Favorite, and Unusual, Holiday Traditions – Share Yours and Win!

Decorating Christmas trees, leaving milk and cookies out for Santa, sipping eggnog by the fire…so many wonderful and memorable holiday traditions.

But how about those unusual holiday traditions? Or those traditions that are uniquely yours?

Our Care2 team shared their favorite holiday traditions – from ‘elf-on-a-shelf’ to holiday choir performances, a pickle on the tree to oysters in the stocking on Xmas morning…and many more.

Read on for some of our favorite holiday traditions, and then share yours! (We’ll be sending a Care2 tote bag and Care2 hat to three lucky commenters!)

Next page: Pickles in the tree, oysters in stockings…

My family follows a German tradition where my mom hides a green pickle ornament somewhere within our Christmas tree. Whoever in my family is lucky enough to find it turns it into my mom and gets an extra present.

Also my father and I make up our own lyrics to a traditional Christmas song or poem like “Twas the night before Christmas” and send it with our Christmas card. - Megan

This one is so strange and – as most traditions go – I have know idea how or why it started. Every Christmas I find a can of smoked oysters at the very bottom of my stocking. So for many years, Christmas eating has started with a smoked oyster snack. Yum!  - Jocelyn

Next page: Lighting up the night, cathedral choirs, elf-on-a-shelf…

Filling brown sandwich bags with sand and candles and lighting luminaries lining the rooftop and sidewalks in New Mexico on Christmas Eve. Then walking through the neighborhood glowing with the mini lanterns.
Also, playing charades in front of the fireplace. – Laurie

My holiday tradition: I always try to attend at least one choir performance during the holiday season. I love hearing music sung in a cathedral — the rich tones just vibrate through the building and everyone in it. It always puts me in the holiday spirit! - Natasha

Elf on the Shelf: You put a little elf on a shelf or door mantel, so the kids will see it and then tell them it’s visiting from the North Pole, and goes back up each night to report to Santa on whether they’ve been good or naughty.

Each morning, the elf shows up somewhere else in the house where the kids can’t reach it. My kids love this, coming down every morning to try to find where the elf showed up – totally in awe that he magically appears in a new place each morning. – Randy

Next page: Homemade Christmas Candles

When I was a kid, my family would make candles for Christmas. We’d fill the stovetop with pots of boiling water, and sink a big coffee can of wax chunks inside. We’d color the wax with the stumps of old crayons or old candles (and then pull out the bits of leftover wick once the wax had melted).

We’d carry the cans of hot wax into the basement, wearing big oven mitts that had been splashed with wax so much they were completely stiff.

Downstairs we would have arranged candle forms of Santa and Frosty the Snowman, half-buried head down into a big box of sand to hold the forms in place. We’d fill the forms, and top them off as the wax cooled and contracted.

After the wax had set, we would peel off the form to reveal the candle inside. My dad would trim the edges and base, and we’d paint the features — Frosty’s scarf, Santa’s hat and coat. We gave these as gifts to grade-school teachers for years. - Matt

Please share your favorite holiday traditions! (We’ll be sending a Care2 tote bag and a Care2 hat to three lucky commenters!)

89 comments

Petalia G.
Petalia Green3 years ago

We always have Advent, lighting the candle/s and singing hymns or carols, plus the special Christmas Biscuits baked only at this time of year, passed down through the family recipes. My husband's family open their presents on Boxing Day, we did ours on Christmas Eve, when the tree is revealed in all its glory. A custom we have added is to make a charitable donation on each of the Advent weekends. There are so many collections at this time of year it is very easy to do, and reminds one to give rather than get.

Dave C.
David C.3 years ago

thanks......in our extended family, grandma wants all the grandkids to have matching pajamas on christmas eve.....

a             y m.
g d c.4 years ago

ty

KS Goh
KS Goh4 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Howard C.
.4 years ago

When I was a child we used to go to the Christmas Tree farm in September to choose our tree, we would tie a tag on it and then in December we'd go and dig it up. My father would set the tree in a large pot filled with soil in the living room - then we would all decorate it - the christmas lights, put away so carefully the year before, never worked properly and my father would work on them for ages, they always worked in the end. As it got closer to Christmas other exciting things would appear, oranges (we only had them at Christmas), nuts and a box of dates (no one liked them but we always had a box). On Christmas morning my father would get up really early and light a big fire in the living room, the rest of the house was pretty cold but the living room was really warm, smelled of Christmas tree and there were loads of presents for everyone. Great memories.

CAROL H.
CAROL H.5 years ago

SO COOL THANKS

Andrea Connelly
Andrea Connelly5 years ago

I am from Hungary originally and left when about 15 years old. We would only decorate the trees the day before Christmas Eve on the 23rd. We had real lighted candles (a fire hazard no doubt, but they smelled heavenly). The piece de resistance of decorating was the EDIBLES! Gaily wrapped miniature chocolate figurines, white, pink and blue meringues with a hole in the middle that you could attach a ribbon to, and another piece the resistance, the SZALONCUKOR!. This is a candy that is sold in Christmas wrapping of all designs, or just in plain gold or silver paper, with little white paper frills at each end. There were also home baked cookies various shapes that you cold thread a colorful string through to attach it to the branches.
Once traditional songs were sung, the sparklers and candles blown out and the gifts opened and thank you"s said, the tree could be "attacked" for sweet satisfying, magical nourishment.
Oh, to be a child again!!!

Andrea Connelly
Andrea Connelly5 years ago

I am from Hungary originally and left when about 15 years old. We would only decorate the trees the day before Christmas Eve on the 23rd. We had real lighted candles (a fire hazard no doubt, but they smelled heavenly). The piece de resistance of decorating was the EDIBLES! Gaily wrapped miniature chocolate figurines, white, pink and blue meringues with a hole in the middle that you could attach a ribbon to, and another piece the resistance, the SZALONCUKOR!. This is a candy that is sold in Christmas wrapping of all designs, or just in plain gold or silver paper, with little white paper frills at each end. There were also home baked cookies various shapes that you cold thread a colorful string through to attach it to the branches.
Once traditional songs were sung, the sparklers and candles blown out and the gifts opened and thank you"s said, the tree could be "attacked" for sweet satisfying, magical nourishment.
Oh, to be a child again!!!

Liz Edwards
Joan Edwards5 years ago

When I was growing up in the 1950's we had plum pudding with vanilla hard sauce for dessert on Christmas. My dad always got a can of it from the railway he worked for. I never liked it, preferring Mom's Trifle.
Years later I find that traditions are hard to break. After several years of agonizing about what to do about dessert I made a carrot pudding. Same idea but different ingredients. Turns out my kids love it! Now they expect it from me every year. No matter where we have our Christmas dinner the pudding had better be on the menu. With the hard sauce!!

Kamryn M.
Kay M.5 years ago

thanks for the fun ideas