Holidays are a time to celebrate with friends and family, and traditions are an essential part of that celebration. According to the EF Academy Blog on the Top 10 Holiday Traditions in the US, some of the most common American traditions include decorating the tree, baking Christmas cookies, and writing letters to Santa.
We asked our Summit team about their unique ways of celebrating this time of year. From caroling and touring holiday light displays, indulging in scratch-off lottery tickets, or even indulging in a Swedish beverage called Glogg, this holiday blog has a little bit of everything.
A past tradition with my family was having everyone gathered in my grandparents’ living room performing sing-along Christmas carols together. There are videos of it, and I can’t say any of us will make it on American Idol anytime soon.
A newer tradition is going out to see neighborhood Christmas lights with my husband and the dog (although the dog doesn’t seem horribly interested!). We also attend Christmas Eve service at our church every year as well, and my husband is usually playing drums or guitar for the worship team!
Each year on Christmas Eve, we get hot chocolate and scratch cards from a gas station then drive around town looking at Christmas lights! We then end the night by opening one Christmas gift which is always new pajamas!
At our extended family gatherings, it’s tradition to tease the kids that we can’t start opening presents until we’ve sung Christmas songs for at least 1 hour.
Fortunately, it’s 15 minutes MAX of trying to agree on what song to sing next, bungled lyrics, and butchered melodies before everyone is more than ready to stop singing and set them loose on the packages.
One of my favorite holiday traditions in my family is every year, on Christmas Day, we go to my grandma’s house and play fun board games! We try to find new ones every year, but so far, our favorite is “It’s in the Bag.” If you guys are interested (or don’t mind getting competitive!) It’s in the Bag, and The Mole are great ones to play with big crowds!
My fiancée and I have also hosted an annual secret Santa party with our long-time high school/middle school friends. To us, this became an important tradition, especially once we had started college!
Our more recent tradition, which me and my fiancée started when we moved down here, is seeing the Chinese Lantern Festival in Cary and going around seeing other Christmas lights!
Ginny Kirk A.
We’ve had a few different family traditions…
- Growing up, on Christmas Eve, we would walk up to a church in our neighborhood and see a live nativity scene (real animals, real people, etc).
- Over the last 5 years, we have started doing our own version of “Feast of the Seven Fishes” on Christmas Eve at my parent’s house. We modify it, but our family loves seafood! We are not Italian at all, but a lot of our holiday traditions are about food!!
- On Christmas Day, we go over to see a very good friend of my husband’s and have Glogg which is a Swedish tradition.
My husband and I have always hosted a massive Christmas Breakfast with all the fixings and coffee, hot chocolate, and Mimosa bar for our parents and anyone else to join us on Christmas morning.
In another house we gather at, each family wears matching Christmas Pj’s. It’s always fun to see what each family will pick each year.
At a different gathering, the adults and kids do the Christmas Dice gift exchange and a different food theme each year which is chosen at our Thanksgiving dinner.
My family has a tradition of hiding small gifts and treats as part of a scavenger hunt, which really gets everyone up and moving on Christmas morning! We also get a new set of PJs as our Christmas eve gift. Actual gift-giving usually happens on New Year’s Day, giving us a full extra week of Christmas anticipation (without all of the rush).
We always read “Twas the Night Before Christmas” to our son before bed. Two reasons; it is a great story, and we need extra incentive to get him to go to bed.
We started a tradition last year with my three-year-old daughter. We introduced Santa, and who he is but with a twist. We explained to her that the Holidays are a season of joy, giving, and loving on those around us and our community. At our house, we gather toys of hers that are gently used and that she picks out for Santa to take to kids who may need them more than us. We wrap them up and put them in the living room for Santa to pick up. She loves helping me wrap and decorate the gifts.
In the past, each year, we would go to Southern Season in Chapel Hill and each pick out a cheese, pate, meat, and some other charcuterie items, and a special chocolate. Now we go to Wegmans, and since my kids are older, we have dropped the special chocolate, and they now choose an adult beverage.
Every year that I can remember, my father has rented an 80 or so foot boom lift to which he affixes a 12-foot lighted Star of David outside of our hilltop house. He hoists it up as high as it will go, and you can see the star throughout the neighboring 5 zip codes – 3 of which were in another state.
One other thing during winter was watching people try to take the challenge of ascending or descending the dreaded West Hill, covered in ice and snow. Pinball wizards are what my dad called them since once they lost control, they’d drift back and forth, hitting parked cars all the way back down the hill! Looking back – we have come a long way in safety!
Our tradition in recent years has been like many others mentioned. We hop in the car and go to Hill Ridge Farms for their drive-thru light display. We also (on a separate day) drive through our neighborhood as well as some surrounding neighborhoods to look at Christmas Lights. We have also been doing Elf on the Shelf – our Elf is named snowy!
My family always watches A Christmas Story on a loop when we open presents. When it comes to my friends, I do a little potluck every year and I make them watch Holiday in Handcuffs 😀.
When the children were little, we watched the Snowman movie based on the book by Raymond Briggs (a British animated film) every year. It is a simple, but sweet movie with no dialogue.
A family tradition is to have oyster stew on Christmas Eve and drive around to view Christmas lights.