manager-empty A few weeks ago, while I was outside “rigging up the lights”, the rest of the family was inside decorating for Christmas. For some reason, they didn’t want to be anywhere near me while I performed said task. Wonder why…

When I reappeared in the house, my son announced that he had put the manger out, but he “didn’t put Jesus in the manger”. All of the fog from the task of hanging the lights was gone in an instant. For in that moment, a tradition that began when I was a child growing up was carried on for another year and in my own home.

There is no need to schedule a prayer meeting for the Conrad household. We have not removed the baby Jesus from our Christmas. We just wait until after the Christmas eve service to place him in the manger. After all, he wasn’t there until then was he? I don’t expect that everyone would do this, so I am curious….what are your Christmas traditions?

3 gifts for the kids (since that is what Christ received)?

Cookies and Milk for “non-specific holiday figure”?

Open the night before, or the morning of?

I’d love to hear what others do and why. The floor is yours. I’ll be outside working on the lights….

27 thoughts on “Traditions

  1. my wife makes chicken enchiladas… dang good ones too…

    my mom/dad make steak… dang good ones too

    my wife’s side of the family makes “curry-beef and rice” which doesn’t have curry or beef in it… but its dang good too.

    used to be one present open on eve and the rest the next day. this year will be different though, so i’m not sure.

    Thats about it so far, nothing special.

  2. jaybrams leads off STRONG…dang good ones too…

    Last year we hit the local AA China buffet after Christmas eve service (and before the placing of the baby Jesus in the manger). Nothing like a little General Tso’s (here we go again) to top off Christmas eve and set the stage for Christmas morning.

    There’s no curry or beef in that either 🙂 LOL!

  3. Only ask “holiday figure” for one thing.

    Eat Chinnese on Christmas Day. We started this when we moved to Ohio.

    My brother always calls me on Christmas Eve to sing “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer”. When I was young he would sing over and over again that night. You know older brothers!!!

    I fix chex party mix, pumpkin rolls, cookies, candies throughout December.

    I read the kids The Christmas Story on Christmas Eve. Since Eric has had to take alot of call over the holidays I have enjoyed this special time with my kids.

  4. Mary – if I remember correctly, it was because of your Christmas day tradition that the AA China Buffet got a visit from the Conrad clan on Christmas Eve last year. Now it’s a tradition! So thanks to your tradition, we now have one too.

    And AA China Buffet has 5 more loyal customers on 12/24!

  5. AA China Buffet was not open last year on Christmas Day. We upgraded to a sit down Chinnese Christmas Dinner. I can’t remember the name…up on Mill Run. Eric had been there before.

    We got the idea from the movie “Christmas Story”. Rah! Rah! Rah! Rah!

    “It’s smiling at me”

  6. Garner Family Tradition

    Christmas Eve we go to the candle light service at church then we come home and bring out the spread of appetizers. (summer sausage, cheese, crackers, shrimp cocktail, etc) Then I stoke a fire for the roasted hotdogs. After that we of course make s’mores.

    While this is all going on we have Christmas music blaring in the background and all of the kiddies are running and dancing around the house.

    After all of the food is consumed and put away we all get to open one gift. The gift is always the same each year the everybody get the same thing. Pajama’s. Already washed so we can wear them to bed that nigh. This is nice because the kids PJ’s match. It make great pictures for opening presents the next morning.

    After the kiddies go to be, mom and I open our stocking gifts. There are usually some fun and funny things in there. You never know what is going to get re-gifted throughout the house.

    Christmas morning starts with making some Monkey Bread.

    I once again make a fire to make it look nice in the room and for a little heat.

    Then we wake up the kids and start opening up presents.

    After we open presents we generally just lounge around all day in our new PJ’s.

    (I think Heather needs to convince my wife to do the 3 gifts thing)

  7. Brian – What time should we be there on Christmas Eve? We’ll bring our own PJ’s! What a great way to spend the evening and the morning. Never heard of Monkey bread, but we might have to break some of that out this year too.

  8. For Christmas Eve we’ll go to church and afterwards have in-town family over for appetizers like Brian’s family does.

    I’ll break out the acoustic guitar and songbooks and sing some Christmas songs, too.

    Santa (he works for Jesus and has much sway in our house) gets a cookie and milk, and the kids go to bed.

    Lori and I then get the presents from the basement.

    On Christmas morning before the presents are opened, we read Luke 2: 1 – 20. There’s also a cookie/cupcake with a birthday candle on it and we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.

    I’m investigating Monkey Bread.

    Last night was a marathon gift-wrapping session. I’m going to introduce the 3 present concept to Lori.

  9. I forgot about that, Beth and the girls make a birthday cake for Jesus and decorate it and we sing happy birthday to Jesus.

    Mike, how much do you charge and hour? I love the thought of playing the guitar and singing but there is a problem, I can’t play.

  10. I think our small group for the winter session should be “Guitar Lessons with Mike”. What do you guys think? I’ve got the guitar and can play C,D,E,G and that is about it.

    I can read Tab too…..

  11. What a great post and great comments! I love reading about how others celebrate! We always spend Christmas Eve with my in-laws, Christmas morning at our own house with our immediate family, and then around noon we go to my mom’s for Christmas with her and my sister and her family.

    We don’t always get a certain number of gifts for the kids. Sometimes it’s a few and sometimes it’s more but if it’s more it’s because it’s little things rather than one big item or something.

    We used to leave milk and cookies out for Santa but our kids are older now and I don’t think we’ve done that in a few years.

  12. Three letters define the one Christmas Day tradition that I look forward to year ’round:

    T —–B—-S

    How can you not go wrong with 24 hours of “A Christmas Story”?!?!? It is the complete entertainment package with lessons in speaking a foreign language (fra-gee-lay), great action sequences (It’s Black Bart!), wonderful cuisine and delectable recipes (No turkey sandwiches! No turkey salad! No turkey gravy! Turkey Hash! Turkey a la King! Or gallons of turkey soup! Gone, ALL GONE!), a villian (Scott Farkus!), suspense (“I triple-dog-dare ya!), and a great soundtrack (Fa Ra Ra Ra Ra Ra Ra Ra!).

    Now where is my “official Red Ryder carbine action two-hundred shot range model air rifle”?

  13. Absolutely! It’s no wonder that one of the greatest Christmas movies ever would come from a place like my hometown of Cleveland! I love the scene with the bar of soap after he said “fuuuudddgggeee” and of course…”Not a Finga”!

    That’s it, I’m posting it!

  14. Cassadas Tradition

    We “invite” let’s say we hire a group of friends and make dozens of homemade tamales. The friends never know what they are up for until they get here. A dozen or two go home with them. Some go to the struggling families in our church with other food. It’s been an awesome tradition. I can’t wait.

  15. Brian said:

    “Mike, how much do you charge and hour? I love the thought of playing the guitar and singing but there is a problem, I can’t play.”

    I’d play for free. If you want any Elvis tunes, it’s 25cents a pop. In past years I’ve also gotten out the Irish pipes and a nice traditional Christmas tune book and had a party.

    Aaron said:

    “I think our small group for the winter session should be “Guitar Lessons with Mike”. What do you guys think? I’ve got the guitar and can play C,D,E,G and that is about it.

    I can read Tab too…..”

    A guitar small group would be cool. You’d be surprised how much damage you can do with the CAGED chords. It’s how you present and play what you know how to play. Johnny Cash, Elvis, Gene Autry were all CAGED players and they did OK.

    Tab can be a big friend. I use it to figure out difficult passages that I just can’t figure out by ear. The best tabs are PowerTabs, IMO.

  16. Hey man!

    Good post and a sad reminder to me that I am not much of a traditions kind of guy. This is a downfall for me.

    I do need to start a few with my bride and “The Ladies.”

    Good reminder man!


  17. Great traditions. The Tarapchaks enjoy a wonderful candle light service at church, the off to Bravos for dinner. We come home and get the kids ready for bed and put out cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer. Then it’s off to bed for the kids. They come back down to check for Santa, then it’s off to bed again. After repeating this several times and locking the kids in their rooms, it is to the basement to retrieve the gifts!!!

    Christmas morning is at our house as a family. After gift opening, it is breakfast of egg and sausage casserole. After that wonderful dish is consumed, we get ready and travel to the grandparents for the day!!

    Almost forgot. We also do an advent tree every year, starting on Dec. 1st. The kids really enjoy counting down the days to Christmas with the advent tree.

  18. It is really amaizing how many traditions my family does. Every post I read reminds me of something else. Take Stef for instande, he reminded me of reindeer food that the kids sprinkle outside to eat. Of course we do cookies and milk. The other think I forgot about was we also do the advent tree. So many traditions are done I just don’t realize they are traditions because we just do it every year without making a big deal out of it. I just hope my kids will remember some of our traditions and continue them with their famlies. Thank you all for sharing your traditions.

  19. Brian – Agreed 100%. Great comments today. Reminded me of many things we do that I forgot as well. It’s been fun spending Christmas Eve and Christmas day with you all! Thanks for joining in the fun.

  20. We have a new tradition at our house as of this year. Don’t know how long it will last. This year Santa (he is named in our house) assigned our girls an elf to monitor their behavior, and report back to him on a regular basis.

    As a result, we have an elf doll named Elliott. He’s a foot or so tall, has pointy ears (a given) and red hair. He can be mischievous. He’s slept in the girls’ dresser drawers last week and tonight he’s playing with stuffed Christmas toys.

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