Favorite Holiday Traditions

Past-E-Mail: Various Topics: Politics and Religion, Ketchup or Gravy: Favorite Holiday Traditions
Cindy Pihlaja Russell (Gone2long) on Tuesday, November 6, 2007 - 01:54 pm:

If you don't have a tradition in place, what would you like to become your tradition?

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Tuesday, November 6, 2007 - 02:18 pm:

The only odd thing we have, is that we do try to come up with a unique gag gift for one person every year. A lot of the decision making comes into play by what was said or done during the past year. A couple of years ago, one of the kid's wanted an X-Box in the worst way. So, we obliged, he got a 4x4 cardboard box covered with X's. This year, someone was trying to describe an Etch-A-Sketch, only he couldn't think of the right name. It came out as Oodle-Doodle. Guess who's going to have a home made Oodle-Doodle under the tree this year?
Mr. Deb

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Wednesday, November 7, 2007 - 10:12 am:

A 4 wheel drive cardboard box?? Now I'd like to see that... ;-)

Without any snow here in Houston, it's awful hard to get into the spirit. My idea of Christmas involves snow covered pines, sleigh rides, warm cider, and family (I sound like a Norman Rockwell painting!!) Everyone here just decorates their homes, yards, and anything else that can be decorated which turns into this huge competition between neighbors; I've even heard of fights breaking out!!

One thing the Dr. and her brother used to do to annoy the parents was to decorate the tree and put all the same ornament on one spot of the tree. From what I'm told all the blue balls in one area, all the shepards together, etc..... She still tries to do this on our tree but I squash any attempts quickly before it gets out of hand ;-)

By Michael Du Long (Mikie) on Wednesday, November 7, 2007 - 03:03 pm:

One Christmas I gave Precious some coal in her stocking hanging on the mantle. This coal has been passed on to all the relatives since. Never got it back because I plan to burn it in the fireplace.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Wednesday, November 7, 2007 - 04:52 pm:

My former dil is, to say the least, a terrible housekeeper. We made her so mad one Christmas because we got her this little kid's cleaning kit with the broom, fake vacuum cleaner, cleaning solution, scrub rags, you name it. Anyway, we also labeled everything on the box so she'd know what it was used for. She laughed, but I think she was kind of insulted too. We always do something crazy like that every Christmas. It's fun. Well, it's fun for us but those on the receiving end aren't always as humored by it as we are.

Let's hear from some of the rest of you. This is a fun topic. Mikie, yours is hilarious as are all your family stories.

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Wednesday, November 7, 2007 - 05:54 pm:

Umm, I think that crazy Christmas gifts are fine, but not if they are at someone's expense, like the little kid's cleaning kit, if she was a terrible housekeeper. That would only have been funny if she were a spotless housekeeper, like one of my mom's friends used to be when I was a small girl. I don't blame her for being insulted. Sorry, but I think that one was mean. The others above were funny, but this one was meant to be mean, to carry a mean message. (from another terrible housekeeper, I have better things to do with my time. And that's when I'm not laid up, but completely healthy.) Sorry.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Wednesday, November 7, 2007 - 06:20 pm:

Sorry, but we all got a good laugh out of it. We never meant to offend her at all. It WAS just a joke, as she knows that I'M not the best housekeeper in the world either. Had they given it to me I would have just laughed it off, as she did. I didn't say she WAS insulted, just that I thought she might have been. And that was not our intent. I guess not everybody finds humor in the same kind of things. That's what makes us all unique. If you knew how "fun-loving" our family is, you would understand. Practical jokes are a fact of life around here. We find it to be fun.

By Snowman (Snowman) on Wednesday, November 7, 2007 - 06:26 pm:

Practical jokes make "get-togethers" fun, they take the "stiffness" out of the atmosphere. We have the same tradition every year;
1) Eat
2) Drink
3) Be merry
4) Chill

By FRNash/PHX, AZ (Frnash) on Wednesday, November 7, 2007 - 06:43 pm:

Sheesh, the next thing ya know, we'll need to restrict any and all jokes to a new bad joke thread so those with absolutely no sense of humor won't be offended.

What was that? Did I hear a chuckle from Joanie over on theyooperforums.com?

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Wednesday, November 7, 2007 - 09:30 pm:

Capt. Paul,
Nearly anything can be made from a cardboard box. Look at all the inventions that were created by Calvin and Hobbes with just a box and a marker. Time machines, transmogrifiers, the possibilities are endless.
Mr. Deb

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Wednesday, November 7, 2007 - 10:04 pm:

OK, I'll try to rephrase it, so maybe I can get my point across this time. The cleaning practical joke might have been funny if it were not a daughter-in-law who was made the butt of the joke. She will always feel a little bit left out, because few families fully embrace their kids' chosen life partners. I agree, it would have been funny had it been given to Deb, but it wasn't. I don't know how else to say it. I'm sorry, maybe it's because my inlaws were not/are not at all inclusive, so it hits too close to home. And, the DIL might have been laughing on the outside, just to try to get along and to save face, while the whole time, she was crying on the inside. What choice did she have?

I guess my bottom line on practical jokes is to think through who the recipient is, before you give out something that might possibly be construed as hurtful, especially since it was set up that she was the worst housekeeper in the world. That thought often transfers through to the person, even if it is never spoken.

Ok, I'll get off my soapbox for a little bit. I just don't like to see anyone get hurt, especially during the holidays. That should be a jolly time, not with some left hurting on the inside. Thank you all for listening and trying to understand that there could well be another side, that is not so happy.

By Michael Du Long (Mikie) on Wednesday, November 7, 2007 - 10:56 pm:

Marianne, I am lucky to have not only children and grandkids that I adore, but my in law kids are perfect and have become as close to me as my own are. We have everyone over our house on holidays including the parents of our inlaw kids. They are as much a part of the family as Jimmie the fat white cat is. As are the siblings of the inlaw kids. Precious is just now getting ready for me to start cleaning and preparing for Thanksgiving. The part that I don't like about the holiday is the mandatory turkey. Can't stand turkey since I was a kid and the dog killed the neighbors turkeys and we had them for dinner. Dad had to pay for the damage that the dog did. So I don't like turkey. We play jokes on each other like wrapping up a huge box and filling it with paper and a small gift. Did it to Justin for several years and he would always go for the big present first only to get some little trinket. The third year we put his big present in the big box and he opened last. This is the same guy who will be picking out the home when we are too old to live alone.

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Wednesday, November 7, 2007 - 11:17 pm:

Mikie you are a real sweetheart. Unfortunately, I have not met very many people with inlaws who are inclusive like you are. That is wonderful that you have such a big extended family to celebrate holidays with. Our closest family, my inlaws, are in Peoria, IL; we have no relatives in Michigan. That's ok by me that my inlaws are so far away, because we have almost nothing in common, and I will leave it at that. Beyond that, my brother and his wife now live in Idaho, my husband has a brother that we never see, who is in St Louis, MO (he and his wife are too busy globe-trotting), and finally, my husband's middle brother lives in California. :-)

I totally go along with your way of doing gifts. Your Justin always knew that he was loved and that he would get his fair share. I don't see how anyone could perceive any intent of possible less than nice intent with doing it your way. There was nothing hurtful in that, only joking. That is a great tradition!

We miss seeing your comments on Pasty. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving, even if you have to eat turkey, lol! :-) And I pray that you and Precious are recovering from your injuries! I'm not a big fan of turkey either, but my sons think it's not Thanksgiving without turkey, homemade dressing and mashed potatoes, et al, so that is what we will have. :-)

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Wednesday, November 7, 2007 - 11:24 pm:

I thought these pages were set up so we could have some fun without people attacking us for it. What some people think of as fun, others don't. That's just the way it is. None of it is meant to be taken personally. This is the way our family is. It's not for anybody to approve or disapprove. We like to play gags on others. It's usually aimed at our sons, but she was just like a daughter and she knew it. We told her we loved her like a daughter and so she was going to be treated like the rest of the family. If you don't know for sure how things are, you really shouldn't comment negatively on them.

By Snowman (Snowman) on Thursday, November 8, 2007 - 07:56 am:

Maybe some of these posts should be moved to a thread called; "Bah Humbug".

By k j (Kathiscc) on Thursday, November 8, 2007 - 08:16 am:

Yeah, that, or maybe someone should get their own page and be able to just expound on their thoughts on every possible subject, to their hearts content. Then we could all just skip that whole page if we wanted to.

By Cindy Pihlaja Russell (Gone2long) on Thursday, November 8, 2007 - 08:52 am:

Whew! Pumpkin pie anyone??? :-D

By k j (Kathiscc) on Thursday, November 8, 2007 - 09:28 am:

Our favorite holiday tradition is- on the Friday after Thanksgiving, we go to the tree farm near here to cut down our Christmas tree. It is run by enviromentalists and all proceeds go to the local "Defenders". They have a camp fire you can sit around and a building with a wood stove where you can go to warm up and have a cup of hot chocolate and they have a bake sale with breads and cookies and you can eat them there or take them home. They sell wreaths and stuff, too. They have a pile of pine branches outside with pine cones on them that you can take to make your own decorations or wreaths. We go every year.

By Jacobsville (Barb) on Thursday, November 8, 2007 - 12:01 pm:

My family has always had a tradition on Thanksgiving of each
person sitting at the table giving thanks for one thing. The ones
from the smaller children are always the most precious.

Then we dig into the turkey, green peas, mashed rutabegas,
mashed potatoes, gravy, yams, and pumpkin pie with Cool Whip!

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Thursday, November 8, 2007 - 12:16 pm:

We used to always put the tree up either the night of Thanksgiving or the day after when the kids were younger. And they'd all help while we played and sang Christmas Carols. Now that they've all grown up and most have families of their own, I actually put the tree up the weekend before Thanksgiving (just the tree usually) so that the grandkids can go down and pick out all their favorite ornaments and ooohhh and aaaahhh at the wonder of it all. This way, we can also get family pictures taken in front of the tree for Christmas cards because it's hard to get them all together after that since everybody is so busy. This year we've decided to start a new tradition of drawing names and thus only having to buy for one person. Because, after all, receiving gifts is not the true reason for the season. The kids will also draw names and they will be responsible for deciding what to get their cousin. Nobody will get as many gifts, but what they will get will be well thought out and special. I can't wait. It's going to be a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.

By Cindy Pihlaja Russell (Gone2long) on Thursday, November 8, 2007 - 12:19 pm:

I'm looking forward to turkey leftovers....hot turkey sandwich, turkey ala king on buttered toast, leftover stuffing and cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes...my mouth is watering. I like your tradition of telling something for which you are thankful. Good idea!! I think I want to start a tradition of playing Trivial Pursuit on the day after Thanksgiving.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Thursday, November 8, 2007 - 12:39 pm:

kathiscc, that sounds like a fun time picking out the tree, having hot chocolate, etc. I bet you can't wait.

By maija in Commerce Township (Maija) on Thursday, November 8, 2007 - 01:00 pm:

Drawing names is an excellent way to go. My extended family has done that for years, including the children. But one additional nice thing is that everyone has a stocking. Everyone tries to put a little something (inexpensive) in every stocking. As the family has grown, this has become a great challenge, but great fun also. People have come up with GREAT ideas. I think most of us like those stockings best.

By s. dearing (Geebeed) on Thursday, November 8, 2007 - 02:38 pm:

At Christmas, when our son was small, we started giving him ten dollars so he could get whatever he wanted (with our approval). He would like to shake the packages and guess which one had the ten dollars in it. Each year, we tried to think of different ways to give him the ten dollars.....one year the money was tied to a brick...one year we taped ten dollars in quarters to a big piece of cardboard and wrapped it......one year was the small box wrapped in several boxes, etc.

Even though he's married now and has a family of his own, we still give him the $10 and try to come up with a new way to give it to him. We have never given him ten dollars in pennies, but we keep threatening to...maybe this will be the year?

By Snowman (Snowman) on Thursday, November 8, 2007 - 02:45 pm:

One Christmas Eve the kids were bored and anxiously awaiting Christmas Day, so I told them to write down the words to their favorite Christmas Carols. Here's what they came up with:

Deck the Halls with Buddy Holly

We three kings of porridge and tar

On the first day of Christmas my tulip gave to me

Later on we'll perspire, as we dream by the fire.

He's makin a list, chicken and rice.

With the jelly toast proclaim

Olive, the other reindeer. (all of the other reindeer)

Sleep in heavenly peas

In the meadow we can build a snowman, Then pretend that he is sparse and brown

You'll go down in listerine

Oh, what fun it is to ride with one horse, soap and hay

O come, froggy faithful

By Janie T. (Bobbysgirl) on Thursday, November 8, 2007 - 05:43 pm:

I remember one Christmas when I was a kid, somehow my crafty grandpa made tracks in the snow, this is when Iowa used to get snow,ha!, that resembled reindeer tracks and sleigh tracks all around the yard on Christmas Eve nite while we were sleeping and rattled jingle bells under my little sister and I bedroom window. My sister and I jumped out of bed knowing we had just heard Santa at out house. We were so thrilled especially me, as that year I had not been the ideal kid at times! After that Christmas we learned that Grandpa Johnson did that despite he was terminally ill with cancer. His death was so hard to take. But he lives on with that wonderful Christmas memory he left me that I cherish so!

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Thursday, November 8, 2007 - 06:54 pm:

Oh maija that is a great idea with the stockings. My son is 21 and has a HUGE stocking, and I still try to fill it. I keep telling him to enjoy it because as soon as he's out of college, that's finished. But I really like that idea and will spread the word in our family. Thank you.

One year as our younger boys were starting to not believe in Ssnta, we decided to do something that would assure that they believe a little while longer. We were over at my in-laws on Christmas Eve. We got somebody to keep the boys busy for about an hour and we snuck home and put everything under the tree. Then when we got home, Santa had already been there. They were sooo excited, and didn't doubt the existence of Santa for a while longer. I just love Christmas and thank you, Cindy, for coming up with this topic.

By Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Thursday, November 8, 2007 - 08:23 pm:

Deb, your story here reminded me about the year that our boys were in the same predicament, they were doubting Santa's existence. So we arranged with our neighbor to come over to our house early in the morning (it ended up being around 5:30 a.m.). We had some Christmas gifts out in the car, so he could grab them on his way into the house. He opened the door and shouted, "Ho, HO, HO, Merry Christmas", put the presents under the tree and left again. He had walked down the driveway, so there wouldn't be any car tracks and without a chimney that Santa could come down, we didn't have to explain why Santa came in the door instead. Anyway, when the boys finally woke up later, they said something about having heard someone, but weren't sure. We showed them the tracks in the driveway and our neighbor's flashlight he had forgotten on the porch. They were convinced it must have really been Santa, since we didn't own a flashlight like that! They still talk about this as young men now.

By Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Thursday, November 8, 2007 - 08:31 pm:

One more fun memory: When our youngest son was in third grade and our oldest was in fourth grade, the younger one still believed but the oldest "knew" the truth. One day after school, the youngest came running in the house crying, ran to his room and threw himself on his bed, sobbing. I went in to see what was wrong and he said, "Greg told me that you and Dad are Santa." He was quite distraught and I didn't want to out and out lie to him, so I asked him if he wanted to know the truth. He said he did, so I told him, "Yes, Dad and I are Santa." He started crying harder and said, "You've wasted all that money buying presents, all these years." I tried to stiffle a chuckle while telling him, "Oh, honey, even if you hadn't believed in Santa, we'd have still bought you all the things you received when you were younger." How those little minds think, he was worried that we had spent money we didn't need to, just because he believed there was a Santa. :->
Afterward, I asked our oldest, why on earth had he told his brother that we were Santa. He said, "Mom, the other kids were laughing at him, because he was in third grade and still believed."

By maija in Commerce Township (Maija) on Friday, November 9, 2007 - 08:49 am:

geebeed has a great idea. One year in the family exchange where we draw names, I drew Jim, who was a teenager at the time. I knew all he wanted was money, so I thought and thought about how to do this creatively.

So I gave him sox! Yes, white men's tube sox. Into some were stuffed bills. Of course, I couldn't resist watching him open the present. The most wonderful 'huh? ok I like it' look on his face. Then he searched and searched, but I must have done a great job, because he found no $$. So I quietly said to his sister, "tell him to keep looking." Very happy ending!

By Vicky P (Vickyp) on Sunday, November 11, 2007 - 08:06 am:

There were five kids in my family; my sister and I shared a bedroom and my three brothers shared a room. Whoever woke first on Christmas morning would wake the others in their bedroom and then go to the other siblings and wake them. Then we would all quietly sneak into mom and dad's bedroom and stand by the bed singing Christmas carols (usually Silent Night) to wake them. When they got up, we would all go in the living room and the kids had to wait by the tree until mom put on the coffee for her and dad - only when all were finally around the tree could we start opening gifts.

My dad has been gone for almost five years, but around the holidays I still often think of Christmas mornings as a child.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Sunday, November 11, 2007 - 09:49 am:

We also made sure to wake up our parents before we went to the Christmas tree. We didn't sing carols to them, we just told them that Santa came. Then we would put Christmas music on and sing while we were opening our gifts. And as my boys were growing up, I made sure they did the same thing. I told them that I didn't care how early it was, just come and get me. We can always take a nap. We always checked that Santa ate his cookies and drank his milk. When we were kids, we sometimes gave him pork pie. (Guess who liked pork pie, yup, dad.) Remembering all of these good times has been wonderful.

Then of course there was midnight mass. At our church we always had a procession with the story of Christmas acted out by the children. How we looked forward to that. All of the beautfiul Christmas carols we sang at mass was wonderful. Things have changed. We used to sing them the whole month of December and now it's usually only a couple of times. So you see, Christmas to me wasn't all about receiving presents. We really didn't get that many. Christmas to me was the special feeling you got knowing that you were celebrating the birth of Christ and the going to mass and singing Christmas carols. Going around to the shut-ins and singing for them. It was always the most wonderful time of the year. A time that made you feel special inside. A time for spreading good cheer. It is still that way for me though I agree that it's become too commercialized. I would be just as happy doing things the way we did it when I was a kid. I say bring those days back.

By Cindy Pihlaja Russell (Gone2long) on Monday, November 26, 2007 - 10:39 am:

So what fun holiday things did you do this past week...besides eat?

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