IL Holiday Traditions
Happy Holidays to you from our IL family! As a remote team based all over the world, we all celebrate the holidays in our own special ways. We decided to share some of our favorite holiday traditions with each other. Here are some of the highlights that were shared!
Growing up, my mom always made us a”picnic” dinner on the floor of the living room on Christmas Eve by the fire and watched Christmas movies. It was basically just charcuterie-type things mostly but as a kid it felt so magical. My brother and I have both continued the tradition now that she’s no longer with us.
She also used to make Christmas Stollen, or “Christollen,” which is a German sweet bread filled with a bunch of dried fruit, nuts, and almond paste (I think you can use marzipan too). I remember waking up with her in the middle of the night to knead it back because it has to rise a bunch of times. I’ve never tried it myself but maybe this year!
Here is a photo shot by me. The spring poems were painted by my wife and me last new year.
By the way, my mom will always put the money in a red envelope beneath my daughter’s pillow, just like my childhood.
Matching pajamas on Christmas Eve, quiche on Christmas morning, and our annual Nerf gun fight are my favorites 🎄🎅
My great-grandmother on my mom’s side passed away on Christmas Eve when my grandma was 15. Since then, her family lit a candle for her every Christmas Eve not to mourn, but so she could always be part of the holidays. This has become a tradition passed down in my family through generations and I have a special candle I light for her each year.
When I was a kid, my favorite holiday was the Chinese New Year. I loved playing with my brothers and sister. We set off small fireworks and also watched the big fireworks set off by my uncle on Chinese New Year’s Eve. I always got a lucky red envelope under the pillow the next morning after waking up when I was a kid, and would be so happy to wear new clothes to celebrate the holiday, which I also do as a tradition for my kid now.
On Christmas Eve each year, the elves bring a scavenger hunt for the kids to find the Santa box that tells them if they’ve been naughty or nice. Inside the box there’s cocoa bombs, cocoa, Christmas books, puzzles, cookie popcorn, treats, a movie, cookie cutters, and matching PJs.
Christmas evening we make Santa decorated cookies and sometimes beignets until bedtime. Then Santa sets up the gifts under the tree overnight and leaves his footprints behind for a morning surprise!
On New Year’s Eve we have a ton of appetizer foods and sometimes tacos or pizza. My mom also makes black eyed peas every year for good luck even though they are gross.
My mom usually makes a ton of butter cookies with different colors and shapes. Then she packs them all in tins and hands them out to me and my family and my brother and his family. It’s my most favorite thing to eat at Christmas time. Last year she did not have time to make them, so I tried, and they were horrible. I’m not sure what she does when she makes them but it is definitely magic.
On New Year’s Day, our families will get together, then set off firecrackers, fireworks, have dinner, give red envelopes, and bless each other. After dinner, I will play mahjong with my siblings, it is very interesting! My mother will cook tea eggs and stew an old hen, so that the next morning we can have fresh chicken noodle soup.
Each year my wife and I have been together, we make it our mission to find a Christmas tree ornament that is tied to a memory from that year. When we had kids we added an ornament that had significance to each of them. As they got older, they each got to choose an ornament that was special to them.
When we decorate the tree as a family, we divide and hang our chosen ornaments and talk about all the memories.
When our kids have their own families, they will take their ornaments with them and, hopefully, keep the tradition alive!
We do Christmas crackers at Christmas dinner. You can’t get the good ones here in the USA though so my Grandma sends them over from England. Among other things, they always come with a paper crown so everyone has to wear it while they eat.
Every year my wife plans a big meal for my side of the family a few days before Christmas since we have a few birthdays right around there. When the time comes there’s no actual plan so I enact my shadow plan and it ends up like an SNL skit where Chris Farley and John Belushi get resurrected to play chefs for a private party and shenanigans ensue.
In my house the kids get to open one gift on Christmas Eve, and I always put a can of black olives in my husband’s stocking because his parents always did that when he was a kid. He claims it’s a Dutch thing, but I don’t know about that.
We also have two “magic” elves named Jingle and Jangle that we put in different scenarios every night between December 1- December 25. It’s just like Elf On the Shelf but these elves belonged to my mom so they’re extra magical, lol. It’s gotten to the point where my husband and I started attributing specific personality traits to them. We’ll find ourselves saying, “I can’t believe they did that” or “What a couple of idiots” as if we ourselves aren’t the ones posing them in each situation. 😑 😂
My father was born in 1946 in Pennsylvania. He was raised to be very, very frugal and reuse everything. A lot of things we take for granted were luxuries to his family. To the whole town really. And winters could be pretty harsh and feel dull and slim. So, every year at Christmas time, the local volunteer firefighters in his small town would drive all the way down to Florida to bring home oranges from there. Every kid got an orange at Christmas time and it was pretty exciting when they were distributed.
So, every year growing up, there was an orange in our stockings. 🙂
My brother and I bake together every year – he’s several years younger than me, so maybe since he was around 3. He begged for a gingerbread house that year and my mom told me I had to help him put it together. It was sugar cookies the next year, until us baking together each year stuck. Now, we pick a family house for Christmas and everyone meets up by Christmas Eve. We spend the day making snacks to nibble on, baking cookies, and playing games. There’s always a Christmas movie on, or some Christmas music playing that we’re all singing at the top of our lungs over and dancing to. There are also matching pjs and stockings that one of us gets to sort and put goodies in. A gingerbread kit always makes its way in too before the night is over.
Our combined families (from my Mom and my Aunt’s side of the family and all the kids, spouses, etc) get together the weekend before Christmas to celebrate. The Saturday is Mexican food since my Uncle is from there and isn’t a fan of turkey, so we have his menu (all homemade) of refried beans, tacos, enchiladas, etc. Then we have our annual pinochle tourney where we have door prizes as well as gifts for high scores and the low scorer gets a special traveling trophy they have to display for the year. Sunday traditional food ( ham, turkey, etc) and we have our Texas Hold Em tourney with a $20 buy-in. This year my cousin is adding a new tradition of a hot ones challenge on Friday night so we will see if I survive lol.
I’m gonna be the odd-man-out and go with Easter for my favorite holiday traditions.
My mom would have us make a nest next to our beds with our clothes after we put our pajamas on. The Easter bunny needed a nest to lay her eggs. If we didn’t have a nest, she wouldn’t know where to lay them. We’d wake up in the morning to find eggs that my mom colored with designs. There’d also be jelly beans (red ones are still my favorite!) and candy pieces. Our kids did the same growing up as did their kids. I remember us comparing eggs and trading candies and jelly beans.
We make an Advent calendar every year with festive activities like baking/decorating cookies, Christmas movie night, making holiday ornaments together, etc. We also include ways to share with others like donating to a local food bank or shopping for Toys For Tots. My daughter gets so excited to open it every morning!
Not on purpose… but opening all our Christmas gifts early is also a tradition (that’s the fun of being an adult right? 😅 😬)
No matter how you choose to spend the holidays, we are sending you warm wishes for a safe and peaceful season! From all of us here at InventoryLab, happy holidays