Fun Monday-Holiday Traditions

The Humble Housewife is hosting Fun Monday. She says: With the holidays coming up I thought it would be fun to get an insight into holiday traditions in peoples homes. I want you to share a tradition, event, recipe or quirk that you or your family does or aspires to do during the holidays, whether those holidays be Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.

Okay as a bonus I listed Thanksgiving traditions on Sunday, so scroll down for more goodies and a recipe. Thanks to HMA for both recipes. Okay, for Christmas. Wow. Where to start. How about things we always do, things we do now, and things we wish we could do?

The Christmas tree always went up about a month to two weeks before Christmas. I helped decorate what I could reach and got ornaments out of boxes. I was too short to do much decorating. Mom always uses lots of silver garland everywhere. She has from time to time decorated indoors and out. It depends on the weather leading up to the holidays and the amount of wind blowing around. Santa brought presents until I could read tags. When I could, then it was to ‘J’ from blank. Then it was just from mom and dad. I still believe in the spirit of Santa Claus, the spirit of giving. As long as it’s in your heart, you still believe, he exists.

We always went to Christmas eve service. There’s always a part at the end where candlelight is passed from one candle to another until everyone is holding a lit cancle, the lights go dim, and Silent Night is sung. It’s very spiritual and a final reminder of what this holiday is for, before the presents and the food and the sensory overload takes place. I have an idea we’ll miss the Christmas eve service this year, as we’re 4 hours away. I’m very sad about that.

As kids we always woke early and asked our parents if it was time to open presents. At 4 a.m. We were always told to go back to sleep -If only it were that easy.

We traveled once on Christmas eve and were snowed out. Away from our presents, etc. We stayed in town with my dad’s boss and his wife. They played real records on a record player. That’s about all I remember. We never traveled farther than church on Christmas eve again. A few years ago my hubby and I drove about 1/2 hour from home to church and I didnt know if we’d make it home or not. The road was white out (snowing so much you couldnt see the traffic) and somehow we made it home. We sang along to the radio and shivered, trying to get the heat to keep up with the harshly blowing snow/wind.

For years I have helped my dad shop for gifts for mom and helped him and from time to time a brother wrap presents. I.E. they leave it with me and have me do it.

Oh there’s always candy canes on the tree. The have to be Bob’s brand. Don’t ask why, the other ones just taste fake. My mom has some felt horsey heads that you shove a candy cane in that make it look like a “candy stick horse” – if that makes any sense. She hasn’t used them much in the past couple of years. And everyone has a stocking with their name on it now. 15 people to keep straight is just too much. Enter green and red glitter glue. Everyone gets some candy, usually peanut butter cups, maybe kisses, and little york peppermint patties.

From the time I was about 12, I’ve gotten out certain Christmas albums, actually they’re the only ones I have. And play them a lot up until Christmas day. They’re Garth Brooks Christmas albums, they’re kind of peppy versions of songs like Go Tell it on the Mountain and Santa looked a lot like Daddy as well as Friendly Beasts which gives a voice to the animals in the manger. My favorite is probably Maria/The Bird Song we call it. I’d pay a lot to hear that live. They’ve been transferred over to mp3 on the computer now, so we should have them even if the Cd’s (out of print) die on us.

We used to always be at home/home on Christmas day and now my hubby and I stay at our home together. Usually there is sledding at home and I call my mom if she doesnt beat me to it, and she tries to convince me to join them for the day. Last year my hubby and I took a long walk in the woods by our university apartment, enjoyed the snow, explored, had a great time. I dont know what this year will hold. I know it will hold a tree. We’ve only been able to have a big tree 2 years because we’ve been in University housing the rest of the time and couldnt get a tree in the place. I know after the first year of opening presents, it has felt a little empty once we’re done with that. I assume that’s a sign of some sort.

Something I wish I could do is an advent calendar, especially with a kid, because you can count down the days until Christmas with a focus on Christian values (and/or tiny presents to go along with that) and not focus on “shopping days until Christmas” – know what I mean?

Candy and cookies. I will always remember the candy cane cookies with red and plain sugar cookie dough twisted together to form the cane. Yum yum. My mom always makes peanut butter and chocolate fudge, and now, so do I. It’s really yummy and makes great gifts. I have an easy fudge recipe if anyone needs it (you can get the same one on the back of a jar of marshmallow cream, by the way)… and I have from time to time made different things, chocolate caramels, which were good, but were hard to chew. My hubby had just gotten braces. Bad timing. Um… I usually make a couple of types of cookies along with the fudge. I like the peanut butter blossoms (just a hershey’s kiss stuck in the peanut butter cookies) pretty well. In the past I have helped mom make cracker jack/caramel corn but not tried it myself, oh and I usually make at least one batch of chex mix (with extra garlic). Oh and we usually make a powdered hot chocolate mix that lasts us all year, last week, I got some of last year’s out of the tupperware, stirred it into the hot water and voila hot chocolate! It’s probably better for you than the swiss miss and tastes better, I think. It makes a big batch and is good for kids because it has more than one item that has minerals, vitamins, calcium, etc. and not a whole lot of sugar. I’ve had about 6 cups and we’re finally getting low on it, so I need to stock up on the ingredients before my hubby gets a taste for it, he uses about twice the mix to water ratio that I do (another good reason to have your own mix instead of the packet stuff)… Oh and I have been known to dip stuff in chocolate. This year I’m going to try Payday mini bars. I snagged the last bag on sale from Halloween. Before it’s been oreos, plastic spoons with sprinkles or marshmallows that you individually wrap and add as a “hot chocolate stirrer”, etc.

Okay, last but not least, food. Much like Thanksgiving, there are always a few items that take billing. One of them is Homemade Noodles. If you ask my mom real nice, take her a dozen eggs and a bag of flour along with your manpower, you too can have a bunch of meals worth to put in your freezer. We did a dozen eggs and got 9 or 10 bags plus a half a bag, probably could have had 12 mostly full quart bags out of it. She has 2 pasta machines (they cut, not mix), but making them goes pretty fast. We’ve gone through umm about 9 bags in the last month and a half or so. Probably a bag a week. Yes, they are that good. Chicken and noodles, beef and noodles, etc. Yum yum. Now, can I convince her to help me make some more? With the church thing and Thanksgiving both coming up and needing probably at least 6 batches apiece of those? Hmm. We’ll see.

Homemade Noodles

2 eggs
1/4 C milk
2 C flour
1 t salt

Combine all ingredients to make stiff dough. If you have a pasta machine, follow directions, or.. Roll out thin on floured surface, roll up and slice 1/4 inch wide, unroll, spread and let dry. Drop into boiling broth and cook uncovered about 15-20 minutes, or until tender. Makes 6 cups cooked noodles.


  1. I made a “u-Turn” and came back! LOL

    Y’know? I’ve never known anyone who can make homemade noodles and SHARE the recipe….I’ve eaten them before, and loved them!! There is nothing like it, bagged, on the market shelves I’ll tell you!!! YUMMY!!

    So———needless to say, I’m grabbing this recipe and running as fast as I can!!!

    [glad you called me back to see your Christmas tradtions]

  2. Looks like I left out so much of our Holidays after goig around reading everybody elses. I really like how you have put up things your thankful for. That is a really cool idea. We do candy canes also and eat one every day till Christmas.

  3. I love your Thankful List. Very creative.

    I never knew how to make homemade noodles. I must try this one with my kids. My daughter loves to make things. My son not so much. lol

  4. ah, those iowa snowstorms. my brother lives in mason city and manages to get to the twin cities every thanksgiving, but sometimes it’s a very hairy ride.

    you put your tree up a month in advance? wowser, did it have any needles left at all?

    a very very nice post. very evocative…the cookies, the candy canes, the silver garlands. you’re getting me in the spirit.

  5. Thanks for stopping by my blog for my first week of Fun Monday!

    We used to go to the Christmas Eve service up until a few years ago. We also used to light each other’s candles and sing Silent Night. It is truly a magical moment!

  6. I think we will have to try those noodles. They sound so good!

    Would you mind posting a picture of the felt horse heads and how they fit on the candy canes? This sounds like a good gift for Na to make on one of our Friday craft days.

    I’m heading to Michael’s this afternoon to look for those mini bread pans so I can photograph the pumpkin bread making process tonight and post the pics and recipe tomorrow. I hope they still have them!

  7. I have some of those felt horses for candy canes! And the Silent Night tradition – I played the piano during a Christmas service, and tears were streaming down my cheeks. Three hours later, I went into labor – I think it was all the emotion!

  8. Great traditions. I like the candle thing at your church service. “Silent Night” always makes my mom cry, which, of course, makes me and my brothers make fun of her. 🙂

  9. Candy canes on the tree! I love candy canes. My mom still buys my sister a box of candy canes for her birthday in December, as she used to do every year when we were kids. BTW, if you’ve never smushed candy canes and then thrown them in the oatmeal chocolate chip cookie batter, put down this computer THIS INSTANT and do it RIGHT NOW.

  10. OH my gosh I didn’t go thru the traditions ABC like you did…I missed loads! My family (me,my hubs and kiddos) do candy canes on the trees, I buy all 2 boys advent calenders. I have felt mice to stick a candy cane in.
    Can you share the hot chocolate mix,please? With 3 boys,4 if you count the hubs that would be a life saver!
    Great job being so thorough!

  11. Wow…reading YOUR post reminded me of so many things I didn’t write about (well, I only wrote about Thanksgiving..but I’ve been mentally thinking through our Christmas traditions).

    ADVENT CALENDARS! I.LOVE.ADVENT.CALENDARS! You MUST get one for yourself! Don’t wait! They’ve been a favorite part of our holidays since I was little…and my kids LOVE them, too! They take turns marking the days.

    Gosh, I had forgotten about that; I’m sure I would’ve remembered in a few weeks, but I’m glad you prompted me to think about it now.

    I’ve never had homemade noodles, and by what I’ve read about them, I’m really missing out.

    Your post is FULL of tradition…thanks for helping me remember a bit of my past :).

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