Friendly Traditions

Does anyone else have holiday traditions with your friends? I do! A few actually.

This years winning ornament! So excited to take this one home!

White Elephant Ornament Exchange: Every year a group of girlfriends gets together for a Cookie & White Elephant Ornament Exchange. Everyone brings a wrapped ornament that they would like to have on their tree (I did full on white elephant ornament one year. The tin angel is still talked about and hence, the rule about bringing a nice ornament…one you would like to have). All participants blindly choose a number and the games begin. The person who drew number one starts by choosing and unwrapping an ornament. The ornament is then displayed throughout the exchange. The next person can either steal the ornament or choose and unwrap one. Ornaments can only be stolen twice. If someone steals your ornament you have the option to steal another or unwrap a new one. The game ends with number one. They may either steal an ornament that is still in play or choose to keep the one they have.

All ornaments are still wrapped at the beginning of the game.
The little German guy holding the beer stein is my contribution this year. Here he is with his new friend in his new home.

Cookie Exchange: Love baking cookies but prefer an assortment to being stuck with only one kind? If yes, then the cookie exchange is for you! All participants bring 2 doz + cookies to the exchange. Holding empty Tupperware we walk around the table and grab 1-2 cookies from each batch until our containers are full.

My iced sugar cookie for this years exchange.
The cookie table 2019

It’s A Wonderful Life: Last but definitely not least, our friend group gets tickets to Its A Wonderful Life. A local theater plays the Christmas classic. Each year, we dress in our ugly Christmas sweaters and enjoy the showing. We hiss whenever Potter is on screen, sing Buffalo Girls, recite all the lines and of course ring a bell every time Clarence is on the screen.

Crew in 2017

Christmas Eve

Holiday Traditions, Part 2

Not sure about your family but in mine, we always take pictures in front of the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. Well, not everyone…more like me and my two cousins. The combination of family members in front of the tree changes from year to year but our cousin picture is always a constant.

Same cousins, same living room, different tree

We also have a fancy Christmas Eve dinner with everyone sitting around one table (remember, small family). In the past few years the tradition includes family members helping with various dishes like Glühwein (clearly our addition), salad, veggie, potato, etc. After dinner, we snack on an assortment of cookies, pop the holiday crackers/poppers, and play a family game. Before everyone heads their separate ways for the evening, we read “The Night Before Christmas”. Everyone reads one page as we pass the book around the table. Some years we even use silly voices.

In the top picture, notice the tree (also pictured previously) and the set table in the background.

Cookies for Santa

Holiday Traditions, Part 1

My family, the Dieter side, is small. Three sisters, three cousins, three second cousins…soon to be four, plus spouses/significant others. Our small family has been gathering for Christmas in Washington DC for as long as I can remember. And in the 30+ years we’ve been going to DC, we’ve created quite a few traditions.

One of those traditions is baking cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve day. Every year for the past 10 years, my cousin hosts our family for brunch and cookie making on December 24th. Each year my niece & nephew (officially second cousins) use the various stampers to cut out the cookie shapes and we all gather around to ice the cookies.

Cookies for Santa

I’ve always loved this tradition and hope in continues when Carson is old enough to participate.