Christmas Delight

A blog about the joy I find in all things Christmas

Favorite Traditions & Such

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I decided to start a blog on Christmas because frankly, it makes me giddy just to talk about. I’ve loved Christmas as long as I can remember. In my (very humble, of course) opinion, my family has some of the absolute best Christmas traditions. Even my cousin agrees:

My cousin Samuel and I discussing our family’s Christmas traditions in September 2012. Samuel: “Once [everyone else] hears about our Apples to Apples tourneys, ROOK, night swims, and the rest of our Christmas traditions they will be extremely jealous 🙂 ” (photo: Alissa Hale)

Two funny stories about me just to help you get to know me a little better:
When I was about six, I was lying in bed on Christmas Eve when all the adults were still in the living room, long ago supposed to have been asleep. But of course I was so excited and was still awake–and that’s when it happened. I saw Santa’s sleigh. I’ve always remembered that…and sometimes I still wonder…
A few years later, I still felt a special bond to Santa. So of course, I put in a special request to my Grammie (she’s one of Santa’s helpers!)-I wanted a book about the North Pole, written by none other than the man in the red suit himself! Because Santa is amazing (and I have the best family in the world)-I got my book! I still have it and I’ve never questioned who wrote it. Who says you can’t still believe when you’re 19?!

Now, back to matters at hand. Christmas just makes me happy, I’m happy for no reason middle of September-December (well, I have a reason, but everyone else doesn’t think so!) I’m counting down to Christmas! I admit it, I’m just like Pinky Rabbit! (Sidenote: For those of you out there with kids, this is a perfect book to read around Christmas time! See picture below or buy it here!)

So I thought it would be interesting to talk to some of my friends and family and see what THEY love about Christmas (though of course I’ll intersperse my favorite traditions!)

It’s funny how similar most families’ traditions are, and yet they’re subtly different. For instance, every single person I talked to starts their Christmas morning with their respective family opening stockings. Some do it by age, youngest all the way up to oldest (as we do in my family).

One of my favorite traditions in my own family is the fact that my grandmother has hand-sew stockings for each of the grandchildren (as her mother did for my mom’s generation). Guess I’m going to have to learn how to sew before I have grandchildren to keep this going…

Alissa opening her hand-sewn Christmas stocking on December 25, 2010. (photo: Randy Gerdes)

There will be “Tradition Spotlights” at the end of each blog post, just to give you a couple of ideas if you’re looking to start new traditions in your own family, or perhaps simply to appreciate the traditions of other families!
Also, you are more than welcome to comment and share your favorite traditions with me! Who knows, you just might get your own “Tradition Spotlight”!

This week’s “Tradition Spotlight” is Cathy Burson, a close friend of my family:

“Every Christmas Eve when I was little, we would gather at my great grandparents’ house with all the layers of the family, then when they were gone, at my grandparents’. My grandmother would always give us handmade gifts. One year she gave all of us handmade double knit rugs and we had so much fun with them that year!

Cathy Burson holding up the handmade double knit cloth rug given to her by her grandmother one Christmas. (photo: Alissa Hale)

“In our family now,” Cathy continued, “we love going to Christmas Eve services. In the past few years, my son Will and I have made it a tradition to go the the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concerts. We always get up Christmas morning and do Santa. Santa presents are wrapped and are under the tree (but they weren’t there the night before!) We still call it Santa, even though we have teenagers. When Wes, our son was little, we put up a big tree in the family room. We always had to close his door so that the strange man (Santa!) wouldn’t come into his room. That’s something that always gets brought up, ten years later!

Of course, we all have our favorite foods on Christmas-including a sweet potato casserole with brown sugar and pecan topping, cornbread dressing (my grandmother’s recipe), and of course, my husband’s favorite we always have, pumpkin pie.”

(Teaser: Both the cornbread dressing & sweet potato casserole recipes will be part of my next blog post: favorite Christmas recipes!)

The Christmas tree on Christmas morning last year, before the madness began! (photo: Alissa Hale)

*An aside: Natalie, my first name, means “birthday,” specifically referring to Christ’s birthday. Though I know my mom likes the name, I think half the reason she named me Natalie is because of her own love for Christmas!

PS-69 days until Christmas!


Author: Natalie Alissa Hale

I'm a PR student at The University of Texas at Austin and an assistant event coordinator. Christmas is the only time I get to see my entire family all year, so it's always been my favorite time of year. I start counting down from 100 days (Sept. 16) every year! My family traditions mean the world to me. These are a collection of both my and others' traditions as well as other fun topics surrounding Christmas! View my "About" page to learn more!

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