What are your favorite traditions/occasions this holiday season?

Corinne AlbrechtCorinne Albrecht Member, AFS Staff Rank ✭8✭

Hey AFS Fam!

It's a bright Monday morning here in Ann Arbor--a little too warm and much less white than I'd prefer this time of year but hey, at least the sun makes it pretty! On the eve of the eve, I feel a little further away from my communities than I want to be; I've been caught up in the hustle and bustle and trying to pack for a move, and in all of that some of my favorite traditions have fallen by the wayside (womp womp). But! No more! Over the next 72 hours I'm reinvesting in the good things that make this season my favorite season of all.

So here's my question: what is your favorite part of this season? What are you looking forward to, or what have you already done that brought you joy? And if you don't celebrate anything this time of year, how do you take advantage of the quietness around you during the next few days?

For me, my absolute favorite thing is Christmas morning. Since I was a kid, Christmas morning is first spent quietly with my immediate family, with my brothers and I opening our stockings and reading our letter from Santa :) Then shortly after that, my Grammy joins the fray and we have a HUGE breakfast. My Grampy used to be the Christmas Morning Chef, but since his passing my dad has taken over the omelettes :) It's a whole production: there are bagels, bacon, danishes, waffles, pancakes, toast, scrambled eggs (done "the French way"), and more. Everyone gets a job and we all perform it splendidly--I'm on bagel duty and no one toasts a couple slices like I do 😜 It's fun, it's chaotic, it's all over the place and also somehow perfectly in sync.

So let me know what you can't/couldn't wait for! There's honestly nothing I love like this holiday season and it would be such a happy thing to hear what y'all love too ❤️💚💙💛



  • Sawyer Paull-BairdSawyer Paull-Baird Administrator, Moderator, Practitioner, AFS Staff admin

    Your morning sounds similar to my own, Corinne. The morning of Christmas is what I am looking forward to the most as well and is what sticks out to me as the most cherished memories of the holidays I have growing up.

    We wake up after spending the night at my parents' house and eat a traditional kringle, followed by family Christmas cards, stockings, then regular gifts. We also do this solely with my immediate family, which has expanded to my wife and siblings' SOs in recent years. The time spent together that morning is my favorite part of the holiday.

    Some of the smaller traditions that we hold on to despite the sillyness of it all with the "kids" being 25-29 years old:

    Taking a Christmas photo at the top of the stairs with all of the kids and pets (this means me, my brother, sister, my wife, 2 hairless cats, and two dogs).

    Christmas music played by my dad before any of us wake up and come downstairs

    Choosing a gift opening order of either youngest to oldest or oldest to youngest

    One person wearing the santa hat decides which gifts are opened when


    Seeing as none of me or my siblings have children, my parents really hold on to these traditions, and I am thankful they do. While I am certainly not volunteering, it will be fun passing these on to whoever of us has kids first =P.

    Sawyer Paull-Baird BS CSCS ACSM-EP PN-Lvl1
    Agent of Change / Fitness Innovation & Education Coordinator
  • Corinne AlbrechtCorinne Albrecht Member, AFS Staff Rank ✭8✭

    @Sawyer Paull-Baird We do a kringle too!!!! Where do you get yours? I think we need a new vendor bc we were missing it last year! Also I'm having a great time imagining how you fit that many people at the top of the stairs 😂 Your Christmas sounds so fun, I'm so happy to hear you've held on to so many traditions even as you've all grown into adulthood. I'm looking forward to hosting the holidays one day so I can make our traditions endure just as yours have--though I too will be leaving the kid-having to my siblings first haha

  • Sawyer Paull-BairdSawyer Paull-Baird Administrator, Moderator, Practitioner, AFS Staff admin

    To be honest I am not sure where we get it 😳. I'll have to pay attention to that this year, haha.

    Hope your family has a great Christmas.

    Looking forward to hopefully seeing more fun traditions shared here. Thanks for starting this thread.

    Sawyer Paull-Baird BS CSCS ACSM-EP PN-Lvl1
    Agent of Change / Fitness Innovation & Education Coordinator
  • Corinne AlbrechtCorinne Albrecht Member, AFS Staff Rank ✭8✭

    @DIamond Vinson no weirdness at all! There is something inherently special and comforting about spending these hyped-up holidays with just the people you feel closest to, especially if that's just one person (and especially especially if that person is your mom!) I hope you enjoy your happy Christmas Day! :)

  • Angela JohnsonAngela Johnson Member Rank ✭6✭

    I agree with @Sawyer Paull-Baird, I'm glad that you created this thread @Corinne Albrecht - it'll be nice to read the responses of the group <3 @DIamond Vinson, I double agree with Corinne; not weird at all <3 Your experience actually somewhat mirrors mine :-)

    My holiday seasons have always been quite non-traditional - mainly because all of my immediate family (with the exception of me) work in healthcare/social service, thus routinely on-call or scheduled to work during the holidays. Secondarily, when my parents wed as an interracial couple our extended family became limited. For both reasons, I didn't have an understanding of the significance in seasonal traditions, and just assumed family was always 'around,' until about 2 years ago.

    This year I felt at peace with the holidays for the 1st time since 2 years ago, and decided to begin my own traditions <3 The day after Thanksgiving I put up a Christmas tree (with blue/silver ornaments and white lights to keep a reminder that it's also Hanukkah) and I watched the original Pete's Dragon. That's all I've got so far! <3 Thinking my Christmas Eve/Christmas tradition will somehow involve goal setting, hot chocolate, and in home yoga, but I'm going to let it come to me :-)

    Hope you each have a restorative holiday season in whichever way you hold dear and much love to those for whom the season may bring up some emotional discomfort <3

  • Beth ManoogianBeth Manoogian Member Rank ✭7✭

    I also love the holidays! My mom passed away in 2002, but her side of the family is huge and so on xmas eve all my aunts and uncles and cousins all get together at someone’s house and have a huge dinner and do a gift exchange. It used to be a secret Santa but last year we started a new tradition of giving the gift money to a family in need and just buying a small cheap gag gift and we do a game with dice where you pass your gift around based on what the dice roll is. I usually spend xmas eve night at my sister’s, so I can be there to video my niece and nephew’s reactions to xmas morning as they come downstairs and see their gifts. Last year, my nephew got up before everyone and I found him on his own, looking at all the presents, and he tried his hardest to convince me my sister told him he could come down without his little sister! 😂 Then xmas day after all the presents are opened, I usually pass out on the floor or the couch and my sister takes an embarassing photo of me and posts it on Facebook. This is a tradition like 9 years and counting, so a couple years ago I decided to up my pj game and started wearing xmas onesies on xmas morning. This culminated in my sister giving me a pink bunny suit à la A Christmas Story, which will forever go down as the best Christmas PJ onesie of all time and must never be replaced!

  • Corinne AlbrechtCorinne Albrecht Member, AFS Staff Rank ✭8✭

    @Angela Johnson huge shout out to making your own traditions! Over the past few years I've seen such a surge in people emphasizing that the holidays do not have to be about time spent with family and it makes me so happy. I love hearing about the peace people find when they reclaim holidays for themselves. Did anything lovely come to you over the past few days?

  • Corinne AlbrechtCorinne Albrecht Member, AFS Staff Rank ✭8✭

    @Beth Manoogian hahahah brilliant!!!! Nothing better than traditions that evolve to get even wackier and funnier as the years go 😂 a couple years ago my parents started getting me and my brothers onesies on christmas eve, which is always a good time as you know, but this year they got themselves these big ol' snuggie-like sweater-dress-things as they presented the tree and gifts to my fam. I have a feeling those will go down in history much like your bunny one 😅

  • Angela JohnsonAngela Johnson Member Rank ✭6✭

    @Corinne Albrecht Replying to your message tomorrow after I've gotten some solid zzz's. Made me smile when I read it, and so nice to see you today at AFS.

  • Angela JohnsonAngela Johnson Member Rank ✭6✭

    @Corinne Albrecht, thank you again for asking if anything lovely came to me over the past few days. I had the biggest smile reading "the peace people find when they reclaim the holidays for themselves" <= the word 'reclaim' sounded as though the choice has a level of valiancy :-) What came to pass: the tradition of mine for Christmas was simply ensuring I do hold time for peace of mind to myself, and I was able to accomplish that on Christmas Eve. Having time to myself made Christmas all the better with my immediate family :-) In a circumstance wherein I have an SO (smiled at that abbreviation @Sawyer Paull-Baird) I'd encourage them to go be with their family, me with my own, have my traditions, and a few traditions as each others SOs. Holiday wellness for the win!

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