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Share Your Holiday Traditions Part 3

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Here’s the last batch of traditions…Hope you got some good ideas! I know I did!
Every year, up until I moved out of my parents’ house, my family and I would sit around watching the “Charlie Brown” Christmas special. We would all have on our nice warm jammies and our fluffy slippers, and we would all be drinking peppermint hot chocolate out of our very own mugs. Every year, we got new ones. My dad always got me one with a penguin on it.
My family LOVES traditions and the holidays!  My favorite tradition for Christmas is Christmas Eve.  My Mom had two brothers, one was 5 years older than her and the other was 10 years older.  They all got married within 3 months of each other!  That first Christmas my Grandparents made up stockings for each of the couples.  Inside was all kinds of fun little trinkets that they had collected for a while.  My Grandfather wrapped each item individually, using the odds and ends of wrapping paper they saved.  They got together on Christmas Eve and opened the stockings then.  Well, that has happened every year since then.  My Grandfather is no longer with us, and my Grandmother is 93!  So my Mother carries on the Christmas Eve Stockings tradition.  Every year of my life we got together on Christmas Eve for a huge feast, games, and the opening of the stockings.  My Mom fills over 20 stockings now!  I have a picture of my Mom and her family, with their stockings, on that first Christmas.  I have tons of pictures of my cousins, siblings, and I with our stockings.  So I am so thrilled to be taking pictures of my children with their cousins, tearing into all those stocking gifts like we all have done!
-Rebecca @ RootsAndWingsCo
We have lots of little traditions that, at this point, our kids would never let us NOT do 🙂
We have Advent boxes that we have out ever December:
We also pop popcorn and drive around a look at lights…
And the kids set up their own artificial tree, packed with all the ornaments they’ve made over the years.
Just of few of our traditions…thanks for havin’ me 🙂
-Alicia @ La Famille
I grew up in New Mexico where luminarias aka farjolitos are lining the side walks through many neighborhoods. They are brown paper bags with candles glowing inside. We would set them up on Christmas Eve day and light them that night. The glow of the luminarias is so serene and soothing.  To this day, luminarias are my absolute favorite Christmas decoration and I can’t wait to have a house where I can set them up each year!
Every year on Christmas Eve, we have our day of surprises (I copied this name from a friend, but the tradition is one that was started when I was a child as a way to get my dad to get us kids out of the house so my mom could get things ready).  We have envelopes labeled with C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S (the year before, we had E-V-E as well).  We start with the letter C envelope and it tells us what our days first activity is and we continue till the end of the day.  Every year we have done a service project (last year we brought gifts to people who had to work on Christmas Eve, hospital, police station, and food service, stores), we eat at an International restuarant, watch a new movie at the expensive theatre (special treat that doesn’t happen often), open our new Christmas book gift, open jammies gift.  We have added in additional items on different years-get gourmet hot chocolate, go sledding, go to a Christmas party, etc.  My kids always look forward with anticipation at what the next envelope will say.  It helps distract them from thinking too much about the next morning.
Every year we buy Christmas for a family that has fallen on hard times. It is amazing to watch their faces light up when they get a Christmas they didn’t think they would get. 

And finally, I want to share with you my traditions from growing up. 
I loved Christmas Eve, though the anticipation nearly killed me.  The whole day was spent in preparation for our big candle light feast that my mom would spend hours preparing.  We kids helped clean the house, set up all the tables and put out the place settings.  My mom would always rely on me to make it pretty.  We would usually always have at least three tables set up because I have an enormous family.  Back in the days we would sometimes have cousins, aunts and uncles come over, but lately it’s just us kids and our families.  (Which is incredibly sizeable, I shouldn’t say ‘just’.)  
After the wonderful turkey dinner, my dad would light a fire while the kids would go organize the Christmas play, which was to re-enact the nativity.  I have played many a Mary, angel, shepherd, and even sheep, I think.  It’s a joke in my family to find a silly container of food to present to baby Jesus as representation of the gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  So it wasn’t uncommon to see a bag of noodles or a squirty ketchup bottle.  And my sister frequently played the role of King Herod, which involved stuffing a bunch of pillows under a robe to pull off his girth.  The play is always a laugh.  Now the grandkids do the play and there is much bickering amongst the grand daughters about who gets to play Mary.  
Anyway, after the play the family would sing Christmas carols and some other Christmas songs, such as selections from Handel’s Messiah, O Holy Night, and The Night Before Christmas Song.  After the songs were sung, the food was polished off, the other families would bundle their kids up to get them home to bed.  As a child, I would build a fort with my siblings and we’d sleep in it that night.  As a teenager, we started a new tradition:  Water Uno.  

Water Uno
You play Uno in rounds, using all the fun rules like Match Plays, stacking Draw Twos, Zero changes hands, etc.  Whoever goes out of cards first wins the round and everyone else has to add up their points (‘special’ cards are 25 points, others are their numeric value.)  Whoever has the most points has to drink a full cup of water.  And here’s the kicker:  NO GOING TO THE BATHROOM FOR THE DURATION.  That means that as long as you want to be qualified to play, you have to hold it.  And when you are losing rounds and drinking cups and cups of water, that gets to be rough.  

I would play this game with the older kids in my family, as we all huddled around the table and made jokes.  We’d play in the basement while “Santa” snuck around upstairs putting out gifts.  It would be freezing cold, so we’d crank the space heaters and huddle in blankets.  Have I ever won?  Of course.  Seriously, guys…come on.  I think I actually retired that year, and the next year my husband was with us and he won.  Ha!  Most of us have stopped playing now, since we have kids to get to bed, but the older grandkids will play with those who aren’t married yet.  Fun stuff.  
I have mucho more traditions to share, but this is plenty long enough to read without pictures, thanks to everyone who shared their traditions, and for the rest of you for tuning in! 

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