Friday, December 5, 2014

christmas traditions

traditioooooon! tradition!! come on.... can anyone truly talk about traditions without singing that portion of fiddler on the roof? lets get real....

growing up we had a lot of family traditions throughout the year.....but nothing topped christmas time. our family oooooozes tradition at christmas time. and it made christmas such a special holiday for me. i love hearing about other people's traditions, so i thought i would share some of our family favorites on the blog as i sit in my christmas tree-lit living room.

--new ornaments, a tree, and ice cream. it was probably the first monday of december we would get our tree up and decorate it with all our ornaments! my mom bought us a new one each year. afterwards we would all get in our pajamas, pile into our little ford taurus that had a bench seat in the front (being the youngest...i was always sitting in between my mom and dad in the front)...pop in our christmas tape (yes...tape) that had "santa clause is coming to town" among others and jam out while we went to get some ice cream. my sisters all had a little dance routine made up in the back and i was always so jealous that i got stuck up with the oldies ;)

--the forgotten carols. i'm sure most of you are familiar with the forgotten carols by michael mclean, but if you aren't...look them up. we didn't do this EVERY year but we would kind of rotate doing it over the years (probably so we didn't get sick of it). we had the book and each morning my mom would read a chapter or part of a chapter and then we would all listen to the song that went with the chapter. they are still some of my very favorite christmas songs. they have so much truth and good doctrine in them and really bring you the real feeling and meaning of christmas. if you have a chance, go see his show he does every really is special. or just look up the music.

--white christmas. this one is pretty some point we watched white christmas. and i still do. such a classic film. ahhh that bing crosby's voice. my husband hates the movie...but he grew up watching a christmas story and christmas vacation. 

--the present code. this one was perhaps one of my absolute favorites. being the competitive family we are...this challenge was a fun one. my mom would make a different code each year for the presents. we didn't do name tags. we weren't allowed to touch or move gifts....only observe them from how they were carefully placed. some years it was stickers and we had to figure out whose sticker was for who. sometimes it was the color or style of wrapping paper or bows, each year got more and more difficult to decipher. we spent all month trying to crack the code and finally on christmas morning, each of us would share our guesses and my mom would reveal the real answers.

--caroling at the cemetery. this may sound odd to some of you, i think it was a little weird for my husband at first. my mom's brother died when he was 23...and my grandma passed away 6 years ago. they are both buried in idaho falls and every year we go up to the ammon cemetery which sits on the hill, we bring them a little christmas tree, and we sing christmas songs. you really feel something special as we look out over the usual snow covered valley, seeing all the homes with christmas lights, singing christmas songs. it's so peaceful and i truly feel like they are both with us while we are there.

--the christmas eve program. every christmas eve my mom's side of the family all meet together and we do some sort of program which usually includes dinner, scriptures, songs, etc. etc. anything to bring the focus back to the Savior. they have always been special and memorable.  

--the christmas eve routine. i generalized this under "routine" because it isn't just one thing we do christmas eve night. after we get home from the program me and my 3 sisters would open up our new christmas jammies, change into them, take a picture while usually singing "sister, sister" from white christmas. we would set out the milk and cookies, the stockings with our names by them (so santa would know where to leave our gifts) and then pile into my mom and dads room as they locked us away for the night complete with christmas bells on the door (so if we tried to escape they would hear us). my parents slept out by the tree while us 4 girls stayed up giggling, watching movies, and doing what sisters do. being the youngest, i thought my older sisters were the coolest thing ever, (although they didn't always feel the same about me in my younger years....haha) so i loved being locked in a room with them aaaallll night where they were forced to hang out with me. and we were all always in such a good mood that it was always a for sure great time!

--an early christmas. we weren't really the sleeping in type on christmas morning. we normally woke up around 4 am to start our morning. we all had our blankets wrapped around us as we lined up oldest to youngest, hands on shoulders, eyes closed as my dad led us down the stairs and placed us in front of our gifts from santa! 

--the christmas game/boxing day. the following day, boxing day, we would all go to my grandparents house and play a big christmas present game that my grandma would put together. it was always a fun time...we are a competitive bunch. we stopped doing it a few years before my grandma passed but my mom started it with just us rhoades family before that. we still do it and it's the thing i most look forward to at christmas. we have the best time staying up late, playing the different games, laughing our heads off, winning quite the loot, and genuinely having the best time together. 

we have tons more but those are some of my absolute favorites! they have the best memories linked to them. now that i have my own little family i am so excited to come up with some of our own family traditions to do each year. 

--i would love to hear some of your family's favorite christmas traditions!! i want some more good ideas for my little growing family!--


  1. I loved this! I may have teared up a bit reading it and remembering all the great times at Christmas time. I loved going up there and miss it every year. We grew up in a pretty great family :)

    1. we really did grow up in a pretty awesome family. even if they are a little cray cray sometimes. i miss you guys at christmas.

  2. I absolutely love the caroling at the cemetery that you do. What a great way to keep those who have left included.

    1. thank you! it's probably my most favorite tradition. so special every year.