From Books to Bocce: Authors Share Their Favorite Holiday Traditions
Sometimes we can get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the busy winter holiday season - making sure we cross everything off our lists and attend the many events and special festivities. However, I recently asked my own children what they were most looking forward to this holiday season and they all agreed it was driving around looking at lights in their pajamas while eating sugar cookies. This simple memory they have is one that honestly almost gets missed in the busyness of everything else we have to do in December. It was a great reminder that our best memories come from simple moments simply spent together.
I recently asked our authors to share their favorite winter holiday traditions with us. We hope you enjoy their heartwarming and fun responses!
"Every year I like to purchase a new Christmas picture book or board book. We have our favorites I collected from when our two sons were growing up. And we add new ones each year, too! I put them away during the year and bring them out the day after Thanksgiving as part of our Christmas decorations. They make fun bedtime or anytime reads, especially when the grandchildren come to visit!"
"After spring/summer softball games end on Labor Day weekend, it's too sad to say goodbye to our friends until next spring, so we now have a "Day-After-Thanksgiving Bocce Tournament" on the Friday morning after Thanksgiving. In a small meadow in Central Park in NYC, people are divided into two-player teams and it's a non-serious lots-of-fun time! There's plenty of food and silly prizes are awarded."
"One of my favorite holiday traditions is having an advent activity. Growing up, my mom made me an advent calendar and every morning I would open a small gift that led up to Christmas. A fun way to do this with children is to wrap 24 books in wrapping paper and each day the child gets to open one book. The best part is reading the books together. These can be new books, books you already own, or even books from the library. The special time of being together will create memories that will last a lifetime."
"My family celebrates Hanukkah by inviting friends over for a holiday dinner that includes latkes, a fried potato pancake, served with sour cream or applesauce. We all sing the blessings and light our menorahs and then sing other songs like “I Have a Little Dreidel” and “Matthias Bold.” The hot and crispy latkes, the warmth of the colorful Hanukkah candles and our voices joining together in laughter and song make Hanukkah one of my favorite holidays."
"Locally, there is a seasonal attraction called Christmas Tree Lane where folks walk or drive down Van Ness to see the Christmas decorations. Every single house is decorated and it's absolutely magical. They've been doing this for 100 years and my family has gone every year on Christmas Eve Eve (the day before Christmas Eve) since I was a young child. Now my fiancé and I take our dogs!"
"MOVIES! I love the magic of holiday movies all season as I decorate my home, cook and hang out with family and friends. It's all about re-watching the classics and exploring some of the newer options."
"My favorite holiday tradition is simply decorating our Christmas tree and putting out our nativity. I love to have the kids help out with these events. I have a few bags of ornaments that are not breakable and I let them put them wherever they would like. For the nativity, we talk about the true meaning of Christmas and I hide the baby Jesus, which they hate, and I love. It is important for me to remind my children that gifts are the afterthought and Jesus' birth is the main event."
"Every Christmas, I get each of my children an ornament that represents them that specific year. It could be based on their interests, a significant event or somewhere they traveled within the year. I place them in their stockings for them to find on Christmas morning. The goal is to build them a base collection of ornaments for their own Christmas trees one day when they're adults decorating in their own homes!"
Do you have a special holiday memory from your childhood or an annual tradition you love to share with your family during the holiday season? We'd love to hear it!