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holiday giveaway

November 28, 2011

Hi friends! Well, I am still waiting for this baby to arrive and I am crossing my fingers everyday that today is THE DAY. I am sure many of you can relate!

Since we will have a newborn this year at Christmastime, we will not be traveling to Chicago like we usually do. Instead, we will have our first holiday in our home- and I want it to be special! So, here’s what I am asking from you today- leave a comment of a special tradition you have (or recipe, game, surprise, etc) that you do/make/play during the holidays. In return, I will be giving away an amazon giftcard for $25. This offer expires at the end of the week- Friday! (I hope to be announcing the winner with a newborn in my arms) So, please take a moment, write a couple words and help me get some fun ideas for our family this December!

Winner will be picked at random by my oldest son choosing a number! I know, my sophisticated systems must amaze you. Looking forward to hearing from you!

24 Comments leave one →
  1. November 28, 2011 10:35 am

    In addition to leaving cookies and milk for Santa, Olivia also leaves carrots for the reindeer. I buy the carrots with the greens still attached. Then in the dark of night come in and cut the greens off with my ripple-edge slicer so it looks like reindeer teeth marks!

  2. Kristy permalink
    November 28, 2011 11:09 am

    As a child, we went to midnight mass on Christmas Eve. When we got home, it was officially Christmas day, so we were able to open one present before bed. That was always my favorite! My sister-in-law and her family make and decorate sugar cookies on Christmas Eve, so that is fast becoming a new tradition, as my daughter loves it! Not to mention that Santa likes the homemade cookies as well! We have friends that always snowshoe on Christmas day – I think that sounds fun!

  3. November 28, 2011 12:44 pm

    Years ago a friend of mine gave me a glass pickle as a shower gift…seemed a bit of an odd gift when I first opened it but later when I read the enclosure I appreciated the gift more. It was called a Christmas pickle. The beautiful glass ornament is to be hung in the tree “by Santa” and the first child to find it in the morning receives an extra gift. We have been doing this tradition for years! The kids love it. The pickle is very hard to find since it is quite camouflaged within the branches of the tree. The pickle broke one year and I was pretty upset about it but I was able to find a replacement at Crate and Barrel.

    Good luck with baby!

  4. November 28, 2011 3:18 pm

    Since Chad’s Dad is from Denmark, we make ebelskivers on Christmas morning (little round pancakes). And following his Canadian traditions, we get the crackers to open during christmas day dinner (the tubes that you “crack”, or pop open and are filled with little toys and confetti). Our new Pacific Northwest tradition has been to have Dungeness crab on xmas eve and buy a new boardgame for the family.

  5. ali permalink
    November 28, 2011 3:52 pm

    You’ll be surprised to hear that our Christmas Eve traditions revolve around food!! The Feast of the Seven Fishes at our house usually includes a lot more than 7 fish but we always have shrimp, smelts, bacalao, scungili, anchovies, clams (as in clam sauce over pasta), and baked cod. When I was pregnant one year, my dad thought I might like salmon, so we added that and we even had sushi thrown in one year.
    Enjoy the holiday at home and can’t wait to hear your news!!

  6. Stacy permalink
    November 28, 2011 6:12 pm

    We go to Christmas Eve service and come home for dinner. THe girls (plus now boy this year) get to open a gift on Christmas Eve…it’s their Christmas PJs! Every year, I get them new coordinating Christmas PJs to open and wear! We set out cookies/milk and carrots for Santa. We read Night Before Christmas as well as the Nativity Story. Christmas morning we go to church, come home and open presents and then head to Denver to be with the family…still looking for a good Christmas morning breakfast tradition!!

  7. Stacey permalink
    November 28, 2011 6:13 pm

    Last year I started a tradition with my kids (3 at the time) of making something in the kitchen at home to share with neighbors and friends. Last year we made homemade cinnamon honey butter and put it in small mason jars with homemade gift tags. We left them on the doorsteps of friends and family the week of Christmas with a message from our family. This year we’re making small loaves of banana bread and will do the same. It’s a small way to remind the kids that the best part of Christmas is the giving and that even small tokens of friendship and love can put a smile on the face of others.
    Can’t wait to hear your baby news, Suzanne! Thinking of you – what a wonderful Christmas it will be for your family.

  8. Christina permalink
    November 28, 2011 6:26 pm

    Leave milk and cookies for Santa, carrots for the reindeer…You can leave evidence of the reindeer by rolling up tootsie rolls into balls…

  9. Beth permalink
    November 28, 2011 6:30 pm

    So excited for you to have Christmas in your own home! But will miss you!

    We have several traditions, but here are the top favs…
    – every year we go shopping together for new ornaments for the tree. We each choose a new one to hang. I always choose a photo frame and put my favorite family photo from the year in it. Ryan always chooses a Bears ornament. The kids pick something that speaks to them. It’s so fun each year when we decorate the tree and they look back on their selections from years past. When they are grown and have their trees to decorate I will give them each their collection. How bitter-sweet!
    – we also give the kids 1 present to open on Christmas Eve right before bedtime. New seasonal PJs! They love changing into them right away and going to sleep and then they are all fresh and coordinated on Christmas morning.

    Hope you find something that works for your family! What a special year. XOXO

  10. Margaret permalink
    November 28, 2011 6:57 pm

    We too open one gift on Christmas eve, and it is always the matching PJs. My dad always reads the grandchildren The Night Before Christmas. On Christmas morning we have a big mexican feast (same meal for the past 40 years). Then we stay in our matching Christmas Pjs all day. Yes, I mean all day. Sometimes they don’t come off until December 26th. We even travel to peoples houses in our PJs (that is, if they are wearing their PJs too.) It is a wonderful, relaxing, and comfy holiday. Merry Christmas.

  11. Staci permalink
    November 28, 2011 10:16 pm

    So my parents have started a tradition in which my mom buys fun/ inexpensive gifts for each person that will be at the house on Christmas Eve and puts them in a gift bag. Everyone sits in a circle with a gift bag while my dad reads the “Night Before Christmas”. Everytime he says the word “the” you pass your gift to the right. There are a lot of “the’s” in the story so you pass a lot! When he is finished reading the book, you get to open your gift. It is fun for everyone to play!!!!

  12. Gwen permalink
    November 28, 2011 11:23 pm

    Wow! What great ideas, one and all. The last four years we have driven 22 hours each way to/from Cincinnati but will be staying in Colorado for the first time this year and starting our own family traditions, so I really appreciate this post. As a child, we would hang our stockings up when we got home from Midnight Mass before we fell into bed. My parents always had one big, unwrapped gift assembled (think Barbie Townhouse and Barbie Camper – which, God rest my father’s soul, he would put together after a few highballs at my grandma’s and Midnight Mass. The Barbie Camper lives in infamy as he finally finished at 5 am or so and I was up at 6 am). On Christmas morning we would line up youngest to oldest, my father would play Christmas music and we would go into the room with the tree to find our gift from Santa all ready and waiting. I still love that WOW effect with the boys.

  13. November 29, 2011 5:30 am

    One year when we had snow on the ground for Christmas, I took Jim’s big galoshes (yep, this is 40 years ago) and dipped the bottoms in flour, and made tracks from the fireplace to the tree, with a few steps around the tree. When the kids came downstairs, there were the footprints as proof that Santa had been there. Love the tootsie roll idea for the reindeer evidence. Such great ideas and traditions from all! Merry Christmas everyone!

  14. November 29, 2011 7:27 am

    I hope you’ll be holding your precious little girl in your arms soon! For the past eighteen years, my grandmother who is now 100 years old, buys each one of the great granddaughters a Barbie ornament – she started with the first in the series. Someday when they are older and their great grandmother is gone, they will have this wonderful set of ornaments and memories for a lifetime!

  15. Heather permalink
    November 29, 2011 7:58 am

    What a great blog idea and I love all of the traditions that people have shared!
    We have a couple in our house.
    One I grew up with (and still continue) is leaving a sandwich, a pickle & a beer for Santa because he has lots of milk & cookies and needs a break (my dad thought of this one). And just in case Mrs. Claus happens to be in the sleigh – we leave a glass of wine for her. Santa always leaves a quick thank you note that includes some very specific details about the last 24 hours.
    Also – we have found that Mrs.Claus – who is in charge of the Christmas Pajama Department – sometimes sneaks out on Christmas Eve and leaves Christmas PJs for everyone in the house.
    Happu Holidays Everyone!

  16. Allison permalink
    November 29, 2011 8:35 am

    The first (and only lucky for us) time we had Christmas Eve without any family, we hosted a dinner party for several other of our friends who were also family-less. Everyone brought something so it was easy, and the adults and kids had a ball! We are so used to a big Christmas Eve with lots of family, and this was a wonderful substitute to keep us from missing everyone!

  17. November 29, 2011 10:36 am

    Hey there – hope that little girl arrives soon! My mom has given us an ornament – usually pertaining to what happened that year – a dog the year we got a dog (and I was at MSU!) and puts the year on it. When we moved out we had our own box of ornaments and talk about them every year. My friend has always done a letter to her kids from Santa about the real meaning of Christmas and what they have done that “he” has seen that year that he is especially proud of. They still want her to do it – even though they are beyond the Santa part. Recently we have been doing very unprofessional photos of everyone – with the timer on the camera and my uncles usually end up adding props like the dog sweater on their head or everyone reading cookbooks. Those are always a favorite to look back at. Enjoy your holiday at home!

  18. Linda permalink
    November 29, 2011 11:12 am

    We have had many Christmas eves where we had fresh dungeness crab, tossed green salad (vingerette), and fresh sourdough bread. Fantastic! Heather loved it too. Kids have fun with crab. Most of my memories are around food, wonder why.

  19. Andrea permalink
    November 29, 2011 12:25 pm

    Wow! What a fabulous idea this was asking for traditions…I think we will be starting some new ones this year! :o) (I love the xmas pickle & the letter from Santa on what they did “good” for the year.

    Our family has a few traditions, some of which are repeats to ones already mentioned.
    -We begin celebrating on December 6th, when we leave out our shoes for Saint Nicholas who comes & leaves toys, fruit, & candy for good girls & boys.
    -For Czechs, the Christmas Eve meal is traditionally carp, although we have modified it to just fish in general-usually salmon or scallops. We set an even number of plates, even it this means there is one extra, as odd an odd number is bad luck.
    -After dinner we light the special candles on the Christmas Nativity Pyramid.
    -We go to xmas eve mass & we open one gift when we return, which is Christmas pjs that match. (or at least the kids match)
    -We leave out Lintzer cookies for Santa & carrots for the reindeer.
    -We also have an ornament contest each year. The ornament has to reflect something that happened to symbolize the year. The winner gets bragging rights.

    Looking forward to meeting the newest Bolling. Wishing you a wonderful, tradition-filled holiday at home!

  20. November 30, 2011 11:02 pm

    our tradition is making pizzelle cookies + dog biscuits for all our Oak Street neighbors and putting them in their doors Christmas Eve, secret Oak Street santa also puts a Letterpress ornament on the goodie bag. We also have luminara’s lining our walkway to light the path with candles. Congrat’s on your new addition …. when she arrives (the 3rd???).
    Moose + Denise

  21. Stacey A. permalink
    December 1, 2011 11:05 am

    Great ideas! We have several too.

    -On Thanksgiving, all the cousins draw a name out of a hat. Then they have the whole month to shop for a meaningful ornament for the cousin they drew. The week before Christmas we all get together for the exchange(cookies and hot chocolate for the kids, wine and cheese for adults.) We start with the youngest and the person who drew them has to stand up in front of everyone and explain why they chose the ornament they did. Initially, we thought this may be a little boring for the kids, but the oldest cousin is now 16 and they still love it! And it puts the emphasis on the thoughtfulness of giving (they are so excited when they find something really cool) vs. the receiving.

    -St. Nicks Day on Dec. 6th, although I put their treats in a little satin bag before putting them in their shoes. 🙂

    -We make and deliver salsa to our neighbors the week before.

    -Church on Christmas Eve, then home for crab dinner.

    -Open PJs, change and play board games until bedtime.

    -Cookies, milk and carrots out. Then we also sprinkle “reindeer dust” (oatmeal and glitter) in the yard so the reindeer see the sparkles from the sky. If there is snow on the ground, we make boot prints and hoof prints in the snow with a foam hockey puck that we cut in half. The pitch of our roof isn’t “sleigh friendly” so we hang an old fashioned key with a red satin ribbon on our front door.

    -One of us reads Night Before Christmas and near the end of the story, the other one of us goes outside with jingle bells and shakes them under the boys’ bedroom windows. Very exciting for little ones and great inspiriation for getting them to bed (we have told them Santa won’t stop if they are awake.)

    -Hang the pickle on the tree.

    -A tradition of a friend of ours that WE love, is that he makes homemade cinnamon rolls for all of our neighbors and delivers them on Christmas eve to be baked Christmas morning. Yum!

    -Another tradition for football fans…every year I order the collectible Bronco ornament from Danbury mint. They are somewhat spendy so I rotate them between the four boys, but they are always excited to see what this year’s version is. They are also fragile and you can’t order prior years so keep them safe!

    -My mom makes homemade hot chocolate, homemade marshmallows and then crushes chocolate mint candy canes and puts all of it in a 3-tiered tin. She does this for each family and her neighbors. So cute and so yummy!

    Happy Holidays to all. Happy Birthday to your baby girl Suz!!! Can’t wait to hold her!

  22. Kim Schwartzenberger permalink
    December 1, 2011 12:29 pm

    Christmas Eve is filled with appetizers all day long and some special holiday cocktail that is new. This year will be white Christmas Martini’s. We open one present under the tree and I give the kids a new PJ to wear, slippers and a stuffed animal. On Christmas day we usually stay in our PJ’s all day long.

  23. Kristen permalink
    December 1, 2011 4:30 pm

    Our favorite Christmas tradition is staying in our Christmas PJ’s all day long. With no family to visit it’s the perfect way to spend the day playing with all the new toys. Also on Christmas Eve we make cookies for Santa and reindeer food to sprinkle on the lawn. You can google different recipes, very simple to do. One year we made baby Jesus a birthday cake. And like many others the kids get to open one gift Christmas night. The four of them draw names for gift giving. And that is the gift they get Christmas Eve.
    Good luck with your Christmas baby Suzanne, what a blessing!

  24. December 2, 2011 8:11 am

    Although I don’t have children of my own yet, I have lots of traditions I plan to try to keep, as well as some new ones of our own! These include Christmas Eve church service, opening one gift on Christmas Eve, reading The Night Before Christmas, watching It’s A Wonderful Life as a family, and making a birthday cake for Baby Jesus so we can always remember the meaning behind the holiday!!!

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