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Monday, December 10, 2012

Motherhood Mondays: What family traditions do you have during the holidays?

What are your family traditions around the holidays? When we were growing up, my parents would light angel chimes at the dinner table, and the heat from the candles would make the angels spin around and ring the bells. That little "ding, ding, ding" sound still makes me feel so warm and cozy...

Toby is two-and-a-half years old, so this is the first holiday that he'll really understand. I've been thinking so much recently about the value of rituals, and I'd love to create some for our family. So angel chimes are the very first holiday tradition we're starting with him.

Does your family light angel chimes? (Apparently, angel chimes are actually Swedish, but they were introduced to America about fifty years ago.) What other holiday family traditions do you have? A big Christmas Eve dinner? Homemade stockings? Super spiked egg nog? I'd love to hear—and get ideas!


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Kat said...

We enjoy picking an evening, preferably a cold one (we don't get a lot of them down here in south TX), to drive around our town neighborhoods looking at the Christmas lights. My mom used to take my brother and I when we were younger, with Christmas music playing on the radio. It's now something I enjoy with my son.

Charli said...

I am from Austria so I never believed in Santa, but in the Christkind. Also we don't celebrate on the 25th but on christmas eve. So on the morning of the 24th my mom always made the best breakfast with white bread, cheese, meat and even caviar. Then my father and I visited a christmasmarket while my mom helped the Christkind to decorate the tree and cooked our dinner. Usually my father took me to a mc donald's for lunch, which was a huge treat and then we would go to the movies to watch the newest christmas movie. Around five pm we would come home to change into more festive clothes. My grandparents and my great aunt would be there too and we would sing infront of the christmas tree and exchange presents and eat and celebrate. Now since I am with my boyfriend I go to the christmasmarket with him and he celebrates with my family. Greetings from Vienna, Charli

100pajarosvolando said...

When I was a child I had a great book of DIY Christmas decorations and each year before Christmas I would have a look at it and chose something to make.

Sophie Mason said...

Those are so pretty!

One of my favorite family traditions is the stockings we use. When I was three we had a house fire that torched most of our possessions, sadly including many family heirlooms and all of our holiday decorations, although luckily we were all safe. My mom had a friend who owned a children's clothing consignment store at the time, and she sweetly gave us baby onesies to use as stockings that year!!! They are perfect for stockings - especially the bag ones without legs, so I quickly claimed one of those as my own when I was old enough to realize it would hold more goodies :) - and although they are so untraditional for every other family, they are one of the longest running holiday traditions for mine! We still use them today - only some of the original ones have lasted (21 years later!) so we've had to add new ones to the bunch, especially as the family expanded. But nothing signifies Christmas morning to me more than seeing all of the stuffed baby onesies, filled with goodies like Ben & Bills heavenly Buttercrunch, arrayed on the couch waiting for us in the morning!

Kathleen Heffner said...

Toby is getting so Big!!! said...

This reminds me of winters in Bavaria. Many of us had angel chimes and some were quite large and intricate.

You can find chimes like these at, I believe.

Lovely photos.

dizzy_izzy said...

I love the angel chimes, never heard of them! My family has given an orange in our stockings since they moved from (originally Czechoslovakia) Ohio to California. My great-great grandparents were so marveled by the fact that "gold" grew on trees here that it has served as a reminder of what we came from and where we are going. Even as a 28 year old woman living on my own away from my family I will be so sad if I dont get an orange on christmas.

des said...

Since we always host our gigantic for Christmas, on Christmas Eve our small family of 3 makes hot cocoa, lays out blanket by the tree and takes out the special Christmas books that are hidden under the tree skirt. Dad reads through eat book as we lay on the floor in a house only lit by the lights of the tree and then its bedtime. Every year our daughter is so excited to take out the books and hide them under the skirt.

allie wilson said...

i wrote a post on our family traditions last week if you're interested:

amy said...

I love Christmas time. I give out fresh cut greenery-wreathes and bouquets and anything else to people that I know don't really get too into the Christmas Spirit. I'm also pretty religious, so I love to listen to the LDS Christmas Devotional about the true meaning of Christmas and sharing the love of the season with those around us. My family also goes bowling on Christmas Eve and out to pizza. I have no idea where this tradition started, but we love it. It's really the only time I bowl all year, and it's fun to see how awful we all are, but how much we all enjoy it.

E.J. said...

Reading the Maurice Sendak illustrated version of the Nutcracker! I just wrote about it here: My brother and I would snuggle into sleeping bags in front of the fireplace and take turns reading out loud with my Dad. We started the tradition when we were tiny and fell asleep quickly, so it took all month, but we always made it to the end on Christmas Eve, just in time for dreams of Santa and sugar plum fairies. The book, a survivor of puppy teething and countless moves is tattered and worn, but I can't wait to read it to my (future) kiddos.

Marie-Eve said...

Each year every member of the family gets a new pj to wear on Chistmas morning, while drinking eggnog and unwrapping present, and listen to The Sound of Music, wich is exactly what I was doing as a kid and it's where my favorite Christmas memories came from. It just makes me happy ! My husband's family tradition is at midnight, they all sing Holy Night all together !

My Blog - A Pretty Nest

Kyla said...

Two traditions that have really stuck in my mind from my childhood were getting to pick out an ornament ourselves each year of christmas that would be added to our collection. When I got married and had my first christmas with my husband I had a box of ornaments to put on our family tree that I'd been picking out since I was 2. It was really special to have all those memories. Another tradition is that when we open presents on Christmas Eve one person opens at a time to really savor the moment. When my sister and I were little that was super hard but as we grew older we both really appreciated that tradition. It instilled gratitude, patience, and a sense of happiness even just watching another enjoy their Christmas gift. And Angel Chimes of course! What wonderful photos of you both with Toby watching the angels. Such a wonderful time to share with little ones.

Unknown said...

My nephew is in love with Elf on a Shelf, i can tell he'll remember it when he's old and grey!

The best thing ever though, was when we would wake up in the morning to find the cookies and milk we left have eaten and drank, with crumbs everywhere. And then on the note we left for Santa, writing in soot from the fireplace. My dad would get soot on his finger and write us a note. I was so sure it was Santa, and now looking back have such fondness for the effort my Pops put in to make it special. :)

- caroline @thecopperavocado

Amanda said...

We do Angel chimes! My dad had them as a kid and the set we light is about 75% the one he used as a boy. We had to get another set sometime when I was a kid to get some replacement parts. Now that I have a little I'll have to get some for us too!

sian said...

we're in the early days of family traditions as our eldest is only 3. i bought some kraft paper baubles and he's decorated one for the last two years. then we hang it on the tree. when he saw last year's he said 'i was only a baby then, i didn't know to paint the whole bauble'. i made him a stocking with his initial on, i need to make one for his baby bro's first christmas.

Kerri Lynne said...

I've never heard of angel chimes but this seems like such a sweet and simple tradition! For our son, due in March, Dan and I have been talking about fun family rituals like a night to decorate holiday cookies or family Christmas movie nights :)

Sara said...

My mom and my grandmother always had their kids pin a sock at the end of the bed starting on December 1st. If the kids had been good during the day, the "elves" would leave a piece of the most beautiful old fashioned hard candy for the child to find the next day. If we were naughty, there would be nothing in the sock and we knew a bad report had been sent to Santa. My mom (and grandmother before her) also always have ridiculous holiday pajamas for everyone in the family to open on Christmas Eve after church. We would rip open our boxes and laugh at each other's PJs before putting them on then we'd pile on the couch with cookies and egg nog to watch a Christmas movie before falling asleep. Traditions, whatever they are, are such a great part of family holiday memories!

Belkowski Gaylord said...

We do Christmas Eve pajamas. And has to have a meal, the same family friend said ten years, two years ago, they even move to a half mile road! For a while we when I was a child, I am in let my brother leader of four or five in the morning, we are only allowed to view or stockings, until 7, when we can go to wake up our parents. But that was a long time ago:) although my youngest brother asked us what was I wake up in the morning, and the rest of us to some of the downstairs eight. Our guests left on Christmas day, and plates are finished, we see this is a better life. And my mother's birthday is the day after Christmas, so we always have an early dinner "Russian tea room, then go to see the tree. Unfortunately such as advent calendar and appear wreath off as we are getting old, but it doesn't matter.

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Anna said...

The night before Christmas my brother goes across the street to the ice rink that the town makes at the local park. I fall asleep to the sound of skating and sticks hitting the ice.

Every Christmas morning, whichever one of us wakes up first wakes the other. We NEVER go downstairs until we can go together. It's still going that way, even though I am 32 and my brother is 29, and now my husband is in my room with me.

My dad makes cinnamon rolls early in the morning, so we wake up to the smell of warm cinnamon and sugar.

When we go downstairs, we get breakfast and bring it to the living room where we all open our stockings together. We listen to Manheim Steamroller Christmas.

We always go as a family to see a movie on Christmas day. We walk together to the theater through the snow.

In the late afternoon, if there is enough snow, we strap on our cross country skis and break a track around the park across the street.

Kristina C said...

Oh, my god, this brought back so many Christmas memories! We used to have almost identical Angel chimes when I was growing up (I grew up in Lithuania). We would always light them up during Christmas Eve dinner. That sound it makes is almost magical to me. It reminds me of that one night a year when my family used to dress up, pull out the good china and have a long calm dinner, trying each of the 12 dishes that were traditionally served on Christmas Eve. I recently asked my mother whether she has kept the Angel chimes in the house. I thought perhaps she'd be so kind to mail them to me so that I had something to remind me of my childhood during the holidays. Unfortunately I think she got rid of it. After reading this post I'm determined to find a similar version an bring back the old tradition to my home.

Devon Gray said...

Growing up I didn't have any traditions really. But my husband and I have been able to start new traditions. Instead of an advent calendar, we have a thankful garland. Each year I craft a garland with twelve slips of paper where we write what we are thankful that year. Each night before bed we read one of the slips. And then the same breakfast Christmas morning: baked french toast, champagne, and orange juice!

kat mast said...

Now I want to run out and get one! So pretty and a perfect holiday tradition!

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العالمية للصيانة said...

Thank you very much
ترميم البيت
كشف تسربات المياه بالرياض
عزل الاسطح
تخزين اثاث
مكافحة الحشرات
تنظيف خزانات

العالمية للصيانة said...

Thank you very much
ترميم البيت
كشف تسربات المياه بالرياض
عزل الاسطح
تخزين اثاث
مكافحة الحشرات
تنظيف خزانات

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