Bob Marley on Christmas – It’s Our Tradition

My family isn’t one to really use the word “tradition” to reference our holiday celebrations, but on each holiday the expected ritual is that we  all gather at my grandmother’s house for gift exchanges, my grandmother’s soul food, and my aunts baked from scratch cakes.  We spend the evening playing a game of Scattergories where my Aunt Dorothy will inevitable cheat and have all of her answers ignored and thereby be declared the loser before the game ever begins, followed by the family sitting (some standing as we are a very large family) watching terrible homemade movies that always, always, always ends in laughter.  The older I get the more I am reminded of how my childhood growing up in San Francisco was abundantly rich filled with “traditions” and unwavering relationships.

As my little one is growing up right before my eyes I ask myself this holiday season, what traditions will we create as a family?  What will my little one say of her childhood; how will she complete the sentence, “We always did _____ for the holidays?  The only way to foster traditions are to first create them.  This year we’ll continue with the traditions that started when I was a graduate student dating my hubby, then boyfriend, along with the traditions that came about with the birth of our baby girl, and start new traditions that one day my daughter will say, “As a child we always…”

  • Fixed Thanksgiving dinner so that we’d have leftovers cooked in our own kitchen.
  • Wore festive pajamas for major holidays.
  • Unwrapped 25 books – some handpicked by me at the library, some store-bought.  Mommy would wrap each book and place it under the Christmas tree for me to unwrap each night beginning on December 1st leading up to Christmas day.
  • Listened to Bob Marley, a CD Mommy and Daddy coined “our Christmas music,” while decorating the Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving.
  • Exchanged Christmas stockings on Christmas Eve.
  • Scoured the “Black Friday” ads and got a head start shopping on the morning of  Thanksgiving.
  • Watched Christmas movie classics while sprawled out on the sofa under the handmade quilt “Created with Grandmother’s Love.”
  • Drank hot chocolate topped with marshmallows and a peppermint stick.
  • Mailed Christmas cards to my family and friends.
  • Read the story of Jesus’ birth.
  • Stayed up late on New Year’s Eve dancing, flipping the channels between New York’s Time Square ball drop and Nick Jr’s countdown, eating hors d’oeuvre’s and sipping sparkling apple cider from a plastic champagne flute…fancy!
  • Using my acting chops in the church’s annual Christmas program.
  • Ice skating, or more aptly, falling on the ice, with Mommy and Daddy.
  • Had a never ending playlist of holiday music.

Follow me on Pinterest for holiday tradition ideas.  What traditions will you uphold or create this year?



  1. Britton

    I LOVE, LOVE some of your ideas! My daughters are 4 and 2 so the 2 year old still kinda doesn’t really know what’s going on, but some of the things I plan to do new this year is The Elf on the Shelf. I actually wrote about it a couple days ago. This year will also be the first year of us getting a “real” tree instead of an artificial. I plan to make that a family thing…going to pick out a tree. We will continue doing things like the festive pajamas (like you), baking for santa the night before, and opening one gift on Christmas Eve. Great post! I’m following you on Pinterest now!

  2. bequoted

    I read your “Elf on the Shelf” post the other day. Ever since I read it I have run into Elf on the Shelf pic’s everywhere. I was oblivious before your post. Thank you again for stopping by and following my board.

  3. Krystle

    Definitely adopting the book idea…we’ll be taking a trip to the library this weekend! Does it count as tradition that I’m always running around til the last minute even though I already knew everything I wanted to get months ago?

  4. Pingback: March This Way « BeQuoted
  5. Anonymous

    This is the first year I am spending Christmas with my daughter and her family. It is so very special to me because I get to see first hand and up close and personal my Sweet Pea open gifts. What a Blessing to be able to start new memories of Christmas to cherish as I do the memories I still enjoy of my Sweet daughter.

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