OT - Getting to know you QOTW 12/2

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Alissa_Sal's picture
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OT - Getting to know you QOTW 12/2

Now the the Holiday Season is really upon us in full swing - what holidays do your family celebrate this time of year? What are some of your family traditions surrounding the holidays?

culturedmom's picture
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ELF ON THE SHELF!!!!!!

Just kidding, we celebrate Hannukah and Christmas (though not too much weight is put on the Santa thing). However I am thinking of coming up with something different because doing 8 days of presents AND Christmas is just too much. Icould use some suggestions.

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Christmas eve, Christmas & Three Kings day

I try to do it all Smile

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Haha, we do Christmas, Chanukah, AND Solstice. So I feel you. Having said that, we have decided that it is wayyy too much to do everything at our houses. Left to our own devices, we would just do Solstice. So for Solstice, I keep it fairly low key. I decorate our house with a sort of "winter" theme also focusing on some candles (although, how lame is this - I have to do fake candles because real candles set off DH's athsma! So I have to buy those fake battery powered "candles" that light up. LOL!) I try to cook a nice meal that day, and we give T 3 presents. Personally, I try to take a few moments to reflect on the idea of life getting darkest before it starts to get lighter. I'll probably talk to T about that more when he's older.

We do Christmas at my parents' house. T and I helped them put up and decorate their tree, and I will let my parents take T to see Santa at the mall, although frankly I would ust as soon not have to go with him because standing in line in a crowded mall during the holidays is my personal idea of hell. On Christmas Eve, we usually go out to eat somewhere nice as a family, and then on Christmas we go to my parents' house to open presents an hang out. Every year we make homemade enchiladas and spanish rice for Christmas dinner. I always ask my parents to go easy on the toys and candy, and they always ignore me.

For Chanukah, we go over to DH's parents' house, although we don't typically go all 8 days. Usually more like 3 or 4. They give T one or two very small presents each day (example, one present last year was a dinosaur hologram bookmark. Not that he uses bookmarks, but he liked the dinosaur.) That's just fine with me. We light the menorahs (we all have our own menorah - mine is shaped like an elephant!) and make home made jelly doughnuts, and chili and latkes. Chanukah is one of my favorite of the Jewish holidays, just because it is the most laid back (at least in my DH's family.) Plus, home made jelly doughnuts - yes please!

We probably won't do anything for New Years. We typically just stay home and watch the ball drop. Nothing too exciting. By that time, after Solstice, Christmas, Chanukah, and all of the parties leading up to it, I am all partied/holiday-ed out.

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We celebrate the Winter Solstice. We're Taoist, we're all about embracing the cycles of life & respecting nature & finding balance, and the Winter Solstice really fits in with those beliefs. We have a modest artificial tree (allergies!) but we also decorate with real pine & cedar boughes to get a bit of the seasonal aroma but we can control our exposure easier with them, spread them out more, put some away if we need to, etc. We feast with friends, and we do some rituals related to keeping the Earth from winding down (drum circle on the beach, rising bread) bringing back the light (turning off all lights, then lighting one candle, then lighting many candles) and the renewal of life (cooking with eggs, planting bulbs to bloom in spring).

Last year we did this: http://www.weekendsherpa.com/stories/muir-woods-winter-solstice-celebration/
We might do it again this year if the weather is decent. Not sure I'd want to walk in the woods in the dark in pouring rain, but last year's occasional light drizzle wasn't bad.

Santa comes to our house on the night before Solstice, and he only fills the stockings. Blum 3

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"culturedmom" wrote:

However I am thinking of coming up with something different because doing 8 days of presents AND Christmas is just too much. Icould use some suggestions.

What about only giving tangible gifts on the first & last nights of Hannukah, and not the nights in between? Another idea, on the other nights, is "doing" gifts, like everyone gives one another a backrub, or the whole family stops for ice cream on the way home from school, or the gift is a board game that the family plays after opening it, with the focus on togetherness rather than stuff.

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We just do Christmas. We usually have a couple of turkey dinners with family and go to church on Christmas Eve (I'm working this year though).

Our family celebrates Advent in the 5 weeks leading up the Christmas. My kids made a wreath and are taking turned with the readings/scriptures/lighting of the candles/etc. We are making a concerted effort to make Christmas about Christ's birth and showing love, kindness, giving, sharing, and all those good things.

Last year we decided to opt out of the materialist/commercial/"stuff" side of Christmas and stopped participating in gift exchanges. We just do stockings for the kids and as a family purchase gifts (like chickens, cows, medications) for less fortunate people with the money we aren't spending on gifts. The kids love sitting down with our Compassion Catalogue and deciding what to buy Smile

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We do Christmas. We decorate a Christmas tree and put lights up. This year we are going to be seeing family for Christmas so we will have our own little celebration before we leave.

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We celebrate Sinterklaas (eve of 12/5) where the children put out their shoes before going to bed at night and waking up to find a gift from Sinterklaas on St Nicholas Day. We also celebrate Christmas Eve, Christmas, Boxing Day, & the twelfth day of Christmas (Feast of the Epiphany). Only after that will our tree be put away.

ETA: I totally missed the question about traditions. We traditionally put the tree up the weekend after T-day. We put a nail and hide it on the bottom branch in back of the tree as a reminder. We also put a special ornament in remembrance of our loved ones lost. For Sinterklaas, they each get a special ornament put into their shoe that is unique to them to put on the tree. When they move out and put up their own tree, they can take their ornaments with. So far, they've elected to keep them on our tree.

Throughout the month, we reflect with Advent. On Christmas Eve, we attend mass and afterwards it's now been a new tradition to go to our house and everyone has hors d'oeuvres I've created and others volunteer to bring (it used to be Xmas at Gmas with all members there having a huge meal and hors d'oeuvres, reading of the Night B4 Xmas, gift exchange, and night of games B4 attending midnight mass) and then have game night until everyone is exhausted. Christmas Day, we go to my parent's at about 11 a.m. or noon and have a very elaborate meal (emphasis on swedish and german/prussian dishes) with everyone and then (with eggnog) exchange gifts. I prefer our old tradition in being with everyone since that's all I've ever known until my gma passed. Since then, the kids divided in celebrating the season with their own adult kids and grandchildren.

Boxing day is more of a day of relaxing, eating leftovers, and playing games with hot cocoa in hand. It has also been a time to catch up with DH's side of the family at greater lengths. On the twelfth day of Christmas, we have a large feast (usually turkey) with my parents, to mark the end the festivities and reflect.

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We celebrate Christmas. The girls get a new Christmas dress every year and have pics done (a tradition that if I didn't carry on my Mom would kill me). We also take them to see Santa for the annual photo op. We take one night to ride around and look at lights, rocking out to Christmas music with the girls in their PJs. Always do the local Christmas parade, which this year both of my girls were in. Also visit a local church that has a huge display of lights, various characters, and a walk-through Bethlehem experience with live animals. Can't forget our church's Christmas program, my Stepdad's family's Christmas party, and various other family get togethers. Christmas is exhausting, lol.

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We celebrate Christmas, though we also decorate a solstice tree outside for the creatures. Christmas celebrations started tonight, though it was different this year as my husband is at school. Normally we all attend the local "old fashioned christmas" parade/celebration that our town hosts...but this year friends took my big kids to it while I stayed home so that the baby could sleep and I could clean in anticipation of a party that we are hosting this weekend. We adopt a family, so the kids love to help me shop for that, and we do some Angel Tree thing at their school, so they earn the money that they then use to purchase a gift for a child and then bring it to their school.

We generally choose and decorate our tree tomorrow, but DH is in school, so this year will be different. We have an extended family party where we roast an entire pig (my extended family on Dad's side is large), and a 7 fish dinner with my immediate family of Parents and Sibs and kids. My parents started a new tradition last year of taking our kids (the bigs) for an overnight with their cousin and they take a Santa Train ride and decorate gingerbread houses. The night before Christmas eve we make hot chocolate for the kids and take a drive around to look at the christmas lights. We do a day in the city where we take the train to town, watch the light show and eat lunch at this crazy chocolate themed restaurant. Attend a Christmas eve concert night, then go to my sisters where we exchange family gifts, then we host Christmas morning and celebrate Christmas dinner at my BIL/Sil's. Boxing day is always at my best friends house, where they throw a party and raise food for a local food bank. Traditionally we host friends at the beach for NYE and the men do a polar bear plunge on NYD, but this year we are hosting it at our house as we have way too many little kids in the picture. Love Christmas.

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We celebrate Solstice and Christmas. At Solstice we always have a fire of some kind - anything from a beach fire to a small charcoal bbq fire in the backyard. Christmas is a bit of mayhem as we have to be in many places throughout the holiday. We spend Chrismas eve with my family and do a Ukrainian dinner. We haven't done the full 12 course meal in a long time and at this point do a big perogy and cabbage roll dinner. Yum! That is my favorite part of Christmas. We open presents then too. We do Christmas morning and dinner with DH's family. They have a tradition of the Santa Present which is one larger toy that is under a sheet fully assembled and ready to go. They have to eat at least 3 bites of breakfast before they can touch it, but then they can have something to play with right away. And the big people get to have coffee and wake up a little.

Added to this we have 4 family and 2 friend birthdays in a month. By the end of it all I am done. This weekend starts it with DD's early kid birthday party and it doesn't end until BIL's birthday in early January. I will have a birthday or holiday event every single weekend and sometimes multiple events.

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"culturedmom" wrote:

ELF ON THE SHELF!!!!!!

Just kidding, we celebrate Hannukah and Christmas (though not too much weight is put on the Santa thing). However I am thinking of coming up with something different because doing 8 days of presents AND Christmas is just too much. Icould use some suggestions.

You could have some of the gifts be handmade items. Like the kids making really nice artwork, or a batch of cookies to be eaten on the night, or writing a poem.

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Fuchsia - I love cabbage rolls too. We just had unstuffed cabbage (basically all of the same ingredients, but not rolled up) for dinner on Thurs. YUM!!!

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We light the menorah for Hannukah, although it's really just to keep up SOMETHING on the Jewish side. I don't say prayers or anything as I am an atheist, but I like the tradition and it's the menorah we had in our house growing up.

Christmas is the big holiday at our house. (It was for us growing up too, and we were all Jewish!) We usually get a tree about a week or two before Christmas and decorate it, and Dave & I put the kids' presents there the night before, after they go to bed. We do their stockings too, and the whole plate of cookies for Santa thing....Dave had that growing up as a kid and loved it and wants to keep it going. He has a great perspective on it all.

We like to host on Christmas. We have a fun breakfast with the kids and they open their presents from us and from Santa, and then we get ready for whoever is joining us....family, friends, stragglers, etc. We do a big bagel brunch.

Also I spend 2 straight days baking treats for Christmas Day, my sister (who's 18) comes by to help for at least one of them. We do cookies, loaves (pumpkin, gingerbread, etc.), and anything else we can think of.

People come over and we eat and exchange gifts and hang out for most f the afternoon. By evening it's usually just us again and quiet, a nice sweet way to wrap up the day.

I love Christmas although I am always behind on shopping.

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We just do Christmas but we do is Christmas Eve. In both of our divorce agreements we have Christmas Eve with our older kids and they go to our ex's on Christmas Day.

This has actually worked out beautifully for us.

Our biggest stressers come from my family and their ridiculous fiascos in planning and my MIL who can't seem to keep her nasty mouth and bad attitude in check.

Other than that it's great!

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

Fuchsia - I love cabbage rolls too. We just had unstuffed cabbage (basically all of the same ingredients, but not rolled up) for dinner on Thurs. YUM!!!

I make it that way all the time! SOmetimes I just don't have the patience (or time) to stuff. PS freezes unexpectantly well too

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Hannukah and Christmas (Boxing Day... a bit)-
We are not Jewish, but as Christians, we believe we follow the same God of Isreal that cared for his people in the Old Testement. So we celebrate some of the Jewish Holidays as a family. For Hannukah we light the Menorah and say blessings, the kids love the driedal games and gold chocolate coins.. this year we are going to borrow my neighbors' fryer and I am going to try my hand at donuts ;).

For Christmas,
Leading up to Christmas we do different things, since we homeschool we have focused on different traditions, advent, the Jesse Tree and more, and we learn a bit more about our beliefs and celebrations, we make gifts, and goodies for neighbors and friends, send cards etc. we get the tree a few weeks before Christmas. Always live here, we live in the Pacific Northwest.. and are rural so a live tree is easy actually. We put it up together and the kids then help me decorate it, we have given them and each other ornaments every year so it is a mismatch of wonderful memories. Probably not going to service this year as Christmas falls on a Sunday, so spending it with family instead. We open stockings first then grab a bite to eat Christmas morning then let the kids and us open the rest. One thing we love doing is letting the kids buy us each gifts and wrap them etc. And Christmas eve they each get to open ONE present.
We set out or decor like the nativity scene about the same time we get out the tree decor, we don't decorate the outside of the house since we are so rural. I also love the day because it was the day I was baptised so I privately celebrate that ;).

For Boxing Day I have the kids go through all their stuff and I go through all mine and we literally BOX it up and donate it to the needy, either Goodwill, or friends and family that need something we have. Many a year my boys have not opened the presents (plastic wraping) deciding instead to give it to a "little boy or girl that doesn't have presents". I make them a nice breakfast with hotcocoa and we head out to deliver and clean out our home. I love being able to give on Boxing day because usually I have money or giftcards and can really help out others a bit more than any other time of the year.

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We just do Christmas. My Dad has wanted me to take DS to the Sinter Klass celebration the past two years as his wife is Dutch, but last year was DS's baptism that day and this year we were going but they changed the time and we had already commited to something else at the same time.

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"Rivergallery" wrote:

For Boxing Day I have the kids go through all their stuff and I go through all mine and we literally BOX it up and donate it to the needy, either Goodwill, or friends and family that need something we have.

We do that as part of our Thanksgiving weekend activities. As part of being thankful for the things we have, we let go of the things that don't mean enough to us to want to keep, and give them to other people who *will* be thankful for them. And of course Tiven now understand that it makes room for new things to love Blum 3 but we don't emphasize that part.