Holiday Traditions Old & New
The holiday season is upon us! The great thing about this time of year is that regardless of how you choose to observe the holiday season, it gives families the opportunity to spend valuable time with one another, show appreciation, and give thanks. Part of what makes the holiday season so magical are family traditions. They provide families with lifelong memories to cherish and pass down from generation to generation.
When it comes to holiday traditions, they are unique across families. Some are simple, others more complex. From playing games, preparing foods, volunteering and so forth, each family is different. We recently asked the staff here at TECALEMIT to share their favorite and most memorable holiday traditions. Here’s what they said…
Each year my family gathers at my cousin’s house. We open all gifts at midnight Christmas Day, starting with the youngest member of the family and ending with the oldest.
Each year at Thanksgiving, my family will do a raffle to determine who will host Christmas at their house. Everyone gets together on Christmas Eve to celebrate. Then, we all stay Christmas Eve night together at the same house, that way everyone is together on Christmas morning.
My family plays “White Elephant” as a holiday tradition. Also, each year we’ll hide a pickle in the Christmas tree and have all the kids try to find it. The first to find the pickle gets $200.00!
A tradition my family does each year is we all dress up in matching Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve night. It makes for cute family pictures on Christmas morning.
Each year on Christmas Eve, my family and I will attend church service. After the service, we open our stockings with the entire church. We cook and bake a lot, too.
At Thanksgiving my family and I will draw names for “Secret Santa.” We open gifts and find out who our Secret Santa is on Christmas Eve. We also celebrate by having everyone together for Christmas Eve dinner.
We set up and decorate our Christmas tree as a family each year on the day after Thanksgiving. One of my other favorite holiday traditions we do is we take the kids to Hobby Lobby each year and have them pick out a new ornament to add to the tree.
My family cooks tamales each year for the holidays. It’s a tradition of ours. Our other tradition is to open the gifts at midnight on Christmas.
One of our traditions on Christmas Eve night to play the “White Elephant” Christmas gift game. I know it’s pretty typical, but having a range of gift prices from $15-$50 and having over 40 people, it gets pretty intense! Another thing we do is put out “deer food” in the yard with all of the kiddos/cousins. Their Christmas spirit is everything.
Every year, I head back to my hometown to make tamales with my family. The preparation starts the week before with my mom and aunt cooking & seasoning the meat & buying corn husks to soak. I show up on the 23rd and grind up the meat so we can start assembling early morning on Christmas eve. We work all morning and the first few batches (several dozens) are done in time to enjoy for lunch. We spend the rest of the day cooking more tamales, baking polvorones (Mexican sugar cookies) and at night we play Loteria (Mexican bingo) until Midnight when we open gifts. It’s a tradition that’s very special to me because it was a big deal when my grandma Paula was alive. It’s great to have the same tradition with my nieces and nephews.
My wife and I collect Disney ornaments that we’ve bought at Disney parks over the years. We also have a Christmas village that we add different pieces to each year. This year we’re trying something new and might even start a new tradition. My family and I are doing a murder mystery party called, “Ho-Ho-Homicide” where we’re all going to dress up in character and try to solve the mystery.
As a kid, my parents would make “reindeer food” that my brother and I would toss into our front yard so that the reindeer would have snacks during their busy Christmas Eve night. Now that we’re both grown, we don’t quite do that anymore (LOL!). Instead, we continue our other holiday traditions like having a big family Christmas party on Christmas Eve, opening stockings on Christmas Eve night, playing “White Elephant,” decorating cookies, and more. My favorite part of the holidays is just spending quality time with family.
As you can see, we all celebrate a bit differently! We’d love for you to share with us some of your holiday traditions you share with your families. Leave a comment below!
From all of us here at TECALEMIT, we wish you joy and happiness this holiday season and in the coming year!