Holiday Favorites

It’s no secret that the holidays ignite a sense of cheer inside of me that I simply cannot shake. Rather than fight it, I happily embrace it and soak up all of the fun surrounding the holidays. 

Since I know a lot of you share my enthusiasm, I thought it might be fun to play a little game that I’ll call “Holiday Favorites.” It’s similar to last year’s Holiday Survey which I thought was a lot of fun! Please feel free to play long in the comments section of this post so we can all get that warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from talking about the holidays and our favorite holiday traditions.

Christmas Morning

  • Favorite Holiday Cookie

My grandma Mimi’s sugar cookies. There’s nothin’ better!

Grandma's Sugar Cookies

  • Favorite Holiday Song

O Holy Night.

  • Favorite Holiday Movie

Christmas Vacation.


  • Favorite Holiday Tradition

When I was growing up in Illinois, my favorite Christmas tradition was my family’s annual Christmas Eve Rudolph walk. My dad would hide a red flashlight deep in the forest behind our house and after the evening Christmas Eve church service, we would all bundle up and head out on a walk in hopes of seeing Rudolph’s nose glowing from afar. When my family and I moved to St. Pete in 2003, my new favorite tradition became our Christmas Eve boat ride in the dark.

Newlywed Christmas

Now that my parents moved to Jacksonville and the boat is gone, we’re in the market for a new tradition! Oh! We do still have the pickle ornament tradition, but if you share a family tradition that sounds especially fantastic in the comments section, my family and I may steal yours. You’ve been warned.

  • Favorite Holiday Breakfast

Every Christmas morning, I know I can count on monkey bread and my mom’s cheesepuff casserole. They’re family favorites and I love them!

  • Favorite Holiday Meal

A seafood feast with lots of shellfish and crab legs.

  • Favorite Person to Shop For

My sister.

  • Favorite Way to Open Presents

Stockings first while eating breakfast!

Christmas Stockings Pottery Barn

Once the stockings are done and our bellies are full, my dad puts on Christmas music and we all seem to take turns opening our gifts. Watching everyone open their gifts is the best… especially the ridiculous gag gifts. 

vizsla dad

That little gem was a gift to Ryan on Christmas Day in 2008. Ryan will occasionally wear it on our evening walks with Sadie and we laugh because whenever he wears that shirt, we always seemed to get stopped by our neighbors to talk and he’s left standing there looking like a dog-obsessed crazy…. which he is. Winking smile

  • Favorite Tree Topper

After our half-lit mini Christmas tree died a slow death last year, I’m sad to say Ryan and I never got around to buying a tree this year. Oh the horror! We kept flip flopping as to whether or not we should buy a new fake tree or go for the real deal and in the end we settled on… nothing. Next year we will have a tree! I’ll default to my family’s favorite tee topper for this question and say that we have a beautiful angel that sits atop our family tree. My dad waits to put the angel on top of the tree until the whole family is together and we do a ridiculously obnoxious drumroll a la Christmas Vacation.

Question of the Afternoon

  • Pick some of your holiday favorites from the above list to share! Favorite holiday tradition? Favorite holiday cookie? Favorite way to open presents? Favorite holiday breakfast?


  1. says

    Seeing you talk about the tree topper totally just reminded me of what we used to do! We have a precious moments angel, and my dad would pick either my sister or me up to put it on the top when we were little. Ahh I love when I remember little things like this. 🙂


  2. Carolyn says

    I love holiday traditions! Christmas Eve we go to church, then have a huge yummy buffet of snack foods after, then we re-enact the Nativity Scene (with costumes and all, this is so much more fun now that we have kids of our own) and read from the bible about the birth of Jesus. Then everyone opens one present which is a new pair of pajamas then we stay up late playing games and watching movies. The next morning we open stockings, have my mother-in-laws famous bread dough pudding and then spend the rest of the morning slowly opening presents and enjoying a the holiday, I am looking forward to Christmas Day so I can relax for what feels like to first time since last Christmas Day:)

    Merry Christmas to you !


  3. Alex A says

    Song: silent night
    Movie: the Santa Claus
    Tradition: we like to wrap a couple lucky family members gifts in creative ways 🙂 duct tape and scavenger hunts are my person favorite.
    Gift opening: we open gifts on Christmas Eve from family. Then on Christmas Day bright and early we open Santa gifts.
    Breakfast: we make an egg bake every year and it is so amazing.
    Fav person to buy for: my husband, I always try to surprise him.

    I love Christmas!! I love decorating and listening to holiday music.


  4. says

    One of my favorite traditions is opening one gift before bed on Christmas eve. It was usually from my Grandma who lives far away, I think it made us feel more connected to her as we couldn’t always see her for Christmas.

    We also always drove around as a family to look at the Christmas lights, listening to Christmas music, usually drinking hot chocolate or something else fesitve!


  5. emma says

    My two favorite family traditions have come in last past 5ish years. They are two types of gifts:
    1. Gift that doesn’t cost any money. Every couple or family is responsible for giving a gift that doesn’t cost any money. We usually do this between dinner and dessert. It’s been everything from our best traits shared by my grandfather to reading old Emily Post etiquite tips, to secretly having to draw pictures of each other. This year my hubby and I are going to do a 2012 trivia game. It’s always fun and lively and reminds you that love and family are priceless!

    1. The “crappy ones” – wrap up stuff from your salvo pile and play white elephant. Everyone ends up fighting over the smallest one. One year we put all mismatched sox in and my dad’s old running shoes. Then my aunt made a rule no feet items! And we also check that you have your gifts at the door as they’ve been stashed under sofas in years past!


  6. says

    I don’t have too many holiday traditions, but I love looking at Christmas lights. It’s never on a particular day and most of the times it isn’t necessarily planned, but at some point every holiday season my husband and I take a little time to enjoy the festive lights around us. 🙂


  7. says

    lol – I busted out laughing at your comment about Ryan being a dog-obsessed crazy and getting caught by your neighbours in that shirt. Hilarious. My favourites:

    Cookie: Chocolate chip! Or those “magic” squares.

    Song: Winter Wonderland

    Movie: This is hard to pick. Christmas at the Kranks or The Grinch

    Tradition: HUGE stockings that my mom STILL fills for us

    Breakfast: Chocolate….. don’t judge. Okay, and my mother-in-law’s hashbrown casserole is soo good!

    Meal: I’m a vegetarian so I don’t eat the turkey, but I love the rest of it: green bean casserole, roasted potatoes, veggie stuffing, mmm!

    Person to shop for: My sister and my husband

    Way to open presents: Stockings first, then presents. I like to do it all together rather than one person at a time

    Tree topper: Well, I’m currently on the hunt for a gingerbread man tree topper. Right now I just have a simple star.


  8. Gina Elise says

    Cookie: Russian teacakes

    Song: Step into Christmas

    Movie: Definitely Christmas Vacation, I actually own the authentic moose mugs 🙂

    Tradition: Playing games after dinner

    Breakfast: Anything I can get my hands on as I’m rushing out the door for church

    Meal: Mom’s prime rib, twice baked potatoes, green bean casserole and strawberry jell-o mold

    Person to shop for: My mom

    Way to open presents: Everyone opens a gift from their pile one at a time until all the gifts are gone and then stockings

    Tree topper: My silver sparkly star 🙂


  9. says

    This is a fun post 🙂 I like the Rudolph walk idea – how fun!! And I’m right there with you on Christmas Vacation – such a classic. I absolutely love that your family does the drum roll, that’s awesome. And Ryan’s shirt is hilarious! One of my favorite holiday things is the kringle (German pastry) that my dad always orders from Wisconsin and we have on Christmas morning; always a special treat.


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