Fifth Day of Christmas

December 18th

g'bread house: fourth day of Christmas

I wish for continued tradition.
I am a sucker for routine. (Quelle surprise, non?) Same goes for traditions. When Christmas rolls around, I thoroughly enjoy the lighting of the advent candles, decorating the tree, preparing a fancy meal, wearing a pretty dress to midnight service, and waking up Christmas morning with my family. First we dive into the stockings — and per tradition, there is always an orange at the toe. We eat my mom’s famous Christmas sticky buns for breakfast and usually enough chocolate from our stockings to make us sweetly sick until dinner.

g'bread house: fourth day of Christmas

My favorite Christmas food is my grandma’s sweet potato casserole. With brown sugar and pecans on the crunchy top, this bright orange side dish is more like a scoop of heaven.
When I have a family, there are new traditions and old ones I plan to honor. Each year my Grandma Max gives each of her grandchildren an ornament. I also love receiving gifts from Santa, even as an adult. And we’ll probably put out a plate of cookies and milk on the mantle. New traditions I’d like to incorporate include following and advent calendar daily, caroling, baking a birthday cake for Christ on Christmas day and doing charity work on Christmas day as a family. Another tradition I think is pretty cool — my friend Mike comes from a Polish Catholic family. They decorate their Christmas dinner table with hay, to represent the manger, and have an additional place setting for the Lord.

g'bread house: fourth day of Christmas

I had brunch with some girlfriends this weekend; afterward we sat around drinking tea and working on this gingerbread house. I hadn’t decorated one since I was a girl scout, so this was silly fun. I think next year I’ll make gingerbread house kits to give to my friends with kids.
What holiday traditions do you enjoy?


Posted in
Follow the comments.

20 Responses

  1. We have many of the same traditions: advent candles, stockings first, sweets for breakfast. When I have children I too would like to do a few more things to bring home the Christ in Christmas such as the birthday cake. I also thought I would like to have a play friendly nativity for my future kids.

    One of my favorite gifts to give moms with wee ones is a paint bucket full of baked cookies, tubes of frosting and candies so they can decorate the cookies with the kiddies without having to do all the work of baking them. My friends are mostly working moms and I think giving them this kind of time to savor with their kids is a nice gift…and one they don’t have to keep forever.

  2. So festive and yummy looking! Hoping to get ours made this week.

  3. what fun! i saw these kits and wanted to make one, but ian talked me out of it. like we have time to sit and decorate a gingerbread house? we ought to make time though. gosh, who knew that coming up with a favorite holiday tradition would be so hard? i guess i love hanging the stockings and stuffing them. but that’s kind of lame. the newest one we do is have my dad & his family over for christmas eve dinner and my in-laws join us for dessert. we don’t entertain often because of ian’s schedule and our propensity for clutter.

  4. Wow, I can’t believe you really made a gingerbread house. (Well, I guess I can believe YOU did.) My family’s holiday traditions include… eating BBQ on Christmas Eve, opening stockings on Christmas morning (they always include post-its, socks, and lip balm – my mother is so practical), cinnamon rolls from my grandma’s recipe on Christmas morning (and my dad always complains they’re not cinnamony enough), singing Christmas carols on Christmas Eve at my grandma’s house, Grandma’s Christmas tree cookies (sugar cookies with sour cream and nutmeg – yum!), and going completely overboard on presents!

  5. Thanks for sharing some of your current and future traditions. Like others, we have some special cookie recipes that we make every year and decorating is always an adventure. My favorite tradition is our annual Trivial Pursuit boys vs. girls match. We have a makeshift trophy and everything. Some years we’ve had to be reminded that it’s a family holiday and perhaps we shouldn’t be so serious and nasty about a boardgame.

  6. A gingerbread house kit is a great idea. We have pretty simple traditions, like drinking eggnog while decorating the tree (the boys really look forward to that eggnog!), going for a drive to see Christmas lights, we always eat the same breakfast Christmas morning, reading the story of Jesus’ birth before opening gifts, and bringing the animals a special treat (usually carrots and apple slices) on Christmas day. We also keep our the Christmas cards in a basket all year so we can (when we remember) pick out a card and pray for that person at supper time.

  7. The only tradition that has outlasted the years is my extended family’s white elephant gift exchange. Since my fam is huge, this makes it easy on everyone. And it is so FUN. My family is hilarious, so we all have a good time stealing each other’s gifts and laughing at what each other has brought.

  8. Our little family has a variety of traditions. From my side of the family, we always go into the mountain forest and cut down our tree, haul it home, set it up and decorate it. On the way back into town, as if we weren’t cold enough, we stop at Dairy Queen for ice cream. My husbands side of the family is from Norway so we have added the tradition of making lefse and krumkake. On Christmas eve we line our driveway, sidewalk and front porch with luminaria to light the way for the Christ child. Reading the Christmas story is a must and this year we are going to wind up the evening by watching The Nativity Story in our pajamas.

  9. That’s cool as long as I get to eat your lord’s sticky buns!!!

  10. Great house Kelli! I love doing those with the kids.

  11. I love RohanKnitter’s Christmas card tradition!

    Here are my family’s traditions:

    1. We shop for the tree at the last possible moment to see how cheaply we can get one. I think the record was $1 from a Home Depot at 5 pm on the 24th.

    2. Stockings are filled with hotel and airplane “complimentaries” and work tchotchkies that my dad has picked up throughout the year.

    3. On Christmas morning my dad will make Silver Fizzes that are a vile blended combination of frozen lime juice concentrate, champagne, cream and raw eggs. Only he will drink his. My brother will then make everyone Manhattans. Only he will drink his.

    4. My mom will burn the pumpkin pie.

    This’ll be the first Christmas in my memory without my grandmother. For that reason, I don’t think it will feel very real. So maybe we’ll come up with new traditions, like Yahtzee.

  12. Ahh Miss Kelli. What a great thought to ponder! My aunt makes that sweet potato casserole on Thanksgiving and I LOVE it! 😉
    Our traditions that I’d like to carry on include: stockings first, then reading the story of Jesus’ birth BEFORE we open our gifts (it always seemed to take FOREVER when were young – and when we were old enough my parents allowed us to read it ourselves – guess how FAST that was!?!? :)), my mom’s cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning (she gets up early just to let them rise), putting Jesus in the manager of our nativity on Christmas morning, hanging out in PJs and not having to rush ANYWHERE. Our stocking gifts were always wrapped in colored tissue paper (mine was blue, my brother’s green, etc). Once we started on gifts we only opened one at a time so we all saw what everyone else got. We did an advent calendar my mom’s friend made (of felt) and I still love getting it out. My parents always gave us an ornament too and I’ve tried to continue that tradition with my friend’s kids. When we decorated the tree, we’d always talk about who gave us which ornaments (my parents were great about labeling each with the year etc).
    One tradition I’d like to start is something I read about: Santa brings 3 gifts to each child just like the wise men brought. I think it’s a great way to keep myself in check and a great way to teach kids. Of course, as a Mom I could give other gifts, but I’s like to try to keep myself in control! 😉
    This is a very long comment….sorry!

  13. Wonderful Gingerbread House, Kelli!

    Traditionally, on Christmas Eve we go out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant, go to church and then do a Christmas light tour in a posh neighborhood. On Christmas Day, it’s stockings first (always with a tangerine and toothbrush inclluded), then breakfast of bacon and pancakes followed by the mayhem of tearing into the presents.

  14. We buy a tree and put lights on it, but don’t decorate it with ornaments until we come home from church on xmas eve. then every one gets one present to open. on xmas morning we open stockings, have breakfast and then open presents, one at a time. and we stay in our pjs until we’re done opening!

  15. Some traditions I miss from home:
    Santa sacks – left at the foot of our bed
    Leaving a cold glass of beer and a piece of fruitcake for Santa, carrots for the reindeer.
    Neighbourhood BBQ breakfast
    Making and decorating a Christmas Fruit Cake with my mum
    My Nans plum pudding
    Carols by Candlelight
    Boxing Day – watching the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race, and the Boxing day test match (cricket).

    Traditions I like:
    advent candles
    advent calendar
    Christmas Eve Church Service
    Christmas stockings
    gifts from Santa
    Giving a christmas decoration each year to my friends kids
    Adding Jesus to the Nativity set on Christmas Eve
    Watching Christmas movies and reading Christmas stories
    Making christmas crackers

  16. I love decorating Hanukkah cookies with my mom and sister. This year, I was lucky enough to be home for Hanukkah and got to decorate my fair share.

    Your gingerbread house looks fabulous, by the way. I bet you all had a blast putting it together.

  17. Traditions are so great. And sometimes the traditions have to evolve. When I was growing up we always had a whole bunch of appetizers before church at 7ish, then when we came home from church we had soup (oyster stew is my mother’s tradition, but the rest of us eat chili). Now that my brother and I are married, we don’t get those special Christmas Eve foods anymore because we are at the in-laws. So for the past two years we have had those foods for Eliot’s birthday. It makes us all happy and we’ve gotten Tim’s family addicted to sausage cheese balls and clam dip.

    We did the gingerbread house kit at grandma’s house on Christmas Eve last year. And we’ll do it again this year. We saw a kit in a store and Aidin said “Can’t we do that again?” Absolutely! We can’t wait.

    I ditto Rachael on adding Baby Jesus to the Nativity on Christmas Eve. And we have the kings walk all over the house until they finally reach the creche in January. And the box of Christmas books is very dear to us and much anticipated!

    Okay, that could have been it’s own post.
    Hugs, Kel!

  18. that Ginger bread house rules

  19. Jennifer D December 21, 2007

    One of my favorite traditions that I’ve carried on is having new Christmas pj’s to open on Christmas eve. I’m sure my mom started it so that the 3 of us kids would look good for Christmas morning pictures but it’s a tradition I’ve kept up with my 12 yr. old daughter. I love it when she starts asking “Did you get my pj’s yet?” We also have a scrapbook of just our gingerbread houses. A 2pg spread for each year starting when she was 2. Of course we take photos of making and decorating the house (eating the candy etc!)and then a final one Christmas eve with the house and new pj’s! It’s fun to look back on the year’s when there wasn’t enough dough for a roof!
    Merry Christmas to all!
    Thanks for all you great inspiration Kelly, we love you!