Thursday, November 4, 2010

on traditions (of yore)...

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I've always been a girl who is slightly obsessed with the holidays, and this year will be no exception. As I sit on the couch while I wait for my first batch of pumpkin chip muffins to bake, I can't help but feel like a small part of me is back home again.

I'll admit it: I'm totally the girl who goes into Michaels in mid-October and wants to dance down the holiday aisles while throwing garland in the air and singing Christmas carols. While wearing a fancy sweater and eating fudge. (I'd bring my own fudge, obviously.) I think what I love most about this time of year is the fact that it always makes me feel young again. Even though I'm all grown up, even though I'm far away from my family, even though my husband and I are busy attempting to create traditions of our own, I can't help but get that warm, back-home-again feeling in my heart when the weather cools and the holidays are around the corner.

Here are a few of my favorite holiday traditions (of yore, because I am obviously no longer a little girl):

1. Watching holiday movies with my parents and sisters. Now, let's be honest with each other here: How many people actually wait until after Thanksgiving to start watching their favorite Christmas movies? NOT THIS GIRL. My sisters and I would hardly be out of our Halloween costumes before we were crawling around the basement looking for the boxes full of holiday decorations, books and movies. Every year we'd watch Miracle on 34th Street and Home Alone like it was the very first time we had seen them. And every Christmas Eve we'd watch Prancer, my favorite holiday movie. ("PRANCER LIVES IN THE SHED BEHIND MY HOUSE!" Seriously, everyone needs to see this movie. It's epic.)

2. Holiday treats. Between the aforementioned pumpkin chip muffins and the belgian waffles (topped with whipped cream and strawberries!) that my dad would always make on Christmas morning, there were many delicious goodies that filled our kitchen! I have no idea how I wasn't shaped like a blueberry as a child due to all the fudge, sugar cookies carefully decorated by my sisters and I and mugs of hot chocolate that filled up our holiday season. Note to self: Actually take time to make each of these treats this year. And bring most of them to work for other people to eat, so I don't have to also invest in new pants. Amen.

leafy goodness.

3. Carving pumpkins. Playing in the leaves my dad would rake into neat piles. Cutting snowflakes out of coffee filters until the actual snow fell from the sky. Driving through the city to look at houses decorated in thousands of twinkling lights.

4. Christmas Eve dinner. Now, this is going to sound silly, but I think that's why it is so endearing to me! Every Christmas Eve (for most of the years I lived at home) we would have dinner at Pizza Hut. I'm sure the people working at Pizza Hut were judging us, thinking we were some lazy family who didn't feel like cooking on a holiday. But, really? My mom would spend all of Thanksgiving and Christmas in the kitchen, and we all figured the best thing to do the day before a holiday would be to have someone else cook for you. I also loved that it was something that nobody else I knew did. It was this quirky little tradition that each of us looked forward to every year.

So, it's your turn. What are some of your favorite holiday traditions? Sweet, quirky or delicious...I want to know!

Do you have a holiday story you'd like to share? Give the rest of us the warm fuzzies by entering the Folgers "Home for the Holidays" Essay Contest! Tell Folgers about the best part of wakin' up for the holidays. Click here for all the goodness. If you would like to read 9 other bloggers' stories about their holiday traditions, please visit the round-up page here: exclusive offers page!


Kaarin said...

At our family get together every Christmas eve on my father's side, there are particular foods that people bring every year, and it's not complete without it. My aunt Diane brings her amazing homemade fudge and a cheese platter. My aunt Maggie makes her caramel corn with cheerios in it. My dad brings out traditional family recipe chip dip. My mom makes lefse, a traditional Norwegian food, like a potato tortilla, and it's become my job to make and decorate the sugar cookies. :)
And Christmas isn't Christmas without It's a Wonderful Life.
And I can't live without watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!

Becca Wikler said...

Christmas is newish to me and while lighting the menorah and frying latkes are still among my favorite holiday traditions, I'm so enjoying discovering and creating new Christmas traditions with my fiancé and his family. Stockings are where the good present are, playing card games all night on Christmas eve and staying in PJs all day at my future in-laws' house top my list. Next up? My first tree. I just bought my very first Christmas ornament :-D

Suburban Sweetheart said...

We don't do Christmas, but I sure do love playing Scrabble with my extended family after Thanksgiving dinner. The day after Thanksgiving, we all go Black Friday shopping, then exchange Christmas & Chanukah gifts that evening because half of us are Christian & half are Jewish. I'm bringing my boyfriend home with me this year & am really looking forward to it!

San said...

In Germany, we celebrate Christmas Eve (Jay should know about this!) ... we only get the Christmas tree a few days before then and only decorate it on the morning of the 24th. We go to church in the afternoon and have a big dinner with the family afternoon. Then the kids are sent upstairs until a little bell let's them know that Santa was there and then the presents are exchanged... one by one :) I love Christmas!!!

Angela said...

I just commented on your newest post, so I'll leave this here too and ADD A FEW MORE! Woo!

Ahhh, I LOVE THE HOLIDAYS!!! Ahem. Sorry. I got carried away.

One of my favorite traditions, is on Christmas Eve, my wife's family has fondue. Cheese and chocolate. TONS of fondue with every freakin' fondue food you can imagine. And wine. It's so relaxing, homey and DELICIOUS!!!

But my MOST favorite is every year, Jen and I have gotten each other an ornament (when we were long distance) and we get one together every year (since we've been together face-to-face!)

With Halloween, I love decorating and having the pumpkin cheese ball we had my first year here. For me, being with my wife is being home. I don't really long for my old family holidays. Well, I do want to see my sisters who I am finally close with. But Jen and I. That's my home.

I love choosing costumes!!! Pumpkin carving!!!

I also love Christmas Vacation. We watch it every year!!! And Christmas marathons on Nick @ Nite!!! EEE THE HOLIDAYS!!!

Amy said...

Every year there's a fundraising telethon on local TV in early December and it's really a horrible telethon - like terrible elementary school choirs, 85-year-old men playing Christmas songs on their fiddles, etc. And every year, telethon day is my baking day. I turn it on for background noise and bake alllll day. My mom did the same thing when we were little. I look forward to it every year!

Christmas Eve day, my sister and I always went skating. Last year was my first year not home for Christmas, so Peter bought skates and went with me. That's one of my favourite traditions!

There are also insane amounts of board games with my family over Christmas - Cranium, Scattergories, Monopoly...we also play a lot of Guitar Hero in recent years :)

Mandy said...

My favorite tradtion used to be going to my great grandma's house on Christmas eve. All my cousins adn second cousins would be there, my great aunt. It was filled with laughs, great food and just a complete sense of togetherness. Now we go to my grandparents for Christmas Eve, we all open presents from my grandparents and eat dinner. Then my cousins and I play board games. I love holiday traditions!

Karen said...

Aah! PRANCER! I love that movie. So good and exactly the right Christmas spirit to it. That little girl is too cute. I can't wait to decorate the tree - I love going through the ornaments, so many of them I've been hanging up since I was little. Just opening up the box of decorations is like Christmas itself! And no Christmas is complete without watching Charlie Brown's Christmas. The one tradition I've started all on my own, though, it going to the latest christmas eve church service I can. Hopefully it's candlelit and we all walk out of the church at midnight with our candles singing joy to the world or silent night or some equally wonderful carol. I love going out into the cold, crisp night air knowing that ITS CHRISTMAS DAY! and saying merry christmas and giving hugs to everyone. (and, in my perfect world, it would be snowing) :)

Chez Us said...

I love all of your traditions, they made me want to come knock on your door and say hi!

Cute photo of the girls playing in the leaves, I use to love doing that!

Naddez said...

My siblings & I go over to our Parents home, with our families, on Christmas Day and sing Carols and enjoy each other company.

PomJob said...

I loooooove a good Christmas movie, or a not-so-good-one for that matter. Home Alone is one of the best. In fact, I watch it year-round. Love!

suburban prep said...

Growing up one of my favorite things to do was come home after Midnight mass (actually 10 pm) and bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies with my 6 younger siblings. We would then leave warm cookies for santa. As we got older it was a great time just to catch up with each other. Now we have our own families and we do the same thing.
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