Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Very Traditional Christmas: Highlights from this Morning's Show

My Christmas Memories: 

This morning we spoke a bit about Christmas traditions.  Traditions are wonderful little bits of home that you can carry with you whereever you go and they are as unique as each of our families and friends.  My family has a lot of little things that we just do together each year.  They are very much a part of Traditional Christmas for me, but when I think of Christmas no one thing stands out.  It all comes rushing back in one warm and cozy assortment of memories.  Every year I watch White Christmas with my mom, just the two of us.  Christmas tree decorating must always be accompanied by favorite Christmas cds and everyone singing along.  Growing up, we would watch traditional Christmas Clay-mation cartoons while baking Chocolate Chip cookies and a few Oatmeal Raisin just for my dad.  We would celebrate with extended family on Christmas Eve and do a lot of traveling that day.  Most of my Christmas memories, consist of everyone gathering in the Kitchen of whomever was hosting the get together.  The menu for those get togethers is very much a tradition for us.  I can pretty much name all of the signature dishes on the menu and guarantee they will be waiting.  We keep Christmas dinner simpler in some ways than Thanksgiving, but many of the sides are the same.  My parents always reserved the gifts around the tree for Christmas morning.  One year I remember my mom broke her rule, and let us open one gift a piece on Christmas Eve.  I opened a beautiful ballerina doll that I still have tucked away somewhere.    Following Christmas morning gifts is breakfast and then a nice dinner that evening.

The Tradition Ideas that I mentioned this Morning are:
  • One of my closest friend's has a really tremendous thing that she and her family will do every year.  They prepare food boxes and they will drive around the city to areas that have been hit harder by the economy and pass out free lunches.  Maybe thats a tradition that you and your family would like to start doing. You could make a Christmas dinner and deliver it to a family less fortunate than yours or maybe you could just pack up little boxes of Christmas cookies and share your fabulous baking skills.
  • Instead of placing gifts in stockings, hide the gifts and tuck clues into the stocking about where the gifts have been hidden. Have the kids (or even the adults) go on a treasure hunt Christmas morning.  Or you can flip that idea around.  A friend of mine was telling me that her husband's family has a tradition where they hide the entire stocking.  Each person is given their first clue, and keep searching for clues until they find their stocking.
  • After the Morning show, I was talking with a couple of friends and one of them mentioned that he and his wife have come up with a tradition that instead of purchasing Christmas gifts for each other, they will help another couple by buying gifts for their children.

Other Ideas are...
  • Have a cookie-baking party. Supply ingredients and make cookies with your family or friends to give as gifts.

  • Adopt a charity or cause and give a gift that helps it succeed in its mission.

  • When it's time to trim the tree, play carols and serve cookies, make it a party. Do the same thing when it's time to put the tree and the trimmings away. Turn a chore into a pleasure. It's all in how you see it.

  • Purchase puzzles, card games, art supplies and craft kits as gifts that you can have fun doing with the kids. You can even have your family photo made into a puzzle.

  • Have a gift-making day with your family. Knit a bright red scarf for grandma (this only takes a few hours), make photo collage coasters from old cd cases, make personalized stationery or cards, or gather pine cones for handmade ornaments. 

  • Go Caroling.  Bonus points if you share your caroling skills with your neighborhood.

  • Create a Christmas breakfast tradition for your family & repeat it each year: banana-nut pancakes, cinnamon French toast, your best muffin recipe, or a traditional Farmer's Breakfast.  Make something that warms the heart and the tummy.

  • Make Hot Chocolate and cookies then gather around for Christmas Stories.

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