Christmas Traditions

ChristmasWhether you’re decking the halls or rocking around the Christmas tree, every family has their own unique traditions which make the holiday season memorable. When beginning a new life together, a husband and wife will have to choose which Christmas traditions they’ll keep and which ones they’ll let go. Often when children join a family new traditions are born.

In our family my husband comes from a Dutch background, where children are given presents in early December to celebrate Sinterklaas and his family opened gifts on Christmas day. My German background meant that we opened presents on Christmas Eve, after attending church. I grew up having a chocolate advent calendar to count the days until Christmas.

The first year we were married we had to decide what we would do. Would we open gifts on the 24th or the 25th? We chose to stick with his family tradition of the 25th and decided we would open one gift on Christmas Eve. When our children came along that Christmas Eve present was usually a new pair of pajamas.

Sinterklaas has always been a fun way for our girls to get in the Christmas spirit, and being a chocoholic, there was NO way my husband would say no to the advent calendar. Even now, with our girls away at university, we still send them an advent calendar and goodies for Sinterklaas. We enjoy the uniqueness of our little traditions. One of my fondest memories is of waking up one Sinterklaas morning and finding that my girls had put little lego blocks and pennies among other small treasures into my boot.

We also bake and decorate our favourite cookies, send Christmas cards, decorate the outside of the house and visit with friends and family. In addition we like to put Santa hats on our dogs and take pictures of them.

Other traditions that we have made include drinking egg nog, eating cookies and listening to Christmas music while decorating the tree. Because we live far from extended family, we had to find ways to fill Christmas day since visiting family was not on the schedule. So every Christmas there are two family gifts under the tree, a board game and jigsaw puzzle. The game is usually played shortly after being opened and the jigsaw puzzle we try to complete before New Years. To make Christmas morning last, we take turns opening gifts. We also spend the entire day in our pajamas. Many a time we would be “caught” outside by a neighbor or two while walking the family dogs in our pajamas, which always resulted in many giggles from the girls and them asking, “Do you think they knew we were in our pajamas?”

I thought it would be fun to poll my girls on which of our Christmas traditions they like best and their answers weren’t all that surprising, they like opening our gifts one at a time, SinterKlaas, decorating cookies and walking the dogs in our pajamas. It will be interesting to see which traditions they carry on into their new families when they have them.

Whether your traditions are many or few I am sure they are close to your heart and bring special meaning and memories to this time of year. May your house be filled with love and laughter and may you make many new memories this Christmas. Merry Christmas.

Board Game Gift Suggestions:

Some of our favorite board games over the years have been Guess Who? Board Game, Therapy The Game, Dicecapades Board Game, Clue The Classic Edition and  Ticket To Ride.

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?


  1. Wonderful post & very touching! You made me smile and tear up.

    I love the way you created your traditions for YOUR family and the responses your girls gave you. As a puzzle lover, I really like your idea of including a puzzle to work on during the week.

    Thank you for sharing this special family time with us. Reia from

  2. I love your Christmas traditions. I think that I am going to have to try the gift on New Year’s Eve. I love the pajamas idea. We do an Advent calender for our child. I could not believe how many different kinds there are out there. This year we did a Lego Friends one. Since our child is only 7, Christmas is spent is a sea of toys. This year I have decided to order my meal from a local store and give her all my attention.

  3. My mom remembers hearing German spoken at home… We grew up with St. Nick Night, opening a gift on Christmas Eve — usually p.j.’s like you mentioned…

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