1) Amy W.
"My family always had an artificial tree when I was growing up, but when I got married my husband insisted on a real tree. We went the day before Thanksgiving to a local tree farm and I watched my husband agonize over the perfect tree. We finally picked one out, brought it home, and it didn't fit! He had to cut part of the tree to get it into our living room. It is now our tradition to go each year the day before Thanksgiving to the tree farm to get our tree. (I took until year 3 until we finally picked a tree that would fit in the house without trimming it first LOL). Now we have a little girl to share this tradition with us. I love this tradition that started our first year together and I look forward to visiting the Christmas tree farm every year."
Pink stuff! Use 1 box red gelatin (I prefer strawberry), container of cool whip, drained crushed pineapple, drained mandarin oranges (you can cut up smaller) and chopped nuts of your choice (pecans are my choice). Combine, stir, chill. Tastes better if has time to meld 2-24 hours before eating.
We keep Jesus the focus of the family at Christmas but placing the Nativity in a prominent place, reading the Christmas story and attending church services. We still have fun and games with Santa but we all know Jesus is the reason for the season and is our Christmas Miracle.
The gift baskets full of food that I know my family likes. All purchased with coupons, of course :)
5) The Dillards
We decided a few years ago to build memories with our *Christmas Monies* We now take a trip with our children, 18, 14 and 5. One year, we did Chicago. Last year, NYC, Philly and DC in a whirlwind of 10 days. Even our youngest who was only three while we were in Chicago remembers certain things about our trip. We have had a pretty tragic and financially tolling year. We are planning on a couple of day trips this year. Our Christmas Trip is something we look forward to each year and our kids will remember them long after the wrapping paper and bows are gone.
Lastly, this is an email we got from an anonymous reader, and although she wasn't one of those randomly drawn for the Gift Certificate (Sorry!) I hope she doesn't mind me sharing her Christmas giving idea, we thought it was really cool!
"We haven't done this every year - so I don't know if you can call it a tradition...but we did it at least different families over the years and my daughter adapted it and did it for her college roommate.
The tradition is one we called the "Twelve Days of Christmas"
We left a card on the doorstep of our "target" that said
"On the first day of Christmas a true friend gave to me a turkey for Christmas dinner"
Our gifts were spin offs of the song and after the turkey we gave:
- Two chocolate turtles
- Three french breads
- Four calling cards
- Five - a wedding ring quilt
- Six - eggs laid by a chicken
- Seven - swans not swimming (Decorative candle holder with Swans around it)
- Eight - days of milk money
- NIne - music for dancing
- Ten - pj's for sleeping
- Eleven - piping hot drinks
- Twelve drummers drumming - coupon for drumsticks
We left gifts at their homes when they weren't there. We solicited the help of people we could trust to keep our secret so that sometimes we would be at work and the recipient would receive their gift. (The first year our UPS man helped us for free because he loved what we were doing :-) We heard from different means of how special it was to most of these people. Once I was at a party and one of our former targets said "One year someone gave us...." and talked about how neat it was and how their family was going to do that someday. This was literally years after we had gifted them.
My daughter - as a poor college student - adapted this down so most gifts cost her less than $2.
"A product from a pear tree" - a pear
chocolate turtles, french bread....French horns (ornaments that came 6 in a package), etc.
Her 'roomie' knew it was from her but still looked forward each day to what her 'surprise' would be.
I just wanted to share this because it brightened the holiday for everyone. It was fun to do and we did it when we had expendable income two times and two times when we did not have as much...for those the quilt (the most expensive item at $50) was replaced with a less expensive item.) With some creative thinking and great couponing this could be done inexpensively.