Do you observe any nontraditional holiday traditions?

It’s one thing to bake cookies and bring a tree into the house. But some families follow customs that are off the beaten path. Do you observe any nontraditional holiday traditions?

  • Shane

    For Thanksgiving my family goes bowling after our big meal. It’s a ton of fun a great way to burn off the overload of calories.

  • anne

    Lasagna! Living with an Italian grandmother we’ll have lasagna for Christmas dinner instead of turkey or ham or whatnot. So yummy!

  • We are Heathens who practice Asatru which is a folk religion based on the Norse gods such as Odin, Thor, Freya and others so what we practice is the 12 days of Yule. This begins on Mother’s night (night before Winter solstice) where we are start a candle burning on a Yule log and burn one every night through Dec 31 which is Yule night where the Yule log is kept burning all night in honor of bringing in the new year.

    Some of the ashes from the Yule log are saved to start the Yule fire the next year.

    In Frith,


  • Marilyn

    Our Christmas celebration includes the reading of Robert Service’s The Cremation of Sam McGee. My husband instigated this practice over 50 years ago. Our oldest daughter memorized it portaging rocky trails in the BWCA. We also read Luke 2, of course, of course.

  • Ka

    We go by the German traditions. Children have an Adventsschnur (“Advent string”) which is made of small, gift-wrapped presents hanging from a string. They get to unwrap one present for each day of Advent.

  • Kelli

    The family gets together for homemade spaghetti and meatballs. Recipes are from Italian grandmother who arrived through Ellis Island in early 1900s. Today we use a machine to roll the dough into noodles but she always did it all by hand.

    On the other side of the family they receive a three can Planter’s gift pack. That’s one of the few things their Mom could afford to give them one year. They get them now to remind each other how they made it through those hard times together.

    I’ve exchanged Christmas ornaments with one friend for over 31 years.

  • Since getting hooked on the movie “The Christmas Story” years ago, we have skipped having the dogs steal our Christmas turkey. We go out for Chinese food every Christmas eve. Judging by the crowds we always run into, many others have adopted this tradition, too.

  • In order to minimize time in the kitchen on Christmas Eve, our family enjoys pizza after we get back from mass. Minimal cleanup so the kids can get to the presents sooner.

  • Brian Ernste

    Christmas eve has always been the night of our annual seafood feast. Each family member picks a dish to prepare to their liking (or a new recipe) and we all enjoy it. It started as something my Grandfather, an avid fisherman, would do and has been passed down to my family now. I have heard that it is a Norwegian tradition, however we have no Norwegian in my family so who knows…

  • Laurie

    We always try to find a fun movie the whole family enjoys and go on Christmas Day. Also, we always shoot fireworks on New Year’s Eve.

  • Steve

    We went bowling one fine Easter as a way to work off a little of the St. James’ Easter Buffet (in Red Wing)

    It is now known as Easterbowling Day, a much more secular, celebrated, and anticipated holiday!

  • Frank Smith

    As there is nothing to celebrate as a holiday (thoughout the year), I deviate from the “marketing and consumer tradiition” and spend every day as I do every other day. Wake up, breathe, work, fall asleep. Being a productive human each day is enough of a celebration for me.

  • Karl

    It is not Christmas in our house until the Christmas Alligator is on the TV. The alligator is a beaded animal from a Christmas Bazaar and it lives most of its life in the Christmas ornament box, which is probably how it came to be the Christmas Alligator.

  • James P Berka

    My family always made clam chowder and ate Swedish potato sausage on Christmas Eve. A mix of my Swedish mother’s side and my non-Swedish father’s side of the family.

  • Phillip

    For Iowa Christmas we have a massive meal, with Swedish sausage -korv- (barley, instead of potato), scalloped corn, basically the same meal each year with lots of desserts including ost kaka – swedish cheesecake. There are certain games we always have to play – Old folks vs. young folks pool, 500, and Up the River and Down, the last hand being Indian poker. Minnesota Christmas is normal, the only thing of note would be the amount of fudge we eat in one day.

  • Anna

    My in-laws are from Europe so I got used to some interesting traditions. Besides specific opinions on the holiday (only live trees) and unique home-made items, I find it interesting that they used to celebrate St. Nicholas day. We re-started this tradition with friends of ours from Germany and celebrate Dec 6 as well as Dec 25. In addition, we observe a “no meat on Christmas eve” and have seafood dishes instead per my husband’s family tradition.

  • Lori B

    We have eggs benedict with hashbrowns before opening gifts. It started when we were kids and our family was moving into a new house. The kitchen wasn’t done yet, so Mom hooked up a couple of electric frying pans and a toaster, and made eggs benedict. We later added fried chicken livers after gift opening because of a joke gift for my nephew.

  • Erika

    My husband and I host an annual Christmas Eve Pajama Brunch for our friends and family. It’s the perfect time to catch up with friends in town for the holiday before they spend time with their families, and the casual atmosphere is great for getting everyone ready for last-minute shopping or festivities. Pajama attire is required. 🙂

  • DNA

    I like to meditate on each of the Sabbaths

    …and to remember that every day is unprecedented and holy.

  • Damon Moss

    The night after Thanksgiving, all of us friends from high school, college, & work, refugees from our families, gather to drink & toast & watch Pee Wee’s Christmas Special. A tradition that has lasted almost 15 years now.

  • jessica sundheim

    Our tradition is a bit different for Minnesota. We go camping. We rent a camper cabin in a nearby state park, load up the cross country skiis and the four kids and the crock pot filled with stew or ham. We also bring plenty of board games. It is so much fun to be in a tiny cozy cabin (about 12′ X 16′) in the woods without tv, phones, or the computer. Last year four deer came running through the woods when we arrived and we saw evidence of beavers. You can ski right outside the door and there usually isn’t anyone around. It’s a great way to reconnect without the extended family after the big holiday dinners and church pageants are over.

  • Heidi

    We open all of our holiday cards after we open our gifts. We read and enjoy the message in each card while sharing memories of each sender.

    We instituted this to avoid just ripping open an envelope, scanning the card and signature and moving on to our “important” daily mail or other after work chores.

    Opening the cards is much more meaningful now.

  • Patrick

    Resisting consumer mania.

  • loaliowLica

    so informative, thanks to tell us.

  • Patty

    My kids and I started making Peppermint Marshmallows 3 years ago for Christmas. We make them homemade and give them out to family, friends & neighbors. Everyone loves them and we have so much fun making them!