Friday, December 10, 2010

Share a Holiday Story - Receive a Gift from me

(Note: A funny memory: One year the tree Dad brought home was too tall. Instead of trimming it at the bottom he lopped off the top. Here's our pitiful attempt to disguise our headless tree!)

We are all so busy this time of year that I didn't try to set up an interview and giveaway with another artist this month. If you are at all like me, one more thing added to your to-do list just might collapse the whole deck of cards! So how about just a short minute of your time to jot down a holiday memory or tradition?

Just add a comment to this post and tell us about your favorite holiday memory or tradition. It doesn't matter which holiday you celebrate - Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza or - why not? - Festivus! I love hearing about holiday memories and especially like hearing about those sweet, meaningful (and sometimes just plain weird) ethnic traditions handed down through generations.  I wrote about Christmas memories before, here and here.  And some of our family Christmas traditions here and here

I can't wait to hear from you!  And as my gift to you, I will choose one - I won't say "favorite" because I'm sure I'll love them all - that resonates most with me.  I'll also pick one post via random number generator.  Both of you will be able to choose ONE item from either site, anotherbrightidea or morebrightideas for any amount up to $20.

I'll keep this open for one week, until next Friday, 12/17. That will give me enough time to get it to you in time for Christmas.  (Sorry, I will have to limit this to U.S. and Canada this time.)

Let's hear your story!


  1. Here is mine, from the time I was little: My grandma had this large beautiful Nativity figures, that her dad had given her... very OLD figures. My aunts would make this big production to place them all, animals, angels, wise men... make the adornments, lights, etc. It even included a devil, which of course was ugly and hidden in a far corner.
    Baby Jesus was always kept separately till the very night of Christmas Eve. We had family and friends to come see the display this one time and what do you know.... one of my aunt's cat was taking a nap right between Mary and Joseph... LoL All cozy with the lights. He spent the rest of the evening outside XoD
    I love your tree picture! it is hilarious!

  2. My mother and I made salt dough ormanents every year; not simple snowmen or braided wreaths, but really elaborate carved shapes and vintage cookie cutters painted with artists' acrylics. I've lost many more expensive ornaments over the years, but I always make sure to preserve those old salt dough pieces.


  3. Aww ... two sweet stories so far. Thank you!

  4. we make it a point to video tape every gift opening to catch everyone's expressions! it's so fun to re-watch afterwards.


  5. Christina - - My two favorite Xmas traditions - trimming and decorating the tree with my father, who loved beautiful objects, and taught us to cherish the ornaments that people from all over the world had given us and that we had given each other; and, because we were Ukrainian, my mother would make a Ukrainian traditional Xmas dinner that we couldn't eat until the first evening star came out (unless it was overcast or a full moon!), and all year I waited for the great Ukrainian dessert, kyootya! There was far less emphasis on the gift-giving, even though we did exchange gifts! We also went Christmas-caroling with other Ukrainians to people's homes!

  6. One of my favorite things that we do on Christmas is open our gifts in order. We will sort out the gifts and then everyone takes turns opening them. I have become known as the "gift hoarder" because I will skip a few of my turns so that I am the last one with a gift :)
    Libbi H.

  7. I think that last year's memory was my best yet! My (now fiance) boyfriend and I were just planning to move in together, we were in the midst of apt hunting during the holidays. His family has a great tradition where they each get each other a new ornament every year, which pertains to something that happened to that person that year. His parents still have the first ornaments they gave each other! Even though we didn't have a tree last year, we decided to get each other ornaments for our future. I got him a dulcimer ornament, since I have a dulcimer and he taught me how to play it. And he got me the cutest ornament with a pink cowboy boot, for me, and a brown one, for him, with the year and our names. Now they proudly hang on our first tree together! Thanks!
    xx Olivia
    olivia dot lovelyatyourside gmail

  8. My favorite Christmas tradition: My family always spent Christmas Eve (and a few days leading up to it) at my mom's parents' house, which is about 2 hours from where we live. Then we'd always come home really late on Christmas eve so that we could do our immediate family Christmas at home and visit my dad's family on Christmas day. It's perfect! But my favorite part of the tradition is that I always got a new pair of PJs on Christmas eve (the only gift from my parents that I was allowed to open early) so that I could put my Christmas PJs on and "sleep" in the car (and then look cute in pictures the next morning). But, of course, I never slept in the car. Instead, we'd listen to Christmas music, and open the sunroof so that we could "look for Santa's sleigh." It was such a fun tradition that I want to make sure I have a car with a sunroof so that my kids can look for Santa on Christmas eve!
    cam22190 at gmail

  9. Oh my family so full of traditions. One of my favorites that we still do, and have been doing for over 25 years is after dinner. The youngest grandkids hand out the song books, and they get to lead caroling. It is the sweetest things, to hear them sing loud and proud. Then grandpa will chime in and start sing "Up on the roof"then "santa" and his elves will come storming in. **there tends to be a bunch of packing popcorn as our california snow. THe elves proudly are wearing some bright tights, sparkly spandex, and santa is completely decked out. Its so sweet to see the young kids get so so excited, and they always feel so special since santa was able to make an extra stop on christmas eve. This will be my first time to miss this tradition in over 21 years, since my newly wedded husband and I live in Oklahoma. So sad, but its so nice that its a tradition that will alway be around.

  10. Oh my, so many of these stories touch upon some aspect of my own Christmas memories and traditions! I get misty reading them. I will comment on them next week when I post the winners. Keep em coming!!

  11. My favorite Christmas memory is the old nativity calendar we always used and my mom would bake a small batch of sweet things to go with our ritual of opening the next nativity door on the calendar. We'd read a bible verse and then get rewarded with cookies, gingerbread, or candy. It was a wonderful family memory.

    hmcnaron at gmail

  12. My favorite Christmas is THIS Christmas! We've already had Christmas in our house because my husband is deployed. About a week ago I was sewing (with my crappy old machine) on the dining room table (my work station which is never used to actually eating at) and my husband came and told me our 11 month old son, Adam, had something to show me. I followed him back to our guest room and I saw a new wooden work desk and a new fabulous sewing machine (that I had pointed out to my husband, but decided it was too expensive to get right then) all set up and ready to go! It had a card that said, "Mery Crismas Mommy! Luv, Adam". I cried and laughed. I have the best two guys in the world.

  13. My family would always get together with steaming cups of hot chocolate and watch the Christmas movies together. Nothing says Christmas to me like a Christmas Carol, A Charlie Brown Christmas, or The Nutcracker with family nearby.


  14. This one is a nice for me to remember this year when I'm looking for work and the recession has hit a little harder than expected: When I was 6 and my parents had just divorced, I was living in a 4-plex with my mom and sister. We had a pine tree out front that we decorated with off-brand fruitloops on a string. We couldn't afford to go out and buy our own tree. I think singing along to Christmas music while stringing those fruit loops is my favorite Christmas memory - it reminds me that total happiness can come even when you don't have the fancy things that others might have.

  15. My favorite memories are of my father waking us up at midnight on Christmas Day to run us outside still half asleep because he had heard Santa. We would search the sky and inevitably he would point out the red of Rudolph's nose in the night sky... of course now I know an airplane when I see one but even though I am 29 years old my Daddy still swears he believes in Santa and that we did see him all those years as children. I am lucky that even as an adult I have so much magic in my life and hope I am creating it forever in my own children's memories.

    grahamcrackerbabykisses at gmail dot com

  16. It's rather a silly tradition, but every year we have a different tree. I don't mean that we do not use a fake plastic/metal tree year to year, but we use different types of trees and/or other objects as Christmas trees each year. One year, we had a tree made of tinsel outlined in our living room wall. Another we hung ornaments on a bamboo plant. One of my favorites is when we used a low glass coffee table with lights.

  17. my favorite memory is my brother waking me up at 5 am every christmas anxious to open up presents :)

  18. My favorite tradition is that my brother and sister and I give each other an ornament instad of gifts every year, so our trees are full of memeories!


  19. For the past few years, without fail, my sister and I have given each other the same presents! It will be completely random too, it's not like we have the same wish lists or talked about it or anything! One year we got each other the same CD, the next it was the same really expensive hair product, then it was the same lotion... It's so weird but it shows just how close and similar we are. I can't wait to see what we get each other this year!

  20. I am of Japanese descent, and the Japanese take New Years Day very seriously. My mother would cook all New Years eve. She has an electric mochi maker (rice cake maker) with which she and my dad make rice cakes to put into soup, eat broiled, etc. She makes a ton of Japanese delicacies for the next day, and then the whole family eats all New years day. I miss that delicious food. The other part of the holiday is to visit relatives and friends with the rice cakes as gifts.
    jhbalvin at gmail dot com

  21. My favorite memory is putting on a Christmas musical/play for my parents for several years when I was a kid. My younger brother and I would plan and practice for weeks in advance to prepare for "opening night." Each year we acted out the Christmas story of Jesus' birth, with the help of favorite stuffed animals and dolls. It was all put to music with traditional Christmas carols: i.e. when the three wise men came (three stuffed teddy bears), we would sing "We Three Kings." We even played a musical c.d. soundtrack in the background as accompaniment. One favorite memory I have now (although it wasn't fun then) was when my brother knocked down a lighted Christmas star we had pasted (yes, with duck tape) to the ceiling. This occurred during the performance and it was all I could do to keep going on without bursting into laughter. What fun it was! My parents remember it as one of their fondest Christmas memories as well. Funny enough, 20 years later, I know consider myself a HORRIBLE singer who can't carry a tune to save my life and I would never DREAM of putting on a Christmas musical today :-)

    june_spirit2628 at hotmail dot com

  22. Both my husband and I consider ourselves spiritual people but we come from a variety of religious backgrounds and do not belong to any particular church or faith.

    So ever since our first Christmas together, every year we to a Christmas Eve service at a DIFFERENT Church in our community. It's become a tradition we really enjoy and look forward to.


    P.S. Love your two shops - lots of lovely goodies!

  23. My ENTIRE family and I (me, my parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, EVERYONE) get together at my grandparents' house on christmas eve, have a huge pizza party, and open our presents. :)

    Cerena Leigh


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