Featured, News

Strange But True: Christmas Traditions

All around the world, sentimental holiday traditions live within households.  Some of these include usual Christmas activities, such as leaving cookies for Santa or caring for an Elf on the Shelf.  In other families, traditions may be a bit more atypical. This month, I turned the spotlight to the wonderful members of clay staff to hear about their unique Christmas traditions.

Poetry Columnist Emma Grob and her family “always have fondue on Christmas Eve (either beef fondue or cheese fondue), and then as dessert, we have chocolate fondue.  On Christmas Day, we eat hot dogs and macaroni and cheese because they’re fast and simple.” Emma continued to say she and her family eat aebelskivers, or spherical Danish pastries somewhat similar to pancakes, for breakfast on Christmas Day.  News Editor Ryan Milbrath also enjoys international cuisine on Christmas, saying, “[His mom’s] family would eat Lefse as a family and cultural tradition. It’s a Norwegian potato flatbread that some eat with butter and sugar.  We eat it with lots of butter and sugar.”


Ryan shared another tradition of his, which is “hiding a glass pickle ornament in the Christmas tree. After my dad hides it, we kids try to be the first one to find it. Whoever is the first one to find it gets to open the first present (which coincidentally is Baby Jesus from our manger set every single year).”  William Pledger, our Political Analysis columnist, described a holiday tradition he shares with his cousins; “My cousins usually come in town for the holidays, so on Christmas Eve, we all get pajamas from our grandma. We put them on and do the ‘pajama dance’, which is basically just a conga line all throughout the house…”

PR Team Member Laura Walker shared that her mom reads The Best Christmas Pageant Ever each year on Christmas Eve, and she always receives an ornament that has to do with an achievement of hers or something she enjoyed that year.  In contrast, Girl’s Spotlight author Hannah Wong writes that her family does not exchange any presents; “any and all presents we obtain will be from people outside of our family,” says Hannah.  General News writer Theresa Lam likes to watch “old but good” holiday films on Christmas Day. Theresa and her family also do their best to attend Busch Gardens Theme Park for their “Christmas Town” extravaganza.

As for me, my family always hosts a Christmas Eve party. We always invite any local family and friends who do not have anywhere else to go for the holidays.  We cook as many appetizers and finger foods as we can manage, throw on some music, and have a great time catching up and celebrating the season. In addition, it is a Disharoon family tradition to put one specific present, which I made in kindergarten, under the tree to start the gift accumulation process. Said “present” is an empty granola bar box covered in red gift wrap and topped with a paper tracing of 5-year-old Cassie’s hand.  My mother always insists on making it the first box under the tree each year.

Whatever your family enjoys doing for the holidays, I encourage you to enjoy the warmth and joy that comes from spending time with your loved ones and celebrating the true reason for the season: Jesus.  Happy holidays, everyone!


What are some of your family’s holiday traditions?  Let us know in the comments!

Some quotes have been edited for clarity.

All images are from Google unless otherwise noted.

Special thanks to Emma, Laura, Hannah, Theresa, Ryan, and William for helping with this article.


  1. Great work on this article Cassie! Our family has nativity set that we place in our living room. Every day of advent, our parents move the wise men somewhere in the house. We kids have to look for them. The next day, they are moved again. On Christmas morning they are at the manger.

  2. On Christmas Eve, our family does The Feast of Seven Fishes. The Feast of Seven Fishes is at dinnertime, and we also try to make sure that we have at least seven types of fish on the table. Another tradition is always doing a secret Santa among us kids (there are six of us).

  3. Allison, for some reason, my reply to you isn’t working (or if it is, then I can’t see it). But anyway, those traditions sound very fun! That’s a lot of fish!

  4. On December 1st, our Elf on The Shelf comes, and we try to be the first to find him every morning, and we always get a new pair of pajamas on Christmas eve, and open presents in them on Christmas morning. Also, we open presents one by one, so one person goes, then another, and so on. It takes forever when there’s eleven kids in your family.