Favorite frugal holiday traditions from childhood

Photo by yogi

Tony and I have only been married six months, so we’re still working on building our own family traditions. While some of our own traditions are completely new (like our private gift exchange and candle lit dinner at home a few days before celebrating the actual holiday with family), many of them are borrowed and adapted from our families.

We’ve been thinking a lot about which traditions we’ve to carried over from our own childhoods. Here are some of our favorites, and the ways we’ve adapted them.

Then: Every year, I watched old Christmas movies with my mom (“It’s a Wonderful Life,” “White Christmas,” and “The Bishop’s Wife” were our favorites).

Now: Tony and I still watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” every year. We’ve also added “Love Actually” to our list of holiday favorites. This year, we’re attending a free screening of “It’s a Wonderful Life” in an old theater downtown, so we’ll get to see it on the big screen.

Then: Tony listened to a local radio station’s frequent on Santa’s whereabouts Christmas Eve.

Now: Well, not right now, but someday when we have kids we’ll track Santa with them online at a site like Norad’s Santa Tracker.

Then: Both of our mothers baked huge trays of Christmas cookies for us to eat every year.

Now: I don’t trust myself with large amounts of cookies around the house, so if I bake I’ll give away most of the cookies to co-workers or family.

Photo by ggladman

Then: We both grew up in the Midwest where there was plenty of snow for snowmen, sledding, and snowball fights.

Now: No snow in North Carolina. :( We’re heading north for Christmas, though, and we’re hoping to see snow then. Cross your fingers for us!

Then: When I was a kid, we opened one gift on Christmas Eve and the rest in the morning. Once we were all too old to wait up for Santa, we began exchanging gifts at midnight on Christmas Eve. We celebrated all evening by eating good food, listening to Christmas music, and playing board games. Tony’s family has always exchanged gifts on Christmas morning.

Now: We’ll celebrate on Christmas Eve until we have young children who are expecting Santa. But as they get older, we’ll probably abandon the Christmas morning gift exchange for a Christmas Eve celebration. As a teenager, I loved celebrating with my family on Christmas Eve then sleeping in on Christmas morning and relaxing all day.

Then: My mom always put an orange in the bottom of our stockings. It was a nice healthy snack that didn’t at all make up for the pounds of junk food we ate at Christmas. But it was a nice touch.

Now: I will always put oranges in stockings, no matter how weird Tony thinks it is. :)

What about you? How have you adapted your family’s traditions?

3 thoughts on “Favorite frugal holiday traditions from childhood

  1. LizzieK8

    My mom, and later I, always put a small orange in the toe, a small apple in the heel and a banana coming out the top. Inside was traditional hard Christmas candy and mixed nuts in the shell as well as a couple of toys. It was used to keep us occupied till the adults rolled out of bed.

    LizzieK8’s last blog post..I’m peddling as fast as I can!!!!

  2. Bobbi

    Baking Christmas cookies with my grandmother and now I have cookies parties for my daughter (now grown) and my niece & nephews! Traditions rock!
    Getting that can of black olives wrapped under the tree, then & now!

  3. Mama Koala

    My husband’s family gives the kids new pjs on Christmas Eve–since we have a son, now…I made sure to add pjs to my shopping list for Black Friday….our 11 month old will be sporting Mickey skiing down the slopes….looking forward to the cute pics of him in his PJs under the tree.

    We also make tamales each year–yum!

    Mama Koala’s last blog post..Frugal Friday, Freebies

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