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Friday, December 26, 2008

Shopping for Traditions

Game face. Check. Patience. Check. Comfortable shoes. Check. Trail mix. Check. Bottled water. Check. A book to read while waiting in line. Check. Self control. Check (I think).

I've started a tradition of braving the crowds the day after Christmas to take advantage of all the good deals, from ornaments, to wrapping paper, and, if my brain can tolerate it, maybe even a few things in preparation for next year's Christmas. I know that doing so is a bit ambitious, but the deals I'm able to find make stocking up my gift closet difficult to resist, despite the financial hole I've already dug for myself for this Christmas. This year was no different; I braved the mall without M for a few hours early on Friday morning.

I was somewhat successful at buying stuff for my husband because virtually every place had additional discounts off their already reduced items. The upside to the downside of the economy, unfortunately. It was great buying for my husband, but not so much for me. Maybe because the women's section was much more crowded and stifling. Just in case you're interested, I had the most success at Banana Republic (additional 20% off already discounted items, online and in stores) and Restoration Hardware (use the code of RAT019 for an additional 10% off online, good until 1/12/09). Although a few new items are added each holiday season, RH recycles essentially all their stocking stuffers and Christmas decorations every year. If you have enough foresight, you can take advantage of the sales going on now and stock up.

Something struck me while I was being herded in line this year. It is great that I keep to my after Christmas shopping tradition, but it is something that I do without M. What about creating traditions with my son? I keep thinking that I would like to start a tradition of taking our family picture in our jammies Christmas morning, but I forgot again this year and changed out of my jammies by the time we were ready to exchange gifts. Drat!! I also wanted to convince my husband to start an ugly holiday sweater tradition, where everyone in our family wears the ugliest sweaters I can find and then takes a picture, right after the jammies picture, of course. Hahahah! I've got to start that while M is too young to object! Honestly, though, my family is seriously void of traditions, except the one where we pack up M to make rounds at the grandparents' homes.

My family isn't Christian, so Christmas to us is a social thing. We adopt families, shop for groceries for the food bank, send money to our struggling family in Vietnam, and like everyone else, simply get together and pig out. As for presents, we are fiercely adamant about one gift per child, so thankfully for M, he is not overwhelmed. Lucky him, huh? :)

Point is, I came to the US when I was eight years old and have rarely celebrated Christmas the same way each year. Maybe it's time for me to start some traditions that will help make the season a bit more special and memorable for my family. So, here I am, shopping for traditions. What do you do to make the season more special? Please share your favorite holiday traditions.

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*Monica said...

Most of mine are centered around Christianity, but here are a few for you to look at.

Everyone gets new pajamas (matching if I can find them) to wear Christmas Eve for sleeping.

There are a few foods that we ONLY make at Christmas that we look forward to.

Every year we drive around looking at house lights while singing Christmas songs.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Kristina P. said...

Dangit! I should have gone to Banana. Love that store.


Oh my word, traditions. I will email you a big ol' list; when I asked for them 2 months ago I got 314! I'll send you the top 30, LOL.

Good To Know about the deals and recycling of Christmas decor. I always find cute sale stuff but then think aw, will I be able to match it all up next year? :o)

Blessings, Carolynn

seriously? said...

I LOVE traditions. I have made and decorated cookies every years since I was a little girl. I even remember the cups we used to put the frosting in when I was little. This is one of my most favorite traditions that I am now doing with my girls.

rachel said...

We always buy ornaments the day after Christmas too! Except this year, when there was a blizzard...we had a new tradition of staying in our jammies and watching Christmas movies :D

Heidi said...

Wow, that is so interesting to me. I am not sure I understand the point of Christmas without the Christianity but I can appreciate your wanting to try to have a special family time. We do all the things others have already mentioned. One that hasn't been mentioned is special foods--there are things that I cook/bake only at Christmas time. It is something we all look forward to. Usually it is something that is time consuming or expensive (or majorly fattening!) which is why we don't have it all year long.

Deb said...

Our traditions center around family and food, mostly. We always visit the same family members in the same order, we have certain dishes that the same person always makes, etc.

I think the important thing about traditions is that they are meaningful to you. Some of the most memorable traditions from my childhood are the least "important," but they became part of my definition of Christmas. Some you can set out to do deliberately, but in my experience most kind of happen organically.

Mara said...

We've adopted 99.9% of the Christmas traditions from Damon's family. We make sugar cookies on Christmas Eve for Santa and are allowed to open one gift on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning consists of mommy making Swedish pancakes served with bacon. Although those traditions are nice, we're in the process of developing our own family traditions. I think once the kids get older, we'll go to the homeless shelter and serve food every holiday.