Friends’ Favorite Holiday Traditions


It seemed like over Thanksgiving everyone’s Insta stories were filled with fun family activities and traditions, and I loved getting a glimpse into other people’s lives during the holidays. It’s funny how some activities can seem like a total surprise when you’ve grown up doing things a certain way–for example, my family always eats Thanksgiving dinner around 6 pm, and while I’ve always realized that other people have it somewhat earlier, I was shocked when I saw how many people were eating around 1 or 2! There were other things that I’m totally adding to my list for the future…Thanksgiving morning mimosa making, anyone?!


So because I’m nosy, I thought it would be fun to poll a few friends about their favorite holiday traditions either from growing up or now…take a peak at a few below. I love how many people have had “kid” traditions carry on into adulthood!

“On Christmas we go to a Chinese restaurant and see a movie. My friend and I also used to make gingerbread houses from scratch!” -Molly

“I do father-daughter cookie decorating every year with one of my grandma’s cookie recipes. We also still do the traditional cookies and milk for Santa!” -Becca (She also gets Chinese food but on Christmas Eve, and my family always did that, too! And now I’m hungry…).

“Cookie baking is a new one. We get together, bring a recipe and ingredients, and bake a whole bunch of cookies together. This happens a couple days before Christmas. Santa comes on Christmas Eve while we’re at church. When we get back from church in the early evening, Santa (yes, “he” still comes even though we’re all adults) has formed piles of presents that are unwrapped and a stocking embroidered with our name is placed on our pile to indicate whose it is. For Thanksgiving, we play a football game on the beach with the whole family!” -Maddie


“My in-laws have a tradition of giving pajamas and a book on Christmas Eve. Everyone gets cozy to celebrate and also has pajamas for the year. When I visited their home during the holidays for the first time while (my now-husband) and I were dating, his mom pulled out a wrapped set for me. That’s how I knew they thought of me as part of the family!” -Callie

“One of my favorite things is decorating gingerbread houses with family, and also seeing The Nutcracker!” -Olivia

“From the time I was born, my older sister and I had matching Christmas pajamas. Every Christmas morning (to this very day), we wear matching/fun pajamas as our dad tapes us walking down the steps to the tree. We’ve had a lot of fun with it. Since we were old enough to start picking out our own, we keep our selections a surprise from our parents, which makes it even more fun. Even though my sister is married with a kid we still keep the tradition…now we just add my niece! It’s something I can’t wait to do with my own kids one day.” -Shelby

As for mine? When I was little, my dad would take me (and maybe my sister if she was old enough? It’s bad I can’t remember!) on a little “nature walk” in a nearby neighborhood on Thanksgiving day. I’d pick up pinecones and pretty leaves and bring them back home, where we’d use them to decorate the table. On Christmas morning, we always take a break midway through opening presents and my dad heads to the bagel store to pick up tons of bagels for our family to eat for breakfast. (However, we haven’t done this in years because we’ve been in Florida where there aren’t any bagel stores–not kidding! This year, though, we’ll be in town, so I can’t wait to get my hands on a Bethesda Bagel or two!). My parents would also usually let us open one present (from a relative, though I’m not sure how this rule was formed) on Christmas Eve.

What I love about these traditions (and all of the above!) is that they go to show that you don’t need to do anything elaborate or fancy to create lasting memories; instead, it’s the idea of doing the same thing year after year that’s so special.

What are your favorite holiday traditions?

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