7 Christmas traditions my family does every year that you can totally steal.

IMG_4675So, I come from a very large family, and my very large family likes to do Christmas LARGE.  Here’s a list of a few of our traditions. feel free to steal or riff on any of them:



We make Lefse

This one comes from my mother’s Norwegian Grama. Lefse, say it with me lef-SUH, is a very thin tortilla like thing made from potatoes, flour, and lard. To eat it, you spread butter and sugar on it, fold it up and gain weight. Making lefse is a process, and a mess, so my mom usually picks a day, and we go to her house and let the kids run wild while we, her daughters, take turns with the different parts of the process. We all end up covered in flour and dough…but mmmm lefse. So if you’re not Norwegian, maybe you just get together and holiday bake your tushies off.


The tree

Something happens to the tree.

The first year my husband, then boyfriend, came to Christmas he got to experience “The Tree!” We were all 15 or so of us just sitting down to Christmas Eve dinner, and….CRASH!!! The 15 ft tree goes crashing to the ground, and the cat comes flying out from underneath it, not to be seen again for several days. His first thought was, “Christmas is canceled.” But, what happened? We all fell into our preordained “battle stations”. Someone grabbed towels to mop up the water, a couple of people looked for broken ornaments, a couple of people checked the presents for damage, and someone put the tree back right side up. My point is, there is usually some kind of “catastrophe” every year…we just try to roll with it.


Georgia’s first Christmas

Every year, everyone gets a new ornament.

This one started when we were very little. We usually try to pick something significant that happened that year and buy or make an ornament that reminds us of that. My mom’s rule is that when you buy a house, or get married, she will give you your ornaments. I have carried on this tradition in my own family, and this ornament is one of my favorites. It’s from my daughter’s first Christmas, and she looked just like this.

Scaring my dad

Scaring my dad

My brother and husband become a circus act.

The main room in my parents house has really, really high ceilings.  So, they always get a really tall tree. Somewhere along the way, it was determined that there was no need for a step ladder, my husband and brother would just do this to get the angel on top. So every year they do, and every year my mom just leaves the room, and my dad spots them. Because he’s going to catch? my brother or something? I’m not sure, but it’s fun and the kids get a big kick out of it.

Christmas Eve dinner

Christmas Eve dinner

Christmas Eve dinner is different every year.

We all get together on Christmas Eve to celebrate Christmas. Each year, we take turns picking a theme for dinner. Everyone pitches in and makes a dish. Past themes have included :Find Out What They Ate in The Christmas Carol (it was pretty gross), Mexican, Polish, Italian, Chinese, Pizza, Ham and Potatoes,Empty Calories, and Your Favorite Childhood Food. Dinner is usually heavy on starches and sweets….I can’t say anyone has ever picked “Salad” as a theme…you’d probably be fired from the family.  This picture was taken the year we had Christmas in a half renovated kitchen/dining room.

Hey, Santa!

Hey, Santa!

Christmas Eve Fireworks.

No, really. At the end of the night, we all bundle up and my dad and husband blow up a bunch of fireworks. This all started one year when we were traveling to Christmas, and happened upon a fireworks store that was open! My dad is a licensed pyrotech, so we get the good Forth of July fireworks every year. We explain to the kids that it’s so Santa knows where to find us. I’m not gonna lie, it’s pretty cool

He was here

He was here

Santa leaves Candy Canes

When Santa comes on Christmas Eve, he decorates the tree with candy canes, leaves presents under the tree, and fills all the stockings. He’s pretty great. At my house, he leaves the fruity ones because no one likes the peppermint ones…for eating anyway.

So there you go. A few of our traditions. Here’s wishing a happy Christmas, Chanukah, Kwaanza, Festivus, or whatever you like. I gotta go…I got stuff to do!

Listening to : and endless loop of Christmas songs until my ears bleed.

Drinking : Oh.Dear.Lort….Salted Caramel White Russians

This post is dedicated to Hope The Cat, the haggard guardian of our front porch. She showed up on Christmas Eve, very old, and looking like she wouldn’t make it until New Year’s, and stayed for 14 Christmases…looking like she wouldn’t make it until New Year’s. 


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