Behind the Seams, Inner Beauty

14 Fun Holiday and Christmas Traditions, From Our Family to Yours

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Merry Christmas, friends! Now that the holidays are finally upon us—or even behind us, for some—we’re focusing a little less on running around ringing up presents and a little more on how we plan to spend quality time with family and friends—the real point of the season.

That’s why, this week, Bare It All asked the Bare Necessities staff what Christmas and holiday traditions mean the most to them. Some will probably sound all too familiar, and maybe you’ll find a new one or two to incorporate into your own celebrations (three words: spiked hot chocolate). Whatever you do, whoever you’re with, we hope it’s the kind of uplifting, heartwarming stuff that puts the wind back in your sails as we head into 2016. 

IN GOOD SPIRITS
“My girlfriends and I always do a Secret Santa. The key to making it merry is spiked hot chocolate! I add peppermint schnapps and whipped cream-flavored vodka, and garnish each mug with a candy cane.” –Erin C., e-commerce marketing manager

PAJAMA GAMES
“My mom, dad, sister and I wear matching pajamas—think candy-cane stripes and Santa hats. Now that my sister is married, her husband has to wear them, too! They put their own fashion twist on our look, like all white when we wear red.” –Sonya M., online marketing coordinator

THE PRE-PARTY
“The Saturday before Christmas, my husband’s family—we’re talking over 50 people—gets together at our house. Everyone brings a dish for an eclectic buffet, from homemade Italian meatballs to rice and beans. Santa stops by to hand out gifts to the kids, and sometimes we even break into song.” –Heather G., merchandise manager

LIGHT UP THE NIGHT
“My new family tradition with my kids is going to Dyker Heights, Brooklyn to see Dyker Lights, this neighborhood of incredible, professionally decorated homes. We have a slice of NY pizza and walk around for hours.” –Stephanie J., designer

MOVIE MARATHON
“Since we celebrate Chanukah, on Christmas Day, my husband and I eat Chinese takeout in the theater and hop from movie to movie. Four films was our all-time record. Years ago, the theaters used to be empty but now, families of all religions show up for blockbusters. It makes eating lo mein slightly more challenging, which is half the fun.” –Brooke G., copywriter

STAY IN, CHILL OUT
“I love the holidays, but I’m lame about them. I just watch Home Alone 73 times a season.” –Anthony S., program manager

BOARD BEYOND BELIEF
“We always spend Christmas Eve with my mom’s side of the family playing Trivial Pursuit or other favorite board games.” –Heather V., buyer, premium brands

FEELING ORNAMENTAL
“We decorate our tree with ornaments I made in grade school art class. My most cherished ornaments are a Santa sled, reindeer and star, all made from popsicle sticks. It’s pretty amusing to see them once a year, and to think my parents saved them is even more amusing.” –Kathleen A., social media coordinator

MAD GRAB BAG
“My in-laws host a huge family party, with over 60 of us representing four generations. After music, games and dinner, we do a grab bag. Starting with the youngest child, everyone picks a random, wrapped dollar-store item. We wait until the oldest person picks, then we all open our gifts at once and crack up at the ridiculous things we find—one year, someone got a plunger! Then we trade for other gifts, square dance, limbo, and have dessert.” –Leah H., e-commerce coordinator

O CHRISTMAS TREE
“Every year, we go to the tree farm and cut down our own Christmas tree. The freshly cut ones always last longer, and it makes the house smell Christmas-y.” –Donna L., executive assistant

MORE THAN A MENORAH
“When my son was born in October 1998, a friend of ours gave us a Winnie the Pooh menorah. Eighteen years later, we’re still using it to celebrate this joyous holiday. Now that they’re teenagers, my kids laugh at my wife and me every time we pull out this menorah—little do they know what an incredible memory we’re creating for them.” Rich Keller, VP of brand marketing

SLOW IT DOWN
“After a traditional Polish Christmas Eve meal—mostly different types of fish and, of course, pierogi—we open one gift apiece. I’m looking forward to continuing this tradition this year with my two-year-old son now that he understands Christmas a little better.” –Marianne G., email marketing coordinator

 A TASTE OF THE OLD COUNTRY
“Each year, just before Christmas Eve dinner, my family shares Oplatek, a tradition from the Polish side of the family. Everyone gets a blessed wafer. Then everyone goes around the table and breaks off a piece of share with everyone else, along with hugs, kisses, I love yous and Merry Christmases! My brother always breaks off the tiniest pieces possible for himself—it tastes like cardboard—and shares huge pieces with our four-legged, furry family members. It’s my favorite tradition because it’s a reason to pause in the middle of all the craziness and share something with the people you care about.” –Marianne F., email marketing manager

 GUESSING GAMES
“Rather than write on our gifts who each one is actually from, my family gives a clue about what’s inside. A new iPad might be from “Steve,” or a Mission: Impossible DVD might be from “Tom.” All the guessing makes the present opening last for hours, and there’s always lots of laughter.” –Gretchen W., director of business analysis

 

 

 

 

 

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Brooke Glassberg
Brooke is the editor of this here blog. In a previous life, she was an editor at Good Housekeeping and O, The Oprah Magazine. Brooke has written for Glamour, Travel+Leisure, New York Magazine and more. She’s into concerts, calligraphy, travel and her exceptionally adorable daughter and husband.
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