I remember doing all sorts of things during the holiday season as a kid. I went ice-skating, caroling, Christmas-light-looking, created handmade crafts, homemade fudge and lots more. Santa visited me at BOTH parents' homes, and there was always lots of stuff to see and do at both houses during our family get-togethers. Immersed within it all, I took it all for granted, and never realized just how many holiday traditions I had until I grew up and they threatened to disappear unless I kept them alive myself. (And man, I really miss how simple things were back then as a kid when everything was planned for me by my parental units.) Some traditions have been lost or altered along the way, due to time and circumstance. As the family grows larger, each separate branch of it starts their own family traditions to celebrate in their own unique ways. There are more and more schedules to plan around, and time itself becomes a precious commodity.

But some traditions have stood the test of time... such as receiving oranges in my stocking... making candy/baking cookies... and watching every holiday movie I come across. (I can't tell you HOW many first Christmases I have witnessed Yogi Bear celebrate.)

And new traditions are created along the way... like watching the singing/dancing/piano & clarinet playing by my nieces and nephews before waiting till 9:00 pm on Christmas Eve to open our gifts (because it's then officially Christmas Day in Colombia, which is where they are originally from)... consuming everything pumpkin-flavored in sight... and saving Christmas morning for just my husband and myself, to celebrate our own little family (even though it is just the two of us and the dog).

Upon asking a few friends to share their own holiday traditions with me, here are a few of their responses: making tamales with the family (Mexican tradition), making Krumkalke (a Norwegian cookie), cooking Christmas dinner together as a family, and getting new jammies on Christmas Eve. (hmmmm... I might just start doing that last one, myself!) And one friend of mine said that they didn't really have any traditions, and were looking for some to start. But I think that she might be surprised...

One thing I've learned along the way is that some traditions simply happen... and you might not even realize that they are even there. What you think of as a simple habit or routine is actually a tradition in disguise, and only after you've done it for so many years will you be able to look back and smile, and realize that you had your own traditions all along.

So, in whatever manner you choose to celebrate...   HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you and your family!