"Every year, we'd open presents at my grandparents' house. That memory is the one constant that carried from my babyhood to my early 30s," shares Samantha Jones. "Now that I have kids, I realize that it's my turn to establish family traditions! It's kind of a lot of pressure, but I'm excited!"
Making new traditions can seem overwhelming. There's "Pinterest pressure" to ensure that everything looks picture perfect and there's the social concerns, too. "What if everyone thinks this is ridiculous?" is a common worry.
Don't fret. Sincere efforts are what matter and if something doesn't "stick," try something else next year. "I realize now that our tradition might be doing fun new things every year," says Jones. "If our tradition ends up being that we laugh and play together, I'm ok with that."
Many of our readers shared their favorite holiday traditions with us on Facebook. Here are a few of our favorite. Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/insidescvmagazine.
"A few years ago I began taking my daughters/daughters-in-law on an overnight trip. Somewhere within driving distance. Whoever is available goes! Best time was surprising them with ATV riding in Santa Barbara. We were covered with dirt from head to toe but had a blast! Now I try to come up with something different and fun each year!,"
~ Kathy Gorlick
"We make Italian waffle cookies with an iron press that you hold over the flame on the stove. The iron press was made with my grandmother's initials. Every time we have one
and see her initials we think of our dear 'Busia,'"
~ Laura Kirchhoff
"My family loves to go out and look at Christmas lights.
We make hot chocolate and bring our christmas music CD's to play along the route,"
~ Sue Doran
"We set up our Christmas tree a week before thanksgiving because my mom has worked retail and gets busy after thanksgiving. I look forward to it every year,"
~ Megan Schonely
"During Christmas we watch "A Christmas Story" without fail every year,"
~ Joanna McLean
"Going to the marine corps recruit depot on Christmas morning,"
~ Brianna Ballentine
"I get all the neighborhood kids together at my house and make Christmas cookies, decorate them, drink hot chocolate, play Christmas carols and sing around the piano. After that I stuff them all in my minivan and go look at lights around SCV. The kids just love it!,"
~ Robyn Leslie
"Every year not only does my son obviously get a present every night of Hanukkah but our dog gets a present every night during Hanukkah as well. I also make at least twice during the eight night celebration the traditional latkes. This year however now that my son is 14 1/2 we have decided that instead of getting a present every night he will be choosing a gently used toy or item that he no longer uses or needs to donate to a child who otherwise would have nothing - so that they could have joy,"
~ Andrea Lewis Polak