Contributor Corner | Holiday Traditions New & Old


What are your favorite holiday traditions? Have you incorporated memories from your childhood into the way your family celebrates this time of year now? Have you created new traditions with your children?

We asked our Scottsdale Moms Blog Contributors about their holiday traditions – one from when they were growing up, and another they’ve begun since having kids of their own. Enjoy their answers (in reverse-alphabetical order … because why should Tracy always have to go last?!), and tell us yours in the comments!


When I was a kid: Christmas Eve parties galore! We always had at least 3 Christmas eve parties to attend and they were always so much fun. They were by no means kid oriented but somehow my sister and I always managed to have a blast with all the grownups!

The next generation: Christmas tree decorating night. We have begun to do this sometime the weekend after Thanksgiving. Everyone is together and helps unpack the ornaments and arrange the m on the tree. We usually have a kid friendly Christmas movie in the background that we enjoy once we are finished decorating or just enjoy Christmas music. I also make homemade hot chocolate and serve it with marshmallows and shaved chocolate. This is by far the boys favorite part of the night!


When I was a kid: Every year our family would get bundled up (remember – I grew up in Iowa) and we’d go to a Christmas tree farm and pick out our tree together. Afterwards we’d stop somewhere to get hot chocolate or a dessert to warm up and spend time together anticipating the coming holiday season.

The next generation: This year I decided I wanted to create a DIY Advent Calendar (click for details) that we could use year after year. Nora is LOVING opening one box each day and hanging the ornaments on the tree. It has been such a fun way for all of us to anticipate Christmas Day.


When I was a kid: My mom bought a new, hardback, beautifully illustrated Christmas book every year. The first night that the decorations went up she presented it to us and read it aloud. The library of Christmas books grew over the years and every year a new one was added. Simple, but etched in my memory nonetheless.

The next generation: Every year we go to As You Wish (the pottery painting place) and make an ornament or something decorative for our home. While it’s so tempting to give these hand-painted treasures away as gifts, this way I know we’ll have a growing collection of Christmas decorations painted by my kids’ little hands.


When I was a kid: maybe it’s a southern California thing but tamales on Christmas eve were a must! Homemade by a friend.

The next generation: I couldn’t give it up! Now we buy them at Manuel’s but tamales are Christmas Eve dinner!


When I was a kid: I loved all our Christmas Eve traditions…setting up luminaries in our front yard, going to Christmas Eve services at our church, and getting to open one Christmas present early!

The next generation: We’re all about advent calendars at our house. For my son’s first Christmas we received an absolutely lovely book titled The Advent Book. The book is full of illustrations of beautiful doors that actually open. Every day we open one door and get to hear another part of the Christmas story. My son loves the book and by doing it every night, he is really learning and understanding the story of Christ’s birth. Afterwards, he gets one piece of chocolate from his Trader Joe’s advent calendar!


When I was a kid: Cookies, sugar, Stollen and presents – and this all happens after church on Christmas Eve! My family embraces our German heritage around Christmas by sharing gifts and treats on Christmas Eve! We would always sing Christmas carols and hymns and read the Christmas Story from the Bible as a family and then one-by-one open gifts.  Stockings have always been a Christmas morning treat.

The next generation: We are still working on this. This year we started the Jesse Tree, which is an advent calendar style daily celebration where each day an ornament is placed on the tree. The ornaments have pictures from a bible story/prophesy from the Old Testament that told of Jesus’ coming paired with a New Testament scripture that shows the prophesy’s fulfillment. Right now, this one is more for me and I’m enjoying remembering the reason for the season!


When I was a kid: matching pajamas from my Great-Grandmother that we’d open on Christmas Eve

The next generation: Getting hot chocolate with the kids and heading to a tree lot to pick out our tree right after Thanksgiving


When I was a kid: My mom still has the nativity scene we loved as kids. It’s all carved wood so we could play with it. My sister and I would re-enact Mary and Joseph coming to the manger and we would hide baby Jesus until Christmas Eve.

The next generation: I wrapped four candles in purple and pink ribbon and we sit down and light a new candle each Sunday of Advent. We sit by candlelight and read Advent prayers to get focused on the important parts of Christmas!


When I was a kid: We always had a beautifully decorated house and gorgeously wrapped presents. I remember the tradition of always opening one present on Christmas Eve and then the rest Christmas morning. Santa always left his presents unwrapped under the tree. This was how I first figured out that Santa wasn’t real, one of my friends said something about Santa wrapping all of her presents.

The next generation: One small thing that has become a tradition the girls love is they each pick out and buy a small ornament as their present to each other. As we were decorating the tree they loved talking about who gave what and when. And I know someday I will pack up those ornaments and give them to each girl to start their own Christmas traditions with their families.

What traditions do you treasure from your childhood years? What new ones have you started with your children? We would love to hear your stories!