Holiday traditions with families and friends are what make the days so special every single year. There’s something magical about the unique events that only happen once per year. The nostalgia of holidays isn’t centered around what we got as gifts, but about the time we spent with others and the things we did together. While some traditions should always carry on exactly the same, sometimes we want to create new ones with new members of our families, or simply want to add a little more magic to the season.
We rounded up some great ideas for traditions for the holidays, and also asked around here at our Galaxy Draperies to see what the holidays look like for them.
Every year all the Bakers get together and make latkes for all of our family and friends! We use my grandma’s recipe with is still on the same paper as when she came up with it 30 years ago.
Jenna Baker, Business Development Manager
Holiday Traditions of Cooking, Baking and Drinks
Cooking and baking together is a tradition many of us hold dear. A plus side is the end results not only feed everyone but also make great gifts! Around the world and even amongst different religions and families, the traditional recipes vary significantly in both types and symbolism.
When it comes to sweets, there’s no limit to your choices or inspiration! Yule logs or beautiful rolled cakes called Buche de Noel are a common choice, and pavlova is a sweet meringue dessert with fresh fruits in many places in the southern hemisphere. An Indian Sweet called Malpua Rabdi is made from pancakes dipped in sugar syrup, topped with sweetened milk and nuts. Cookies of any kind are an incredibly popular option too (plus side, you can keep kids busy with decorating as long as you don’t mind a little mess!).
See Southern Living’s 70 Easiest Ever Cookie Recipes if you’re looking for some new ideas this year.
Multiple cultures have their own unique hot chocolate-style drinks as well, often including chili powder, cinnamon sticks, cloves and fresh nutmeg.
Plenty of other traditions include more savory dishes as well, such as Yebeg Wot (buttery lamb stew) in Ethiopia, Jansson’s Temptation (potato, onion, cream and fish casserole) in Sweden, and latkes, which our family makes every year.
Some celebrations even incorporate foods based on sun colors (red, orange, yellow) and what historically would have been available for ingredients this particular time of year. The choices really are endless, but having some familiar foods on the table that you make together is always a wonderful tradition.
Every year we go and see Holiday Lights!!! This has been a tradition in my family since I was a child and continued with my kids!
Debbie, Sales Manager
Holiday Lights & Decorations Around LA
Some people are the type who put up decorations in their homes the second Thanksgiving is over, and others scramble to get them up last minute. Then there are those who make their home into an event for people to drive out of their way to see. There’s just something magical about the twinkling lights that you can’t help but love. Even businesses get in on the action. If you haven’t seen the LA Zoo Lights, they’re well worth the trip. The Griffith Park Trains take a 15 minute ride on the 1-mile track to see tons of beautiful lights (and it only costs $5 per person).
Home decorations are always free, and here in LA, we are lucky to have so many places to go for amazing light shows!
“The Hole”, or the Sleepy Hollow neighborhood’s lights in Torrance has been an annual experience for over 40 years now, with kids selling candy canes, hot chocolate and more to those who come to view the lights.
If you’re a dog lover, definitely hit up the Winter Wonderland in Simi Valley that has an entire dog-themed section called Dog Land.
My family and I go to Big Bear every year for Christmas and spend an entire week in a cabin eating, drinking, watching movies, and relaxing. We’ve had this tradition since I was little. We love being tucked away away on a mountain for a few days out of the year.
Roxy, Office Manager
Take a Holiday Mini-Vacation (or a Whole One)
Travel during the holidays is certainly something many families have in common. For many kids growing up, going to a relative’s in December was one of the only big family vacations that ever happen. But sometimes taking a smaller trip to relax and enjoy a few select family members is just as amazing of a time, if not better, than large groups.
While traffic and plane tickets this time of year often are nightmares, little local vacations can be just as pleasant, if not moreso since you’re skipping the hectic highways and airports.
As a Mom, I passed the tradition down from my childhood of being allowed to open one present on Christmas Even before going to bed. (Not all presents come from Santa.) My adult kids still remind me yearly and do the same.
Cynthia, Design Consultant
Gift Traditions with Family
Some families, like Cynthia’s, open one special gift the night before the rest are opened. Sometimes the gift is something specific every year, such as Jolabokaflod – the Icelandic tradition of giving a book on Christmas Eve, and then everyone curls up with a blanket and hot chocolate to go read in peace for the evening. This tradition came about when paper was one of the few things not rationed during World War II in Iceland, and with Iceland being one of the most literate countries in the world, it’s a pretty amazing one too.
Some folks let stockings be opened the night before, while other families give out new pajamas the night before the big day (added bonus: that way you know all your kids are in nice, clean pajamas for photos!). Regardless of the reason or the gift, it’s an easy way to get kids to stop asking when they can open something early, because they already know the answer!