We asked our Springs Apartment team members from across the country to share their favorite holiday traditions and we got some expected – and a few unexpected – responses. After reading these you just might want to incorporate one into your own family’s holiday activities!
Caroling around our neighborhood
“My family bundles up and we walk around my parents’ neighborhood, stop at houses along the way, ring the doorbell and sing for them. We all carry candles which is a really pretty site. I’m not sure the singing is very good, but people seem to like it. Most give us cookies or some other treat. I hated doing it as a kid but now that I’m older I can see how much people appreciate it. Side benefit of caroling: we walk off some of food we ate all day long!”
Serving families at a local shelter
“This is something my family has done for years and we do it other times of the year, too, but it’s especially touching on Christmas Eve. It’s tough to see that so many families don’t have a place to go on that day, but it restores your faith to see how many people come out to try and make the holiday joyful for those less fortunate.”
“Everyone brings a new and special hors d’oeuvre and we just sit around catching up all night and maybe watch a Christmas movie. The hors d’oeuvres have to be something you’ve never made OR eaten before, and we each print out our recipe to share with everyone. Some of them have been flops, but some are ‘keepers.’ Even though we live fairly close to each other, this is one of the few times during the year that we just hang out together.”
Pick a name gift exchange
“Our family (there are 18 of us that get together) exchange names at Thanksgiving, so we each have one other person to buy a gift for. We make it a little challenging by setting a theme for the gift. This year it’s ‘entertaining’ so the gift has to be something you’d want or need for entertaining, like really cool wine glasses or if you picked a guy’s name you could buy him some vintage beer steins or a case of his favorite beer. Not every year has been a success, though. Two years ago the theme was ‘travel’ and that was tough to find gifts, plus a few of us are afraid to fly, so…”
“I’m not sure if ‘round robins’ are just a Midwestern thing, but we go around to each of 5 family members’ homes on Christmas Day. We get to see everyone’s decorations and tree, sample all different types of snacks and cookies, and we open a gift at every house! The tradition started with my great-grandparents and one of the things we do at every house is look through old photo albums where we can see pictures of our family doing the round robin all the way back to the 1930s.”
What was common among all the traditions we read about was the joy that comes from gathering with family and friends. Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah (the last day of this 8-day celebration will be the evening of December 24), Kwanzaa (which begins on December 26 and ends January 1) or other holiday, we hope yours is filled with lots of good cheer!