December 8, 2009

The Holidays and Family Traditions: A Contest From The Broke Socialite

(above - The Broke Socialite's Family Christmas Tree, Shaka Zulu)

*singing* "It's the most wonderful tiiiiiiiimmmmeeee of the yeeaaaarrrrr..."

OK. I won't burden everyone with my sopralto tendencies but the holiday season just makes me so giddy. I know...I'm a big sucka.  You probably will not be surprised to know that I absolutely adore my family.  Mama and Daddy TBS each have a couple of siblings and everyone is very close.  Though I don't live in the town where I grew up any longer, I do try to get there as much as I can. Now that Mama TBS is on the mend (her stage IV breast cancer is in remission...yeaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!), our lives are beginning to normalize again.

One of the things that I used to LOVE growing up was our 'holiday rounds'. My Aunt Angie and her family lived next door and my Aunt Matt lived just down the path (I'll bet you didn't know that TBS is a "country mouse" did you?).  We'd start the morning by everyone gathering at our house while my mom cooked breakfast.  We'd dish out the gifts from under our tree and share (or not...especially if it was an Easy Bake Oven) our toys with our cousins.  Sister TBS and I were most always fortunate enough to find that Santa had brought everything on our lists.  Then we'd go to Aunt Angie's to see my cousins toys and end the morning with a stop at Aunt Matt's. Aunt Matt is now 80 years old (and very spry, might I add) and was a remarkable seamstress.  Each year was filled with anticipation toward what she made us.  One of my favorite Christmases was when she presented us all (and we were most all married) with homemade quilts that matched our personalities. I'd just gotten married the month before, so mine was a wedding ring quilt. I'm tearing up as I think about it. What a strong influence she has been in my life!

After we got home from 'rounds, we'd slip into a new holiday outfit and head to "town"...that's where Daddy TBS's family lived. My Aunt Peggy, who was (and is) a fashion plate would come from Atlanta with huge bags of gifts in tow and Uncle Greg (who lived next door to my grandparents) would always come in pretending to be Santa (and he is STILL as funny).  We'd exchange gifts with my cousins before settling in to greet the various and sundry family members who would stop by for dinner.

The folks at Fair Winds Trading, as a part of their Path To Peace initiative, have invited us to share our favorite family holiday stories.  If you share your favorite holiday tradition in a comment below, you will be entered to win a Rwandan basket that will hopefully add to your family's traditions. The contest will run through December 14th, 2009 at 11:59 pm and you may only enter once.

Here's the story behind the Path To Peace baskets from Rwanda. It's truly remarkable! The "bowl" baskets symbolize different things based on the patterns like patience, bountiful harvest, and good fortune.

What's your favorite holiday tradition?

Disclosure: I have a material connection because I received a gift or sample of a product for consideration in preparing to write this content. I am not expected to return this item or gift after my review period.


  1. Delivering homemade pound cakes and cookies to my neighbors. They know I do it every year and yet they always act so surprised and grateful that I thought of them. It's gotten to the point where a couple of them have an excellent bottle of wine available when I ring their bell with goodies so we can sit a spell and chat.

  2. My favorite holiday tradition might sound corny, but it's decorating the tree with my husband and children. We have so much fun decorating the tree. I wouldn't trade it for the world!

    Hugs and Mocha,

  3. Dear TBS,

    I'll tell you my favorite holiday traditions. When my sister and I were little we used to go to my Grandma Churchill's home way down on the farm in Southern Missouri. It was my sister's and my task to play Santa and stuff the stockings for all of our younger cousins that hung on the door, being that Grandma didn't have a chimney! We also played elves on Christmas morning or on Christmas Eve to pass out all of the gifts sitting under a quickly drying out Christmas tree chopped down in the woods. My family didn't have a lot of money, but there were so many aunts, uncles and cousins that it looked like a tornado had hit the place with ribbons, bows and glittery paper once we were through. There were lots of useful gifts (underwear, T-shirts and bath towels) and many were handmade. I remember one time my Aunt Diana decided to MAKE my dad a necktie out of brightly colored polyester. He unwrapped it but it was never to be seen again. He said it must have gotten thrown away with the paper, but my aunt thinks otherwise! And then for lunch, Grandma and my aunts always made a huge dish of cornbread dressing with plenty of sage. Those were the best Christmases ever!

    I love your story and would love to see the quilt your Aunt Matt made for you. That would be a grand enough prize for me.

    Much happiness to you this season!



  4. My favorite holiday tradition is baking the same cakes for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day that I grew up with. I haven't been back to my family's home for Christmas in nearly 10 years, but I've convinced my husband's family that they must eat the same things I grew up with.

  5. My favorite Christmas tradition is getting a new pair of Christmas PJ's for the entire family. We put them on Christmas Eve and when we get up on Christmas morn we take a family photo & my mother fixes the most fabulous breakfast. Then we open gifts, play with the new "toys" and finally go over to Grandma Willie's for presents and Christmas Dinner.

    Merry Christmas & Blessed New Year.

  6. You touched my heartstrings when you said "down the path". I'm a country girl and family was a rocks throw from each other. My Grandmother and her sisters would come over on Christmas morning and check out what Santa brought. Coffee would be in the percolater and breakfast casserole with hot biscuits would be in the oven...oh did I mention the molasses in the gold tin with butter for those said biscuits! My Mom loved, loves, and will always love Christmas as will I. It's a little harder for us all to be together with jobs and deployments, but when we do it is beautiful.

  7. My father is Catholic and my mother, brother and I are Baptist, so we rarely worshipped together as a whole family. As my brother and I got older and realized that Christmas really isn't about the gifts, we all would go to Mass with my father on Christmas morning and then, so that no one would have to cook, we would find a restaurant that served brunch (coincidently, one of the few resturants open on Christmas Day is one I worked in while I was in college. We've spent many Christmases there. With a whole lot of other families!

  8. My absolutely favorite holiday tradition used to be making the dinner.

    It would of course start with a walk down every aisle shopping trip to get all of the things that we need with a bit of fussin mixed in for added memories (wonk, wonk)

    Then the night before. Its prep time. Washing the greens, peeling potatoes, cleaning the big"C's" - dare i say it without folks falling out??? oh well..Chitterlings!!

    Which actually is usually the calmest part because its the time when most of the family disappears because they don't want to do it, so its usually me, the buckets and some holiday music.

    And because we usually would start so late, its off to bed around 1am (the kids have long since gone to bed) and then back up at 6am to finish the cooking.

    Its a little crazy, but i love it and its always great to see folks going back for seconds and thirds thru-out the day.

  9. TBS - thanks for being so fabulous and for everything you're doing to help share the story of the Path2Peace project. I'm also involved with the project and, as you know, the sale of these products is making a positive difference in the lives of so many women (and their communities)!

  10. We are just starting our traditions in our family. I didn't really have any growing up, so it is really important to start some with my young children (ages 15 months and 3). One of the traditions we are starting is to celebrate Boxing Day on the day after Christmas. We will be boxing up some of our children's toys to give to charity each year on that day. I think it will be a great way to refocus their priorities to thinking about others, when at their age it is so easy to think only of their selves at Christmas. amythomas at gmail dot com

  11. My favorite holiday tradition is picking Angels off the Angel Tree and buying some gifts for children in need. I have been doing this for years. Our daughter (5 1/2) now helps out. I think it is good for her to understand that not everyone is as fortunate as us. She is really good about picking up on that.

  12. Sadly, we really never had traditions for holidays and we were a small family. :( I always wanted to do something like you and your family did--it sounds like so much fun, and to have all of that family living so close by!! Hopefully I'll be starting a few of my own soon . . .

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