Christmas traditions

I’ll tell you mine, if you’ll tell me yours. πŸ™‚

I’ve always loved Christmas decorations. As a child, we always had a decorated tree, but that was the extent of the decorations. However, my grandparents had lots of decorations.

My grandmother also enjoyed making wreaths and sprays with fresh greenery and winterberries. Thanksgiving weekend arrives, and I start itching to cut branches.

I have pine aplenty but no fir or enough winterberries to work. But, with credit card in hand, my local greenhouse had plenty of fresh supplies to choose from.

I did an outdoor arrangement and made sure I had enough to put in a vase that just happened to be one my grandparents received for their 50th anniversary. I got a 2 for 1 memory with the indoor arrangement.

I need to be able to take everything down quickly because of our departure for SC right after the holiday and since I don’t need room underneath for presents, I got the smaller tree down. For teenagers with long lists of items that in most cases grandparents don’t even recognize the name, cash is king, and cash doesn’t require a box. Sad but true.Β If you have any actual presents to be wrapped, just let me know, and I’ll come right over. I miss it.

The 4′ tree needed some height at the bottom so I used a washtub as a base, covered it with green burlap, and set it on a plant stand. I love repurposing so this works for me. I still have my lights and all of my favorite, family ornaments a few of which are well over 50 years old. Some of the older ones are a little worse for the wear, but I understand and appreciate that because those words could probably be used to describe me as well. πŸ™‚

I love ornaments and buy one each time we travel. I also buy one for my daughter and grandkids each year whether they want one or not. It’s my thing. I can’t be stopped even with the rolling of the eyes. πŸ™‚

While at the greenhouse I also saw a couple of cute planters made out of pallets. I grabbed a photo for you because I am always amazed by what people do with pallets.

Then there is the food. Besides the traditional items, there are two things we always have – cranberry jello with fresh cranberries and apple that my mother-in-law always made and at least a couple of batches of toffee.

I do well in a toffee coma. The toffee recipe is from fellow blogger, Kerry at Love Those Hands at Home. Β I think kindly of her every time I make a batch.

So, now it’s your turn. What’s on your Christmas traditions list?Β πŸŽ„

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About Judy @ NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
This entry was posted in New England and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

87 Responses to Christmas traditions

  1. Joyce says:

    I understand about kids growing out of the need for wrapped gifts and into “cash only” status! This year, for the first time, the 9 year old twins can’t think of a thing they want grandma to buy – but sure would appreciate money for – you guessed it! – video games! Easier on me, yes, but sad, mostly!
    Loved seeing your childhood ornaments. I have many that I once saw hanging on my parents’ tree, especially a large cream colored one with blue painted roses that mom just adored and hung first – and high – like I did yesterday!
    I like your innovative use of the wash tubs, your dear Santas, and the fact that you’ll, once again, miss all the “fun” of a long, cold, post-Christmas slump in a cold weather state!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Maybe we should start a ‘support group’ for grandmas whose grandkids have aged out of presents. I can see us now gathered around in a circle, but instead of coffee let’s have wine. We will feel better sooner if we have the wine with maybe just a little chocolate. πŸ™‚

      Like

  2. Laurie Graves says:

    Wonderful post! Stay tuned for our central Maine traditions.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Murphy's Law says:

    Judy your decorations are beautiful. Tree looks perfect. I have a small stuffed Santa that is well over 100 years old. He perches on a top branch just under the angel tree topper. Most of our ornaments are hand made by us, and a few that my mother made.

    When the girls were young we took them to a nursery that turned into a winter wonderland every Christmas season. They each chose 2 or 3 ornaments each year. When they went out on their own I gave them their ornaments to decorate their own tree.

    Believe it or not, the macaroni ornaments the girls made in school and in Sunday school still have the glitter on them! That stuff would survive an atomic bomb! Lol. And some of my really old ornaments are in better shape than me. What’s up with that? πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I follow very few of our family’s traditions as I have gotten older, especially since we don’t have kids and grandkids. But, memories of those traditions are still in my heart… and will be forever. This year, I am thinking of making springerle cookies using my father’s recipe… he lovingly made then every year and we lovingly ate them. I haven’t made them in years, but their anise smell and taste are fresh in my mind.

    Liked by 3 people

    • That sounds wonderful. No one in my family made those, but I’m very familiar with them. They are much more defined, but they kind of remind me of the cookies made with the old silver cookie press. My mother and grandmother both had those and would put the dough into the canister with a shape disc attached like on a pastry bag, and then you turned the black handle to force the dough through the disc. Just thinking about it makes me smile as I’m sure the springerle cookies do for you. Hope you post a photo. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I bought fairy lights for our miniature tree and I still need to get a wreath … but that’s about it. This house is VERY decorated already. I add a couple of big wooded nutcrackers. The tree is decorated, but needs lights. And I can turn on the blue lights over the big window.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. tonytomeo says:

    Although I dislike the decorations, I figure that I may as well make the best of it. I grew a funny looking Christmas tree from an Eastern red cedar that I brought back from Oklahoma. It is nothing like our native Douglas firs, and is actually somewhat awkward and smells funny too. Yet, it is a very important little tree, just because of where it came from. I hope it does not mind being adorned with all those embarrassing decorations.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. We often buy a tree ornament on our travels too. They bring back so many happy memories when we decorate the tree each year. When my girls were little, we used to make stained glass gingerbread in December. I haven’t for years, because then I would have to eat it all. Christmas isn’t nearly as elaborate as it used to be.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. joey says:

    As you read, I love to decorate the tree. I’m sending out fewer than 20 cards this year. I’m also baking fewer cookies and buying fewer gifts. Last year left me a bit edgy and I had the realization that my efforts may be better spent elsewhere. I’ll not go on.
    Anyway, I always enjoy the twinkly lights. They’re automatic elevators of joy πŸ™‚
    There’ll be boxes to wrap at my house. I even have one kid who loves socks. God love her heart. I do love to wrap πŸ™‚
    Love that snow baby ornament. That’s precious.
    I would like to try cran jello with berries, I would. I don’t care for ‘real’ cranberry sauce, I like the jelly from a can. It’s very non-foodie of me, but that’s the truth.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. germac4 says:

    I’m going to show your post to my daughters, because I am a compulsive buyer of ornaments for the Christmas tree, and no amount of rolling of the eyes is going to change this addiction. I love your grandparents vase too, how wonderful to be able to use it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s good to know I’m not alone out here collecting ornaments for daughters and granddaughters. πŸ™‚ My granddaughter came to visit today, and we placed the ornament order online. They don’t have to go anywhere with Grandma, I can still feed the family ornament collection, and not even leave the house. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Dan Antion says:

    Just as kids outgrow gifts, our family seems to have evolved their respective “hobbies” to a point where it’s almost impossible to guess at a gift. We still try, but it’s getting harder each year.

    As for decorating traditions, our tree changed permanently when we started sharing our house with cats. The lower reaches are decorated with unbreakable ornaments. The upper section has to support all the cherished ornaments, which we seem to add to at will.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Well, our situation is a little different as I am Jewish and Judy grew up Lutheran. When the kids still lived at home we had a Christmas tree with some ornaments from Judy’s childhood. We also had a menorah and would have a Hanuka dinner with homemade latkes. Since the kids have been college age we’ve tried to travel somewhere warmer and rent a house and spend the holidays together there. This year we’re renting a cabin in Minnesota, so foregoing the warmer part.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Any holiday spent with family is a good holiday. I think you and Judy have a recipe for success for keeping your adult children still interested in spending holidays with you. A cabin in MN? I’m seeing snow and related activities in your future. Hope you have a wonderful time. I’ll look forward to reading all about it. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Eliza Waters says:

    Beautiful decorations, Judy. I love using winterberry and holly.
    I’ve already made my wreath out of fir and thread leaf cypress, but have yet to decorate it. Because we get a real tree, I have to wait until at least the 10th, or I’ll have needles galore by Christmas. When I questioned my spouse about buying an artificial tree, he looked at me like I was nuts. Maybe in a few years when he tires of going to the farm and climbing all over to find the ‘perfect’ tree. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

    • There is nothing like a real tree that is for sure. When I went to the greenhouse over the weekend and slid the door open to the cold area where they had all the greenery, the smell was intoxicating. I could have grabbed a chair, closed my eyes, and just sat there. Enjoy your real tree and your lovely wreath. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  13. This is a delightful post, thank you! We have some traditions but are staying with family this year as we find a new home. So this will not be a typical Christmas. But there will be lots of greens and flowers, I wouldn’t miss those, and a living tree.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Love the evergreen arrangements πŸ˜‰ They are beautiful!

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Oddment says:

    I love everything about this post and, of course, the comments too. I laughed out loud at the part about buying Christmas ornaments whether they want them or not. It is our prerogative as grandparents. WE know what they should want! This whole thing about Christmas decorations has been much on my mind this year, and so all your photos and observations are timely. You have touched on the reasons some things are more than just things. And your decorations are beautiful!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Just think of all of the opportunities for laughter they will enjoy in the future talking about grandma and her ornament craze. πŸ™‚ I think I could have an indoor Christmas decorating business and be a happy woman. πŸ™‚

      Like

      • Oddment says:

        Yes, I think you could too! You’d be great at it! And then you’d have to expand to an all-season indoor decorating business. It would never end, I can assure you! As to Grandma’s crazes, oh, yes — a perfect way to be remembered! I count on it!

        Liked by 2 people

  16. Trying hard to get into the holiday spirit.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. One of my favorite tradition is that on Christmas Eve everyone gets to open one small present before bed. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Brenda says:

    My favorite holiday tradition has always been cutting and decorating a fresh Christmas tree. I also, for some odd reason, absolutely love advent calendars. I may have to try that toffee this year, it looks like what my mother used to make.

    Liked by 4 people

  19. Joanne Sisco says:

    I LOVE the arrangement you made with your grandmother’s vase. I wish I had a decorating instinct. I never get further than thinking about doing it.

    I can’t say I have any traditions in Christmas decorating or foods. I should ask my boys if they think I do. We certainly did when I was young. My mom would start baking in November all the special Italian pastries we would have over the holidays, and Christmas dinner was a meal of 13 specific dishes. There was a reason for the 13 dishes, but I never learned why. Youth!

    Personally, I would be happy to crawl under a rock until January when it’s all over … but I do like wrapping gifts. And yes, I even wrap money. There’s no reason why it can’t be packaged in a pretty box with a bow πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Sadly my family and I don’t really have any “traditions”–a fact I plan to remedy when I have a family of my own one day!–, but I’ve begun collecting ornaments like you mentioned πŸ™‚ I recently took a trip with my college to Washington, and of course found a cute little ornament in one of the zoo’s gift shops!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Zoo ornament equals the start of your own Christmas traditions. πŸ™‚ One of our treasured items is a ceramic nativity set that our family made together. You can buy the pieces at a ceramic store, paint them, get them fired, and there you have it. My husband made the barn, and it is always a welcoming addition to the season. πŸ™‚

      Like

      • I would love to visit all the zoos of the country, so if I collect those ornaments, you’re very right! 😊 Oh my goodness, that is precious!! I bet it’s absolutely heartwarming each time you look at the the set ❀

        Liked by 1 person

  21. pbmgarden says:

    Those red berries in the vase are gorgeous. May have to try the toffee.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. My Way Home Life says:

    My favorite Christmas tradition is putting out the beautiful white porcelain Lenox nativity figures that my great-aunt left me many years ago. She was like another grandmother to me, and I so enjoy reliving my favorite times with her as I unwrap and place each exquisite figure.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I have two nativity sets. One is a huge ceramic set we made years ago but is very heavy to get in and out of the attic. I also have a smaller wooden one which I have been using the past few years. Celebrating Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a nativity set. Yours sounds beautiful.

      Like

  23. Leah says:

    I used to deck the halls, fill the deep freeze with baking, and buy or make gifts like a little elf.

    I stopped decorating when my cat started breaking my glass balls.

    I stopped buying when everyone close to me had enough.

    I no longer bake enough for an army, because we aren’t home to entertain.

    Our new tradition includes appwtizers for supper, a few locally bought stocking stuffers, and observing traditions wherever we happen to be!

    Liked by 2 people

  24. What a fun post! I love reading about everyone’s traditions! I buy one ornament every year that is associated with my son’s interests. I started this on his first Christmas and this year he will be 22. It’s always fun to decorate together as we reminisce about Elmo, Batman, Star wars, photography, music, trips that we have enjoyed and so on. Also, I have my Grandmother’s nativity set. I remember playing with it as a child. I have such fond memories of my Grandma and as I unwrap each piece, I think of her and the fun times we had together.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. i have already considered the toy vs. experience this year for Xmas…thinking about gifting money to go to a Bounce House place or museum or something other than toys…

    Meanwhile your decor looks lovely! ( I had to change mine around and downsize it due to nate and Koopa being here and then as soon as I had snowmen all over the place the weather changed and we are having 60 degree weather )

    Liked by 2 people

  26. KerryCan says:

    I haven’t made any of my own toffee yet! I need to get to that because, you’re right, it is perfect for the lead up to Christmas. I haven’t started to think much about Christmas but, after reading your post, I am beginning to feel twinges of interest. I’ve written about some of our traditions–the Santas on the mantel, the making of pomanders, the red and white vintage linens. Hey, I’m getting in the mood! Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Judy, thanks for sharing your Christmas traditions with us. I must admit our children never grew out of the love of unwrapping presents and now that they are 38 and 40 years old with their spouses they still want to see them under a tree. I shall write a quick post about our traditions and post it on my greenbenchramblings blog for you to see.

    Liked by 3 people

  28. pommepal says:

    Money is certainly the way to go for the teenagers and I love those planters from the old pallets I’m going to get Jack to make me one…

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Nancy says:

    Oh how I love to see others Christmas decorations! I love your fresh greens! Beautiful!

    I hope to post our decorations soon!

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Lots of greens around the house and on the big long harvest table. A Christmas scene of small trees, and elves, and woodland creatures, among the greenery. Greens and red berries out by the front door. I love adding little ‘Christmas’ accents throughout the house, many of the ornaments or decorations being from my grandmother and many home-made. It was fun being in Ireland just before our Christmas holiday starts here and visiting the Christmas marts…lots of Scandinavian influence right now. Love that! Happy December and Holidays to you and Dennis!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your holiday decor sounds beautiful. I have a thing for small trees too, and count 12 spread around. Do you have winterberry plants? If so, what type would you recommend because I want to order some? Thanks, Denise, and a very happy holiday month to you and yours as well. πŸ™‚

      Like

      • Hi Judy, We don’t grow Ilex verticilata. We have lots of it growing up and down the road and I often harvest the berries this time of year. There are several varieties on the market, with some you need both a male and female plant or at least another cultivar for it to produce berries. Doing some research may be a good idea. I’ll check into it a bit further. Just getting our tree in the next week and out come the decorations! Our son, who is in the service, will be home with his wife and new baby…..the biggest gift of all!!! happy Holidays to you, Judy. Can you email me you address? Christmas card!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Your son in the service is coming home and bringing a grand baby for Christmas? Best Christmas ever. πŸ™‚ I’ll do the research, you do the grand parenting. πŸ™‚ Please thank him for his service, and I send prayers to keep him safe.

        Like

  31. Rose says:

    Oh, I did love reading this…I wrap for Lorelei, but it probably won’t be long till she is wanting cash. I done wrapped her gifts….I miss wrapping for everyone, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Tina Schell says:

    Sadly we now travel north every year for Christmas so we no longer follow our traditional decorating and tree trimming. But I suppose our tradition now is to be with my 4 brothers, their wives and 13 children to celebrate with loved ones. My brother bought our parents home when they passed away so we still celebrate in the house where we grew up, which is a special treat! So where in SC are you headed Judy???

    Liked by 1 person

    • That sounds like a fun Christmas with family in the house you grew up in. I’m sure you miss your parents being there, but I bet there are lots of shared stories and laughter. πŸ™‚ We are heading back to Murrells Inlet for a couple of months. It’s nice not to have to shovel snow or bundle up. πŸ™‚

      Like

  33. Great post!!! My favourite Christmas tradition has to be putting up the tree – so exciting and fun for everyone every year. Wonderful blog.

    xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  34. cnewts says:

    Love the planters made of pallets – what a cool idea!!

    Like

  35. LisaDay says:

    Cutting our own tree, Christmas parties, Christmas cookie making, finding hte perfect gift, making gifts, Christmas movies, books and music and buying a toy for those less fortunate.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Pingback: Christmas decorations… | Old School Garden

  37. Annie says:

    I finally bought a lovely artificial tree. After cutting a tree last year in bone chilling rain which involved laying on the wet ground, we decided we’d live longer if we chose a lifelike artificial 5′ tree. I thought I’d be sad when I put it up but no. The cool part is being able to bend a branch a little when an ornament doesn’t hang just right.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love the ‘idea’ of a fresh tree, but the reality is that I can put mine up whenever I want , take it down whenever I want, don’t have the needles all over the house, and don’t have to worry about fire. In between, as you said, branches can be bent in which ever direction it needs to go. My vase of fresh branches requires water every day and picking up the needles all over the table and runner. The artificial trees are so good looking these days it’s hard to tell the difference anyway. Enjoy your new tradition. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  38. reocochran says:

    I love all of your details, Judy! The vase goes well with the pretty antique tray behind it. Such a great idea!
    I have one big Christmas tub left. I add little ornaments in bowls and tea cups on shelves. I take a small prelit, green tree with birds, bells and birdhouses out. I found this at craft show and looks so cozy and “country. and put it up on the black armoire I have my TV inside. I use an old lace table cloth folded three times, which drapes and (to me) looks like snow. I put standing snowmen around under my little tree this year. Last year, I took a toy train and little toys under it.
    I still put out stockings to play with as the younger grandkids like to carry them around.
    My Mom’s fruitcake is a butter cream one, almost as heavy as a pound cake, with pecans and some dried fruits. I use craisins sometimes instead but not like the brandy one she used to make for my Dad. 😊 She used to bake up a storm!
    Hope you have a lovely holiday season. πŸŽ„πŸŽ
    p.s.I have had a busy time since Thanksgiving, Judy. (My artist brother fell, knocked himself out and ended up having brain surgery, on Thanksgiving evening!) Then, drove home and did my #9 year old granddaughter’s birthday meal out, back up to sit with him. . .
    After a week of rehab, they sent him out to get a CAT scan and he had bleeding. . . I took Thurs and Friday off to again come up for a second surgery. . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your decorations sound quite lovely, and having small grands around always make for a really fun and memorable holiday season. Your Mom’s fruitcake sounds delicious. I send my prayers for your brother and hope his second surgery and rehab is going well. Happy holidays to you and your loved ones. πŸ™‚

      Like

      • reocochran says:

        Thank you for your kind, caring thoughts and prayers for my brother’s recovery.
        I do think fruitcake is better when made inside a butter pound cake! I shared my decorations since they make memories, knowing how yours brightened my night a few nights ago. . . 🌟 Hope your holidays are merry and bright.

        Liked by 1 person

  39. Denzil says:

    Nothing out of the ordinary Judy. But having a first grandchild puts the magic back into it!

    Liked by 1 person

  40. birdlady612 says:

    Sounds like a lot of fun. I buy a new family ornament every year and label it with the year and our names. We normally go out and cut down a Christmas tree, but I’ve been sick these last couple weeks so I just got a small artificial one. I love to bake cookies as well. Merry Christmas πŸ™‹πŸ¦πŸŽ…

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Pingback: Christmas Tradations – SEO

  42. dweezer19 says:

    I get one new ornament each year, something not already part of the tree, like a manatee(no, not yet) or a bowling ball. I do have a nice collection Barbie ornaments going now. Then, after Christmas I got to one of the pharmacies that marks down 75% and get a other new something to have for next year. It’s become more of a tick than a tradition. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

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