Holiday Traditions

Now that all of the holidays are over and a little bit of normalcy is coming back, I had a chance to reflect on how many of the things I love about this time of year (note: after Jan 2nd winter is awful). My family has so many traditions for Christmas and New Year’s that make it special. Here are a few snapshots from my Christmas in Northern Virginia:

Starting with the presents, this was actually taken in our home before we left. Poor Bill had to fit all of these in the car along with our other stuff. My children used to be quite the present snoops when they were young (they still are to some extent), so I would code the name tags with reindeer names so they wouldn’t know whose present was whose. I still make sure some of their gifts are addressed to Rudolph, Prancer, and Dasher.

Presents "Decking the Halls"

Presents “Decking the Halls”

Near my mother’s house in Northern Virgina there is a street in her community that always goes all out for Christmas lights. We like to pile in the car and cruise the neighborhood looking at the over the top displays. Here’s a few of the best:

Christmas Lights on Juniper Street

Christmas Lights on Juniper Street

Even The Simpsons had a Merry Christmas

Even The Simpsons had a Merry Christmas

The Grinch Stealing a Christmas Tree

The Grinch Stealing a Christmas Tree

Even though my kids are grown up now, they still leave cookies and milk (and carrots) out for Santa and his reindeer. Someone always sneaks down and munches on them.

Cookies for Santa

Cookies for Santa

We also spend Christmas Eve, after all the relatives have left, making Monkey Bread for Christmas morning. We snack on it while opening presents. Afterward, we make a big Christmas breakfast and spend the day lazing around in pajamas. This year we did a puzzle. The photo below is of an Amaryllis, known as the Christmas Flower, that bloomed on Christmas Day. My mother has a much greener thumb than I do.

Accomplished Puzzlers

Accomplished Puzzlers

Amaryllis that bloomed on Christmas

Amaryllis that bloomed on Christmas

And finally for New Year’s day, my favorite southern tradition, Hoppin’ John soup. It has black eyed peas and collards, meant to represent fortune that will come to you in the new year. The black eyed peas represent cents and the collards represent dollars.

Hoppin John

Hoppin’ John

I don’t know what the holidays would look like without these wonderful traditions. (Note: actually they look like sunny, warm days and a dead cat—see last year’s Holiday post). I’d love to hear some of your family’s special rituals for the holidays, feel free to share them below.

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