Doing It Our Way: Making New Christmas Traditions

Logan’s preschool sometimes gives him “homework” assignments, which always means after school work for mum and dad too. This week we had to do a piece on our family’s Christmas traditions and it got me thinking, what *are* our traditions?

Logan helps decorate our tree.

Our family is still pretty young and small, so we don’t have a lot of them yet, largely because this is our first Christmas at home. But that’s one of the cool things about having your own family, you get to start your own traditions, do things your way.

I looked back on my childhood to see, what did we do? Three things popped into my mind.

Baking Christmas goods for the neighbors. I grew up in a cul-de-sac and all the neighbors would swap treats. I remember loving to make homemade sugar cookies, mostly because I like eating icing. Also mom’s peanut clusters, were beyond yummy.

Christmas light drives. My mom, dad, my sister and I would get in the car and drive around looking at people’s crazy holiday light displays. The local newspaper would print out the best houses in various neighborhoods which we’d use as a guide to the spectacular shows. The most packed display was the Kirby’s house. There wasn’t a square inch of their yard that wasn’t blazing, singing or dancing to spread Christmas cheer.

Opening Gifts. We use to pick one gift to open on Dec. 24 and then tear into the rest of our packages on Dec. 25. The Dec. 24 gift had to be picked carefully, you didn’t want to open it up and find a lame sweater, but you also didn’t want it to be your “big” gift.

I think we’ll carry at least two of those traditions to our family. Though I vow to make Christmas cookies each year, I’ve not done so in the past three years. But wait, I’ve still got time this year! Not quite ready to break cookie promises.

Also, even before Logan was born, Hubby and I would drive around looking at people’s Christmas lights. For me it was nostalgia, for Hubby (who’s Norwegian) it’s bearing witness to the stereotype of how over-the-top Americans can be. Though he’s increasingly becoming one of us, this year our display grew in that we got a 4 foot tall inflatable Santa/Christmas tree/Snowman combo. We don’t have the Kirby’s house, but it’s a good display.

As far as opening one gift on Dec. 24, I’m not sure how to deal with that, Hubby and I will probably play that by ear. In Norway, Santa Clause comes late on Dec. 23, so that on the morning of Dec. 24 the kids tear open their presents. It kinda makes sense though for him to spread the gift-giving out over two nights instead of packing the deliveries into one.

What about you? What are your traditions?

Sugar Cookies

  • 1 ½ cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 ½ cup flour
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar


  1. Toss margarine in large bowl and mix the rest of ingredients.
  2. Cool dough in refrigerator 2 hours
  3. Roll and cut dough.
  4. Heat oven to 375 degrees
  5. Place cookies on cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, until golden brown.

Peanut Clusters

  • 1 (12 ounce) package Nestle Toll House semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 2 (12 ounce) packages of  Nestle Toll House butterscotch morsels
  • 1 (6 ounce) can salted peanuts (1 – 1 1/2 cups)


  1. Microwave chocolate and butterscotch chips in a 2 quart glass dish for 5-6 minutes on 60% power, or until melted.
  2. Watch them closely as they don’t actually melt, but appear very shiny.
  3. Add peanuts and mix well.
  4. Drop by tablespoons on waxed paper.
  5. Cool in refrigerator
  6. Store in covered container in refrigerator.

One response to “Doing It Our Way: Making New Christmas Traditions

  1. We do some of the same things, make Christmas cookies (they eat the cookies), look at Christmas lights (this is always a kid favorite), decorate the Christmas tree (although I haven’t really been able to get them to help, but they drive me nuts until I do it), visit family, open gifts Christmas morning, watch Christmas movies, listen to Christmas music.

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