Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday Traditions

I know that festive decorations and inspiring music are a big part of the {Christmas} holiday, but there is one other thing that ranks right up there too...traditions {cue The Fiddler on the Roof music now}.

Last night as the fam and I were participating in one of our annual Christmas activities,{stained glass Lifesaver ornaments}, it got me thinking about holiday traditions.

Here are a few of my fam's.

1- New Christmas P.J.'s the night before the big day.

2- {Schaum Torte}...going back to my Germanic roots. This is a new tradition, we just started last year. If you've never had it before, it is a meringue crusted dessert filled with berries and cream. Are you salivating yet?...cause I am. Admittedly, I have a slight love affair with food. Every holiday must have a food attached to it: Halloween= chile and homemade donuts, Valentine's= fondue etc.

3- Watching Elf, A Christmas Story {you've no idea how badly I would love to get stud muffin one of those skanky leg lamps...it would be perfect for his birthday on the 19th} and The Family Stone {this show is more for me...it totally gets me ready for the holiday. It's funny and sentimental and reminds me how important family [and loved ones] are during the holidays.}

4- Stained glass Lifesaver ornaments. It's my kiddies favorite. Here's the how to if you want to try it with your little ones.

Items needed:

*Lifesavers {assorted colors}
*String/Floss {something for hanging the ornaments}
*Straws {for making holes in the ornaments}
*Aluminum Foil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and then while it's heating, pass out a small piece {4 inch x 4 inch is adequate} of foil to each child, along with an assortment of candies. Have the kids arrange the lifesavers on the foil, creating a design of their choosing. Transfer foil and candies onto a cookie sheet and place in heated oven for 8 minutes. Once all of the candies have melted remove the cookie sheet from the oven and allow to cool. After appoximately 3-4 minutes, punch holes into ornaments using a straw. If the candy is still too hot, wait a minute then try again. Then, allow ornaments to cool completely. Once hardened, remove ornament from the foil and attach string. Voila...homemade stained glass ornaments. Not only are they pretty, but also tasty.

5- Peppermint Bark Hot Cocoa Stir-ers. We are a hot cocoa people. It isn't unusal to find me or one of the little dears sipping a hot, steaming cup in July. We drink it whenever...doesn't matter if it's 105 degrees outside. But, at Christmas, we amp it up a bit by giving it a festive spin...peppermint. The kiddies and I came up with the idea of plastic spoons dipped in peppermint bark. It's super cheap, super simple and super delish. And, they make awesome gifts for teachers and neighbors too. Throw a couple into a cellophane bag along with some hot cocoa mix and BOO-YA...you have yourself a delicious and festive gift for practically nothing.

Here are the {deets}...should you decide to make some

*12 oz. bag of white chocolate morsels
*8-10 candy canes {more if you want it super pepperminty, or less if you don't}
*plastic spoons

Start by crushing up the candy canes. Unwrap candy canes and place in a gallon size bag. Seal bag, then beat the living daylights out of it. We tend to use whatever's nearby...plastic lightsaber or heavy duty action figure, but you could also use a rolling pin or heavy bottom glass {just don't let the kiddies crush if you're using something that could shatter or break...oh, and be careful}. Set the candy canes aside and begin melting chocolate. You can either do so on a double boiler or in the microwave {melt 6 oz. or half the bag in 30 second increments, stirring between each. Once completely melted, stir in remaining 6 oz. of morsels and mix until melted.} Pour crushed candy canes into chocolate and mix again. Finally, dip spoons into chocolate mixture leaving a generous amount of mixture on the spoon. Set onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. You will get approximately 20-24 spoons out of the mixture depending on how full you fill the spoons. Place cookie sheet in refrigerator til cool. Once hardened they are ready to use. Whip up your favorite batch of hot cocoa and use one of these baby's to stir some festiveness into it.

Those are just a few of our favorite traditions.
And, here are a few other holiday traditions you might consider if you're looking for something new to try this holiday season.

1- Elf dinner. Watch the movie Elf, then for dinner afterwards, have a delightful and healthy meal of spaghetti noodles topped with maple syrup, and various assortment of cookies and candies. {Pssst, my friend actually does this with her kids. She's a great mom. My stomach heaveth, just thinking about it}.

2- Ugly sweater party. Invite a few besty's over and have a good laugh at all of the heinous, holiday fashion. Oh and have a cheeseball...I love a good cheeseball.

3- {K, I probably shouldn't share this one, but I know that none of you will sic {DCFS} on me, right...RIGHT?} Christmas Eve Magic Potion...aka. Benadryl. I've never engaged in this "tradition", but I know someone who has...once. Her kid ratted her out. But don't worry gurl, your secret's safe with me. Just sharing it with a few friends on the net. *this is meant only as a joke, in no way do I endorse the unnecessary "juicing" of one's child.

4- Secret Santa. It's always nice to incorporate a little service into the holiday. Have each family member draw a name and then for the entire week prior to {Christmas} leave a little special something on that special someone's pillow. It doesn't need to be expensive or time consuming...a note expressing your gratitude for the person or a handmade coupon for an act of service they can redeem later on will do. You'd be surprised how big an impact the small and simple things produce.

5- Who-bilation- Throw a Dr. Suess inspired holiday dinner...complete with who-hash {potatoes} and roast beast {roast beef}. Every one dresses up as who-ish as they can...protruding pig tails, untamed bed head etc. And remember this is the only time stripes and plaids ever go together.

If you have any humorous, fun, sentimental or {unique} holiday traditions? Feel free to comment and share. The more the merrier.


  1. I can't believe I am the first to comment, but I had an ex sister-in-law who would definitely do the benadryl trick (not just at Christmas).
    We have always had our family Christmas gift exchange on Christmas Eve with presents from everyone, then on Christmas morning there are suddenly unwrapped gifts under the tree from Santa. It makes Christmas last twice as long!

  2. Oh what fun Christmas traditions! We LOVE watching the ELF movie to : ) I don't think I could stomach the spaghetti with syrup though, I can't believe your friend does that!!!!!!!!!



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