Christmas Traditions in your Family

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Holiday Exchange - Jingle and Mingle 2017

Celebrate the Holidays of Season with your Cruise Critic Friends -- Thanksgiving - Hanukkah - Christmas - Kwanza - The New Year

This forum contains posts from prior holidays since they are packed full of good cheer and great recipes!
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manchester uk
113 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
When my Mum & Dad was alive we all arrived at their house for10 am christmas morning as many as 30 of us, all the present we had all got for each other under their tree, and we would all open them togeather, after farther christmas had been to the children first to there homes. Now where ever our family is in the world back they all come for 10 am christmas morning to my home with there pressy and under the tree they go, no one ask or says but they come and we all love it an the family has got bigger an we all rais a glass to Mum & Dad
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Santa Fe, Texas
2,562 Posts
Joined Nov 2011
This is a great thread!!
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New York
1,222 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
I had just posted this under "tacky gift ideas" when I saw this thread, so I am copying it here.

We have a tradition in our family, it started with a tacky tie and has now blossomed to a tacky scarf as well. This is how it works. Each year, said tie (for men) and scarf (for women) are "gifted" to a new person to be the "Guardian of the Tie" or "Guardian of the Scarf" each year. It is a 1 year bestowment, and must be gifted to another family member the following year. On the inside cover of the box, each "giver" must write the special reason they chose the new recipient for the special job of "guardian" of the tie/scarf before bestowing it. It is always a surprise of who will be the new guardian. The new guardian must wear tie/scarf and read all the previous comments and the year/guardians name on Christmas Eve, with all the family gathered around the Tree. They are usually silly monologues and outragous reasons why the guardian was chosen. But, as each year passes, the inside of the box has filled with cherished memories of each previous guardian. Our family has been doing this for at least 20 years. Our beloved Aunt started this family tradition all those years ago, and unfortunately, we had to bestow last Christmas tie/scarf for the first time without her. I'm sure every person in the room felt her there in spirit though, just because of our silly, tacky, family tradition.

PS... this works well if you get together each year with a large extended family, like mine. Last year, we had nearly 50 family members for Christmas Eve.

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~ Michele

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New York
1,222 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
Another Tradition we do just for our DD. Each year since she was born, we buy her a special personalized ornament that has significance for that year (like, ice skating lesson = skate ornament). We bought a 4 foot high table top tree and now these ornaments are kept on this tree. DD takes pride in decorating it each year (she is now 15) and looks forward to her next ornament...Although, she tries really hard to hide the Elmo and Blues Clues ornaments from when she was a toddler (again, she's 15 now). Traditionally, it is the first gift she opens for the holiday, and she is always giddy with anticipation to see what the special ornament will be. Here's a picture of the tree this year:

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~ Michele

NCL Gem ~ March 2, 2016 ~ 10 Day Caribbean
NCL Epic ~ June 29, 2014 ~ Mediterranean
NCL Breakaway ~ June 23, 2013 ~ Bermuda ~ My Breakaway Suite 11908 Review
NCL Jewel ~ Feb 1, 2013 ~ CTN getaway
NCL Gem ~ June 23, 2012 ~ PC/GSC/Nassau ~My Gem Review ~The Suite Life
NCL Star ~ April 27, 2012 ~ CTN getaway
Carnival Miracle ~ July 1, 2011 ~ Turks & Caicos/Bahamas
MTS Triton ~ April 1997 ~ Greek Islands
Sedona, AZ
1,941 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
I loved re-reading all the traditions this year. My thoughts are with those who are missing loved ones during the holidays. I like the ideas of having a special ornament or tradition or even a ceremony for those who have been lost.

Here is another tradition from my childhood. We would go out in the country near Natchez, MS and pick out a tree, have it cut, and bring it home. We always had peppermint ice cream after decorating the tree.

Things change over the years. My husband and I gave up the idea of going and cutting a tree after we got a permit, searched for hours, and came home with the homeliest juniper ever. Last year we even stopped buying "real trees" and bought an artificial one.

Usually we buy ice cream for my husband, but recently I had noticed some peppermint ice cream and bought that and put it in the freezer. We came home from a road trip, and Cliff put up the tree. After dinner he said, "I think I'll try some of that ice cream you bought." I explained our Christmas tree tradition. It was coincidental, but I know my mother would have smiled.
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Kathy and Cliff
Norwegian Pearl Alaska 2017
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Middle Tennessee
4,416 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Originally posted by CrimsonQueen
This is something that I started in 1976 when my Dad passed away the first year I was married.....and right before Christmas......

Each year I place a white dove on my Christmas tree for each family member who has passed away during the year......we now have 8 white doves (I lost a sister and my brother this year~ 2008)). It's a special way for us to remember our lost loved ones, and to keep them close at this special time of year. Plus, they look beautiful against the green tree.

I've seen the white doves (and even red birds) at Christmas stores, but I usually buy mine from a florist.
Here is a picture.....the doves are always the first thing on our tree each year. But, it is always good year when no new doves are added

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155 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
This isn't a Christmas's a Thanksgiving tradition. We have a 'Pie Night' the night before Thanksgiving. Each family brings a pie to share. We have had many different kinds of pie...dessert pies to meat pies to pizza to whoppie pies! It's a lot of fun. My grandmother started this tradition when our family couldn't get together for Thanksgiving dinner. My mom took over and now it's my turn!
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Roanoke VA
1,710 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
We alway got up on Christmas morning and we'd stand at the top of the stairs and sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus, before we went downstairs to see what Santa had left us....
5 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
What a wonderful thread! Really enjoyed reading about everyone's traditions and even felt myself well up a little with some of the ones regarding family members that have passed.

My family's traditions like most of you have changed over the years.
When my older brother and I were little we made a pact that whom ever woke up first on Christmas morning would wake the other up.
Like many of you my Mum always insisted we had new pyjamas and our beds were changed for Santa coming - she also would always put a tangerine in our stockings.

I am a December birthday and the year I was born my mum put the Christmas tree up before she was taken into hospital so this tradition has been carried forward ever since both in my mum and dads house and my own. The Christmas tree must be up before my birthday so my presents can go under it.

Spending our first Christmas as a married couple I'm trying to create some traditions of our own - I've decided I'll but us a new decoration for the Xmas tree each year.

I live in Scotland and Hogmanay (new years eve) also comes with certain traditions they include:

The house must be clean for the bells (midnight) - can't start off a year in an unclean house
My mum always puts together a buffet for the bells and shortbread is always part of this.
If your are visiting anyone after midnight whether its an hr or on New Year's Day you always take a gift incase you 'first foot' them.
Always steak pie on New Year's Day

What's everyone else's Hogmanay traditions?

59 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
That is such a cute idea!

My family always goes to church on Christmas Eve...and then we go to my grandparent's house for a stew and pumpkin pie dinner and to open gifts together. Christmas Day has always just been a rest and relaxation day...and a time to visit the rest of our family. Hubby and I usually visit his family on Christmas Day. This year it looks like my husband will be working over Christmas : (
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01-05-2013 Carnival Liberty
cleveland, ohio
37 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
on christmas eve we all gather at my sisters house- her husbands family and mine (20-25) - each of us brings a dish- mom makes the barley soup, cabbage & peas- my sister makes the fish and we have homemade pierogies (potatoe & cheese)- the oldest person leads us in prayer and we give blessings to those who have passed during the year-afterwards we sit by the fireplace and laugh about growing up-then after church on christmas it's my immediate family at mom's house for dinner and then we open gifts- there's usually a surprise gift for someone and we share alot of laughs- 1 special ornament i received in 2000 was a gold plated ornament with the outline of the twin towers in ny- i'll cherish that ornament for the rest of my life.this year i started a new tradition- i bought my mom 12 gifts- 1 for each of the 12 days of christmas- i wrote a simple poem for each day and left her clues as to where the gift was hidden- today she recieved a chocolate cupcake w/ mint green frosting-- just a little something to brighten up her day!- here's hoping all of you have a blessed christmas!!!
108,168 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
All of our families have passed away.

But when my grandfather was alive, we all went to his house on Christmas eve -- had a ham dinner and then went to church at midnight.

On Christmas we all would again go to my grandfather's house, open gifts and have a traditional turkey dinner.

Since there is just the 2 of us -- we do whatever we feel like doing.
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blacksburg, va
2,537 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Our most favorite tradition started when I was a baby. My parents would get my sister and I ornaments each year that represented something significant that happened in that year (example: car when we turned 16, golf clubs the year I took up golfing, wedding bells the year I got engaged, etc). My husband and I carried this over into our traditions and usually get something that represents an important accomplishment, but I also usually get us an ornament related to a cruise experience (sting ray for when we swam with them in Grand Cayman, a sail boat for our sailing/snorkeling excursion in St. Thomas, etc).

I think that is my most favorite part of Christmas...waiting to see what ornament my husband got me and then seeing the excitement on his face when he opens his and we think back to those accomplishments, etc.

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Where we've been....

Our first cruise, celebrating our 10th anniversary - Carnival Dream October 2010
Birthday Celebration – Carnival Fantasy January 2011
Happy Anniversary (11 years) – Carnival Legend October 2011
Family Cruise – Carnival Glory January 2012
Happy Anniversary (12 years) – Carnival Ecstasy October 2012
Winter Getaway - Carnival Liberty January 2013
Happy Anniversary (13 years) – Carnival Fantasy October 2013
Family Cruise II - RCCL Independence of the Seas January 2014
Birthday Cruise - Carnival Conquest February 2015
Happy Anniversary (15 years) - Carnival Valor October 2015

Where we're headed....