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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Christmas traditions
PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:22 pm 
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We have Christmas eve pajamas we open and change into and then we used to eat tourtiere and other goodies and wine with just the tree lights and candles on while listening to an audio of A Christmas Carol. We stopped eating pork few years ago so the tourtiere part went by the wayside, but I think I'm going to try to find a vegan replacement this year. DH's family has a Christmas eve party, which I hate, but we go because to him that is Christmas. My idea of Christmas died with my grandparents so I'm more flexible about what we do.


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Christmas traditions
PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 5:38 pm 
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My family are Germans living in Australia (where Christmas is of course in the middle of summer), so we pretty much just drink. A lot.

We used to do Christmas Eve with my mum's side of the family at her mum's house, but then she moved interstate so it's at my parents house now. Her side of the family all come over and we have a huge barbecue, pfeffernuesse and a lot of beer. My brother, my second cousin and I used to be the only kids, but now all of my older cousins have kids so it's pretty cool to see them enjoying it like we did. My parents have a pool, so the kids get to swim while everyone else drinks and eats. Then everyone comes inside and one designated person hands out the presents one at a time. It used to be my oma before she moved away, but now it's usually my brother because he's surly and gets the job done without a lot of fussing around (German efficiency!).

This year some of our favourite family members who still live in Germany will be here, which will be super fun. It means that my mum's uncle will make everyone drink straight 'lollywater' (which is schnapps, but he calls it lollywater just to mock the Australians that can't handle it), get Boyfriend and my dad obscenely drunk, and then they'll probably all sing and take their shirts off and rub each other's bellies. Christmas!

On Christmas morning, we drag ourselves up and drink a lot of water and coffee, then Mum puts on her Christmas CD that she bought from a Salvation Army lady in 1992 (you never really need to update those things anyway) and we sit around the tree and open presents. We make fun of my parents' hideously ugly tree- they still use all the horrible ornaments my brother and I made as kids, including the 'angel' that my brother made from a toilet paper roll and doilies. Then Mum (and these days, me) makes a big Christmas/hangover breakfast. She usually makes croissants, eggs and vegan pancakes, and I make cinnamon rolls and some kind of scramble. We go outside and eat until we're sleepy again, then everyone but me falls down on the couch to watch cricket and drink more beer.

We also have advent calendars in the lead up to Christmas, but ours are homemade. My oma cross-stitched calendars for my brother and I when we were born, and each date has a little hook under it- Mum individually wraps chocolates and little presents for each date and hangs them from the hooks. She goes and buys bulk vegan chocolates for mine. A couple of years ago she cross-stitched one for Boyfriend too, so he doesn't miss out. She even makes them and mails them over to us now that we live in another state. December is pretty fun!

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Christmas traditions
PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 5:43 pm 
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On Christmas Eve we prep our Christmas dinner, then we sit down with guinea pigs in our laps and eat junk and watch horror movies until bedtime. On Christmas day we open presents then have brunch (usually scrambles, potatoes, sausage, toast, etc), speak to our families on the telephone, watch all the DVDs we bought for each other then have dinner and watch more DVDs until bedtime. I'll be wearing a dinosaur kigurumi the whole time.


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Christmas traditions
PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:23 pm 
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Our tradition has generally been celebrating Christmas at home first- doing a breakfast and opening gifts with Mom and goofing around- and then going to my sister's house for sort of a second round, featuring lunch. On a crazy version, we go to a third house after.

Also, my friend and I both make gifts for each other for Yule, since we're both wiccan. I usually draw her something and she makes bracelets and stuff. Pretty simple!


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Christmas traditions
PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:40 pm 
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Some of my cousins have a Christmas pajama tradition with their other set of grandparents (the ones that aren't my grandparents too LOL). It seems like a really neat one.

We eat chocolate-covered peanuts while we open gifts, then bake cinnamon rolls and orange rolls for breakfast. Thankful there are some vegan canned cinnamon rolls out there -- I just need to find some chocolate covered peanuts with vegan chocolate.


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Christmas traditions
PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:09 pm 
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Traditions are mainly special because they are memories, not because of what they actually include. Definitely pick what works for your family.

I was raised Catholic, our traditions revolve around Christmas, but not actually any religious aspect. For our family it was baking cookies, decorating the tree-mainly because we always bought ornaments whenever we traveled, so decorating the tree involved telling all the stories of those trips/events. My dad also always reads "Twas the Night Before Christmas" before going to bed Christmas Eve-wearing our matching new Christmas pjs that we had just unwrapped. We still make him do it (no more matching pjs), even though now it's his kids and grandkids hearing it. I need to get one of those recordable books one of these days so this can last forever.

Oh we were also allowed to eat cookies for breakfast on Christmas morning. In our house Santa was left cookies and milk, my mom grew up leaving pretzels and beer (apparently my grandfather's treat of choice), another friend of mine grew up leaving diet coke and m&ms (apparently her mom's treats of choice).

We also were able to open our stockings before my parents were awake. My brother also got into the habit of finding all his presents under the tree, and stacking them in a pile so he was ready to go once it was opening time.

One thing I'd like to do once my baby is old enough, is do more of a 12 days of Christmas/Advent Calendar whatever that involves activities-thanks to Pinterest for all the ideas.


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Christmas traditions
PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 10:08 am 
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karichelle wrote:
Thankful there are some vegan canned cinnamon rolls out there -- I just need to find some chocolate covered peanuts with vegan chocolate.

What brand/where do you find vegan canned cinnamon rolls?! We used to have the Pilsbury ones on xmas and I'd love to find a replacement!
My favorite things about celebrating xmas are lights, decorating, music (all of it, especially the Very Special Christmas cds) and making presents! I prefer opening gifts on xmas eve and even though I'm an athiest, I would like to go to a midnight mass again because they can be so beautiful.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Christmas traditions
PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 10:18 am 
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Christmas is a 4-day event for my family: my cousin-brother's birthday is the 23rd, Polish Christmas (dad's half of the family) is the 24th, mom's Christmas is the 25th and my aunt's birthday is the 26th.

On the 23rd, the cousins dress up super fancy and go into SF to look at the lights and Christmas displays, talk our way onto the glass elevators at St. Francis and go all the way to the top [we've needed manager permission the last 2-3 years] and then hang out at Ghirardelli square for a bit while the cousins eat ice cream lattes and other things vegans can't order there. Afterwards, there's a party at my aunt's house with gorgeous Indian food and vegan cake [for me].

On the 24th, I hike with my sister on the mountain by my mom's house, and then we go to Berkeley to help my aunt make the Polish Christmas feast, my uncle untangle and check lights for the whole house + all three giant Christmas trees they buy, and generally try to keep everyone from killing each other since that family is famous for doing stressful things at the last minute. We usually manage to call our Polish family and have a giant Skype mini-reunion before the first star appears. Then we make wishes for each other for the new year, eat my aunt's amazing 98% vegan Polish Christmas feast, cajole my cousin-brothers into playing Christmas carols for everyone on the piano and violin, and sit around the giantest Christmas tree while my uncle makes a fire and my cousins make fresh popcorn for everyone. As kids, we were really, really anxious for gifts to appear, but now we mostly fall asleep in cute cuddle piles on the couches and wake up at 1am going "gifts?!" and then quickly open them before driving home.

On the 25th, we do Christmas with my mom and grandma. As kids, my sister and I would get to open one gift each of Christmas Eve, and then get to wake everyone up really early [impressive! everyone's an early riser in my family] to open gifts before breakfast on Christmas Day. In high school, mom started having to wake us up because we were on teenager time == late. Now, my sister and I get up early and take a hike while mom and grandma have a lazy breakfast, then we open gifts together. In the afternoon, grandma and I cook ["cook"; my sister and I just want a gorgeous salad, and my mom and grandma want yams with marshmellows and cranberry sauce], and then we have an early dinner together. We've had years with others at dinner, too, but right now we kind of like just having time together since that almost never happens anymore.

Trees and decorations used to be really important. After I became vegan, mom started buying living trees -- but then never donated them anywhere, and it depressed me to see such a beautiful plant die because there was no space for it. So now we just do pointsettias and lights, and some of the neighbors and I take turns decorating all the trees around the neighborhood. I like that.

On the 26th, we go back to Berkeley and hike with my aunt and her family, and then try to out do each other with desserts. (My aunt always wins, but it's fun to try to out-do her.)

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Christmas traditions
PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:00 pm 
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Poopiebitch, I'm loving this thread! As an adult with my family many miles away & no kids, sometimes we can get a bit "bah humbug", around here. I'm out of school for the first time in 3 years, and this thread is getting me excited for Christmas this year.

When I was in 3rd or 4rth grade, we started going to a movie on Christmas Eve with one parent/aunt/uncle & the cousins, so the other adults could cook/wrap presents/ rest/ quaff alcohol without us. It just seemed special. As we got older and could drive ourselves, it was something I looked forward to doing with my cousins. The stand out was seeing "A Christmas Story" in theaters Xmas eve when I was in high school. Frah-gee-lay...it must be Italian! The Bumpus Hounds! Fuuuuuuuuudge! (but he didn't say fudge).

That (and of course with TBS 24 hour non-stop marathons) has turned having that movie on at some point, as well as "It's a Wonderful Life", another sort of tradition. As an adult, if I get back home for Christmas, it's my turn to stay home with the adults and enjoy each other, (wrap presents, drink, etc).. but the kids still really look forward to that movie on Christmas Eve.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Christmas traditions
PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:01 pm 
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We didn't have a lot of traditions growing up, but since living with my husband (9 years so far) we've developed our own traditions. The gorgeous, huge park by our apartment which is in the centre of downtown has a great light display. They wrap all the trees in lights and it's really beautiful. We make sure we attend the lighting ceremony (even though it's mostly meant for kids, we still enjoy it). Also, several times a season, we grab our favourite seasonal drinks from Starbucks which is right by the park, and we stroll, talk, laugh, throw snow balls, and goof off. <3

On Christmas morning, I invite my brother and father over, and I always make the Vegan Brunch cinnamon buns and a whole other spread to go with it. I don't exchange presents with my parents anymore, just my brother, so he and I do our little exchange.

ETA: Oh! I bought a fill-your-own advent calendar off Etsy and T. and I fill it with Sjaak's chocolates. <3

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Last edited by paprikapapaya on Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Christmas traditions
PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:06 pm 
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Hmm, let's see. I remember leaving carrots out for the reindeer. I have two brothers, and we would wake up at the crack of dawn to check on the carrots (which were always gone) and try to wake our parents up. Then we'd open presents (stockings first!) and have a big breakfast, which my dad usually made. After that was church (which I always tried to get out of) and then we went to my aunt's house for Christmas dinner. I still live at home, and obviously Christmas is different now--basically, we get up later, don't go to church, I end up making about half of breakfast so I can actually eat something, and we stay at home because my aunt's a little crazy. My brothers and I started the tradition of watching the Doctor Who marathon together as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Christmas traditions
PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:12 pm 
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Well, let's see... we always put up our holiday decorations the day after Thanksgiving. We never went out for Black Friday shopping, so this was a good time for us to do it. We always had a fake tree as long as I can remember, and my dad would spend an hour or two putting together the tree (back when each individual branch had to be hooked onto the center post) and stringing the lights. Then my mom, brothers and I would all hang the ornaments together, including some really fancy ones that plugged in and had motion to them as well as our crappy ones we made at school.

At some point during the Christmas season we'd drive around town to the neighborhoods that went all out with lights and look at them. My mom was never much of a baker, but we'd usually do either gingerbread men or some sugar cookies so my brothers and I could have fun decorating them with ridiculous piles of icing and candies. On Christmas Eve, this was always when we got together with our whole family and we'd eat appetizery type stuff and open presents together. There were certain foods that became traditional for us, like mini pigs in blankets and green onion dip. Oh, and one of my aunts would always make some candies, like fudge or truffles. Christmas morning was when we'd open the "Santa" gifts and our stockings. We'd leave out cookies and milk for Santa, and then "Santa" would leave us a note telling us thank you for the cookies and how he was very proud of how good we'd been that year. Usually my mom wouldn't make anything for breakfast because we wanted to eat the gobs of candy that Santa left us in our stockings instead, but sometimes she'd make some cinnamon rolls or something savory to balance out all the sugar. Then we'd usually all go over to my aunt's house for a late Christmas lunch and we'd eat and sit around together. It was pretty fun for us because my cousins had a Super Nintendo and we didn't have any video games at our house, so it was fun to get a chance to play it. Usually the day after Christmas we'd drive to my grandmother's house in Tennessee and we'd do Christmas part 2 with her and my dad's family over there.

That's pretty much it, I think!

ETA: Oh, and as far as my adult traditions, well, this is the first Christmas that I'll have living with my fiance, so I've decided that we're going all out, since he has some mixed feelings about Christmas because of his parents' divorce when he was younger. I'm trying to start things that are between the two of us, so instead of focusing on the awkwardness around the holidays when he was younger, we can get excited about the new stuff that we do together! Last night we went out and bought a big fake tree and some new ornaments (I only had the super cheap bulk ones that were pretty damaged anyway, so it was time!) and today we're going to be decorating our tree. Or rather, I'll be decorating the tree and then he'll sit there and look at it... haha. I know it's pretty early, but Dec. 15th we're leaving to visit our families for the holidays so I wanted for us to have plenty of time to enjoy our new stuff here.


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Christmas traditions
PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:30 pm 
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chiveggie wrote:
For our family it was baking cookies, decorating the tree-mainly because we always bought ornaments whenever we traveled, so decorating the tree involved telling all the stories of those trips/events. .


i love this idea. we didnt do this growing up because we didnt really travel anywhere accept to Maine in the summer but as an adult my husband and i have traveled a lot and i dont get an ornament everywhere we go but i have collected a few from various places around the globe and it's always fun to take them out and be like "omg remember when we went here!" sort of thing. it brings back great memories.

growing up i think though not travel related we had similar "memory" ornaments that either me or my brother had made as kids so unpacking something when you're 12-13 that you made when you were like 4 is always kinda fun to see.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Christmas traditions
PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:31 pm 
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i told my husband i didnt think i wanted to bother with a tree this year (my mood changes every year and he could care less) but this thread is making me feel different!

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Christmas traditions
PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 4:28 pm 
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I've been wondering about this too since my kid is now 2.

Christmas was a big month long deal in my home growing up. Like fretahtah, we'd put the fake tree up on the day after thanksgiving and decorate the house. We had a lot of decorations and my dad prided himself on covering every branch of the tree perfectly with lots of lights, so it would take all day.

Then as december progressed I'd watch all the xmas shows - the awesome claymation rankin bass shows, frosty the snowman, charlie brown christmas, and as I got older - A Christmas Story and Its A Wonderful Life. We'd listen to carols every so often and my mom would burn this pine tree incense that smells sooo good. We'd bake lots of cookies. At some point we'd always go to see Santa too. Apparently a few times when I was younger my parents would even get someone to dress up like Santa and he'd come and ask what gifts we wanted to bring on Christmas day, but I don't remember that. Oh we'd always write letters to Santa with lists of what we wanted too. And drive around the neighborhood to see all the decorated houses.

When the big day came, on Christmas Eve we'd eat appetizery stuff, go to church then open presents from family members and my parents (usually the boring stuff like clothes). Then the next morning my brother and I would wake up early, tear into the living room, dive under the tree and have an orgy of present opening - all the good ones Santa brought over night. My mom was (still is) really into shopping, so she'd get us TONS of toys. I mean it was like an ocean of toys under the tree, and we had HUGE stockings that she'd fill up with all kinds of little things. We weren't rich, definitely middle, but I know they had something called 'christmas club' that they'd sock away a bit each payday to save up for xmas. Now I know they'd stay up all night assembling and wrapping everything they'd hidden in the house and putting it under the tree. So it was AWESOME to me as a little kid, and now I really appreciate how much they put into it.

Then we'd eat breakfast, go back to playing with our toys for a bit, then hang out with my aunt, uncle & cousins for the rest of the day. We'd switch off year to year, either at our house or their house. I hated the years going to their house! I wanted to stay home and play with my toys, plus my uncle was a nasty sob and their family life was just horrible (cursing at each other at the dinner table, etc) so it sucked. But other than that part xmas was great!

In my adult life I'm still super into xmas. I just love it all. Cool thing is my mom gave me all her old decorations so now I can still continue to use all the things I loved as a kid and I didn't have to buy anything. I do pretty much everything listed above minus anything about santa or church. Now I consider it celebrating winter solstice, since that's really what it is anyway. Oh another big difference is we cut down a real tree from a local farm. So I still decorate the house the day after thanksgiving, but then usually go to cut down the tree the next weekend or two depending on the weather. Then a new tradition is we always go to canada after xmas until new year's to celebrate with my canadian husband's family. We were celebrating new year's in toronto for a while which was awesome, but probably won't do it with the kidlet this year since it isn't like we can go out late to a party anyway.

Oh, and I can't believe I almost forgot to mention that I would never get THAT many presents. I like to be a lot more reasonable and make it more about all the other fun stuff and being together as family then materialistic. I want to start some new traditions of making homemade things once he gets to craft age. I even found some neat directions for homemade bird seed ornaments to put on the trees outside, I think that would be something super fun to do.

So my only real dilemma with my son is I just can't decide if I should do the whole santa part or not. I think we could still give him everything under the tree and do pretty much everything else without the whole santa myth. I just really don't like the idea of a white bearded guy, plus I really don't like the idea of lying to him like he's real and eventually having to tell him he's not.

On the other hand, I feel like it was so magical for me growing up. And watching all the cartoons, carols, etc, he's going to be exposed to Santa anyway so maybe I should just play along. Then we'd get to do the Elf on the Shelf tradition, which is a new one for me but I think it would be really fun. So I just can't decide!! Now that it is coming up and I'm getting excited, I've been going back and forth on what to do like every other day.

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Last edited by Aubade on Sat Nov 10, 2012 4:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Christmas traditions
PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 4:29 pm 
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Wow I can't believe I just wrote that long a post about christmas. haha

edit: also here's the bird seed ornament directions in case anyone is interested. You just have to use EB shortening or 0 trans fat crisco instead of suet to make it vegan. (suet is beef tallow. YUCK!)

http://www.cvgirlscouts.org/adults/craf ... aments.htm

Who says the fun of decorating trees has to end after the holidays? One way to have fun making ornaments and learn about ecology is to make edible ornaments for birds.

After making the bird food ornaments, hang them on trees where your troop meets or at a local park. Birds will enjoy your beautiful and tasty ornaments through the cold winter months.

Before You Begin

Purchase the materials.

Note: This project should not be done if the temperatures in your area exceed 70 degrees. (The suet will melt and may cause problems for the birds by getting into their feathers.)

Materials
Note: Make sure that all of the materials you use are 100% organic!

Peanut Butter
Suet EB shortening or 0 trans fat crisco
Cornmeal or Cracked Corn
Shortening
Raffia
Assorted Nuts and Seeds
Bird-friendly food like cereal, bread slices, peanuts, or dead log
Creating Hard Suet

To give the birds the seeds and fat they need, we'll first create hard suet. It's easy to do. Simply mix together 1 cup of peanut butter, 3 cups of suet, and 2-4 cups of either cornmeal or cracked corn. Once you've made the mixture, you can let the kids go to work creating their ornaments.

Creating the Ornaments

Now let the kids get creative! While they'll probably come up with their own ideas, here are some suggestions from the kids we worked with. Use a cookie cutter to form the suet mixture into a desired shape (we made a star), then dip into a seed mixture of your choice. Or, place the suet mixture into an ice cream cone, and decorate the top with seeds. Finally, cut an orange in half and remove the fruit. Place the suet mixture into the empty orange peel, and decorate the top with seeds. Finally, use raffia to hang the ornaments on the tree.

Creating Soft Suet Ornaments

You can also make a soft-suet mixture. Simply mix together 1 cup of peanut butter, 1 cup of shortening, and three cups of cornmeal until they form a paste. To make an ornament, simply use a cookie cutter to cut a shape out of a piece of bread. Let the bread dry overnight. Once the bread has dried, smear the soft-suet mixture onto the shape and then decorate with seeds. Or, smear the mixture onto a pine cone and decorate with seeds. As with the other hard-suet ornaments, use raffia to hang the ornaments on the tree.

Creating the Garland

No decorated tree would be complete without a garland - and this too can be a treat for the birds. Simply string pretzels, cereal, peanuts, or other bird-friendly food onto a piece of raffia. Not only will the birds eat what you've strung, once spring arrives they can use the raffia to help build their nests. Now just move that old tree outside, gather the kids, and start decorating! The birds will certainly thank you for it!

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Christmas traditions
PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:56 pm 
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Kiddo wrote:
karichelle wrote:
Thankful there are some vegan canned cinnamon rolls out there -- I just need to find some chocolate covered peanuts with vegan chocolate.

What brand/where do you find vegan canned cinnamon rolls?! We used to have the Pilsbury ones on xmas and I'd love to find a replacement!
My favorite things about celebrating xmas are lights, decorating, music (all of it, especially the Very Special Christmas cds) and making presents! I prefer opening gifts on xmas eve and even though I'm an athiest, I would like to go to a midnight mass again because they can be so beautiful.


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Christmas traditions
PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 8:01 pm 
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This has been so much fun to read! I love Christmas. Love love love. To be fair it's now giftmas since I'm an atheist, but it's still my favorite time of the year. We were semi religious growing up, but really the only religious part of Christmas was going to church on Xmas Eve and saying a long prayer at dinner.

My mom and I bake tons of cookies every year to make platters to take to our places of work and also the different shops and former workplaces we all like. We make lots of Norwegian cookies - kringla, krumkake, berliner kranser - and American ones too. We didn't do it last year and so many people were upset that we decided we have to make sure to do it this year. It was always so much fun to set aside a whole day to make cookies and then go give them to people and see how excited they got. That's exactly why I am a baker now.

We would set up the tree in the days after Thanksgiving. My mom gave my siblings and me all of our childhood ornaments a few years ago but growing up we had such a tacky tree covered in little bits and bobs. But I loved that it just looked so 'family'. The only store bought ornaments were from vacation. Oh, we also had lots of family reunion ornaments. For years we'd have my mom's side family reunion around Thanksgiving and they would decorate a tree with tons of handmade crafty ornaments and then everyone got one to take home. So now we have twenty years worth of neat ornaments that my aunts and cousins (and sometimes we) made.

My mom is super obsessed with Christmas and decorates her house full tilt every year. So a big part of Christmas was one of the first Saturdays in December lugging out all the Christmas decorations, putting on some Mannheim Steamroller, and making shiitake look fantastic! I still like to go help her do this. My birthday is also in December and I loved celebrating in such a cheery atmosphere.

Christmas Eve we would go to church. Afterwards we'd come home and have fried food for dinner. Usually shrimp and hash browns (don't ask me why). Now I just make something yummy and fried, this year maybe samosas. In the morning we were allowed to open our stockings as soon as we woke up, but presents had to wait. We usually had a movie or game to occupy us until everyone was awake. Once everyone was up we would open our 'Santa" present which was the one big present. Then we'd has breakfast (usually cinnamon rolls or aebleskiver - awesome Scandinavian donut things) and continue on with the other presents.

Since my brother was horrible about finding all his presents with his name on them and figuring out what they were my parents stopped putting names on any of them. They come up with a code every year and then Christmas morning we have to figure it out. It could be the color of our first car, the initial of our nickname, something really hard like that. It's probably our favorite part about Christmas now. It's so much fun to work together to figure it out.

After presents my mom and I start lunch and everyone else starts putting together toys for the kids or reading/watching new presents. We have a big dinner and then just chill for the rest of the day. Some people take off to visit other family and then come back later.

My partner and I have conflicting views on Giftmas. He doesn't care that it exists and it's my favorite time of the year. I want us to start some traditions of our own but it's pretty one-sided. Love Actually sounds great though. Seriously you guys, I am so excited now! Sorry for the essay.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Christmas traditions
PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 8:28 pm 
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Our family had a lot of nice Christmas traditions. Some of them kind of phased out as we got older, and some new ones came in as our family changed, but we always do special family things.

When I was a child, we had a cloth advent calender (no chocolate behind little doors). It had twenty-five pockets, and a little stuffed mouse. Each day, we'd move the mouse closer to Christmas. My grandmama had a home-made felt advent calendar with a big tree in the middle, and little ornaments. When we went to her house, we could take an ornament out of a pocket and pin it to the tree. These were super fun, and would probably be a good choice if you're looking for a non-candy based ritual.

When my mother and I became religious when I was about seven, my father and I made an Advent Wreath. We wired fake greenery on a candle holder. The wreath held up for about ten years, but got kind of spindly. On each Sunday evening of Advent, we'd light the candles and sing a Christmas carol. I loved Advent. Now that I'm an atheist, it's still something I really miss, and would like to replace with a secular ritual.

We'd always spend Christmas Eve with my dad's family, and Christmas Day with my mom's family. We put out cookies and milk for Santa, and carrots for the reindeer. For a long time "Santa" left us a thank you note. My brother and I woke up on Christmas morning, and had to wait for each other at the top of the stairs and come down together. We opened stockings, and then had to wait for the grownups to make their coffee until we could open presents under the tree. This seemed the height of cruelty when I was little. Now, I'd be okay with starting with coffee. After presents we made cinnamon rolls.

We celebrated the Twelve Days of Christmas for many years, although it phased out as we were older. We sometimes had a little party on Epiphany, and sometimes not. When we did do the twelve days, we had a Santa present, a Mom and Dad present, and a sibling present on Christmas morning. I think this really helped us not get little kid present overload. Then we'd get smaller presents for the twelve days, alternating between presents that were just for us (socks! music! candy!) and presents we had to share (board games! books! puzzles!).

At my mom's parents' we have a tradition that has been met with mixed reactions over the years. My grandmama has made a rule that all children must perform in some way before present opening will occur. Thankfully, we're all musical and most of us like attention, so this hasn't been a terrible strain. It would suck for kids who are super shy, though. Once you're eighteen you don't have to do it anymore. Sometimes we did little plays, sometimes we sang songs and played instruments, sometimes the kids tell jokes or stories.

I really like Christmas, and I admire the ways my parents made it not all about getting stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Christmas traditions
PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 8:58 pm 
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I just wanted to add that despite not really being a kid anymore, I still have trouble sleeping the night before. This year I want to collaborate with Mom on breakfast and I'll have awesome things to give her and the bro.

Also, wheee Yule! I'd burn a log but that is frowned upon in apartments such as the one I live in.


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Christmas traditions
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:03 am 
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Fuuuuuck, y'all's making me reaaaal excited for xmasz.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Christmas traditions
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:23 am 
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GymClassZero wrote:
I just wanted to add that despite not really being a kid anymore, I still have trouble sleeping the night before.


i do too even though it's just me and my husband and my husband doesnt really understand Xmas and only does it for me. we usually have a small pile of presents for each other off of lists we made so since my husband cant think outside the box there are usually no surprises. but i still get all excited. im like AHHHH XMAS!!! PRESENTS!!!! YAY!!!!

i still buy Xmas presents for the dogs even though they are older and well past the toy destroying stage so inevitably we just have a box full of toys they dont play with all that often. i still get a kick out of it.

i think one of the newer traditions for kids i like that we will probably do for BabyPunk is the Elf on a Shelf thing.
i didnt even realize what the heck is was for several years until one of our friends with a kid told us and it sounds fun. i know their kid loves it and races around each morning to try and find where the elf is.

i mean it is kinda like the whole Santa thing where eventually the kid finds out it's not real but i dunno i dont remember being scarred when i found out santa wasn't real. i mean i have an older brother so im sure he delighted in telling me and i was kinda like "oh ok" i think i had already begun to suspect.

i think someone somewhere above was asking whether or not to do the santa thing with their kid. if you're kinda uncomfortable with the idea but still had good memories as a kid i do know people who's kids believe in santa and they get presents from santa but it's like not made to be a big deal. either they get a few small things from santa or the more boring presents like socks and underwear come from santa and then the cool gifts come from mom and dad.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Christmas traditions
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:31 am 
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Better than Santa: It's pretty much 1-2 gifts per person in my family, and rather than say "From X or Y" [or From Santa, which my mom tried once or twice] we just say everything is from Soleil, my mom's powderpuff dog. The running joke in the family is that she's the most generous fluff, period.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Christmas traditions
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:06 pm 
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This thread is super fun.

I have an unconventional family - my daughter's father & I haven't lived together for years but we still spend our holidays together & we are not religious at all. I love Christmas because I love camp, sweets, and presents.

Our Christmas season starts on Thanksgiving, when we watch A Christmas Story (after watching Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, of course). The day after is the day I decorate for Christmas, and my daughter helps. No advent traditions but I may get that vegan essentials Advent calender posted upthread this year. On December 6th we do the St. Nicholas day thing where we put shoes out and fill them with sweets (especially chocolate). My daughter can open one present on Christmas eve, & we make cookies to leave out for Santa. I usually withhold the small presents and the stocking until Christmas morning so there is still some element of surprise. We always watch Charlie Brown Christmas and usually A Christmas Story again on Christmas Day. I also have a fireplace DVD with Christmas carols I will sometimes put on. Decorations stay up for until the 12th day of Christmas (epiphany if you are old school).

No traditional food really, just lots of sweets, especially cookies. New Years has the cabbage & black eyed peas but I'm the only one who eats them.


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me about your Christmas traditions
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:28 pm 
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kallista93 wrote:
On December 6th we do the St. Nicholas day thing where we put shoes out and fill them with sweets (especially chocolate).


We did this too! I'm pretty sure my mum still would do it if we lived in the same state, but she draws the line at mailing shoes full of food over to me. My brother and I would always be so excited and would fall asleep sitting by our bedroom doors, where we left the shoes. Or we would wake up every hour and check if the shoes had been filled yet. My poor parents must have been exhausted having to spend the whole night waiting for a time to pounce.

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