Thursday, November 20, 2008

Holiday Traditions from Turkey to Santa

For the next couple of weeks, Internet Devotions is hosting a holiday extravaganza of sorts where every Thursday there will be a new Holiday topic to write about and share. I've decided to take part in this as I love, love, love the holidays and it just sounds like fun. So, here goes.

Since Thanksgiving has not come and gone as of it yet, and we all know how I feel about celebrating Christmas early, I'm going to focus first on Thanksgiving. Our traditions for turkey day seem to vary a bit and have been ever evolving since the birth of Hambone. My husband and I have family in four main locations across the U.S.: Colorado, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Tennessee. Of course, we do our best to make our rounds, but a kiddo and a tight budget make travel a little, well, challenging. Never mind our hectic work and school schedules. Needless to say, we never really know where we will be for Thanksgiving until just about a week or two before hand.

Thanksgiving for us, like most Americans, is a day full of "F" words: family, food and football. We sleep in, watch the Macy's Parade (a big favorite of mine - I'm a marching band junkie), eat lunch, watch football and sleep. Aaaah. Then, OMG, then after nap time, WAAHOOO the Christmas lights are turned on, the Christmas music turned on and the "most wonderful time of the year" begins. During the noon meal, however, there is something that my parents started a couple years back that I have come to love for very special reasons. You see, we sit down to eat together, all hold hands to pray and then we go around the table and each person shares what they are thankful for. It's a beautiful thing hearing other's thanking God for their blessings. It warms your heart, really. Then we sing Johnny Appleseed and dig in.

Christmas is a whole different bag of goodies. Because we are usually out of state for the Turkey day, I like to hang my Christmas lights and do all my Christmas decorating the weekend before we leave. Let me take a moment to say something here. Though I may decorate and hang lights, I do NOT turn them on for more than a few moments but to check that they are working. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people hang their lights before Thanksgiving and then turn them on. Would you believe I have a number of neighbors who have put up their lights on their house already and are TURNING THEM ON!!! This is just annoying. If you do this, I still love you, but stop. It makes complete sense to put them up before the bad weather. But turning them on? Let me also say that if Santa is still on your roof in February and you are still lighting him up, I hope teenagers get him in the night. Well, maybe not. I don't promote violence or destroying other people's property...but...your plastic Santa needs not be showing his face in February. Wow that's annoying!

Christmas is a time of many, many traditions. We watch Christmas movies all month long, listen to so much Christmas music that we're turning it off before Christmas because it wearing us down, bake sweet treats. We attend our church's Advent Festival, go to the mall to visit Santa, lay under the Christmas tree and look up at the lights. One of my favorites is loading up the car with friends, family and fabulous Christmas music and heading out to the "spendy" part of town with some Starbucks Peppermint Mocha and touring the Christmas lights on the big houses. This takes a couple hours and is sooooo much fun! This is my tradition and I love it.

For years we've made homemade popcorn balls with my grandma and they are decorated in multi-colored candy coating. I love that too. I also enjoy writing my Christmas letter and getting the cards sent out the day before Thanksgiving so people get them right afterwards. I love getting Christmas cards early from people because then I can set them out and enjoy them all month long.

There are of course Christmas parties to attend for work and friends/family. On Christmas Eve is when my family does their big celebration. Usually we attend the Christmas Eve service at church, then head to the house for our annual spread of chili and Oyster stew. Then the kiddos spread out the gifts to all the family members. We all sit down in a circle then and go from youngest to oldest opening one gift at a time. This takes hours, but is a lot of fun and involves lots of laughter, pictures, conversations and memories. Also, when someone gets a toy, we all play with it. It's just a rare opportunity to sit down and 'play' together. Santa comes in the night and in the morning we run out to see what Santa brought. The little ones have gifts on the fireplace from the Big Guy. The rest of us have tiny stocking gifts. Then, we sit around like the night before, but open little stocking gifts from oldest to youngest.

One of my recently new traditions is with my brother where we share gag gifts. I get him a real gift, but I also get him something super funny too. A couple of years ago I was in a sportsman's store and by the check-out I saw a container with a monkey on it. It was called "Anti-Monkey Butt Powder". I about died laughing in the store and I knew I had to get that for him. It's for several uses but my brother has a motorcycle and this is supposed to be used to avoid chaffing from sitting on the bike for so long. Anyway...great gift. Then another year I got him "Crack Spackle" from Duluth Trading Company. It's a Spackle like bucket that has a long (in length) t-shirt to help cover up "plumber's crack"...if you catch my drift. Another priceless gift. I have a couple of ideas for this year and I just can't wait. I get more of a kick out of this tradition than my brother for sure and probably anybody else for that matter, but I get a great laugh out if.

Well...these are my holiday traditions in a nutshell. I hope you share yours. Shalom to all of you!


Crystal said...

Johnny Appleseed?? Interesting. I didn't even know old Johnny had a song. :)

Thanks for sharing.

LauraLee Shaw said...

Oooooo, popcorn balls and gag gifts! This sounds like a ball! Thanks for sharing!

Amy Bayliss said...

I focused mostly on Thanksgiving too. That is like the holiday that kicks off all the other holidays. I enjoyed reading through your traditions.. I especially like the popcorn balls!

David Richardson said...

"Anti Monkey Butt Powder"?? That is hilarious. I never knew there was such a thing.

Too funny. :)

lori said...

I have to confess...I do decorate before hear me out:) that's because we leave to head up North for Thanksgiving...when we return home there's nothing better than plugging in the lights and knowing that we can ENJOY the season....:) If I promise NOT to put the lights on, will that work??:)

Great post...I laughed at the F words...LOL!


Natalie said...

It's so great to meet you!! Our posts fit so well together today. Our Thanksgiving is all about the "f" too!!

Woman on a Mission said...

Thanks to all of you for stopping by!

Crystal -'s pretty fun for the kiddos too.

LauraLee - I can't get enough of those delicious and devilishly a dental hazard popcorn balls. And the gag gifts...MY FAVORITE.

Amy - I agree. I just don't think you can truly enjoy Christmas without a little gobble first.

David - I KNOW!!!! I couldn't help it, I had to buy it. And...I just saw that Duluth Trading Company is selling it in their current catalog. HILARIOUS!!!! A great white elephant gift.

Lori - You crack me up. Rock on girl! I have nothing against those who plan ahead. We do that too for the same reason. I love coming home from out of town to see my house all sprinkled with Holiday cheer! I love it! Seriously though, my neighbor already has their plastic Santa in the lawn and, this is the kicker...turns him on at night. If I wasn't such a nice person, which I am and I love my neighbors, I would get a little Clark Grizwald on that Santa and take him out with my Mercury. :)

Natalie - Thanks for stopping by and there really is something special about the "F" words of Thanksgiving.

Tamela's Place said...

What an awesome video, it speaks volumes.

Sounds like you have an awesome family and great times. Great gag gifts by the way! LOL

Blessings to you.

Tamela :)

a corgi said...

what wonderful traditions and memories! thanks for sharing how you spend Thanksgiving/Christmas; we do a lot of the same things you do (or at least did a lot when the kids were still at home). When we lived in Montana; we took any opportunity that was warm to string our outside lights, but we never lit them until Thanksgiving evening and I'm always one that after Christmas is over, its time to take things down so our lights/tree is usually down by 12/28

have a Happy Thanksgiving!


Esthermay said...

Travel on thanksgiving... Yep. BTDT! It is so nice to settle down after it's over. No?
The gag gift amoung siblings is so special. It's the genetic tie I think that makes it so special. My brother and I do the same thing -- share laugh-till-ya'-cry moments with all other family members looking at us like we ought to me committed! It's a HOOT for all!
... I'm with ya' on lights OFF till Dec. 1st. It's just too special and too sacred.
Happy Traditions!

Francois said...

Tiffany, that was a really cool post. You and my wife Hayley are like 2 peas in a pod. She is a Christmas fanatic and just like nobody puts Baby in a corner, nobody messes with Christmas traditions.

Thanks for sharing, that was a cool read.

Ps. I wish we had Thanksgiving!

Oh, Double Ps. Macy`s in NYC was such a treat when we were there in November last year. The whole top floor is Christmas and we probably spent about 3 hours there. Ok, I spent 2 hours looking for somewhere to sit while Hayley walked around and around and around....

Heather Nicole said...

Thanks for sharing your Christmas traditions with me! Christmas sounds like a wonderful time at your house. I love the idea of opening up gifts one at a time from youngest to oldest! And I wouldnt be opposed if you shared your recipe for popcorn balls! ;)

Traci said...

Well...these are my holiday traditions in a nutshell.

A nut shell...a coconut shell. You have a lot of traditions! Sounds like fun!!

Nitewrit said...

Ah, your traditions and feelings about these holidays are much like my own, right down to the gag gifts. My daughter has even made us go on treasure hunts to find her gifts to us, hiding clues about the house we need find.

I remember once a "Bag of Laughs" which some how triggered in the box and wouldn't stop it's gawfaws all through the store and all the way home. Hard to keep a gift a secret when it is a blabbermouth og giggles.

Larry E.

Claudia said...

I love the idea of turning on Christmas lights after nap time on Thanksgiving Day. Won't happen this year as I haven't even thought about putting up Christmas stuff, but maybe next.

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