12 Days Giveaway, Day 1–Traditions

I’m launching my 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

12 Days of Christmas

today in tandem with a Purrfectly Fantastic Blog Hop.


For as long as there’s been holidays, there have been traditions.

As a reader and a writer who enjoys the Colonial era to the early Victorian era, I feel it only right to share some of the traditions that started then that many of us still do today:

  • Mistletoe–was gathered and hung in the late 18th and early 19th century to symbolize peace, harmony and hope. Sprigs were hung around the house, particularly from chandeliers.
  • Christmas Trees–early Christmas trees were actually hung upside down! They were also considered by some a symbolism of God because of their triangular shape representing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Prior to 1846 when Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their children were drawn in an illustrated circular standing around their tree, Christmas trees in England were not very common.
  • Trimming the Tree–in 1610 Germans began creating decorations for their tree (even Martin Luther once wrote about decorating a small tree near Christmas time). One of the German’s favorite thing to use was tinsel which was made of real silver until the late 1800s. In the mid-1850s glass bulges and beads were created, resembling long necklaces, and used to decorate the trees. Throughout the ages of Christmas trees, small toys and trinkets were hung on the trees–and not necessarily just for decoration. Most times, these were actually gifts meant for family members.
  • Entertainment–these days we have carolers who walk around in groups singing, during the Regency era–and before, they had Mummers which were lower class men who’d dress in costumes to perform short plays or tell jokes for money.
  • Christmas Cards–First issued (recorded anyway) by Queen Victoria during the 1840s. She sent them out to friends and family to tell of the significant events of the year for her family and to wish them well for the holidays. It wouldn’t be until more than a century later that the leader of the US (President Eisenhower in 1953) would send out the first official Christmas Cards from the president–which featured the White House, naturally.
  • Christmas or Xmas–Ever wonder where we get Xmas from Christmas? It’s not as new as you think and actually dates back to the early years of Christianity because in Greek, the word Christ starts with an X.

Considering we’re all modern people living in modern times, we all very well might have participated in at least one of those traditions: cards, carols, decorating the tree, kissing under the mistletoe, but it’s always fun to have our own traditions.

In my family, we have two that date back to the first Christmas my husband and I were married:

1. On Christmas Eve we tie a “fly”.

Christmas Fly 2008

2. On Christmas Day–no matter how cold it is or if we have to break the ice over the pond–we fish with it, each person casting at least once.

RG Fishing Christmas2010

Fishing 2012

(If you’ve ever wondered why I have several of my heroes as fly fishermen, this is why!)

These are not traditional traditions by any means. Nor are they what any little girl dreams of doing each year when she grows up. But sometimes the best traditions aren’t the ones that everyone else does, but the ones have the most meaning to you.

So what are your traditions?

Comment below telling us what your favorite holiday (can be Christmas or any holiday) tradition is for a chance to win a $25 dollar gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

If you came to visit on the blog hop, I do thank you for coming by, and be sure to follow this link back to the list of participants.

If you’re participating in the 12 Days of Christmas giveaway that I’m running, not only will your comment today be in the drawing for today’s prize, but also for the grand prize of a Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet on Christmas morning (or evening depending on which part of the world you live in).

And don’t forget, there are other ways to enter the 12 Days of Christmas for many more prizes. In case you missed any details on this giveaway, please follow this link.

73 thoughts on “12 Days Giveaway, Day 1–Traditions”

  1. My favorite Christmas holidays is when we are putting the tree and decorating it, it’s the moment when we share memories, annecdotes of family members ( living or not) it’s a way to share our family history and i love it

    thank you once again for this event


  2. I started a Christmas tradition with my husband after he experienced a passing of a family member very close to his heart. Each year I purchase and wrap a present from that person and leave it under the tree. It sounds silly but to watch him look for that gift each year it reminds me of the spirit of Christmas to bring joy and peace to others. The gift is just a reminder that even though they have past they live foreve in out memories and hearts. Oh and on a lighter side of things thanks for Xmas bit I did not know that and when someone says Xmas is Christmas without Christ I can say NO it is not. Lol.

    1. You’re welcome on the explanation of the X in Christmas. I see that saying all the time too (especially on Facebook) but now that I know that the X is part of Christ, I don’t seem to mind so much.

      I love your tradition, by the way. Very neat and unique.

  3. Our favourite holiday tradition is at Easter when my husband will have hidedn the eggs and presses the doorbell as the easter bunny. He runs like mad to get back into the house from the back…and then he joins the kids while they all try to run and catch a glimpse of the bunny hopping away…My hubby always makes sure there is a trail of carrots the kids left out, half eaten and making a trail to follow. They then go on an easter egg hunt with decorated buckets that they make before hand

  4. Love your books and yours posts! This year I started a new tradition, we will have a real Christmas tree from now on!

    1. Nothing beats the smell of pine needles in the carpet in May! (Only kidding…kind of!)

      I’m glad you love my books and my posts. I try to be entertaining with the posts, but sometimes I wonder just want those on the other end think of my craziness.

  5. When I was little, so little I don’t remember our tradition was to open all of are presents on Christmas Eve except for the stocking gifts and open the stocking gifts Christmas morning. That all changed when I was four and a half and my brother was born Christmas Eve. Since then Christmas Eve is all for him, until just before bed, when we open one gift each. Everything else is opened on Christmas. A connected semi tradition is that my siblings and I like to hide our gifts in the tree between the branches. My favorite part though is the tradition my youngest two siblings seemed to have adopted. Every year, they place a wrapped container of some sort under the tree. Inside is a clue that leads to another clue. I’ve seen my brother make dozens of clues for my sister to find and she doesn’t shy away from double digit treasure hunts for him either. Nor do they contain themselves to our house or even our property as one year a present was burried in the backyard under a pile of leaves and one of the clues was stuck to a light post in the Walmart parking lot (it’s within walking distance). It’s always fun to see what those two come up with.

    1. I love scavenger hunts that have clues that lead to other clues. I did one of those with my husband’s birthday present a few years ago. I think I had more fun thinking up the clues and putting it all together than he did figuring it out. Still, I LOVE the idea.

  6. My family doesn’t celebrate a traditional Christmas… Each year on Dec. 25th we go skiing! The “local” slopes are open and there’s no one there. No line for the lift, no one to run into, no one to run into you. Our kids are not quite old enough to join in the fun… But it’s getting close. Maybe we’ll start with snow tubing.

  7. Our anniversary is 2days before Christmas, so on the 23rd we go to see The Festival of Lights. We usually go late and take the kids. It’s wonderful to see the ones that was there when I was a child and the new ones mixed together.

  8. What a neat tradition 🙂 We go to Grandmas on Christmas Eve and spend time together so then on Christmas Day the boys can open their gifts and spend the day playing…er fighting…together. Homemade waffles and eggs for breakfast 🙂

    1. Your boys play and fight too, eh? Mine are so close in age (16 months apart) we still have to get them the same thing to avoid the fighting. Love the homemade waffles. Two years ago, I strayed from the traditional Christmas dinner menu and did a huge brunch, with waffles, of course.

  9. Christmas Eve is one of my favorite days out the year. We cram about 15-20 people into a pretty small house.. add some crazed animals running about trying to con food out of everyone, eat the same meal pretty much every year (and trust me, trying to change the meal is met with GREAT resistance lol).. go walking around looking at Christmas lights, play music and open gifts. It’s a fabulous night!

  10. My family’s favorite Christmas tradition is to watch all the Die Hard movies together the night before Christmas (or as many of them as we can)!

  11. Growing up my favorite Christmas Tradition was performing in the Children’s Christmas Eve service at church and then heading over to my Grandmother’s to have Christmas with the extended family. She passed away over 20 years ago and my Aunt and Uncle took up Christmas Eve at their house, but once my brother and I were both married with kids my parents started having all of us over for Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve is still my favorite part of Christmas. My other favorite Christmas traditions for my family are my husband reading the Christmas story (Luke 2) before the boys are allowed to open their presents Christmas morning and Every Christmas my husband cooks Christmas dinner for us, usually a roast with all the trimmings.


    1. Funny how Christmas traditions change when you grow up and have a family of your own, isn’t it?

      By the way, I think it’s great that your husband cooks the dinner, perhaps he and Bob should get together some time…

  12. My favorite tradition Christmas morning is waking the kids up from their slumber. My children are awake before me every other day of the year. For some reason, on Christmas morning, I am always the first one to be awake. I love waking the little ones up and seeing their faces when they see their Santa present! After playing with their toy for a while, we sit down and have cinnamon rolls fror breakfast. It’s my favorite day of the year!!!

    1. Well, I must extend my thanks. My mother-in-law will be in town for Christmas for the first time since I married my husband in 2004 and she wants to come for breakfast to have “some sort of sweet roll”, her words, not mine. I had no idea what to make, but now you’ve got me craving cinnamon rolls! So I guess that settles that. Thanks for coming by.

  13. On Christmas Eve After going to candle light service at church, we drive around town and look at all the lights and then the last thing we do is drive through the neighborhood in our town that is known for every house doing lumanaries.

    1. My mom was a huge Christmas light fan. She didn’t hang them, she made us drive around night after night looking at them. You two would get along very well in this regard.

  14. Our family always opens new PJ’s on Christmas Eve! So on Christmas morning we all look nice in new PJ’s! You are very brave to fish on Christmas!!

    Thanks for the link Rose!

    1. Now this is a tradition I need to steal…er borrow.

      I do live in the top of Oklahoma, so it’s not always frigid and snowy on Christmas. In fact, some years it’s really nice. But then there are other years where it’s anything but.

  15. I love the fly tying idea. I need to share that with my hubby and son. They love fly fishing!!! When I was a little girl I used to sit in front of the windows in my new Christmas nightgown that my grandfather always bought for me each Christmas and look for Rudolph’s shiny nose. When I would see the red light (a plane now I know) we would walk to my grandparents house for cake and open our gifts. When I came back home that night Santa had already stopped at my house and left my gifts! I had to wait for Christmas morning to empty my stocking though. 😉

  16. Since we live far from my family, we alternate Christmases, so one year we’re home, the next with my family. When we’re traveling, we always have a gift for the travel day which actually started wtih my husband giving me a gift on the flight to my parents (LOOONNGGG before we had children). When we’re home, the girls have a small gift in their stocking every morning for the month of December.

    1. I think I need to move in with you! I will say after taking my kids across the country every summer for the last four years, a gift each day of travel is probably as wonderful for you as it is for them, to give them something new to play with and explore.

  17. Those are very interesting. I have not heard of any of those before. We love to put up our tree right after Thanksgiving. And then start baking some Christmas cookies. I don’t make a lot but; I like to space them out as not to get sick of making cookies. LOL. Thanks for the awesome giveaway, Merry Christmas.
    Sue B

    1. Merry Christmas to you, too.

      I don’t do cookies. I burn them every time. I’ve done peanut butter balls though and for several years made 100 of them the day after Thanksgiving. It took the better part of a half an hour and I told my husband and kids, “When they’re gone, they’re gone.” That probably helped us space them out and not eat them all at once and get sick.

  18. On Christmas morning before anyone is up, I make a plate of fresh hot cinnimon rolls and hot chocolate and hot coffee and take in in front of the tree and we all have a light breakfast prior to opening gifts, we started that 43 yrs ago on our daughter’s first christmas and now with 8 grandkids, we have continued but a little differenttly, we do it after supper for dessert before gifts, My 2 grown children do the same thing with their children also.

  19. A Christmas tradition that my family and i do is that we each get to open one present on Christmas eve and save the rest for Christmas day. And a past tradition we do not do any more is when we were little my sisters and parents and I would sit around the Christmas tree get pots, pans and wooden spoon and sing Christmas carols along to our “percussion.”

    1. Kudos to you for your self-control and waiting until Christmas Day.

      My mom would have never survived this waiting until Christmas Day to open presents bit. It was all she could manage to wait until Christmas Eve.

    2. By the way, I forgot to mention this, but the mental image of your sisters playing percussion on the pots and pans reminded me of two years ago when my brother-in-law bought our 3 year old a snare drum. All I can so, Alanna is you reap what you sow! LOL

  20. Although I am single and without kids, I still decorate a Christmas tree and put lights up outside. I enjoy attending Christmas Eve mass (midnight mass if I feel up to staying up late). The music is beautiful and the nativity is inspirational.

    1. Nothing wrong with a single woman putting up a tree and decorating. You lose me at the Midnight Mass though. I’d probably embarrass myself and fall asleep in the middle. Thanks for coming by!

  21. A tradition for Christmas time that we have had is on Christmas Eve spending time with Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents and cousins. Over the years less of us have been able to get together, but I still always get together with my brother, mom, and step-dad. When I was younger the thing I loved was that I’d get to open some presents before Santa came! 🙂 Now that I’m an adult, it’s more important to spend time with my family.

    1. That’s so great that all of you try to still get together on Christmas. It seems in this crazy, busy world that less and less often are families truly able to get together at the holidays.

  22. I enjoy looking at Christmas lights in the nearby neighborhoods. Years ago, I tried fishing and had fun doing it. Of course, it’s only fun to me if you catch something.

    strive4bst(At) yahoo(Dot) com

    1. People can get so creative with their lights, can’t they? I love seeing what people come up with.

      My husband only thinks it’s fun to fish if you catch something, too. That being said, we’ve never caught a thing except weeds on Christmas. We started our tradition when we first married because we didn’t have anything else to do. We didn’t live close to our families and didn’t have the money to go anywhere. Fishing was free and gave us a chance to make a new tradition.

  23. I love to celebrate Christmas on Christmas eve. as a pastor’s daughter we always opened presents after the traditional children’s Christmas Eve. service, because there was no time the next morning with all the Christmas services.One of my favorite things to bake on Christmas Eve. is Pull-apart breakfast bread (sticky buns) the kids and grandkids love it with all its yummy gooey brown sugar , cinnamon and pecans.

    1. Yum, just yum.

      I hadn’t thought about the dilemma a Pastor’s family might face with squeezing in time for Christmas presents and dinner around all the programs going on at the church.

  24. I love the tradition of the big family dinner! I love getting together with my family and eating and just enjoying each other company. As of right now the get together at my grandmother is over 40 people 🙂 So lots of family crammed into one house

    1. Can you recite it from memory now? I have a novel like that. I’ve read it so many times, I could probably stand in front of a crowd and recite it forward and backwards.

  25. Christmas dinner with my family is my favorite tradition.
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    by.evie at yahoo dot com dot br

  26. I love doing white elephant gifts with the dice game! I love seeing what junk people have found around the house to donate to the game. It is hilarious when you notice the same “gift” come back the next Christmas

  27. My favorite tradition is the Christmas sleepover at my Dad’s. All 13 of us (including my Mom and they have been divorced for a long time) play games, sing off key a christmas carols with violin accompaniment (thanks to my sister in law!) festive food, lots of laughter, & brunch in our Jammie’s the next morning!

    Sassychassy333 at gmail dot com

  28. My favorite tradition is our extended family gets together Christmas Eve, to open presents, eat and either play games or watch movies (I’m going to try and read maybe this year 😉 and then Christmas Day it’s just immediate family, we open presents, eat and just relax for the rest of the day.


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