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Thoughts For Thursday: Pre-Holiday Traditions

December 23, 2010 · 102 comments

in Life, Thoughts For Thursday

I love the holidays.  I love Christmas music, Christmas displays, Christmas shopping, you name it.  It is amazing when you think of how much time you spend preparing for Christmas, and then it is over before you know it.  Whereas I love Christmas Day itself, I also enjoy many of the things our family does before Christmas Day.

My favorite light display. Can you imagine the time this took?

My favorite Pre-Christmas-Tradition usually takes place a few nights before Christmas.  (We have no set day in mind, we pick a night where the weather is decent and the roads are not slippery.)

Usually, the first part of our night is spent watching Christmas specials on TV.  I have several Christmas DVDs, although I cannot find the Heat Meiser anywhere.  (I never remember the name of the movie, just Heat Meiser.)  I never tire of these shows, probably because I only watch them once a year. Even the teens in my house still enjoy them, or at least they say they do.

Once we are done with the TV, we hop in the car, get some hot chocolate, and drive around to look at Christmas lights.  I am amazed at how Christmas lights have changed over the years.  When I was a kid, people might put a string of lights around a couple windows and along the roof line.  Now, some people wrap the trunk of trees along with some of the bigger branches and it is beautiful.  Of course there are also giant snow globes, inflated Santas and more, but I don’t enjoy the inflatable displays nearly as much as just the lights.

This tradition is really so simple, but it is something I enjoy so much.  I think part of it is we are all happy and just have such a nice time talking in the car and looking at the lights.   It is especially great when it is all snowy in the yards and the snow covers some of the lights in the bushes.  I think part of the reason January can seem so depressing is all the decorations and lights are gone, and we are left with gray snow.  So, I make sure I enjoy it while I can.

Do you have any pre-holiday traditions you enjoy?

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

The Grouch December 23, 2010 at 7:25 am

I liked the Christmas season better when it started about a week or two before Christmas day, not a week or two before Thanksgiving, and it wasn’t so commercialized. Our tradition is getting together with family Christmas eve and Christmas day for a little drinking and merriment and to see who in this dysfunctional family gets in a fight with who over something silly. If we are lucky there are no fireworks.


Kris December 23, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Grouch – Do you ever take bets on who gets in the fight? That might be a way to make it even more interesting.

I preferred when ‘Christmas’ started after Thanksgiving myself. The day after is fine, I just don’t like it to be in early November. Soon it will be right after Easter at the pace it is moving up.


Nicole December 23, 2010 at 9:54 am

I don’t remember a time when store Christmas decorations didn’t come out with the Halloween decorations.

We traditionally open on present on Christmas Eve. Other than that, things have been changing up each year depending on which family we see, whether I’m about to give birth, whether someone’s getting married, etc. DH remarked the other day that he’s happy we’re doing Thanksgiving with his family because that means he doesn’t have to watch the USA marathon of A Christmas Story, which is a great movie the first 2 times you watch the show in one day, but gets a wee bit annoying around time 5, and pretty hard to bear staring year 3.


Kris December 23, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Can you believe I have never seen ‘A Christmas Story’? I have heard about how great it is a million times. Because of all the hype, know it will never live up to its expectations and I will end up hating it.

When I was a kid, decorations didn’t come out until after Thanksgiving. Now, it is a week after Halloween, which is a bit soon for me.


Lola December 23, 2010 at 11:50 am

We’ve always had really fantastic Advent/Christmas seasons. Things are tweaked over time now that the kids are adults and live out of town, but we still fit in some good stuff. We light the candles of an Advent wreath through the season during dinner (add a candle for each Sunday of Adent), and this year, with Christmas on a Saturday, we’re enjoying a full week of having all four candles lit. The kids always loved eating at least one meal by the light of the wreath, so we did that last night with the kids who are home. We always celebrated St. Nicholas Day (the good saint comes during the night of Dec. 5 and on the morning of the 6th, there are treats and little presents for everyone), and for the past few years, St. Nick has used the USPS and/or UPS to deliver the goods. We make certain cookies and we make homemade Chex mix.

And every year we’ve traveled a couple of hours to my husband’s family’s Christmas Eve, and usually all his siblings and families make it. When the kids were younger, we would stay overnight and then have Christmas with my family, who live fairly close by. As the kids got older, we would usually drive home on Christmas Eve and then drive back on Christmas Day for my family’s doings(that’s why St. Nick’s Day became a big deal – there were a lot of times we weren’t home on Christmas Day). My dad has been gone a long time and my mom passed away last year, so we’re still transitioning how my sibs and I get together. I have my mom’s Christmas LP’s – she’d buy those Columbia Records “Great Songs of Christmas” albums each year back in the 60’s and then she’d buy wacky stuff from discount racks, garage sales, etc. I have her record player, and I’m trying to listen to a few of the records, but it’s still a little sad for me. One of the LP’s is Gene Autry’s Christmas album with “Rudolph” and “Here Comes Santa Claus” etc. and that’s a pretty happy one, so I’ve finished up my sessions with that one each time!


Kris December 23, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Lola- It is interesting how it can be hard for families to ‘keep in touch’ when a certain family member is no longer around (in your case, your mom). I am really sorry for your loss, and I am sure the holidays will be difficult. Keep on enjoying those records though and find a way to stay connected with your siblings. It is time to create new traditions I suppose.

How fun to have a meal by the light of the advent candles. I have never thought of that.

Happy holidays!


First Gen American December 23, 2010 at 11:58 am

I think one of my favorite weekends is the one where the tree goes up and the decorations get spread across the house. There is a great light show about an hour from me but the last time I did it I was stuck in traffic for an hour with an infant. I want to go back but I now have a negative memory tied to it.

I got my kids advent calendars this year and that’s been fun for them counting down to Christmas. Aside from the multiple stomach bugs, December has been pretty fun for the kids. I’m now cooking/baking up a storm. Bread just came out of the oven and sauce is simmering on the stove. The house smells wonderful and the snow is gently falling outside. It can’t get much better than that.

Happy Holidays.


Kris December 23, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Oh my gosh, your house sounds picture-perfect today.

I have taken so much ‘free time’ lately with the kids that I am behind on the ‘chores’ part of the holiday. That’s ok because everything always comes together one way or another.

Happy holidays!


Moneycone December 23, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Driving around the neighborhood is something we do too! My son is too young to understand Christmas .. but loves the joy ride! 🙂


Kris December 23, 2010 at 1:45 pm

I have gone on several drives this year actually but we had the mega-drive 2 nights ago. We have started a new tradition that has nothing to do with Christmas. When my daughter has a rough basketball game, we grab Starbucks and drive by the subdivision that has the tree in the picture and talk.

You son will understand Christmas before you know. Oh how I miss having little ones around. Enjoy!


Moneycone December 23, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Thanks Kris! Same here – DD instead of starbucks and any excuse to go on joy rides!


Carrie December 23, 2010 at 8:37 pm

We drive around town, Christmas eve, looking at lights. We have certain houses we go back to year after year. Throughout the weeks leading up to Christmas we watch Christmas DVDs over and over.


Kris December 23, 2010 at 10:44 pm

Carrie, I go back to the same houses year after year too. However, this year we did an extra tour and went to a beautiful area in Detroit with huge homes. It was a fun change. One house is 40,000 square feet. I hoped it would be decorated, but it was not…

Happy holidays!


Aloysa December 23, 2010 at 9:31 pm

A week before Christmas we go to see the Chirstmas lights downtown. We have a nice dinner and then walk around. On Christmas Eve we stay home and watch our Christmas movies. Our favorite is Love Actually. We have been watching it for the past six years and we still love it. Happy Holidays, Kris!


Kris December 23, 2010 at 10:45 pm

Aloysa – Sounds like a nice tradition. I love walking around looking at lights. It is the best when it is snowing.

Happy Holidays to you too!


Roshawn @ Watson Inc December 23, 2010 at 9:56 pm

I love Christmas music too, especially around this time of the year, but am not one of those people who starts listening to it in November or earlier. Anyway, I like how you drive around to look at the lights. Perhaps, we may adopt that tradition from your family 🙂


Kris December 23, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Shawn, I have to admit that I even like the early Christmas music somewhat. I think it is because my kids are so happy when it starts, so the happiness is infectious. Without them in the house though, I probably would never listen to it until well after Thanksgiving.

Happy Holidays!


Lindy Mint December 24, 2010 at 11:05 am

We just did the Christmas light tour last night – hot chocolate and all. It’s a great way to get out of the house and see other neighborhoods that I don’t normally go to. The light displays are probably my favorite thing about the holidays. It’s a wonder I don’t get in a million traffic accidents every year because I’m looking more at the houses than the street.


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