My 5 Favorite Christmas Traditions From Holiday PJs To Cut Throat Family Competition

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We aren’t a particularly coordinated family, but the few traditions we have all surround Christmas.   These small things are what make the holiday for me.

1.  Christmas Eve Pajamas

No, we aren’t the family with matching drawers from Dad to baby that went viral on YouTube, nor are we the Kardashians who get extravagant silk and fur PJs and post their group picture on Instagram. The pajamas we got were just for the kids, wrapped and pulled from some corner of my parents’ room just before bedtime.  They were never coordinated, but they were warm and fuzzy and new and they symbolized that the first morning we woke up in these special duds we would be spying great gifts under the tree.  Last night when I continued the tradition with my own kids, my son said he was hoping for a car.  Ah, the lack of censor on a 4-year-old.

2.  Cinnamon Buns



After opening all of our presents, we reject any notion of a healthy breakfast and instead grease up some delicious fat Cinnamon Buns with that sugar white icing.  It feels like the right amount of decadence for a holiday that’s all about excess over your normal life.

3.  Watching Old Movies

We start on Thanksgiving with March of The Wooden Soldiers, but Christmas involves a marathon of classic movies playing in the background.  My kids love the Charlie Brown Christmas series (in particular I Want A Dog) and I love the blatant adult humor in every scene.  My favorite scene:

“What would you do if I kicked those over?” Lucy asks of Rerun’s building blocks. “Probably nothing at the moment,” he replies without missing a beat, “but years from now, after you’re married, when you and your husband want me to co-sign a note so you can buy a new house, I’ll refuse.”

4.  Scratch-off Lotto Tickets In My Stocking

I know I’m too old to have a stocking but my mother still does it for all her adult children.  It’s filled with our favorite candy, a couple of trinkets and a few of those scratch-off lotto tickets. It’s something to do with the magic of the holiday I feel even as an adult that when I grab that little card and a coin I really believe I have the chance to change my life.  I haven’t yet won big, but most years I collect between $10-20.  It’s enough to keep the dream alive.

5.  Game Night


I’m a competitive person.  Some people are surprised to learn this, especially if they know me as a yoga teacher, an aspiring Buddhist or someone who has every episode of Super Soul Sunday on my DVR.  But I am.  I am cut throat.  It doesn’t matter the game – I’ll play and I’m playing to win.  Every year, my mother indulges me with a board game or computer trivia game and we break it out immediately after dinner.

For a few years we were into Guitar Hero and Rock Band so at least we could all play together and cooperate.  It’s no small victory to end the night without any tears or hurt feelings.  Thankfully my brother and I are used to years and years of this kind of strife and we make up as quick as we get on each other’s nerves.  It’s more stressful for my husband and sister-in-law, but those competitions are just as much a part of my Christmas traditions as the joy of giving.

Whatever your Christmas traditions, whether set in stone or still in the making, I hope you are enjoying them today with those you love today!

(photo: Helen Bloom/Shutterstock)