Why are traditions so important? They knit a family together providing constants in a world of change. Family traditions offer reliability in a world of unknowns. They tell our children this is who we are, and this is what is important. Traditions bridge generations, link us to our past, and pave a solid road toward the future. What are yours? From special Christmas trees, family get-togethers, baking and gift giving we hope you’ll enjoy learning about our special traditions. Maybe we will inspire you to start a new tradition or two.
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This affordable, quality holiday dish set is a dream. This beautiful Better Homes & Gardens Heritage Collection Holiday 16-piece set available exclusively at Walmart is an incredible value. Click on the photo below to see more details and to purchase.
Quiet Moments Make the Best Traditions
Sometimes the quiet moments are the best moments. We’ve always had the tradition of reading Christmas classics with the boys. When they were very young, we read to them. Now they read on their own. We evolve as the children age, but the traditions remain. It’s wonderful to see the boys’ motivation to keep the traditions alive. It shows us how much they value them. Three of their all-time favorites are The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas, and of course, Elf on The Shelf.
Elf on the Shelf
My boys adore the interactive fun of hiding and searching for the Elf. When they were younger, I’d do the hiding and they’d do the seeking. Now they are master hiders, so my husband and I do our best to find him. So, in honor of this delightful family tradition we want to play the game with you. Look through the photos in this post carefully. Somewhere we have carefully hidden the Elf. Comment below if you can find him!
Click on the pillows below to purchase.
Everyone in the family fights over this new buffalo plaid sherpa throw perfect for the entire winter season. It’s oversized and incredibly cozy, not to mention too darling for words. Another irresistible value from Better Homes & Gardens collection from Walmart.
Holiday decorating is so much fun. I love my new farmhouse-inspired rustic wood and metal lanterns from Better Homes & Gardens collection available only at Walmart. I just added some festive ribbon and candles to complete this holiday vignette. Once again, I’m so impressed with the quality and value of these products. Click on photo below to shop.
Family Wide Traditions
As a decorator, it can be hard to let go and allow the kids to help. That’s why I’m particularly proud of the tradition we uphold in our family. Every year we let my boys, Roan and Reese, choose their own live Christmas tree. My discipline to hold back advice or direction begins here, my friends. They get to choose which tree we end up with. I consider it an exercise in self-control, which is greatly rewarded by their joy.
Decorating the Tree
The tradition continues as we allow them to decorate the tree however they choose. When they were little, we had a bag of shatter-proof ornaments specifically for them. Now, they can pick and choose any ornaments they want. With this freedom of expression, each year they seem to get more and more creative. The tree is not hidden away in their bedrooms but showcased in the entryway of our home. I treasure seeing their pride as they show off their tree to all who enter. It has become one of their favorite Christmas traditions.
Advent Calendar Tradition
When the boys were little, I bought a cute little wooden advent calendar and placed it in the center hallway. Every morning during the Christmas season, I would wake the boys up with the reminder that they had another door on the calendar to open. This realization would jolt them out of bed and start the day in a flurry of excitement and chocolate. Breaking the “mom rule” of no sweets for breakfast was a small price to pay for the joy on their faces.
Last year, I made a new advent calendar and the boys just loved it. Read our advent calendar blog postfor more details on this holiday tradition. My older son Roan asked if he could help fill it. He had so much fun being in charge of selecting the chocolates, making it even more special for him and his brother. It’s fun to see how my kids personalize the traditions as they grow and mature. And it’s fun to see that even as they get into middle school, they aren’t too old for the traditions they enjoyed as toddlers.
Family All Together Makes Christmas Special
We are fortunate to live close to lots of family. Since my husband Bill grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, we have lots of family in the surrounding suburbs. Everyone gets together for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and the Fourth. This group is 45-55 strong. We swap houses and take turns hosting parties and all pitch in to make it work. Everyone brings delicious food and does their part. This tradition has kept the family connected over the years.
Festive Holiday Table Setting
Are this not the cutest salt and pepper shaker set you’ve ever seen? Crazy cute. They are already a family favorite, and I know they’ll be treasured year after year. On top of the cuteness overload, can you believe the price? We recommend this cute set as the perfect gift for anyone on your holiday shopping list. You can buy yours right here by clicking on the photo below.
Christmas Dinner Tradition
In preparation for Christmas dinner, I rent tables and have a ball creating festive tablescapes. The food is always incredible, in addition to the conversation and love shared. Some people dread spending time with family during holiday season, but we are so blessed to have the most loving, wonderful family.
Part of the tradition is creating an excuse to use special dinnerware that once belonged to mine and my husband’s grandmothers. The vintage crystal champagne glasses belonged to Bill’s Austrian grandmother whom he’s had a close relationship with throughout his life. The antique silverware was my grandmother Nan’s most valuable possession. Every time I set the holiday table it reminds me how much she loved us and all the memories we shared.
This is why I love Better Homes & Gardens Heritage dinnerware and serve ware so much. The patterns are full of nostalgic charm. They recall memories of past seasons and conjure up those sentimental feelings that make the holidays so special.
Holiday Memories Tied to Tastes and Smells
It is no wonder that many of our holiday traditions center around seasonal aromas and food. Our sense of smell is closely linked with memory, probably more so than any of our other senses. This is because of the way our brain processes odors and memories. The perception of smell consists not only of the sensation of the smells themselves but of the experiences and emotions associated with these sensations. They create a powerful and an important link to our pasts. The memories we are making now will one day be our children’s precious memories. It’s important we create the best memories that will last a lifetime.
Holiday Scented Candles
Maybe that’s why I love this Better Homes & Gardens candle so much. Their “Fresh Cut Frasier” scented candle reminds me of my childhood. Every single Christmas memory I have is wrapped up in this heavenly scent of pine. When I open the lid and light this beautiful double wick candle, I am instantly transported back in time.
Enjoy this timeless holiday scent in several ways, candles, wax melts, and in a special set that includes a Room Spray, Reed Diffuser and Votive Candle. Plus, it makes a lovely holiday gift.
Holiday Baking Means Fun for the Whole Family
What would the holiday season be without baking? Julie and I began this tradition when we were little girls. It holds special significance because our grandmother helped start the tradition. Nan began her holiday baking mid-November and would freeze many of the treats. She had to start early because she baked so much! She made her famous fudge in huge batches and packaged them up to give to friends and family for Christmas.
We made all the traditional types of Christmas cookies: sugar cookies, shortbread cookies, snowballs, and more. We loved her holiday version of Rice Krispy Treats where she replaced the Rice Krispies with corn flakes, added green food coloring, shaped them into wreaths and added three red hots as decorative berries. Two generations later these remain an annual favorite across our entire extended family.
If you love this Better Homes & Gardens Heritage Holiday Platter as much as we do, don’t wait until it’s no longer in season.
Gift Giving and Spiced Nuts
Another kitchen tradition that Julie and I have carried on from Nan is her recipe for Ginger Spiced Nuts. When Julie and I were young married couples living in the suburbs of Chicago, we actually lived together for several years. It felt very normal for us believe it or not. We did a lot of DIY projects and baking together. During the holidays, we started the tradition of baking large batches of Nan’s secret recipe for Ginger Spiced Nuts. We would wrap them up in cute packages and give them to our friends. I have very few things that I’ve kept since my childhood, but this little blue recipe book still holds my favorite recipes.
The tradition continues. Now we give them to teachers and our husbands’ co-workers as well as friends and neighbors. To get the details, you can read more about our original Ginger Spice Nuts recipe. There’s nothing like a homemade gift to make someone feel special.
Shop Our Holiday Traditions Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart Products
Shared Traditions Create Meaningful Holiday Moments
As time goes on, holidays are wrapped up in excessive to-do lists and day to day stresses. This is why it’s so important we carefully choose our commitments, especially during the holidays. Traditions create family bonding moments that force us to slow down and savor. Traditions make us feel grounded. Celebrating these traditions links us to past memories and helps us create lasting new ones. We hope they do the same for you.
We are delighted to share these favorite holiday traditions with you and hope you’ll share some of yours with us. Comment your traditions below, and maybe we’ll find a fun new idea to incorporate this year.
Have a magical holiday season, Dear Friends!
With love and blessings,
Jodie & Julie
P.S. Did you find our Elf??