet grandma

When I was a young girl, my family was good friends with another family, whose father had passed away, leaving the mom with 3 kids to raise.

Our parents began a yearly tradition of going on a getaway during Christmas break together.  We didn’t go far from home, but we stayed in a hotel with an indoor pool, and ate breakfast at Denny’s, and it was a chance for my sister and I to have a great time with the 3 kids in the other family, while my parents enjoyed visiting with the widowed mother.  We stopped celebrating that tradition when I was in high school, but it is such a special Christmas memory for me, and I’m so glad our parents started it.

Buffalo check scarf, mittens and candle lantern in Christmas entrayway -

When my kids were little, each year I would make a paper chain with 12 links on it, and inside each link was an activity for each day – like baking cookies, or taking them to Baskin Robbins to pick their favorite flavor ice cream cone, or going to the light display held at the city aquarium.  Each day, a different child took turns cutting the link to see what the activity was, and they couldn’t wait to do it.

numbered metal tags -

My thanks to Balsam Hill for sending me the Countdown to Christmas sign with metal number tags!  It’s on sale right now, so this is a great time to snatch one up for next year.

What are some of your family’s favorite Christmas traditions?

balsam hill countdown to Christmas Advent calendar sign with metal number tags -

Please share them in the comments below, then enter the  Balsam Hill $100 Giveaway HERE!

Share your favorite Christmas traditions -

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  1. Sue Addison says

    My fondest memories were of making ornaments and garlands for our tree. We made our ornaments from so many different things like walnuts, milk weed pods, Christmas cards, felt, embroidery, match sticks, painted wood, etc. The popcorn garland was always a fun challenge. The construction paper chain was also a favorite. Thanks for sharing your memories and thanks for the gift card giveaway. Merry Christmas!

  2. mare williams says

    My parents shaped my beliefs of Christmas by establishing some traditions that I loved both growing up and in raising our 2 sons! For example, my parents never put up the Christmas tree until Christmas eve AFTER all SIX kids were in bed, supposedly asleep. My father always put up a fantastic train platform, too, and to this day I just adore watching Lionels and REAL trains riding on the tracks! I have a special appreciation for the hard work involved in creating train platforms!! My mom & dad also never let us open any gifts unless ALL of the 8 family members were present at the time…and I still stick to that tradition. (My parents didn’t believe in opening all gifts Christmas morning – we opened a few each day until they were all opened.) My husband and I continued the traditions I grew up with as much as we could with our own sons, and now our one son with kids of his own is carving out his own traditions, as well as continuing some we instilled in him…these include the love of trains on a platform and taking great care of them when they play with them. Our son also sticks to the tradition of gifts being opened only when ALL family members are present. I am so happy that my parents instilled these traditions in us, and gave us a solid background upon which to raise our own children!

  3. We always got together as a family to decorate the tree. I still have many of my family’s ornaments. I also fondly remember going to church on Christmas morning after opening our presents from Santa.

  4. I taught preschool when my oldest two were young. There was also a daycare at the school and many of my fellow teachers traveled to extended family for Christmas. Since I was local and my husband had a Christmas Eve service to lead, I volunteered to work every Christmas Eve. My husband began the tradition of baking his mother’s cut out sugar cookies with the girls while I worked. I came home to happy children and a house smelling like vanilla. It’s a tradition we continue to this day with daughters who are teachers and not local. The smell of vanilla brings all those great memories back to life!

  5. We weren’t a particularly religious family. But every Christmas eve we went to the midnight church service – just my father and us three oldest girls while my mom looked after the little ones (and stuffed stockings, I’m sure). It was always magical when the choir sand Silent Night as we all held a little candle. By the time we got home, it was just after midnight and my dad would turn to us and say “Merry Christmas”. He always loved being the first one to say that to us on Christmas Day.

  6. My memory that sticks is we would decorate the tree the week before Christmas with the placing the star on top Christmas eve. We would have a family meal before this and make a big deal about the tree topper.
    All the family would then bundled up and go caroling and to the Christmas eve service at Church. After all this celebration we would have Grandma’s hot chocolate and cookies. Merry Christmas Angie!

  7. I can remember as a child I loved to go with my parents and brother and we would drive around
    after dark and look at all the twinkling lights and holiday home decorations. It was so magical and
    exciting! Especially on Christmas Eve looking to the sky to see if we could spot Santa and his reindeer……

  8. We celebrate with our extended family members on Christmas Eve. My uncle started over 35 years ago playing Santa and giving each child a gift from “Santa’s bag.” This is a tradition the now adult children live sharing with their children.
    Merry Cristmas to all!

  9. Every year my family would go to Christmas Eve Service and then come to house and have a soup supper…trying to focus on the reason for this season, Jesus Christ. Also my mother and all of her daughters(4) make Swedish Tea Rings(coffeecakes), for neighbors, co-workers and friends. Merry Christmas to you and thank you!

  10. When I was little my family would all pile in the car and drive around and see all the decorated houses and then home for hot chocolate! We loved it and I continued that with my children.

  11. looking for the Star of Bethlehem

  12. When I was younger and my brothers were both out of the house and married, my Mom would cook a big pot of chili and we would all get together to put our tree up – my very favorite memory! Within the last 3 years both my father and father-in-law passed away on Christmas Day, my father last year. This year we are going to start with fresh new traditions and new memories to make!!

  13. Teddee Grace says

    Christmas stockings! My mother always loaded one of my Dad’s Rockford socks for each child. The stuffing started with a nut, usually a walnut in the very toe, followed by an orange, followed by a variety of small and inexpensive items she was able to find at the local dime store. For my sister and me that always included miniature glass and china animals, some of which I still have.

  14. We always read TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS on Christmas eve.

  15. our christmas started the day after thanksgiving, when we would set out to cut down our christmas tree while christmas music and christmas stories filled the car on our journey. we would tailgate after both trees were cut down and roped to the car, sipping hot chocolate and eating doughnuts. the entire month was spent with so many activities and our holiday culminated by taking the family to see the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s version of the Nutty Nutcracker and enjoy a tailgate picnic of sparkling cider and homemade eggnog bread afterwards before heading home for our savior supper on christmas eve. The children always opened one gift…their christmas pajamas. We would read from the book of Luke and finish with The Night Before Christmas before sending far-too-excited children off to their beds. When they got older, we arose very early…Santa kisses present on everyone’s cheeks…to go serve breakfast to the homeless families on Christmas morning. We always saved giving gifts to each other until after Christmas dinner, after all the Santa gifts had been enjoyed. Those memories keep me warm every Christmas. What thrills me is that my children are keeping so many of those precious traditions now with their families; and making new ones of their own.

  16. `We just have a simple tradition of opening up a new set of pajamas the night before Christmas. Somehow that seems to be my girls’ favorite part of Christmas.

  17. The kids only get 3 gifts as Jesus did from the wise men. Each is wrapped and tagged with gold, frankincense and muhr and they open them in that order.

  18. Our holiday traditions include looking at Christmas lights with my parents, my mom always said , look, they’re ready at each house that was lit. Now that they are in heaven, hubby and I carry on that tradition with our grandboys! And yes, we are all lit up and ready too!

  19. Our holiday traditions include looking at Christmas lights with my parents, my mom always said , look, they’re ready at each house that was lit. Now that they are in heaven, hubby and I carry on that tradition with our grandboys! And yes, we are all lit up and ready too!

  20. I’m soooooo enjoying reading all about everyone’s Christmas traditions…what a great idea, Angie! We attended our town’s tree-lighting every year as a family. Our evening would start off with an early sit-down dinner and then we would excitedly race downtown to watch our mayor light the town’s Christmas tree, followed by listening to the choir sing Christmas carols and meeting with Santa. On this particular night, the town’s stores remained open til midnight, so we’d go through some of them and enjoy some of the horse-drawn cart rides. The two youngest would always poop out…my husband would take them home and I’d stay out with my oldest…she sooooooo enjoyed getting to do some Christmas shopping with Mommy and also got all of the cider, cookies, and candy canes any child could ever want! This tradition continued til the kids were all out on their own. How I miss those days. Thank you for allowing us this platform to reminisce about the Christmas traditions of the past! Merry Christmas to you and yours, Angie!

  21. My favorite tradition is a newer one that has started since my siblings and I are all adults. We have our full family celebration on Christmas Eve and then on Christmas day we go see a movie in the theater and then go back to my parents house for pizza and games. It’s fun and it has nothing to do with giving or getting presents – just has to do with spending time together.

  22. My dad passed away when I was only ten, but we always went to church on Christmas eve, and if we were lucky, we got to open one present before we left. I remember my Barbie doll, and I was in heaven! Oh, how I wish things were that simple now!

  23. Growing up on a ranch way out of town, we four kids would help my dad cut fire wood throughout the year and make big piles of brush. On Christmas Eve, my grandparents would come out for dinner with us. Afterward, Dad and Grandpa would take us kids out and start the brush piles on fire! This was to show Santa the way to our house! Of course, when we got home, all the presents were under the tree and we had “just missed” Santa!!

  24. Karen Sauzer says

    I started a Christmas tradition with my children of setting up numerous nativities in our house with all figures except the baby Jesus. This tradition reinforced our prayers throughout Advent awaiting the birth of the Infant Jesus. On Christmas morning, they screamed with delight at the sight of the baby Jesus figures in the various mangers! Happy Birthday, Jesus!

  25. When the children were little we always went to Grandmothers for Christmas eve dinner & opening gifts. Now we still do this but we all go to one of our daughters & have soup, sandwiches, desserts, open presents & watch Christmas Vacation. Nothing special but special to us!!!

  26. One gift for each of the kids on Christmas Eve, always jammies … and a Christmas movie.
    Karen U

  27. KitsyKeelSmith says

    Large family Christmas gathering called the Smith Festival. We changed houses each year, ate pot luck dinner, played games and the highlight was “Funny Gifts.” Everyone would bring from 3-5 wrapped items either bought but most came from our homes. Could be useful, funny, and sometimes even really ugly. There was an ugly fish platter that got passed on every year for I can’t remember how long. My daughter’s boyfriend received it one year, they broke up before the next Christmas, so we never saw that ugly fish platter again. Thanks Sissy.

  28. Mine was going to midnight mass where my dad would play the trumpet. I can still hear the sound of that trumpet reverberating throughout the church! Afterwards (we’re talking 1 AM) we’d have my paternal grandparents and others over for a traditional French buffet. Seeing the photo of your grandmother reminded me so much of my Mémère who wore her hair very similar to yours.
    Merry Christmas Angie!

  29. My Christmas tradition is baking cookies of many kinds. I started doing this with my Mom when I was a child. I have continued to do so, as my son’s grew up & now we have grandchildren. My Mom is gone now, but I will always cherish the baking time spent with her & she taught me. It was a fun time. On Christmas eve we also attend our church service to remember Jesus & why we have this holiday!

  30. When I was growing up we were allowed to open some presents on Christmas eve. That was so exciting!!

    Happy New Year…

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