In my opinion, one of the best parts of the holiday season is the traditions and rituals involved. For some, that means wrapping presents and getting together with family. For others, it means giving back to their community. There are the common traditions, like decorating a tree, and then there are the unique rituals that people create themselves. To me, those atypical traditions make up the most interesting (not to mention, fun) parts about the holiday season. That's why I asked moms to share their totally bizarre holiday traditions and, thankfully, they did not disappoint.
I have a few traditions from childhood that I continue to share with my family. We always did Noche Buena, which is the Latinx tradition of cooking a big meal and getting together with family and friends on Christmas Eve. We stay up till midnight (or as late as my kid can handle) and let him open one gift before bed. I’ve also started another tradition as of last year. No matter what, I always find myself wrapping gifts well after midnight on Christmas Eve. So now I do it while enjoying my evening cocktail and watching Drunk History. I could have sworn I would wake up my family while wrapping gifts last year and laughing my ass off, but they snoozed right through it. It was kind of a nice all-me-on-my-own tradition that I plan to continue for years to come.
And I know I'm not alone. A lot of moms have found a way to make the holidays all their own by creating traditions they actually enjoy. The following moms are probably celebrating these totally festive, random, unique traditions right now. I say we all take a page from their book and do the same.
“[My kid] and I have a Christmas mailbox we keep under the tree, and we give each other little gifts in it through the month of December. It's so much fun!”
“Christmas isn't big for us, so we leave our kid with my parents and have a fancy date night on the 24th and 25th while the grandparents do the traditional stuff.”
“We always meet up with my parents on New Year's Day and watch the 1979 classic Meatballs together. It's about summer camp and has nothing to do with the holidays, but we always watched it on that day as kids and now we bring our kids over to watch.”
“We do a charity shop secret santa, max £5 per head and it has to be from a charity shop so you can buy silly things without feeling guilty.”
“My dad is Jewish and wanted a way to be a part of Christmas since my mom is Methodist. He created a character called Harvey Wozniak who is similar to Santa. Harvey always gave us silly gifts. One year, my 16-year-old sister got a ‘car seed': a Matchbox car with instructions to plant it and water with oil. Another year, he gave us a calendar with family photos for each month and a weird quirky holiday for each day. It's always something odd and ridiculous. I am almost 40 and have gotten a present from Harvey every year since I can remember. I know I'll continue this with [my own kid] because it's hilarious.”
“We make a paper chain during the month of November on which we write things we are grateful for. We then use the chain to decorate our Christmas tree every year.”
“I've been making handmade ornaments with my kids since my oldest was a toddler. I now have a 6, 12 and 15 year old and we still sit down each year and each make a new one together. Something different every year. Our tree is now basically cram-packed with crafts and kid-art. It's amazing.”
“We do St. Nick's day, too, which is common for Wisconsinites to celebrate on the morning of December 6th. Our kids wondered if St. Nick and Santa Claus we're the same person a few years ago, so we told them how that is a common misconception. Then we told them that they're actually a married couple who look a lot alike and help each other out with their respective jobs, because getting to all the stockings and trees in the capitalist world in one night alone is very difficult.
When my kids asked why everyone thought Mrs. Claus was married to Santa, we had to be frank with the kids. We told them that because it's only been quite recently in human history that gay men were able to be out without fear of being ostracized, or worse, St. Nick, Santa, and Mrs. Claus came up with this ruse so they wouldn't be targeted by homophobia.
Now that some places of the world are safer for people of all sexualities, St. Nick and Santa are able to speak their truth.”
“My parents had one! We would go to the grocery store a few days before Christmas and I was allowed to put whatever I wanted into the cart, no expenses spared. I looked forward to it every year and had so much fun picking out my haul. I went for all my favorites. I distinctly remember thinking that a bag of raw slivered almonds was the height of luxury.”
“We go out in the woods and decorate a tree for the birds and animals, using things like berries, bird seed, and nuts.”
“Since becoming adults, my family and I watch Point Break every Christmas after the kids go to bed.”
“We do 24 Acts of Kindness in December as we countdown to Christmas. Make cookies for neighbors, buy gifts for kids (usually through Reddit wish lists, but essentially digital ‘angel tree’), donate to local charities, make a dinner for someone in need, etc. We do this stuff all year, too, but not as intentionally/daily.”
“Our Jewish family spends every Christmas (eve and day) at an indoor waterpark resort with another Jewish family. We bring games and cook in our hotel kitchenette and enjoy the short lines and uncrowded spaces!”
“We do our own special version of Christmas. We call it Fauxmas. We pick a weekend a few weeks before Christmas, my brother and sister and our family, and spend the night at our parents house. We pretend like it's Christmas morning the next day, we wake up and open gifts and eat tons of food, play games, and it is so much fun. We started doing it when we realized that we spent so much time on the road trying to travel around to squeeze a quick hour-long visit in with each other on the actual holiday. I can't recommend it enough for everyone! Now that we all have our own kids, they love it too! This year my sister, my niece, myself, and my two girls all wore matching pajamas!”
“My husband's family is huge. They have this epic Trivial Pursuit game (usually on Thanksgiving) with teams and it gets super competitive. My family has a super competitive card party where they give a prize to the best and worst player. I feel like both are kind of a rite of passage for anyone joining the family. Can you handle this? Yes? OK, you're in.”
“We each buy ourselves one gift for Christmas. We buy it and secret wrap it up, and put it under the tree. Then we surprise everyone else with what we bought. It's become a really big deal over the years. It's always the first gift to be open.”
"For Hanukkah, we go to the local donut shop for dinner one of the nights. Sufganiyot (jelly donuts) are a traditional Hanukkah food and this is our way of doing it!"
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