For most of us, the holidays are comprised of Christmas holiday celebrations and traditions. Many family traditions are handed down from generation to generation.
Newer traditions are adopted when families merge. This makes for some very interesting holidays indeed! Some traditions are simple to carry out, however, others require quite a bit of effort.
Without a doubt, one of the most important holiday customs in the United States is the family Christmas tree. Year after year, trees are adorned with treasured ornaments and are carefully stored once the season is over. The ornaments alone often bring back happy childhood memories and are handed down once that child grows up.
Most houses are all decked out with garland, mistletoe, and wreaths. Some families go all out and put up Christmas lights outdoors. What a treat! It's these decorations that families come to love and make for a very festive atmosphere.
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, homes are usually filled with mouth-watering aromas from baking holiday goodies. From cakes, candies to cookies, many of these treats are packaged in baskets or cookie tins for holiday gifts.
Since we always bake weeks before the holidays, we always store many of these goodies in the freezer so they don't go stale. When Christmas nears, we have an assembly line to put together our treat packages and add a Christmas card and bow on top.
Who doesn't look forward to a party? Parties are the usual Christmas tradition, whether it's with work associates or family members. It's a time for family and friends to get together, exchange gifts, and celebrate the holiday season.
Often, these parties are for decorating the tree and decking the halls, while making plans for Christmas Day. Don't forget to help with the food preparations to ease some pressure off of the host.
It doesn't matter if there is a fireplace in the house or not. Every child hangs a Christmas stocking out for Santa and his elves to fill up with goodies and candy canes. The bigger the stocking the better. This is usually the first thing checked on Christmas morning when the children wake up, full of anticipation.
Gift-giving is one of the most classic Christmas traditions ever and the merchants know it. This is the most profitable season for any store and you'll find decorations and gifts in these stores as early as August. Don't start shopping too early or you'll probably end up spending too much.
This custom is becoming less popular, however, companies still find it good for business. With the cost of cards and postage, lists are becoming very limited. Since the holidays are so busy, many people don't take the time anymore to send out Christmas cards. It's a real treat to receive a Christmas card so if you're considering stopping the tradition altogether, just send them to very close friends and family and keep the custom alive.
Cookies & Milk for Santa
Remember this? Santa must be very full by the time he's done delivering Christmas gifts. Children around the world leave cookies and milk for Santa, hoping they'll wake up to find crumbs and an empty glass. On farms, they often leave hay out for Santa's reindeer
Do you have any sports fanatics in your family? Then you probably know that football games are a crucial part of the holidays. The men are usually glued to the TV while the women are preparing or cleaning up after the meal. This may not be a desirable situation, but often it is inevitable.
Love them or hate them, fruitcakes are here to stay. Avoid the urge to recycle and do not give away a fruitcake from the previous year. The recipient may actually be someone who eats it. Imagine their surprise when they discover it's stale and as hard as a brick.
Most important, prayers and religion are a time-honored holiday custom. Worship on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day often reminds us of the real meaning of the holiday and brings us the true Christmas spirit.
Whatever holiday traditions your family enjoys, they make the holiday joyful and provide priceless memories exclusive only to you. Enjoy!