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A Spin on DIY

Dec 06, 2017 10:29AM ● By Rebecca Seidenspinner

Christmas Traditions Old and New 

By Rebecca Seidenspinner

Do you chop down your Christmas tree every year or do you buy your tree at Costco? Do you visit family on Christmas or do you lounge around in your pajamas all day and relax? These are a few examples of family traditions, when customs or beliefs are passed down through generations. It might be a recipe or something done as a family. This is my favorite part about the holidays and what I remember most about my childhood. Sharing these traditions with my own children will hopefully leave lasting memories far more than any material items.

I want to share a few traditions that we celebrate during the Christmas holidays. Every year on Christmas Eve, my mom would let me open one gift after dinner. It was a gift of new pajamas. That way, when I woke up on Christmas morning, I would have a nice new pair of pajamas while I opened presents and she took pictures. I continue this tradition with my own children and even buy matching pajamas in holiday patterns for the entire family.

We always cook a big breakfast on Christmas. I wanted to share this tradition with my daughter’s Girl Scout troop so I hosted a Pancakes and Pajamas holiday party. We made Santa pancakes, with whipped cream for Santa’s beard and strawberries for his hat (so delicious), and each girl shared a holiday family tradition. The day was full of holiday magic and memories. 

A Christmas tradition that has made its way into many homes these past few years is the Elf on the Shelf. (I’m rolling my eyes as I type because this is a lot of work!) A tiny elf appears the night of Thanksgiving - sometimes bearing a gift - and moves around the house each night, then reports back to Santa Claus. Did I mention how much work this is? These elves have pets and clothes and make mischief. I bet they are exhausted from all the work they do each night. The elf pictured here is Joyful. I can see in this photo that he is building a snowman out of powdered donuts and drinking a few root beers. I’m happy he’s wearing a scarf so that he doesn’t catch a cold before Christmas. 

While I do love celebrating the same holiday traditions each year with my family, the creative side of me likes to do things that are unconventional on occasion. I like to create new ways to celebrate that are fun and exciting. Last year, I hosted a Harry Potter themed Christmas Eve dinner with my family and best friends. It was amazing. We had chocolate pretzel wands and a trolley cart with pumpkin pasties, and during dinner, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named opened the Chamber of Secrets. The photo here is of me after being asked to be a columnist for the Community Focus. I was overjoyed!  I’m channeling my inner Luna Lovegood with these fancy glasses. I do believe our newspaper tops the Quibbler anyday. Wands at the ready!  Wishing you all Happy Holidays, and may your family traditions continue for generations to come.


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