Monday, December 23, 2013

Holiday Traditions....What Are Yours?

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Each family has its own traditions for the holidays such as making the same recipes handed down from generation to generation. Or the location where the holidays are spent, what is worn, the gift giving process and what time dinner is served. Once you're married, the Challenges of blending those traditions can be tricky as well as creating new ones.

There is not a holiday that goes by that I do not make spinach casserole. It's the spinach version of the green bean casserole made so popular in years past. I am not a big fan of the mushy green bean version and prefer the spinach one that tastes like creamed spinach. No one eats it except me. Another meal-time tradition is canned cranberry sauce. Grimace your face all you want. This is a classic. Early on in my relationship with my now Mr. Challenge, I would have the canned version as well as the more classier fresh cranberry version which no one ate. Now that Little and Big Challenge can remember the holidays, this is the one thing they do like and eat, except they call it "cranberry jello". Nothing says tradition more than those can marks on the outer edges of the Ocean Spray cranberry sauce. Not generic, not store brand but Ocean Spray, and it has to be the jellied version, not whole berries!

Growing up in the winters of Chicago, my family as a child would drive around this wooded area that had beautiful old mansions, but the holiday lights were amazing. I remember taking my kids a few times the very rare chances we've been back during the winter. Brrrrrr. Here we have a tradition of getting in the car in our jammies sometimes with hot chocolate and drive through our neighborhoods looking at the lights. Mr. Challenge finds this none too exciting and I think Little and Big Challenge are almost over it. It's the memories that I hope they keep with them forever!

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Decorations! How can you forget decorations? We have a small tree perched on our fireplace landing. There's really no other space for it. It's about 3 feet high and contains every home-made ornament the kids ever made. Some have their adorable face on them with the year written in crayon. Some are crudely painted but made with love. Others are just falling apart but I am too proud of them to toss them out. They go on the tree every year. Big Challenge has pretty much stopped making any type of ornament in school. I think I have one more year with Little Challenge.

What are some of your traditions? New or old?

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