Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cat's Old/New Christmas Tradition

Everyone has Christmas traditions they grew up with.  For me it was the vacation my parents and I took every year to Florida. 

Early the Saturday morning after school let out, my mother would bundle me into the back seat of the car and we would hit the road.

Since we started our journey in Minnesota, the temperature was always below freezing.  Of course my dad would have started the car ten minutes earlier so the inside was beginning to warm, but a chill still clung to the vinyl.

My heart would beat a little faster as he backed out of the driveway.  In three days we’d be surrounded by sunshine and palm trees.  I couldn’t wait.   I'd usually spend the first two days of on the road with my nose buried in one of the nine or ten library books I'd brought along, but at the beginning of day three, we'd hit the Florida border and I'd peer out the window, eager for my first glimpse of a palm tree. 

I have lots of memories of those road trips.  I don’t remember much about the rest of the year, but those two weeks, especially the drive down to Florida, those days are vividly etched in my mind.

So, this year, I decided to share my warm weather Christmas tradition with my daughter.  As I write this, we’re poolside on Sanibel Island, Florida, surrounded by palm trees wrapped in Christmas lights.

We’ve seen dolphins frolicking, gone kayaking through the island’s nature preserve, and spent hours on the beach.  The island will be packed with tourists a month from now.  For the moment, it seems as if we have it to ourselves.

Do you have a special family Christmas tradition you've passed down to the next generation that you can share with us?


  1. When I was little, my aunt and uncle always invited me over to help decorate their tree. I would spend the night, watch Christmas shows, help get the tree and decorate it. When my cousin came along, I continued going over and we all had a great time. I stopped when I moved away after college.

    Last year I moved into my own house and I decided to invite my niece and nephew (8 & 10 at the time) to come over to help decorate the house and the tree and to bake cookies. I hope they will want to do it year after year!

    Have a wonderful, warm, relaxing time, Cat! Merry Christmas to everyone!

  2. Thanks for sharing, Cat. I hope you have a wonderful vacation in Florida.

    I grew up with three sets of grandparents since my mother's parents had divorced and remarried. But that was meant that Christmas started two weeks before and we opened gifts at least 4 times. Loved it. Miss it. I try to spend as much time with my's getting harder with all the kids growing up.


  3. Lexi, That sounds like a wonderful tradition. Tree decorating is such great fun and always kicks off my holiday season. One year I got together with friends to bake cookies. That was a lot of fun.

    Angi, my grandmother lived on a farm. I remember making that trip a couple times around christmas to hang out with the cousins. We'd spend the night. Get up in the morning to tons of presents. It was great fun!

  4. Our family always stayed home and we built up tons of small traditions. Fall before last my parents moved out of their house into a condo and we're still trying to work out what the new traditions will be.

    This Christmas will be the first when my youngest nephew is aware of the holiday (he's going on 3). Looking forward to seeing the excitement and joy in his face. :)

  5. Gosh, my family just tries to get together on Christmas day and not get on each other's nerves too much!

    Actually there is a very sweet tradition that started with my son. From the time he was two or three, while Christmas shopping, he would pick out a new ornament for the tree. It became his favorite thing to do, to open the box of "his ornaments" and put them on the tree every year. This lasted well into high school! Lol!

  6. Cat,

    I'm so jealous! The only thing that makes me feel better is knowing we are escaping the Wisconsin winter this February.

    This is a small tradition, but my kids love it. They are allowed to open one gift on Christmas Eve. We did this in my family when I was a child. I also make banana pancakes every Christmas morning, and some day I'll have to teach the kids so they can make them for their kids.

  7. Merry Christmas Cat!

    My mother and her three sisters threw a family Christmas Eve party at rotating homes each year. Aunt Eileen sewed matching dresses for the sisters and their daughters (my cousins Carla and Gayle and me.) The women cooked and baked for days. The whole family gathered to eat everything - always buffet style - down to the last bite of the red-white-green jello mold. Decorations? Even our toilet seat had a Christmas themed cover.

    The sisters are gone now and I'm 2000 miles from my cousins but not a Christmas goes by without me missing those crazy Christmas Eve gatherings. Mom and her sisters were a force to be reckoned with.

    Ho-Ho-Hope Santa finds you on the beach!

  8. My coworker told me that every year her mother-in-law made all her kids wear musical socks. I thought that was a fun tradition.

    A few years ago I started collecting Christopher Radko ornaments for my daughter. I hope she'll appreciate them when she has her own house.