Throughout the month of November, we asked readers and staff to tell us about their favorite Christmas traditions. Here's what they shared:
- Putting a manger scene on the floor in front of our Christmas tree — as a reminder of God’s gift of Jesus to the world.
- Taking pictures of everyone in Santa hats.
- On our honeymoon, my husband and I went to the mountains in Tennessee. It was my first trip! We got married in 2011 and found The Christmas Place in Pigeon Forge. We bought an ornament that year showing two characters that said “Just Married” and the year. The in-house personalization team wrote … our names on it. The following year, we returned for an anniversary trip and once again got an ornament (with different characters). Due to work schedule changes and now paying a mortgage, we’ve missed a few years of trips, but a dear friend usually visits the Pigeon Forge area during the Thanksgiving holidays and lets me pick out an ornament for her to get personalized for us — so we have an ornament for each year of marriage.
- Nap time after presents are opened and breakfast is finished!
— Patty D.
- Since I’ve been married, we have always made Coke floats with vanilla ice cream and a glass-bottle Coca-Cola on Christmas Eve with the family. We also open just one present that night, a tradition I’ve carried on from my childhood. I have the fondest memories of Christmas Eve at home over the years!
- My favorite Christmas tradition is writing my Christmas list and setting out Santa’s cookies and milk.
—Addie R. (age 6)
- In my family, we always celebrate at home with the kids on Christmas Eve and then go to my in-laws’ on Christmas Day. A Christmas Eve meal is cooked and gifts from each family member are exchanged on Christmas Eve and then, when the kids were little, they would wake up to gifts from Santa and also have gifts from Santa at the in-laws’ house. Part of these Christmas morning festivities includes me making a Christmas breakfast for everyone and then family photos in Christmas pajamas around the tree. My kids always looked forward to picking out new, colorful pajamas for Christmas morning pictures at Granny’s house. As they have gotten older, it’s really turned into a fun and whimsical time to celebrate the joy of Christmas with all of the family.
- Cooking cornbread dressing for the family Christmas meal.
- With the family all grown with grown kids of their own, it is very hard to get everyone together all at once, (especially during the hustle and bustle of the holidays). So, to keep everyone from being stressed and exhausted from running to this house for lunch, then that house for dinner, and then — well, you get the drift — we came up with a simple solution. We have everyone come over at the end of the busy day full of cooking, loading, unloading and running all over the place, (get) in their lounge-abouts and slippers, crawl on the reclining sectional or grab a blanket and pillow and pile up on the floor, eat dessert, drink a beverage of choice, and watch a holiday movie. No pressure, no specific time frame — just an easy-going, laid-back way to wind down and simply enjoy the blessings of everyone being together.
- Putting a manger scene in the front yard! Reason for the season!
— Joe C.
- We have gotten matching PJs since I was little. That continues now with my children. I love waking up all in our matching pajamas. Before we eat or even think about presents, we all sit in front of the tree and read the Christmas story out of Luke. Then we eat a huge Christmas breakfast and finally open presents. That quiet moment with just my boys and husband is so sweet and tender. It re-centers us to what we believe Christmas is all about.
- Christmas morning brunch!
— Marilyn T.
- I usually make the trip to Bethlehem, Georgia, to mail out my Christmas cards from the post office there. It may not be where Jesus was born, but it makes for a great postmark!
- Growing up in rural Georgia, in a family that valued hunting, one of my favorite traditions is hunting with my dad and two younger brothers. This is a time when (we) set aside responsibility and worry for a weekend full of, hopefully, cold weather and whitetails. The woods have always been my oasis. It’s where my heart was repaired, where I connected with my creator, where my grandfather shared wisdom, where three boys felt connected to their dad, and where hopefully one day I can track a deer with my little girl.
- My dad raises chickens, and a few years ago, I started working on the farm with him full time. That Christmas, I bought a chicken ornament at Tractor Supply and hung it on our tree at home. It took my wife a while to notice it, but when she did, she didn’t exactly love it. Now, I buy one every year and hang it front and center on our tree. When she sees it, she moves it to the back, and then it’s my turn to hang it back in the front. It’s a chicken ornament merry-go-round.
- I’ve always left a little ash on the floor outside our fireplace. I say it’s where Santa Claus made a mess coming down the chimney. It drives my wife crazy. One year, I even climbed on the roof and stomped around like reindeer on Christmas Eve. The wide-eyed, open-mouthed looks on my kids’ faces were priceless.