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Thread: What are your traditions for the holidays? What holidays do you celebrate where you live?

  1. #1
    Power Poster Rhonda's Avatar
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    I am thinking about getting ready for Thanksgiving as I have my daughter and her family here. And my youngest son and his family come here for Thanksgiving. Nathan and his family have Thanksgiving with my youngest BIL and his family. My DH's mom lives with them so Nathan goes that way then.

    Nathan usually has Christmas at his house and it is the only time of the year usually when we all get together. When I was growing up it was only my mom and dad and me. Now my dad is gone and we include my soninlaws parents so we are now 25 with my granddaughter's new baby who is due Oct 19. Our family has really grown!!!

    I don't always put up a Christmas tree but I try to do some decorating. If I get everything out you wouldn't see the house for the decor!! LOL I collect alot of things that go with Christmas. Bells Angels 1950s flocked and other reindeer and some sleighs to name a few.

    We use to exchange gifts but it got to be too much for everyone. Finances have been tight at times with Sara and Ben starting up the clinic and Nathan and Doug( my brother inlaw) starting their own business. So now I just give the grands money and let it go at that. I used to try to buy stuff they like but as they got older it got to be too difficult. This is just so much easier. I buy or make their favorite candy or chips and attach a money card to it and all are happy! Nicci loves Divinity so I try to make some for her every year.

    So what are you traditions or holiday experiences or memories of long ago holidays? Anything you want to add of a holiday nature please do!! We would love to hear it! I will probably add some holiday memories along the way as well. So feel free to share your holiday stories!!

  2. #2
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I never made Thanksgiving a big deal at our house. I do cook a traditional Thanksgiving but we have it about 7 pm. As the kids got older I didn't put any expectations or guilt to where they should be at Thanksgiving meal, usually they wanted to go to relatives or boyfriend's home for the noon meal and here for the later meal. This has worked great when in laws came into the picture. Hubby, kids and I had Christmas morning at home. I told my family and my hubby's family after our first child was born, we would not be traveling away from home during Christmas, that wasn't fair for kids to be dragged all over creation. It was the best foot putting down decision I ever made. :D

  3. #3
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    Thanksgiving has usually been a small gathering at my house. Our big holiday is Christmas. We used to spend it at my dads, but now have such a big extended family we rent a small church hall. We all gather and visit, than eat lots of pizza, homemade salads, and lot of treats. Than we open gifts, and after that is the best part of our family Christmas. We get out cases of silly string, Yes I said silly string, and when my dad says go we spray each other with it. It is loud and fun and we all get to act like kids. We love it. This was started by my brother 15 years ago and it is one of the high points of our Christmas.

    looks like fun
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    We all get covered with string.
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    DGD wants to know when we can do it again.
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  4. #4
    Power Poster Rhonda's Avatar
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    My mom grew up with big big family dinners.She is one of 14 kids. So holidays were always all the kids and their families. You can imagine how big a crowd that would be. So as I was growing up we had big family holiday meals.

    My mom until just about 5 yrs ago always set her long dining table that has pull up leaves on each side. She would set it with crystal goblets and dinner plates with napkin rings and all the dishes were traditional and served on platters and in glass dishes with water served in glass pitchers. We all sat and prayed and passed food to the left. Kids were seated at a kid's table.

    When Mom didn't do it one year both of my boys(in their late 20's) were upset. They missed the tradition of sitting down to napkin rings and all the candles and center piece in the middle of the table. Nathan has Christmas now and they don't do the napkin rings but they do set a nice table with lots of traditional foods.

    We actually quit having the dinners in my mom's house because the family outgrew the space!


  5. #5
    Super Member Baren*eh*ked_canadian's Avatar
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    Holidays are a bit complicated for us...

    We have a family of four, my parents, my brother, and I. Not too complicated. Now, my brother's girlfriend pretty much gets to decide where they spend their time, and unfortunately, my mother always gets second choice. Like, they'll go for Christmas supper at her parents place, and my mother has to settle for lunch, or whatever... every holiday is like that, mother's day, easter.
    I try to manage our time a bit more fair, because I know my mum feels hurt by this, and I totally understand why. Sasha's family is big, and they do big suppers on the given holiday. They can't really start catering to everyone schedule because that's really complicated! Sasha has a twin brother and an older brother, and they have two other step brothers. We figure, if you dont' make it, then you don't make it, that's it that's all.

    I think we may have Thanksgiving this year at my parents' place, we did last year at my in-laws'.
    Christmas is strange. Sashas's family celebrates Christmas eve, where they get all dressed up, go to 10pm mass, then come home, eat, drink (My MIL makes a huge assortment of hors d'oeuvres and stuff) and get semi-plastered (these are some pretty fun people) and then we all open gifts and turn up the music and party till 4am. We usually head out a little earlier and drive to my parents house about an hour or so away, and sleep there for the few hours of 'night' left. Then we get up and have Christmas morning with my family, where we open stockings and gifts and my parents make a HUGH brunch and sometimes a turkey lunch.
    There is just WAY too much food in one day! Then we head back sometime in the afternoon to Sasha's parents place, and we help get ready for traditional Christmas supper.

    Our parents are just going to have to get used to the fact that when we have our own family, we're going to have to really pick and choose what we want to do by ourselves, and which holidays we want to be hosts and guests. Right now, it's a lot of running around, and trying to be fair, and trying to keep one person's feeling from being hurt, in favor of another. Every-Single-TIME!!!!

    We don't have our own kids yet, (we will next year, there's one with a timer on it right now) but this is the first time we live in a place that's big enough to decorate and get a tree for the holidays this year, and you can bet your butt that I'm buying a Christmas tree, even if it takes up the whole living room!


    Ok, that was a long post, props if you actually read till the end, lol!

  6. #6
    Power Poster Rhonda's Avatar
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    Baren*eh*ked_canadian We've been married for 35 years. When we first got married we did the same thing for several years. We would spend Christmas Eve with my parents and then drive the hour and a half to DHs parents for lunch on Christmas day. One year we stayed over night at my inlaws Christmas Eve and after opening presents( I packed all the kids' presents in the trunk of the car and took them up with us!) we then made a mad dash an hour and a half back to my mom and dad's for noon. So I know all about having to find a way to smooth the waters.

    I have three kids. When Sara got married they came to us for all holidays as her inlaws had 5 kids and all of them went to inlaws on holidays leaving Betty and Cleo with noone. So we include them in all holidays making it easy for Sara and Ben to come to us. When Nathan got married his wife's family don't get together for Christmas and Thanksgiving they instead get together for Labor Day weekend and go to an amusement park instead. So that was not a problem. Then my youngest son got married and Angie's parents have big dinners and lots of family get togethers. So they have to do the one year with us and the next year with her family.

    Nathan's wife gradually quit coming to any dinners. She would be sick or whatever and Nathan would come with the kids. Now they don't come at all. That is why they have Christmas dinner now and we go there. It is a compromise and it is always Christmas eve day not Christmas day. First Sara and then Nathan declared they were staying home on Christmas day so the kids didn't have to leave their presents. ( Won't tell you what I think of that!!)

    When your family gets bigger you just have to find a way to compromise. I am happy to have just one dinner to prepare now and I am happy to go to my son's for Christmas. Easter was at my youngest son's but this last year we just didn't do anything. They were moving and my daughter can't have it as they live in an apartment with stairs and my DH can't do stairs.

    My son Nathan did have us over for the 4th of July for a barbeque this year. That was fun. I don't have time to go their way much and Nathan and Cody are out of town alot on jobsites. So we don't see much of them otherwise.

  7. #7
    Super Member Boston1954's Avatar
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    In my family, Jim likes to do all the cooking at Thanksgiving. I watch the parade.

    For Halloween, I get out my favorite scary movies and eat chocolate. We live on a dead end street and get no kiddies wanting candy.

    Christmas....well on Christmas Eve we must have Chinese food and watch Bing Crosby in "Holiday Inn", and one or more versions of "A Christmas Carol".

    New Year's........Sparkling Grape juice and the count down, then straight to sleep. We don't go out anyplace that night. Afraid of being killed by some drunk driver.

  8. #8
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    Well up to now we have always done Thanksgiving on Sat. That way my hub's sibs and their families could go elsewhere on T'giving. My own family does not get together for T'giving. For the past 30 years my family and my brother's family all have gone to my dad and step-mom's on Xmas Eve and then we get together with my hub's family on Xmas day. I have a feeling this year things will change due to several reasons....my step-mom has passed away and on my side of the family my niece and 2 of my children now have sig. others who will also want them with their families. Neither my hub's family, nor mine have discussed how we are going to handle the upcoming holidays. Guess it is something that we need to start talking about.

  9. #9
    BlueChicken's Avatar
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    We don't have thanksgiving over here... so it's just another regular day! ;-)

    But we do have Christmas where we eat far too much and drink far too much! LOL

    Our Christmas is in the middle of summer, so we usually have a barbecue lunch, with chicken and steak and sausages, salads and cold meats, and lots and lots of desserts. Then the afternoon we usually either go to the beach so the kids can swim, or take the dogs to the river and try and walk off lunch.


  10. #10
    Super Member MollieSue's Avatar
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    For the holidays, (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter), my kids all go to their in-laws for lunch, then back here for dinner. That also lets all the little ones have the whole morning to play with their presents, etc, at home. A few times we've had the dinner with Dave's kids on a different day, due to their schedules, etc.
    I used to provide all the food and everything, but now ask the kids to provide a dish or two. There are 20 of them now! lol!!! And I think they all really enjoy doing it.
    A year or two ago, my kids started drawing names between themselves, and all of them buying for all of the little kids. It's a 'have to' for me, to buy for all the kids no matter their age. Their presents have just gotten a bit cheaper over the past few years, when they started mutiplying so much! lol!!!! And we try making some things too.
    I also continue to make each of my kids their 'birthday dinner'. A couple of times my DDILs have done it, and that's fine with me. And they've been alternating who makes mine! We all get together for everyones birthday dinners.
    :D

  11. #11
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Turkey day is my favorite day as I am an immigrant! Where we spend it depends. This year is most likely going to be at home, just the two of us. I have a Irish Coffe (or something like it) for breakfast and it's all downhill from there - kidding!!!! Pat gets to pick the menu and in all the years he has only once asked for turkey. Usually, it's a traditional German Sunday dinner. We rent movies and enjoy each other's company. It's funny, but when I mention that Pat and I will be alone (the way we like it) people get really weird. They immediately express how sorry they are that we are all alone and then they invite us for dinner at their house. Now when they ask, I just tell them we have plans and leave it at that.

    Pat always volunteers to work Christmas. That way, I can ignore the day and let it pass without incident. My girlfriend called me one year and told me that she bought me a CHristmas Tree and she was bringing it over. I asked her what demented fairy was riding her to do such a stupid thing. She said that it was unacceptable to her that I did not celebrate Christmas. I told her that if she actually brought that tree to my house, she was going to be the angel topper as I was fully prepared to .....well, you can guess how she was going to be a tree topper. :twisted:

  12. #12
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    For Thanksgiving, my DB, DSIL and I go to the casino and gamble away our savings.

    But my favorite holiday is St. Patrick's Day!

  13. #13
    Senior Member mrs theo's Avatar
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    For years now we have gathered for Thanksgiving at 5 pm and on Christmas Eve. I three DD's and with their children and spouses, as well as my parents, my husband's parents, and my sister and brother-in-law, that makes 20 to count on. I have always also had 3-4 extras (someone I run in to that doesn't have a family to celebrate the holdays with). The late Thanksgiving dinner has worked for years because my dd's families all eat an early dinner (around noon). We started celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve when the grandkids started coming so that they wouldn't have to drag the little ones out on Christmas day. I hated that when my kids were small, but felt obligated. Thanksgiving is a full meal with about 10 dishes plus desserts. Christmas Eve I heat a spiral ham from Heavenly Hams and make a pan of scalloped potatoes. The family brings some sides and some snacks and we just munch buffet style. There's always a visit from Santa which makes things really special for the little ones :)

  14. #14
    BlueChicken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadQuilter
    ... My girlfriend called me one year and told me that she bought me a CHristmas Tree and she was bringing it over. I asked her what demented fairy was riding her to do such a stupid thing. She said that it was unacceptable to her that I did not celebrate Christmas. I told her that if she actually brought that tree to my house, she was going to be the angel topper as I was fully prepared to .....well, you can guess how she was going to be a tree topper. :twisted:
    LMAO
    I assume she gave up on the idea of forcing you celebrate christmas?!? ;-)

    My ex-husband and I have always split Christmas day with the kids, he has them half the day and I have them the other half. But over the last couple of years we've done year about, so we can take them away. This year is his turn, so hubby and I will be on our own.... and we're really looking forward to it .... much to my mother's horror! lol

  15. #15
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueChicken
    I assume she gave up on the idea of forcing you celebrate christmas?!? ;-)
    Yes, she did. Now she laughs about it (as can I).

  16. #16
    Super Member Barbm's Avatar
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    Holidays have changed over the years. I've always loved to cook and decorate and go the whole distance to be sure everyone gets exactly what they were asking for.

    Now, due to splits in the family, I don't see my parents or brothers and sisters, but continue to have a dinner for my kids and their children. It gets harder each year to get them all together, but I tell them, you know when dinner is each year- just do the best you can to be here.

    The evenings I usually crash on the couch and watch mindless TV to keep my mind off the idiots I am related to. I only ever get a call from one sister who delights in calling me earlier and earlier to see if she can actually be awake before me on the holiday. It does set the day of sort of a happy tone, as she is the only one I get along with anymore. But by the end of the evening sadness sets in and I usually get a few tears shed over my brother's passing away and the idiots he has left me behind with.

    Overall, holidays are good enough as is, it doesn't take much to keep me happy.

  17. #17
    Super Member Bill'sBonBon's Avatar
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    When I was a child my family always did big on holidays. Easter,July 4th,Thanksgiving and Christmas. Mom always had special stuff. We were a family of 5 poor but not the poorest. Dad always managed to get it all together and Mom always fixed all the trimmmings regardless of what holiday it was.
    I taught my Girls Those 4 Holidays were Special. The first 2 years of marriage we had no kids. Went to inlaws or wherever. When I had my DDS it all changed. Both Girls had told me since they have been grown and had Thanksgiving elsewhere instead of with me and their dad,That no one celebrated the holidays like we did as a family. We CELEBRATED The holidays were not just another day. Over the years most of their 4ths,Easter,Thanksgiving,Christmas has been spent with me and their Father. Since we moved to GA. I now have only 1 daughter up here and it is not the same with her sister and familly missing. Grandsons are Grown with Jobs family, responsiblity. So we stay in Ga. and see them in Fl. after the holidays and still have a big blast. This Thanksgiving there will probably be around 16 or so people here. Thought I was going to get by with a 12lb. Turkey. LOL SILs have called to ask if they could come up. Still will miss my oldest and her bunch.
    BillsBonBon

  18. #18
    Super Member May in Jersey's Avatar
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    We've been married over 55 years so holiday tradtions and meals have changed over the years. At first we lived near our families but most were spent with my family as my MIL didn't ever do any holidays, especially Christmas. She worked for the phone co. and said she wanted to be at work so people could call their familes to wish each other Merry Christmas, meanwhile that left my FIL and BIL alone for the day. After dinner at my parents we'd visit DH's family for coffee and cake in the evening after MIL got home from work. She began having Thanksgiving once in awhile but a day before one Thanksgiving I found out she cancelled dinner but didn't let us know. By that time we were living in Jersey about 1 hour away from family and I decided that was enough and we'd do holidays at home or with my parents as we felt like it.

    Our 3 sons are all married and getting oldest son's wife to commit to a holiday dinner with us was always a problem, she kept hemming and hawing until the day was almost here. Found out after 20 years that she wanted to have all holidays with her parents. Other DIL's and I decided we'd share holidays, one year Thanksgiving would be spent together with one of us hosting and Christmas we'd do or go wherever we'd like on Christmas Day, the next year we'd change holidays. This has worked out very well for us. Oldest son and family are always invited but we no longer worry if they come or decline.

    Thanksgiving is always turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, fresh cider from the farm, several veggie dishes, fruit and nuts and lots of good desserts and hot tea (whole family except DH and I are tea drinkers). Host family does the turkey, I usullay take a dip, veggie dish, sometimes butternut squash soup and a dessert. Maybe a roasted turkey breast if there is going to be a big crowd as DIL's also invite their siblings to some of our holiday dinners. Christmas tradtion has become a spiral ham with most of the Thanksgiving sides. Started this when DS#3 was married to Anita whose mother kept a kosher kitchen, no ham, but we all liked the ham and the easy of making it that it's become our Christmas dinner the past 10 years or so.

    Gifts have changed over the years also. For years I used to give everyone a Wish List at Thanksgiving and that helped give me ideas for individual gifts. Grandkids are older and money is tighter, and I'm older and hate shopping the malls, so now each family gets a carton of steaks delivered right to their door, and everyone gets a 'little gift'. Last year all 9 grandkids got pjs. Picked up a cart at Kohl's, picked out a nice pair of pjs for each kid, then a little something for their parents and I had my most important gifts bought all in one fell swoop.

    I also participate in a Cookie Exchange the Sunday before Thanksgiving. This year we're each making 10 dozen cookies, packed by the dozen. I save most of them for Thanksgiving dessert, or bring them to my cousin Toni's Turkey Soup and Sandwhich Party the day after Thanksgiving. We used to packed our cookies by the half dozen but most of us found that our family nibbled away at them so there were hardly any left to share with others.

    Gee all this talk about food has made me hungry, so I'm leaving to eat my dinner. May in Jersey

  19. #19
    Power Poster Rhonda's Avatar
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    One thing I learned to make when I was a new wife and mother was how to make homemade bread. Now I make my Sally Lunn homemade bread for Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter. My sons fight over who gets to take the leftovers home. I make 3 large batches and keep a little for us and share the rest between the kids and some friends who live alone. I make them into dinner rolls and they are easy to share that way.

    It has become a tradition to make this bread and I am expected to bring it! My son has called and asked to make sure I am making it. As if I would dare not make it!!

  20. #20
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    As we are living in the UK now , we have had to import Thanksgiving as the British don't have it. Its a great time to be with my two daughters, and my son who will bring a new baby this year! We also do Christmas in a big way. We make sure that all jobs etc are done by 4o'clock in the afternoon of Christmas Eve as there is always a televised Carol service from Kings College Cambridge that we watch. We have supper later and usually play games, then go to Midnight Mass. Christmas Day is the best linens, silverware and crystal glasses and my husband cooks the turkey. We spend the afternoon opening presents and playing very silly games. The British also have an extra day called Boxing Day , also a holiday and we get together with friends- and the family still- and generally repeat Christmas Day again. We all dress in our finery, drink lots of very nice wine and eat too much. We get the best of all holiday traditions!

  21. #21
    Super Member Edie's Avatar
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    I cook the biggest turkey I can find, even if it is just the two of us. Our son, daughter in law and grandchildren come here or go to her mother's. Doesn't matter to us. There is always food on hand for anyone who comes here on Thanksgiving. Besides we love football!

    Christmas is my favorite time - we decorate the inside and the outside and this year I am going to put twinkle lights in my bottle tree. I come from Swedish and German descent and we make Potatis Korv (Swedish Potato sausage) and then on Christmas Eve Day the traditional Stollen is made - I am the official baker of the Stollen now :D . We all meet at Mom's and she has the Matriarchal chair and gifts and love and laughter are all bestowed on her and the rest of us (total 25). Mom is 93 and last year was the last we will all get together simultaneously. It is too much for her and she will make her Christmas last two weeks with everyone coming one family at a time.

    The kids come over to our house on Christmas morning and we open gifts and then eat! They have the inlaws to go to also. So when they leave we just collapse and eat leftovers.

    I love the holidays. I am particularly going to be excited about this one. I made the kids a quilt (sampler). So I think maybe next year a gift I will make will be a blanket for all the dogs in the family. Seven! I made one for Bess (our dog) and she loves to be covered up in it.

    Besides the REASON FOR THE SEASON, we are all family and one way or the other we will get together. I love Christmas. I love the tree, the ornaments that we have collected for the past 50 years. I love to see the little ones in the Christmas program at church and remember the times I was in the programs on Christmas Eve. I particularly remember being Gabriel and had the most beautiful angel costume, wings with gold ribbon on it and a halo made of a coathanger and gold ribbon - the one and only time I had a halo. As I got older (teen) I would play the organ for the Christmas program. This continued on until six months before I got married. My future husband and I were having a drink after I was through with work. Well, I had a little too much. When I got to church I was a little topsy turvy and I put on my robe, sat down at the organ and played Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring without a mistake - the first and only time.

    I love Christmas. Edie

  22. #22
    Power Poster Rhonda's Avatar
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    My mom loves Christmas she starts decorating for Thanksgiving a month early and then on Thanksgiving day she puts away all the Thanksgiving decor and gets out all the Christmas decorations and decorates her tree. She will move things around and redo this setting or that setting. She has a brick walk in fireplace that is one whole wall. She has a long mantle there and has it full of Santas or what ever she decides. She collects antiques and old collectibles etc. I will have to take pictures this year and share with you all. Good idea for another thread!! Christmas decorating pictures from everyone!!

  23. #23
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    Boy! this really made me think of memories past. For years it was just my son and I so we wanted to make our own memories. So Christmas Eve was our night I would buy a small turkey to make and we would have nice dinner and open our gifts. One year I couldn't find a small turkey so I got this 19 lb one we had a great laugh when we were done eating it didn't even look like had. We had turkey for weeks. We always put the Christmas tree up about 2 weeks before my son would be so excited he's stand in front of it and flap his arms with joy. Well one year I told him if he couldn't behave the tree would be put away well the next morning I got up and the tree was down and packed in it's boxes. He wasn't going to make any promises. Christmas day was always at my mom's as was Thanksgiving. I still put up a Christmas tree only now it is done in memory of my son who loved the Christmas Holiday he passed away at the age of 26 years old 13 years ago now. I miss the family get together laughing, talking, playing games as my family lives in Minnesota and My second husband and I live in Wyoming, so it just the two of us on the Holidays.

  24. #24
    Super Member May in Jersey's Avatar
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    Forgot to add to my orginal post that the spiral ham we have for Christmas dinner has added bonuses:

    1. I use the left over ham for the annual Christmas week lunch we have for a few friends,

    2. I freeze the ham bone and little bits of ham until there is some really cold and maybe snowing Winter weather and then make a huge pot of split pea soup, and best of all,

    3. I often get the spiral ham for FREE. Local supermarket usually gives them away if I buy a certain amount from them between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    You know, after re-reading my original post I did mention some negative things about problems we had setting up our Holiday dinners and get togethers but am so glad we've all learned to adapt to others needs so we all can look forward to Good Times and Celebrations. As one gal said, let's celebrate The Reason For The Season, May in Jersey

  25. #25
    Super Member Barbm's Avatar
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    perfect May! I agree, sometimes we forget why we are celebrating.

    Christmas Eve is "my holiday". I ask for the kids to come home and we have a meatless Polish dinner- hubby's tradition and then church. It's just not Christmas without going together to church- the darkness of the evening makes the stained glass windows sparkle and the candles cast such a golden glow. We come home and open a family gift (I get 1 for the whole family) and when the kids were younger we read the story of the first Christmas and sang carols.

    Christmas Day, I share, but I LOVE Christmas Eve.

    I think I need to rent some kids. (for the month of Dec.- there were so many things I did with the kids)

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