Many families have traditions this time of year – some new, some old, and some that anyone else but their families might think are crazy! Our staff wanted to share some of our personal favorite holiday traditions with you! (Just don’t laugh…okay, well maybe just a little!)
“My favorite holiday tradition is family game night. Any time our family is together for the holidays, we get a little competitive. The tradition started when we were younger and we would get a new game for Christmas every year. We would then enjoy our new game as a whole family. Our love for games has grown over the years, and we continue that tradition to this day. Some of our favorite games include Phase 10, Cranium, Mexican Train, and Trivial Pursuit.”
“When I was little, most of my family lived in the same general area, so we would all get together for Christmas Eve. We often went out to eat at Stubbs, one of the main restaurants in Spencer at the time, and had our holiday dinner there before returning back to my grandparents’ house. They always had a big tree in the foyer, heavily decorated, and myself and my cousins were the ones who fetched the gifts to hand them out to people. We always opened presents on Christmas Eve, never Christmas morning; my cousins and I went first, each opening one present until they were all opened, and then we’d play with them while the adults opened their gifts. In the morning we’d have a big breakfast together, usually homemade cinnamon rolls, and my aunts and uncles would go to their in-laws’ houses to finish their Christmas celebrations.”
“The holidays are my favorite time of year, so I have a lot of traditions that I love…so I will pick my top two:
- An oldie, but a goodie – every year my mom, my sister Katey, and I watch A Muppet’s Christmas Carol and Little Women on Christmas Eve (which also happens to be my mom’s birthday). You would think after 15+ years it would get redundant. We may know every word, but that doesn’t stop us!
- Another oldie, and probably my very favorite tradition – making pies with my Granny. My Granny created her very own pie crust recipe several decades ago, and I don’t mean ‘she tweaked some random Martha Stewart recipe’. I mean she MADE her VERY OWN recipe. My sister, my cousins and I have been going to her house, the day before every holiday since I can remember and baking homeade pie with her. That is probably what I miss most about living away from my family during the holidays. Every Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I stop and remember all the years of listening to Christmas carols, rolling dough and covering every inch of her kitchen table with flour!”
“My husband, Dusty, and I always put up our traditional, 6-foot-tall tree, but one of my favorite traditions has become putting up a much smaller tabletop tree that he owned before we met. Upon discovering that her son hadn’t planned to put up a Christmas tree in his then-bachelor pad, my mother-in-law brought over this little “man-tree,” covered in sports themed ornaments. It’s adorable – as most tiny things are – and we keep it in our bedroom as a nightlight during the month of December.”
“Growing up, my parents would take my siblings and I to the Dollar Store every Christmas to pick out three gifts for each of our siblings. This was especially fun when we were younger and couldn’t afford gifts for each other, because it allowed us to get to pick out something ‘special’ for our siblings, and it always ended up with some funny gifts. When I got married, the tradition carried on with my younger siblings (although my husband and I opted for buying gifts from other places for our siblings), and they started to get my husband some fun stuff as well. It’s so fun to open up the random gifts and see what the siblings picked out for each other!
When I got married in 2010, I joined an amazing family! Since being married, I think one of my favorite traditions with my husband’s family has been getting up at a ridiculous hour on Christmas morning to make a 6:00am church service, followed by breakfast at I-Hop! I always have SO much fun visiting the McGriff family and making memories with them!”
“Our family enjoys several favorite holiday traditions:
- Putting up the tree, decorations and house lights before our Thanksgiving meal has a chance to be digested. The only way to accomplish this task is to play Christmas music at a fairly high volume (even outside) and singing along!
- Making tons of candy, cookies, fudge and cakes. The joy comes from being in the kitchen together, taste testing and handing plates out to all our neighbors.
- Putting money in EVERY Salvation Army kettle. This began when my daughter was little. She wouldn’t let me pass one kettle without dropping money in it – even if we ran errands and passed 6 or more kettles in one afternoon, we had to put money in them. I thought I was going to go broke!! This year my daughter (now 23) and I ran to Hobby Lobby the other day. We walked out the door and she already had a folded bill in her hand to drop in the Salvation Army kettle. I was so proud of her!!”
“Christmas Two Thousand and Fourteen was super special! Charlie, Reed, Hayden, and I celebrated Christmas with Charlie’s brothers, families, and Mom, Georgia at our home in Rogers. This was our first year to host Christmas with family driving from DC to stay with us for the week! I have always lived close to my family. An overnight trip to grandparents in Central Arkansas was the extent of our family being away from home for the holiday. This was all new to me! Yet what a beautiful time it was! One for the memory books.”
We hope that everyone has a happy and safe holiday season celebrating your own traditions with the ones closest to you! From our United Way NWA family to yours, MERRY CHRISTMAS!