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Away from our families of origin: What are your holiday traditions?

I grew up near a lot of extended family - aunts, uncles, dozens of cousins, grandparents, and more.  I loved it, it felt full always.  There were plenty of celebrations to choose from, and lots of opportunity for food and gift.

Many of us no longer live in the same vicinity as our families of origin.  What sorts of new traditions have you started with your own families?  An urbanMama recently emailed:

My husband and I both grew up celebrating the holidays with a large extended family, but we've both moved away from home and find ourselves with our little family of four.  We are both used to the loud, boisterous crowds, and it feels sort of weird with just our small crew.  We're looking for new traditions to start with our own family, but haven't found any that feel quite right.   Any thoughts?


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We are in the same boat. Something we can do now with our tiny family of 3 is visiting a Christmas Tree Farm for our holiday tree. I didn't get to do things like that in NYC, so it's a cool thing for us. We'll also be web-camming with our family for the holidays. It's hard being away from family, but it's also wonderful starting our own traditions.

Have a Wonderful Holiday Season!

Baby dd and I live in a large house with housemates, including a couple of kids, so we tend to holiday together. We also invite strays (other family-less, often single or childless friends) or strays invite themselves. Although my entire biological family lives far from Portland, dd and I are having Thanksgiving with a total of about fourteen people!

When I was a child we lived far away from the extended family, so it was just us. Those were actually very lovely family days. They were the days both mom and dad were home with nothing to do but enjoy us. We would have incredible Monopoly games lasting all day, ate fantastic foods, always had a new toy or two to enjoy. They were really low-key days and I have tremendously fond memories of them.

As an adult trying to manage extended families and holidays, I find it very challenging and sometimes wish we could just be the four of us. I imagine it feels like a loss to those who are missing loved ones, but please do know that you are creating just as valuable memories for your little ones.

Tracy I love your comment.

Invite everyone on your street over for pie, and turkey bowling (consisting of one frozen turkey and full liters of soda)

Our family is all out of state. We travel on Thanksgiving for the boisterous family thing. Rather than try to juggle another set of trips and what not, we always celebrate Christmas at home with our little family of four.

Most of our social gatherings revolve around our church community - advent gatherings, St. Nicholas celebration, Christmas mass, etc. But we have some non-Church traditions as well.

We harvest our tree at a local tree farm (usually Beck's). The trip always includes some hot cocoa.

We take a tour of decorated houses in the neighborhood and/or Peacock Lane. With hot cocoa...

If everyone is healthy and the snowpack is rockin', we try to go sledding and snowshoeing in the Mt. Hood area on Christmas Day (or the day after).

And we have some hot cocoa at a coffee shop on the way home to end the day...

Our kids are pretty fixated on hot cocoa as part of every activity this time of year. Guess it's the glue that binds our little traditions together.


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