Editors' Holiday Traditions

From delicious food to wacky ornaments, Parents editors love to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas. Here are the traditions that make the holidays a little more special.

01 of 13

Holiday Traditions

family picking out Christmas tree
Blend Images/Veer

Our editors' holiday traditions are sure to get you in the holiday spirit.

02 of 13

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

father and son decorating Christmas tree
Somos Photography/ Veer

"A few days after Thanksgiving, my whole family goes to my parents' house to put up the big family tree. After the tree is up, we each take turns putting our personalized ornaments on the tree. Every member of the family has one with their name on it (mine is a Harry Potter ornament), then, when someone gets married or a baby is born, a new ornament is added. None of the ornaments match, so it doesn't look Martha Stewart-perfect, but it has character." -- Amanda Nesbot, Editorial Assistant

03 of 13

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer


"Every year my elementary school principal gave us a bag filled with 'reindeer dust.' The glitter was supposed to help Santa see your house, and the oats were for the reindeer to eat. On Christmas Eve, my dad and I sprinkled it on our front lawn. The magic died in fifth grade, but it's one of my favorite holiday memories." -- Lindsay Barton, Editorial Assistant

04 of 13

Gather Round the Table

Chinese food
Sherry Huang

"Every year for Thanksgiving, my extended family and I have an American-Chinese potluck plus a dual birthday celebration for two cousins (who are 40 years apart). For dessert, there's always two cakes, one for each cousin -- a whipped cream concoction from a Chinese bakery and a mystery cheesecake. Not one to repeat himself, my cousin always bakes something different (speckled vanilla bean, marbleized chocolate, caramelized pear)." -- Sherry Huang, Features Editor

05 of 13

Christmas Wrapping

stack of Christmas presents
Matthew Mead

"During Christmas when my brother and I were little, my dad would write our names really small on the wrapping paper, and we couldn't open our presents until we found our name. It was like a game!" -- Tracy Perez, Beauty Director

06 of 13

Quality Time

mom dates
Jessica Hartshorn

"Between Thanksgiving and Christmas I make sure to have a 'date' with each of my kids by themselves. It's really the only time of year they can count on having some one-on-one mama time. Typically I take each kid ice-skating, then out to lunch, then we do something they want to do. I hope that as they grow up and away, they'll still always want to come back for their mama dates!" -- Jessica Hartshorn, Entertainment Editor

07 of 13

Good Eats

child at dinner table
Werner Straube

"Instead of one big meal on Christmas Eve, my family prepares all of our favorite appetizers. It takes the pressure off one member of the family to make a giant dinner. We look forward to it every year!" -- Caylin Harris, Associate Lifestyle Editor

08 of 13

On the Radio

vintage radio
Jim Franco

"Thanksgiving is the only American holiday that's number one in my book. I love the traditional meal, the family gatherings, the post-Turkey lull, the morning's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. But most of all, I love Thanksgiving because of Arlo Guthrie. Every Thanksgiving, around noon, many radio stations play his 22-minute-long comedic anti-war song "Alice's Restaurant." Many Thanksgivings ago, my brother and I stumbled on a broadcast of the song. Funny, quirky, catchy, we listened and we laughed, year after year, at noon on Thanksgiving, in person or on the phone, just about every year since." -- Michael Kress, Executive Editor at Parents.com

09 of 13

Trimming the Tree

Christmas tree ornaments
Jessie Wohlgemuth

"My family has used only bear ornaments on our tree since I was a kid. My parents started collecting tiny bears soon after they got married (32 years ago), and we now have hundreds -- way more than we can fit on the tree. My dad can't stop himself from buying a couple new ones every year though." -- Jessie Wohlgemuth, Features Editor

10 of 13

Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving turkey
Con Poulos

"I have an absolutely gi-normous family (my maternal grandmother is one of ten children). Every year on Thanksgiving, about 200 of us (which is certainly less than half the family tree) pile into my great-Aunt Claire's house in Brooklyn. It's not a big house, so it's standing room only. It's pretty incredible to be in a house where there are four generations under one roof." -- Ruthie Fierberg, Editorial Assistant

11 of 13

Holiday Lights

Christmas lights
Denny Schrock

"We've started a tradition with our kids (ages 8 and 5) where we drive around our town to check out houses with holiday decorations. The more overdone, the better: Our favorites are the ones with blowups, lights, animatronics, and music. It's a nice way to break up the week and gives us a fun way to be together on cold, dark nights. (The only downside is that my girls want us to decorate our house that way -- not happening!)" -- Kara Corridan, Health Director

12 of 13

Board Games

Adam Albright

"After dinner my aunt, who owned a bed and breakfast in New Hampshire, would set the table for Christmas crafts. Everyone puts their personal twists on that year's project, which she'd use to decorate for the annual Inn Walk (a tour of holiday open houses) in the area. Once dessert and coffee are on the table, that's the cue to team up for Taboo -- which we treat as a sport -- and we play for hours!" -- Rheanna Bellomo, Editorial Assistant

13 of 13

Gifts Galore

saute pan

"My parents have a long-standing tradition of labeling gifts like they come from a person the family knows or a famous person. So, if my dad wrapped up a sauté pan for me, it would say, "Happy holidays from Martha Stewart," or a novel might be tagged as having come from Mr. Russell, my despised junior high English teacher. Everyone delights in trying to come up with clever names to add to their gifts." -- Laura Fenton, Lifestyle Director

Copyright © 2013 Meredith Corporation.

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