Traditions & Celebrations

This is How We Christmas: Quirky Traditions

Lisa, over at The Preacher’s Wife is hosting a Christmas blog party.  This week’s theme is “Quirky Christmas Traditions.”  At first, wasn’t going to participate this week, because, I reasoned, our traditions are not quirky.  They are fairly normal, maybe even boring – thus the “traditional” part.


But, then, the problem became figuring out just which quirky traditions to share…Because, the more I thought about it, the more I came up with.  So, you only get a little glimpse, lest you think we are unbearably boring, or so completely strange, that, either way, you never want to come visit me again.  So, here you go – a few of our quirky Christmas Traditions:


Ornaments.  As I thought about it, this one stood out as one of the “quirkiest” of our traditions…another to follow me  from my childhood.  Each year, my parents would purchase several plaster-of-paris ornaments, and, starting the first weekend, or not-busy evening in December, we would all gather around the kitchen table and paint them.  My dad’s were real works of art…the ones painted by my sister and I were…not.  Some stayed on our tree, and others became gifts for teachers, Choir directors, and Awana leaders.  When my parents visited us in October, they brought a bag full of plaster-of-paris ornaments, paint, and paintbrushes with them.  So, the tradition continues.  Hannah thinks this is great fun, and she has carefully selected specific ornaments to give as gifts to a few special people…and she is working very hard on them.  While I don’t think they read my blog…I’ll refrain from saying any more just in case.  She doesn’t want me to ruin the surprise.


Christmas lights.  This is still one of my favorites!  Growing up, my family would drive around town, listening to Christmas music, and looking at some of the elaborate Christmas light displays put together by a few of the local neighborhoods.  It was fun, and sparkly, and just didn’t feel like Christmas until this annual drive.  So, our first few years of marriage, I would drag Jason out to drive around and look at Christmas lights with me.  A lot of the super-elaborate, neighborhood-wide displays that I remembered were no longer there…but we always found a few pretty houses, and one or two brightly glowing streets!  When Hannah was a baby, we continued the tradition, and bundled her up for a late-night drive.  She slept through her first Christmas light drive (she was only 9 months old, and out way past her bedtime, so I can’t really blame her!).  But, she caught on the next year, and was wide-eyed and excited the entire time…especially when a group of little girls came up to the car window to give her a candy cane!!

Christmas Lights 2006

The following year, some dear friends joined us, and we braved the cold California winter to walk through one local neighborhood, and see the decorations and the lights close up. 

Christmas Lights 2007

Last year our little group grew again, adding another family of dear friends, and we once again walked the same neighborhood… 

Christmas Lights 2008

Sadly, it is a bit of a drive to, or from, California, so we will miss our friends this year!  But, I’m hoping to find a Christmas light display around here, so that we can continue the tradition!


Christmas Eve Gifts.  Both Jason and I grew up being allowed to open one gift on Christmas Eve.  From what he has said, that gift varied from year to year in his home.  But, in my home, my sister and I purchased ornaments for each other.  In order for it to be displayed on our tree that year, and not just packed away almost immediately, that was the one gift we were allowed to open on Christmas Eve.  We both always knew exactly what was in the package, so the wrapping paper was mostly a formality.  But those 20-some ornaments were the only ones on our tree our first Christmas together!  Now, we still open one gift on  Christmas eve.  Sometimes, for Hannah


Christmas Jammies.  This one no longer seems quirky to me, because so many families do it…I actually copied it from them.  Neither of us grew up with this particular tradition, but, I loved the idea!  So, when Hannah was born, I started by getting her special “Christmas” jammies each year.  Then, one year, I found some for Jason too.  And, unbeknownst to me, he found me some that year as well!  So, a tradition was born. 

Christmas Jammies


Christmas Morning Breakfast.  In myhome growing up, our across-the-street neighbor would bring homemade cinnamon rolls over on Christmas Eve night, for our breakfast the next morning.  Although I don’t actually like cinnamon rolls, and I have moved far away from this sweet lady, I have tried to keep up this tradition each year for my cinnamon roll loving husband (with lots of help from the Pillsbury dough-boy!).  I am trying to convert him to my Pumpkin-Gingerbread Waffles, which I have also made every year since I got my new waffle maker for Christmas a few years ago…but so far, I haven’t been successful.  Maybe this year?


I’d love to know some of your family’s quirky Christmas traditions!  Please leave a comment if you are participating, and don’t forget to link up at The Preacher’s Wife!


  1. Kat

    hmmm…i’m thinking our aren’t quirky either but here you go! we do jammies also and that’s our christmas eve ‘1 gift’ that we open and wake up all cozy in on christmas morning. i love advent calendars so we have, well more than a few. 🙂 the kids love them. one is a nativity scene which i divided up into 25 days so one part of the scene gets taken out each day. another is an activity advent calendar. we do something fun each day (MANY are simple/easy things like cut out snowflakes, read christmas stories, etc) which includes events like church christmas program or making a gingerbread house. it’s nice in that it spreads out all the celebration and also makes sure it all gets done. 🙂 this year, we’re hoping to start a new tradition which is a christmas party with a few close friends that involves wearing our pjs, reading christmas stories, and roasting marshmallows. 🙂

    1. Kat – I love the nativity scene idea! I don’t think any of ours have enough pieces to do one each day. Is the activity advent calendar something you found, or one that you created?

  2. Joy

    Fun–thanks for sharing! I can’t believe how similar our traditions are. We didn’t do the plaster-of-paris ornaments, but we baked some and cut them out with cookie cutters then painted them. I still have a couple from when I was probably 3 or 4 years old. Really ugly, but I insist on them being on the tree each year. Such fun memories. And I think I’m going to steal your jammies idea…

    1. Joy, feel free to steal the jammies idea…I wish I could give credit to whomever I stole it from, but I don’t remember. I just remember thinking that was a really fun idea! 🙂 (We just got Hannah’s yesterday…I can’t wait to see her in them!!)

  3. Love your quirkies. Several of them ring similar family bells. I missed this meme this year. I’ll have to try next.

    Are you willing to share that Pumpkin Gingerbread Waffle recipe? Sounds divine. Cinnamon rolls are our Sunday morning tradition. We’re still working out the Christmas morning thing.

    1. Elle, I am absolutely willing to share the recipe. I, personally, think they are wonderful…the rest of my family…they’re “undecided.” (My daughter, sadly, is not a fan of pumpkin – although she’s on a “try new things” kick recently, so maybe there is hope! And, my hubby really likes his cinnamon rolls!) I serve them with a warm apple cinnamon syrup, and whipped cream…yummy!! 🙂 I’ll be posting the recipe soon! 🙂

  4. Kat

    The nativity scene is using the Playmobile nativity set and the kids can play with it as the pieces come out. I’ve got it broken down to like – stable, shepherd, shepherds accessories, wise man #1, wise man gift #1, etc etc.

    The activity calendar is something I created using the idea from another blog. You can see it on my blog if you look under the November 2007 archives. I have a LONG list of ideas if you decide to make one. It was an investment to make b/c of all the 3-D stickers, but worth it for sure and will be used for MANY years.

    1. Thanks, Kat!! I will definitely look at your ideas!! 🙂

  5. I’m starting to feel like we’re missing out on the Christmas jammies.

    I’m still wearing a set I bought from Old Navy in ’05. They’re kinda’ special. We traveled to North Carolina for my tubal-reversal.

    That was just a few days before Christmas. Today, I have a three-year-old who totally SHOULD be wearing new Christmas jammies.

    I’m guessing the 19-year-old new mom and the 16-year-old might not care much about Christmas jammies.

    1. Rena, depending on the budget, they aren’t always new…some of my daughter’s have been hand-me-downs from friends. Not always “Christmas-y” but cozy, and new-to-her. 🙂 But, if we can afford it, it’s a fun tradition. 🙂 (I’d hang on to the set you got in ’05…sounds like those are pretty special!)

  6. I LOVE the jammies and really love the ornament tradition.. The Christmas light walk with your friends looks like so much fun! I live in the sticks so we’d better stick to the ride..:)

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