December 5th, 2012

***NOTE*** This blog post is part of Blissemas; if you comment at the end, you are entered into a competition to win a Kindle Fire! Whoo hoo! Instructions at the end of the post.

I love holidays. And I love traditions. Like Thanksgiving! What’s not to love about a huge meal with friends and family? Well, all the cooking, I suppose. OK, and some of the food. Like I never really liked mashed potatoes. They’re just too … mashed, somehow. And while I like cranberries in oatmeal cookies, I don’t like that solid jelly stuff that comes in cans. And then once I went vegetarian, the turkey wasn’t so appealing, and so neither was the stuffing and gravy . . . oh, and the getting ready. All that cleaning! And so little time! Because you have to have Thanksgiving dinner in the afternoon, because it’s a tradition. And you have to have it on Thursday, which is tough because you’ve been working like a crazy thing during that shortened Monday-Wednesday work week, so you’d be exhausted by Thursday even if you didn’t have to polish the silverware and vacuum the back rooms in case someone does wander back there, and oh, you’re out of vacuum cleaner bags, and the only store open is on the other side of town, because everything else is closed on Thanksgiving, and then you haven’t even started on the bathrooms and can you really be out of underwear? Where the hell did all your clean underwear go? Why couldn’t Thanksgiving be on a more sensible day?

I have a secret.

It can.

Mine is.

Yup, every year, we have Thanksgiving on Friday. Wednesday evening, exhausted from work, we have a simple dinner, maybe rent a video and polish some silverware or get the spots off the glasses (which were certainly put away last time with no spots, don’t ask me how that happens). Thursday we sleep late. And then get up naturally, rested, and have all day to casually cook and clean. By the time Friday afternoon rolls around, we’re actually ready. Not panicked. I have underwear and everything (on me, not for the guests). Are some guests double-invited? Makes no difference, their other dinner will be on Thursday. Because that’s a tradition.

And you know what else? We can eat whatever we please. Really. If we don’t have turkey and mashed potatoes, we’re not gonna get hounded by outraged pilgrims. We can have an entirely Middle Eastern meal — and we have. Or Mediterranean. We can serve those foods we most enjoy. And we’ve never, ever had a guest complain.

That’s the thing about holidays and traditions for me. They’re supposed to be joyous. If you all hate Aunt Margery’s jello-marshmallow salad, why the heck are you still eating it? If you’d rather have chocolate cake than pumpkin pie, who says you can’t? You’re free to make up whatever traditions and customs you please. Your mandate isn’t “Dinner must be served at 2:00.” Rather, it’s “Have a nice meal with people who are special to you.” Doesn’t matter if that food comes from a microwave or a restaurant, or if your guests are not related to you by blood. Or even if you don’t have any guests at all.

Same for any other winter holiday. Do you hate opening presents on Boxing Day? Then declare yourself American and open them on the 25th. Do you wish that grown-ups as well as kids could have Christmas stockings? They can, you know. Declare it a tradition, and hey presto! It’s a tradition for you. Hate cooking a Christmas ham? Then don’t. Do you think your New Year’s Eve party would be more fun if you didn’t have to cook? Declare it a potluck.

You probably can’t please everybody. My son was not fond of our Christmas tradition “No present-opening until after breakfast.” But that rule was so I could have my coffee. Without that coffee in me, nobody would have a fun day. Trust me on that. But you can talk sensibly with family and friends about those traditions that you’d all like to keep, and those that are particularly stressful for some members (someone may hate hanging lights, for example, more than someone else enjoys seeing them). Make new traditions. “From now on, it is our tradition to dance naked tango on Christmas eve!”

To enter the Blissemas drawing for a Kindle Fire, simply leave a comment on this blog about a) a holiday tradition you’d like to do away with; b) a holiday tradition you enjoy and want to keep; or c) a holiday tradition you’d like to start. (Like if you win a Kindle Fire, you could start a tradition of giving yourself an ebook every December 6, in honor of this blog post!) Oh, and it’s one entry per blog. If you write me about 17 traditions you’d like to axe, you don’t get 17 entries. You just get one. But you’re welcome to write about all 17 if you need to. Don’t forget to visit all the other Blissemas blogs to get more entries!

And have happy holidays. Really!

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 at 11:01 pm and is filed under • Blissemas Day 6: Holiday Traditions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

19 Responses to “Blissemas Day 6: Holiday Traditions”

Sharazade New Traditions for Blissemas + M A Stacie’s Coffee Giveaway +Seven Deadly Sins release! | Victoria Blisse Says:

[…] is sharing a posts on traditions she loves and loathes. Check out her blog and comment to be in to win the Blissemas Kindle […]

Naomi Bellina Says:

Now I have a great image of being hounded by outraged Pilgrims. I’m totally with you. Traditions are meant to be broken and new ones started. On holidays, I like to go to the theater and see a movie, something we don’t usually make time for the rest of the year. Great post!

Trix Says:

That’s a really good, helpful post. (Canadian Thanksgiving makes sense, come to think of it.) I always take a day for myself pre- or post-holiday. so that could be my tradition…

Linda Says:

My daughter and I started a new tradition a good few years back of watching ‘A Muppet Christmas Carol’ on Christmas Eve. We chuck the men out to the pub and snuggle down with chocolates and satsumas. A new tradition I’d like to start is eating the Christmas dinner at about 5 instead of the usual 2pm ish. Everyone decides to open gifts before lunch when they arrive, leaving me half in the kitchen and half in the living room and the dinner cooking to death. The trouble is, with broken families invited some of them have to eat and then go to visit another parent, so I’ve never managed to quite swing the 5pm thing. One year I will!

Mia Says:

Naked tango! I’m adding that one to my traditions. We have tacos and tamale pie for Christmas and for those not into the Mexican cuisine grilled hamburgers. Christmas in the south yawl! New traditions are always fun to start but sometimes breaking the old ones is hard. My all grown up children still expect a stocking full of candy and surprises and they still leave that box of socks and underwear to open last. I agree with Shar, celebrate what makes you happy.

Unity Says:

Our lovely Christmas tradition every year for 10 years has been that we spend an evening together wrapping presents, drinking mulled wine and watching It’s a wonderful life. It also marks the end of the present buying and preparations to us.

JanD Says:

I would like to start eating out for Thanksgiving.
bituin76 at hotmail dot com

Katy Says:

Our daughters getting older has really resulted in an evolution of traditions, which is kind of lovely in itself – no more giant pink plastic rubbish sold as a ‘must-have’ on kids TV to try to wrap in hilarious shapes with impossibly thin paper (thank god!), and the Christmas Eve wrapping ritual with a glass of cava has got later and later along with their bedtime… and being able to insist on a more reasonable time of awakening makes Christmas day a bit more bearable too! But mostly we’ve always tried to do things the way we want them as far as possible, as you’ve described (hence the evolution) – I think this leads to a much more ‘magical’ time in the end than preserving other people’s traditions for no good reason.

Joder Says:

I enjoy quite a few traditions and miss then when they don’t happen. I’d like to do away with the overeating at Christmas dinner people feel the need to do. I personally hate that feeling that my family can roll me around after the big dinner. I do enjoy our baking tradition we do a week before Christmas. I just make sure to restrain myself on the eating. I’d like to start the notion of napping after the holiday meal for EVERYONE. It seems like only a lucky few get to do so while the rest of us clean up.

Great post and Happy Holidays!

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

Summer Says:

I agree! As an Anglophile I often celebrate holidays “differently”.
This last Thanksgiving I specifically invited all my Leather Family and had a happy time of dinner with all my chosen family. I happen to like to cook and as a full time college student (with finals in less than a week now) it’s also a stress releaf so I cooked it all from scratch and we all loved it.
go you for making your own traditions!

Missy Says:

My first christmas with my true love. New traditions to make!

felicia Says:

i would like to keep the part of getting together with family. i would like to get rid of the gift giving, most of seems fake anyway. we are forced to buy gifts for people we hardly see, or maybe dont even like. i dont like being fake, nor do i like fake people.

Holly Says:

We started eating out years ago. The family could enjoy one another AND eat what they wanted. No need to worry about allergies, or eww yuck when it came to some foods. Now the family is scattered and well we do not get together as before. Mom and I just eat what we feel like, I will make a pie or she will make her pumpkin or yam pudding, oh so good… I enjoy just relaxing with family and not stressing about everything being perfect. Your home is yours, yes you want it clean, but a home should look and feel comfortable lived in, a place everyone wants to come. Making it so clean or sterile before others come is not only hard on you , but makes others feel uncomfortable, oh do I need to take off my shoes, or do not move you might mess it up feeling. I have a friend like that and it is hard to go visit her. Eat what you want do what you want have it on that day or another, why not make it 2 different days so all can come over?. no reason why you can not. Just enjoy each other that is what it is all about no matter holiday or not… Happy holidays!

Shadow Says:

My family used to do the whole big dinner, all the family comes, we open tons of presents, celebrate my dads birthday, etc. Now, we still celebrate my dads birthday, but we dont go all out. Christmas got ruined for us, so we decided the make the holidays based on how we like it. We pick out a bunch of movies, buy a bunch of snacks, and we stay in. Only my parents, siblings and i go. Nobody else is allowed. We have so much fun! We play board games, listen to music, etc. Its so nice that theres no fighting, family drama. Though, we do still decorate a tree! We love that part! 🙂 Happy holidays to you!

Kathryn Anne Merkel Says:

Years ago when my half-brothers came home for Christmas from their mothers, we would have a big fondue dinner. After they started their own families & moved too far away, the fondue tradition died off. This year we will be resurrecting it, because we’ve moved close to my oldest half-brother & he misses it just as much as I do.

drainbamaged.gyzmo at

Katie Salidas Says:

My holiday tradition is cheesy and perfect. Me and my kids watch the Muppet Christmas Carol while we decorate the house, and then about 100 times more until Christmas day. For some reason, no one in the house gets sick of that movie. We sing the songs and dance along with the characters. It’s completely corny and fun!!

Hope you’re having a happy holiday season!

Nancy S Says:

While my daughter and other assorted nuts are out shopping on Black Friday I sit in my recliner with my laptop and shop online while I watch Bad Santa and laugh myself silly. It is sort of a tradition just for me but I like it.

John David Says:


We NEVER eat turkey on Thanksgiving. This year, we had “carnitas.” You know why? Because leftover carnitas WILL get eaten, but leftover turkey will be around in the freezer until NEXT Thanksgiving LOL.

I agree, holidays are supposed to be joyous . . . that means do what makes you HAPPY, not what others say you should do.

Sebrina C Says:

We tried to do a progressive dinner last year on Christmas day, but it was a bit tiring for a couple of the men in our family who work nights and usually have to work the holidays. So this year, it’s just dinner at the in-laws house.
We’re also thinking about doing a White Elephant Christmas gift exchange with the family. There are just too many of us adults to buy for and only 3 kids (with 1 on the way).
Thanks so much,
Sebrina_Cassity at yahoo dot com

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