Old traditions, new traditions…

When asked to write a blog on family traditions I sat and pondered which one to write about.  Since I was small my family has always put up our Christmas tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  I remember those moments fondly as an adult.  The rainbow glow of the lights and the way it all shone off the silver and green glass ornaments.  I’d lay under the branches (it was a fake tree and not too low to the ground), slide my moms headphones on and listen to the likes of Mannheim Steamroller while I let my mind drift to snow covered streets and hot cocoa.  In the end, however, I decided to go with a new holiday tradition.  The one I chose started the year my husband and I moved our little family out to Colorado from Kansas.  That was the first Thanksgiving my aunt, uncle, and Gran came to visit and the first year we made a mess of my kitchen in the attempt to make enough sugar cookies to feed all Santa’s elves.

Since that first year we have made a habit of making the Saturday after Thanksgiving our tree decorating-cookie baking-holiday movie watching-carol singing extravaganza.  We stay in our Christmas pajamas all day and start the morning with a nice big breakfast.  The table is full…bacon, eggs, biscuits, gravy, hash-browns.  You name it, and we’re eating it.  When we’re done and stuffed, we start the movies.  I wish I could say we were ready to tackle the tree decorating or cookie baking but we’re all fairly tired by then and just ready to chill for a bit.  At some point in the late morning we find the energy to put lights on the tree–a feat in itself–and then decorate it.  There’s always movies in the back ground, lots of chatter, and it’s likely that you’ll hear someone break out their favorite holiday carol and start singing.  

The day before I prepare the cookie dough, from scratch of course, so that it’s ready for uncle Steve and my middle daughter Olivia to roll out and bake.  While they’re busy doing that and Gran is supervising, the rest of us finish the tree and sit around telling stories and watching more Christmas movies.  By the time all the cookies are baked, so are we.  Did you know you can overdose on televised holiday cheer?  You can, though it’s not all bad.  

I digress, AFTER the cookies are done, I make icing and we start dipping.  It takes a bit but everyone gets into the act and eventually the counter is covered in white coated sugar cookies.  At the end of the night we have a plethora of colorfully decorated cookies that are divided and given to friends and family both in Colorado and away.  The kids have fun, the adults have fun, and the teenagers brood in the room upstairs.  

Even now I laugh when I think of the clean up of both the kitchen and the kids…royal icing is a bear to get off of tile, not to mention out from under little finger nails.  I think I might have just found a stray silver decorating ball as well the other day.  I’m surprised the dog didn’t sniff that one out first.

All in all, I can’t imagine a better kick off to the season of lights and love.  Spending time with my family is always wonderful but there is something so magical about the time we take to pull together on that special Saturday.  When my aunt, uncle, and Gran leave the following day to head back home I always feel like we’ve made memories.  Perhaps when my daughters are all older they’ll think fondly on these times.  It might not be twinkling lights on a tree and the sounds of the seasons in their ears but I hope it’s still as magical to remember.
Why don’t you send me your favorite holiday tradition or memory for a chance to win one of two e-book copies of my book A Banshee’s Tale! Be sure to include your email, twitter, or facebook information so I can contact you if you’re a winner!  
Happy Holidays to everyone!

Cookie Bakers to the King...gotta love the Iron Chef pose!

Just a sampling of this years batch(es)

Be sure to write down what ornament or symbol you see for a chance to win a prize on TWCS PH!



16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. marijee
    Dec 23, 2011 @ 16:56:19

    I enjoyed hearing about your Christmas traditions. It really makes the whole holiday feeling come through with the feeling of doing familiar or comforting things. We usually get a dated ornament for the tree. We have an acre and my husband plants Christmas trees…well trees he says we will use for Christmas. They are unique, to say the least…every year he surpises me. This year we have a corner tree! LOL! Merry Christmas!


    • Veronica Breville
      Dec 24, 2011 @ 16:14:43

      I love that your husband plant “Christmas” trees! We don’t have any open land but my parents did and my dad always hoped he’d have one big enough. He never did so we went to the nearest tree farm and let him cut it down:)) Thanks for sharing your tradition. I’ve loved reading everyone’s take on this. It’s so much fun to learn about other’s lives.

      Thanks again!


  2. Amanda
    Dec 16, 2011 @ 14:03:23

    Great traditions! Holy cow…. your cookies!! Love it! For as long as my parents have been married they have bought an ornament for their tree with the year on it. What started as one is now too many to count! They also have everything my siblings and I have ever made. Once my mom thought she would want a more “dressy” Martha Stewart type tree. My sister tracked her down at the store and wouldn’t let her buy anything new 🙂
    Best wishes this holiday season! Your book is also on my wishlist this year 😉


    • Veronica Breville
      Dec 22, 2011 @ 00:41:24

      Holy crow! I just got this reply! I’m so sorry I didn’t see it earlier. No worries, I haven’t done my drawing for A Banshee’s Tale so you’re still in the running. I’ll draw on Christmas eve and send out notifications. Thanks for sharing your story. We buy a new ornament every year and it’s resulted in what I like to call a patchwork tree. I can see my kids doing that if ever I feel the need to “church up” our Christmas tree and make it fancy. Personally I love the hodge podge. It’s homey and warm:)


  3. Kari Mensen
    Dec 13, 2011 @ 07:24:12

    Great tradition! We don’t have a ton of traditions in our family. I can only remember the standard ham for dinner with a special pie from Grandma. I always envied those that had specific trations so when I had kids of my own (only 5 yrs ago) my Hubby and I wanted to start some traditions. We started with buying the baby (now two babies – well kids) a special ornament to symbolize the year. Those have been wonderful to look back on. We also take one day prior to wrap all gifts together and make a special old world treat of Homemade Lefsa. It’s a day filled with christmas music and laughter, my 5 year old already asked when our christmas music day is. I am thankful that we now have established our own little tradition and my boys already seem to look forward to it!


    • Veronica Breville
      Dec 13, 2011 @ 08:42:17

      Isn’t it fun to start your own traditions? The only other tradition I had growing up (besides the tree thing) was going to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. My grandparents went with us and my Grandpa would insist on letting my sister and I have a little cordial glass of champagne before hand so we slept through the whole thing…in our puffy Christmas dresses, of course. I think he just liked having us on his lap without the squirming:)) Thanks for the comment and happy holidays!


  4. Nix
    Dec 13, 2011 @ 03:19:35

    What a fun time you all must have!

    When I was a little girl I saw Santa Claus, that lovely movie with Dudley Moore, John Lithgow and David Huddleston. In this movie, they have the Seasons Greeting ceremony to kick off the holiday season. I decided I wanted Seasons Greeting. So I decided that we needed to put up the Christmas tree on the 1st of December which has now become our Seasons Greetings. I still send Seasons Greetings messages to everyone I know on the 1st, and my family get together to put up the tree in one of our houses on that day. Home-made egg nog, ginger bread men and other cookies flow freely. I hope this is something that will be passed on to the next generation of our family.

    So while this is a bit late, Season’s Greeting for the 1st of December!! 😉

    Twitter handle: @NixHaw


    • Veronica Breville
      Dec 13, 2011 @ 08:40:10

      I just barely remember seeing that movie but I think it’s because I only saw it once. What a lovely tradition! I too hope our traditions are passed on, even if it’s only putting the tree up the Saturday after Thanksgiving:)



  5. trilby97
    Dec 12, 2011 @ 12:43:01

    Nice tradition! This is the first time i’m actually feeling Christmas is coming. Confused? Well, I’m from India and my religion is Hindu, so Christmas isn’t one of our festivals. But something about it makes me happy. Reading all the things people do during, makes me want to bring a tree home, decorate it and all. Unfortunately, there are no such trees near my place, except the fake ones, and secondly, my mom would think I have gone crazy. My family isn’t orthodox or anything, just that, we aren’t used to celebrating it. A few years ago, I picked up a random tree from our yard and decorated it with streamers. I invited 2 of my friends and we had cookies. It was fun, but it could never become a tradition, as they left town the next year.
    Last year, I remember, my parents were out of town and my older sister was in college. I was alone for Christmas, so I made a plan on visiting our nearest church. I had never been to a church, hat was my first time and it was beautiful. Apparently the members had been working since early morning, getting fresh flowers and decorating. I had no idea what to do. I mean it was my fist time. I sat in a corner bench, there were a few prayer books in front of me; I looked at them and finally the ceremony or whatever it’ called started. The priest spoke about Christ, many things I didn’t know from my history books. I’m a history honors student and we did Christianity this year in college. Then they acknowledged all the people who helped in this ceremony. Then they formed lines, to get blessings. I kept sitting, had no idea what to do, then this old man called me and gave a spot in front of him, which I think was very sweet of him.
    I just went to see a church for the first time and to eat the cake, that sounds greedy and selfish, but in return I got a lot more. While exiting, I saw the priest and he asked if this was my first time. He asked how everything was, and it was indeed beautiful and a different experience than I had while visiting temples. I really wanted to go again this year, but my mom and I are going to visit my dad in Kashmir. He’s a General in the Indian Army, busy man. Hardly comes home and this would be my, well officially second time seeing proper snow, but my first time was when I was 4 and hardly remember that. I’m excited, bet they’ll have a celebration for Christmas. And I hope to make it my personal tradition on visiting the Church on Christmas. Knowing I can’t bring a tree to the house.
    Didn’t answer my first question, why this Christmas is special? The fandom has allowed me to make friends from all over the world and people like you, sharing your experiences, have really gotten me in the spirit!


    • Veronica Breville
      Dec 12, 2011 @ 12:59:38

      That was a beautiful comment and memory! Thank you so much for sharing it. I hope your personal tradition brings you much happiness in the future. I personally believe it’s fun and interesting to find out about other peoples’ beliefs and choosing this time of year to do it you will learn all the best parts. Good luck to you and enjoy your time with your father! Happy Holidays!


  6. Lisa Bilbrey
    Dec 12, 2011 @ 09:56:12

    Lovely tradition!


  7. Carolyn
    Dec 12, 2011 @ 09:32:44

    My family tradition is still done today….my parents own over 100 acres so each year my father goes out back and cuts down their Christmas tree. Each year,mMy brother and I tell him, he has found a better tree than last year but they are all pretty much Charlie Brown trees..lol..now my dad takes my son out with him to pick the tree (my son is 12 yrs old) so he can share the blame. Gosh, I love my family and Christmas!


    • Veronica Breville
      Dec 12, 2011 @ 09:44:54

      LOL! Charlie Brown Christmas trees need love too! That’s such a sweet story. Thanks for sharing it with us! I love my family and the holidays too. There are so many stories I could tell but then I’d have to erase your memories:)


  8. Elizabeth Lawrence
    Dec 12, 2011 @ 07:11:27

    That’s a wonderful tradition! When I was a child, we always went home to Kansas and gathered with the family for fudge, Paul Anka 8-track tapes, and general sugar-fueled chaos. The only tradition that we had then that I have definitely decided against bringing into my adult family was Granny’s hot toddies on Christmas Eve. I was long grown before my older cousin tipped me off that those toddies had LOTS of booze in them, which is why we never stayed up late on Christmas Eve! It also explains why we were never allowed to have more than one cupful… Ah, family…


    • Veronica Breville
      Dec 12, 2011 @ 09:45:24

      Ahhhhh, the hot toddy! I’m well acquainted with this time honored tradition, though my mom used it when we were having coughing fits! Knocked me right out! Thanks for the comment, Elizabeth. I love hearing others memories and traditions!


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