Holiday Traditions from the Bob Rogers Travel Family
The holiday season is full of meaningful and fun traditions. As you prepare to spend time with friends and family, here are some favorite traditions from the “BRT family.”
Every Saturday before Christmas my extended family gets together at my uncle’s house to celebrate. The 50+ person party features the infamous White Elephant gift exchange and a visit from Santa himself! Of course, the night isn’t complete without serving up Grandpa’s famous eggnog.
Every year my two sons and I put the tree up together while listening to Christmas music and drinking eggnog – actually I drink the eggnog and they choose something else because they think eggnog is gross. Once the tree is up, I unwrap all the ornaments and they hang them. This is one of my favorite holiday traditions!
Both my mom and dad’s side of the family have some Polish Traditions around Christmas. With my dad’s side we all get together (my aunts, uncles, and cousins) and make Pierogi (at least 50 dozen). With my mom’s side, we carry on the Johnson tradition of making Kolacky (40 dozen).
In 2005 I got engaged to my (now) husband on Christmas Eve – he managed the proposal by telling me about how his family always opens one present each on Christmas Eve, and the giver picks it out. He then asserted that he open first, but was strangely uninterested in the present I picked for him to open, and more invested in me opening the one he picked for me (it turned out to be my engagement ring). The next year on Christmas Eve with his family, they all laughed about his blatant lie to me- they have never been allowed to even think about opening any presents before Christmas morning! Now that we have a 4-year-old son, we have made “one present on Christmas Eve” a true tradition to celebrate the anniversary of our engagement.
Every year, my wife and 2 sons along with my extended family travel to Downtown Chicago for the weekend to sightsee, shop, spend time together and enjoy the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. It kick starts the holiday season right before Thanksgiving and gets everyone excited about Christmas and the New Year. The lights along the Mag Mile are illuminated by Mickey Mouse, Santa Claus rides by in his sleigh, and fireworks over the Chicago River end the festivities.
Our 2 boys love participating in their Advent Calendar and they also have an Elf that begins to visit them each night starting on December 1. The Elf’s name is Snowflake. We also try and watch all of the “classic” Christmas shows/cartoons that my wife and I watched when we were kids. They get a big kick out them.
Christmas Eve has always been one of my favorite days of the year. When my grandma was alive, we would have the traditional Italian feast. Some of the inclusions were: pasta with stuffed calamari in red sauce, shrimp cocktail and fried shrimp, white fish, salad and garlic bread. My sister Tami has carried on the tradition and it always brings back wonderful memories.
Our holiday tradition has always been giving stockings filled with candies, small mementoes, and usually gag gifts for anyone home. It’s also always been the tradition that the oldest person gets the biggest stocking – which is usually around 2 feet long! Some traditions are meant to be broken – for example, the youngest member of our family (the dog) has gotten it four years running.
Since we moved to the Ann Arbor area we have started a few new traditions. Instead of just presents we enjoy some special family events, such as the Detroit Zoo Lights, Greenfield Village Holiday Nights, Christmas Market Ann Arbor/ Detroit area, and this year we are starting a new tradition with our girls. We are going to make a Gingerbread House. Happy Holidays!
Every year on the day after Thanksgiving my family pulls out the old ladder and pulls the Christmas decorations out of storage. We spend the day listening to Christmas music (some of us for the first time and some of us for the 20th time or so) and putting the decorations up as a family. It’s nice being able to spend time together and begin getting excited for Christmas.
Share your family’s holiday traditions in the comments and you’ll recieve a special holiday surprise from BRT. Happy Holidays from all of us at Bob Rogers Travel!
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