Seventh visit. Same Santa.


I adore Christmas day.  

I love me some Christmas Eve.

Even though we dont celebrate the holiday Ive always loved the fact everything goes from HURRRRRY!! (as the token Jew Ive worked countless Christmas Eves helping panicked people find that last minute gift) to slower (typically traffic as we all head home from wherever we are) to STOP.

Sure we end up hanging with friends who celebrate the holiday & that’s FUN—-but my favorite piece is the STOP at home.

Nothing open.

Literally no one working.




The Tornado and I also love our yearly pictures with Santa.

The tradition started because one of the first pictures we ever received of her was sitting on Santa’s lap and has evolved from there.

The rules are it’s ALWAYS at the same mall. 

It’s always a spontaneous decision (hence the post-soccer photo above)

And it’s always the Tornado’s choice (hence one of the years I linked where she’s in her princess nightgown).

Id imagine these Christmas routines sound small in the scope of vast & intricate Christmas traditions of others—but given all the flux and change here recently our yearly trip to the mall & JUST US/NO PACKING tomorrow have taken on greater importance and focus.


I know today is gogogoHECTIC —but Id love to hear one of your Christmas traditions in the comments below.

(I cant promise, however, we wont steal it appropriate it as we start building our Bay Area traditions for next year…)



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  1. says

    Merry Christmas to you as well!

    We’ll have family here, cook throughout the day, and open presents. Mostly the day is spent in the floor with the kids playing.

    My mother bought the girls a karaoke machine and we bought them an electronic keyboard. Somehow, I don’t think it’s going to be a quiet Christmas. :)

  2. Mary Anne in Kentucky says

    Not *literally* no one working. Animals need to be fed and watered and cleaned up after every day, and that’s what I’ll be doing at work today and tomorrow. : ) Just no customers after two today!

  3. says

    Holidays aren’t hectic for us. I’ve gotten really good at boundaries and un-busying my life. They’re not jam packed (like they used to be), they’re fun. It’s the choice we’ve made to really enjoy it with our kids.

  4. says

    I always go for a run on eve morning to jump start the emotions I want for the day:

    relaxed, calm, refreshed, happy, hopeful

  5. says

    I love your tradition! Bob and I took on the “24 Days of Togetherness” this year, and we loved it. We like that it had us doing something together, slowing us down, making us present, every day leading up to Christmas. We discussed it last night, and have decided to make it a new tradition for us. :) Merry Christmas, Miz!

  6. says

    i bet that mall was packed! i think i know where you are. hehe.

    i try to avoid the go go go, and instead just mosey around. more fun that way, yes?

  7. says

    Our Christmas tradition is to get in whatever type of RV we currently own and head for the hills. The campgrounds are completely empty, and the pugs can run free. We hole up in the toasty warm camper, do lots of chilly walks, and make soup or something else warming.

  8. says

    hehe i like the token jew part :) amen, sista! :) my parents used to own pharmacies and they would keep one of them open on christmas (itz amazing how many people came in to buy batteries, or film -back then- or other items on xmas!)but it was fun because my whole fam worked together!

  9. says

    That’s exactly why my family instituted, years ago, that we don’t do gifts for each other, we go on vacation. We run away to warmer weather and just enjoy an entire week of “Stopping” It’s the best way to spend Christmas if you ask me. :)

    Glad you are getting around to a little normalcy right now. Moving is tough.

  10. says

    I LOVE IT!

    Xmas traditions…oh there are so many! One is that we always get Ferrero Rocher Chocolates and that we have a gift hunt! It never gets old! :)

  11. says

    Our Christmas tradition is to be flexible – when we celebrate and where. This year, our family dinner is tonight, which means tommorrow will be more relaxed for me and we might go see a movie once the presents are opened/uploaded/downloaded.

  12. says

    I love how you celebrate & share & just be!!! As an adult, I celebrate both holidays due the hubbys being not Jewish…. it is fun to be able to share all the holidays. As a kid, yes, I was involved with other people celebrating – friends AND we just loved as a family to look at the lights.

    Now at this point in time, no tradition – just being.. :)

  13. says

    Oh, today is not so hectic for me. Yesterday was the day we cleaned the apartment. Today I did get up and toss out some creamer of Cay’s that’s been in the fridge a little too long for comfort, and a couple bottles of spices which are a little too spicy for any of us to tolerate (I used to LOVE hot, now it just gives me the hiccups) , but I’m not likely to do much more as far as work or stress is concerned.

    Today is a day of rest for my family. We sit together and watch holiday movies (one tradition is The Muppet Christmas Carol, which features the song “One More Sleep ’till Christmas) and, when we go, church in the evening. This afternoon we may miss church because we’re going into town to visit my son.

    But rush, stress and hurry? nah, the holiday for us begins at sunrise…. that’s a family rule.

  14. says

    Happy Holidays! This year I made a big effort to ensure that the holidays were not hectic. Today is my mom’s birthday so I will be spending it with her and Christmas will be a small family gathering. One tradition I love is getting new PJ’s to sleep in on Christmas Eve so I can wake up on open gifts in a cute new outfit. My parents started it when my bro and I were little. I remember always looking forward to my new flannel pjs : )

    Have a wonderful holiday with your family!

  15. says

    It’s been so long since taking my children to see Santa? Our tradition these days, with married sons, split families, is that we do the big family get together the weekend before Christmas, then the actual holiday is just my husband and me, enjoying the STOP.

  16. says

    The stopping and being present part is really nice. I’ve been relishing that the last couple of days and plan to the rest of the week. Santa pictures are definitely a tradition in our household as is a big old Christmas cookie baking and decorating day which we just had yesterday with family and friends. Next year, we may do the cookie extravaganza in the Bay Area… Merry Merry and Happy Happy to you!

  17. says

    Even though we cook a big dinner, I love cooking so much that it doesn’t feel that hectic.

    We have a tradition of The Cake. My grandfather’s birthday was also Christmas day and each year, we would have Christmas in the morning and go over to my grandparent’s for his birthday and cake. It was a special cake made with a praline frosting that he had every year since he was a little boy. After he passed away, we didn’t make the cake until I thought one year I missed its symbolism so much that we now make The Cake again every year. It rotates around who makes it, but we always have it.

  18. says

    My favorite part of Christmas is hosting a Secret Santa event each year. Most of us are expats living here (in Kuwait) and are away from family so this is a chance for us to celebrate together and enjoy the spirit of the season. I go all out with stockings for everyone etc. It’s always so much fun and a tradition I hope to continue!

  19. says

    I love the stop & be present. After dinner (on thanksgiving too) we all sit around the table and talk just to catch up. It’s nice as we move from post-grad adults to parents how much has changed and how much more we have in common with aunts & uncles. I also love being able to have a healthy discussion about a hot button topic

  20. says

    Have a great Christmas Miz!

    I have to confess my fave traditions all seem to involve eating. Craby and champagne on Christmas eve with the Lobster’s mom; opening presents and a lovely lunch with my family, then back to the Lobster’s for Christmas dinner which pretty much always features steak.

    And tis the season of See’s Candy, before which I am helpless.

  21. says

    We always open presents Christmas morning while listening to Bing Crosby. It is a must! Then have brunch afterwards.

    We begin the Christmas season after dinner by decorating Gingerbread men. Soft, delicious, homemade, covered with too much frosting to make them tastier. It is fun to laugh, and decorate, and try to guess what they are supposed to be, and laugh some more, and then eat (biting their heads off first of course).

  22. says

    My dad reads The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve, and makes popovers on Christmas morning. That’s about it. Simple, but consistent. Oh, and we’re not allowed to see the tree until after breakfast on Xmas morning. This is because my parents were too lazy to wrap presents when we were kids. Now, it’s just become a tradition I guess.

  23. says

    Happy Holidays – you know our family tradition…y’all should definitely start the gingerbread house decorating contest next year. It’s more fun than I can adequately describe!

  24. says

    I barely celebrate the holiday. But because it is part of my childhood, the stop – the change from routine, the different of the world around me- HURTS. While others find calm in the stillness, I don’t. I need MOTION to keep from exploding.

    Christmas Eve, as the it gets dark, I make latkes. It’s one of the few times in a year that I have white potatoes, and the cow’s milk will kick my allergies up to the sky, but I do it anyway.

    When the weather cooperates I take the dogs for a long walk (the gym isn’t open). Communing in nature is holy for me. It’s a time for moving meditation.

  25. Marianna says

    Since it’s just me and my husband, our tradition is pretty low key. We attend a Christmas Eve service at my husband’s church, then stop at an all-night gas station for hot chocolate and ride around looking at Christmas light displays on our way home. Tonight, we might come back home after church and pick up the dog so that she can go with us on the “Great Christmas Light Tour”. She hates to be left out of anything, and tonight I won’t even make her ride in her kennel!

  26. says

    Merry Christmas!
    I’m really hoping to open a package with your running skirt and sports bra – I hinted, marked the site and did everything short of ordering it for myself!!!
    Enjoy your family time – that’s our plan, too!

  27. Jack says

    I love that you see Santa every year! It makes me smile. :)
    My mom hand made all 18 stockings for our family. Mine is an Elf, Ryan’s a snowman, Collin a penguin, Brady a Tinman, Patrick is prince John from Robinhood. It’s not Christmas until the stockings are hung.

  28. says

    We are making new traditions now that we have our own child. Biggest change: Christmas morning together, at home, just us. I can’t wait!

  29. says

    I love that you enjoy both Hanukah and Christmas traditions!
    We are not religious at all, but still celebrate Christmas as a way to slow down and enjoy time with family.
    Traditions aplenty!

    Setting out cookies, milk and carrots for Santa and his reindeer on the fireplace hearth (mom and daddy taking bites of each and leaving the fireplace door open a crack late in the night)

    A post-Xmas dinner walk around the neighbourhood to see the lights (started when my oldest was a fussy baby and would be lulled to sleep by the stimulation of Xmas lights)

    Have a wonderful, slow, full. stop. day! xo (And sharing the sentiment you left on my blog earlier; very blessed to have gotten to know YOU this year!)

  30. Charlotte says

    I love this. I used to be quite the Scrooge but now that I’m older I’m enjoying CREATING MY OWN traditions. One of which is not letting myself get soaked up in the OMG IT’S CHRISTMAS rushrushrushrush madness thing. :)

  31. says

    I love the service at church on Christmas (or Christmas Eve, if I’m not too lazy to stay up until midnight in a drafty church). The messages of Joy to the World and Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men (and women) have always re-lit the light of hope and happiness inside me. With as busy and crazy as things always are at work from Thanksgiving until April 15th, hope and happiness are oh-so-very welcome and necessary!

  32. says

    We do a lot of the normal stuff: cookies and a letter for santa, carrots for the reindeer, watching Santa fly around the world on NORAD, Advent book and Advent calendar, and watching Charlie Brown Christmas!

  33. says

    Love the photo!

    We have so many Christmas traditions! Maybe the funniest one though is that we all crawl under the christmas tree. No really, have you ever laid down and stuck your head UNDER a fully decorated tree and looked up? I used to do it as a kid after seeing the Mickey Mouse cartoon with Chip and Dale living in the Christmas tree. When my kids were little, we’d all lay down and look up from under the tree. We’re all much bigger now, and it’s trickier, but we still do it and then chat about our day with our heads under the tree. Silly, but that’s us!

  34. says

    Visiting santa is ALWAYS a good tradition! Being Danish, we celebrate Christmas in a Danish way, so at dessert, we have something called Risalamande, literally ‘Rice with almonds’ (although it’s rice pudding). All the almonds are crushed except for one which is lucky enough to remain whole, whoever finds it gets a Christmas prize! 😀

  35. says

    For us, we purposely try and keep Christmas non-traditional. Since we started having kids (20 years ago) we’ve had the routine where the family all gathers at our place on Christmas eve for a feast and gift giving fest; so that routine in itself has become a tradition. I expect that when our kids start to have families of their own (hopefully at least a good 5-10 years away) that the routine of where will change to our kids generation, and therefore, they will dictate just how traditional the gathering is.

    Now for as long as we control the gathering, the feast itself the part that we insist on being non-traditional. This year was an Italian feast. Last year all about beef; I can still taste that prime-rib. The year before I think we tried our hand at making our own Chinese buffet, if not then it was the year before that. Other years have been all ballpark food, oh and I foldnly remember the BBQ Ribs and pulled pork-a-palooza feast. Whatever that years theme, it is homemade, and never what is considered traditional Christmas day fare.

    Turkey and Ham, those are for any day but Christmas in our house.

    Simply, I get bored too easy, and thus traditions and I do not mesh well.

    Happy Holidays!

  36. says

    I watched “Miracle on 34th Street,” my favorite Christmas movie!

    And took Santa on a pre-Christmas Eve plane ride which I wrote about :-)

  37. says

    Ok, that’s flipping awesome you’ve gone to the same santa so many times. And have so many traditions! Really cool. It’s something I long for and want to start for my own family. I love tradition even if I don’t have many.

  38. says

    Traditions are wonderful! We always open our stocking stuffers before breakfast, Its a fun tradition that my adult children still look forward to.

  39. says

    Hi Miz,

    I loved my childhood days when I keep one socks under my pillow beforing sleeping… Those old memories are still fresh in my mind.. Anyways, your arms in the picture are looking stunning..

    Wish u a very happy and healthy new year 2013 :)