Friday, December 7, 2012

The Pickle, Holiday Lights And Other Christmas Traditions

We here at the Ross-Spencer household are big fans of traditions!

Let's take a drive to Tradition Town, shall we?
  • Bon-Bons! This is a tradition that my mom grew up with in Australia. Every time she went home she would buy a bunch of them for us to have at Christmas. Or, if we were lucky, some of our favorite Aussie pals would come visit us and bring some along! The idea is that one person grabs each end and you pull. There is a big pop noise and someone ends up with a rinky-dink prize and a paper hat.
I have no idea why I put on my crazy eyes for this photo!
  • A year or two before I came on the scene, Scott's family started having a Christmas pinata. Scott's parent's neighbors probably think we are lunatics but we have a great time. The first year they did it they had a Sponge Bob pinata. My niece was only about 2 and she thought that the idea of everyone beating up on ol' Spongey Pants was the worst thing ever!
Here's my niece showing the pinata who is boss (Tony Danza)??

  • I owe a big apology to those who celebrate Christmas and have to work the day of. I am not doing you any favors with this next tradition... Go to the movies on Christmas. For as long as I can remember we have been going to the movies on Christmas. I love the tradition of it. It is always fun to talk about what we should see and then try to remember all the movies we have seen in the past.
No idea why, but this is always the first movie that pops into my head when I think of our past Christmas movies.
  • My mom likes to put on her fancy hat and break out the special Christmas plates every year. She also used to print out a fancy menu listing what we would eat. I am sorry to say that the menu tradition died when we started hosting Christmas dinner. ps the fancy hat isn't a real thing although... possible new tradition?
Here are the choices for our new hat tradition:

hat sources: santa chimneytiny black and whitehorse hatrudolph
  • Find the pickle! Does anyone else do this one? I'm not really sure when or why it started but my mom hides a pickle ornament on the tree and my sister and I race to see who can find it first.

Here was what the note that comes with the pickle says, "Legend of the Pickle. Start this tradition in your home... legend says that the pickle, a symbol of good luck, was the last ornament placed on the tree. The first child to find the pickle on Christmas morning was rewarded with an extra gift left by St. Nicholas. This tradition encourages children to appreciate all the beautiful ornaments on the tree, rather than rushing to see what Santa has left for them."  
I have to disagree a little though. Maybe the first child who ever looked for the pickle was doing so because he or she cared more about the ornaments. But I think the rest of those kids just wanted the present for finding the pickle. Who doesn't like some good competition on Christmas morning?
  • Sing Christmas songs until you laugh so hard you cry. I do realize that Christmas songs aren't usually hilarious but they are when it is my mom, my sister and me singing them. We are about the worst singers you could possibly find and none of us know the proper words to the song. We have a great time trying though! If you are trying to find a list (or three) of the world's best holiday music stop trying and click here!

  • Check out the Christmas lights! Get out your hot chocolate, turn up your holiday music, and go tour the town. It is appropriate to say, "ahhhh bahhh" every time you see a well-decorated house. At least, that is what we used to do growing up. I think Kelly and I were trying to say, "aww beautiful" but hadn't mastered that yet. Also, go ahead and rank the houses if you see fit! That never hurt anyone (unless you rank the house a zero and you have your windows rolled down and the person is outside... don't do that). This website will help you find the best decorated houses. Or you could go to whatever place is closest to you on this list of The 50 Best Places To See Christmas Lights In America. Better yet, take a Tacky Light Tour.
Here I am with a little baby Cora on a Christmas Light Stroll last year!
  • The Advent Calendar. Ours needs a little love or just a little velcro. When I was little, putting a velcro ornament on the felt tree every day was the best! If you want to make your own advent calendar check here for some ideas.

  • Write in our Christmas book each year. Someone gave us a Christmas notebook so Scott decided to put it to use. Every year Scott and I take turns writing what big things happened the previous year (trips we went on, engagements, weddings, etc).
  • Get a present the night before Christmas. When we were little it was usually pajamas, slippers or something Christmas-y that we could wear the next day. Now, my mom usually buys a new board game for the group that we open the on Christmas Eve.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something! Does anyone have any traditions that they absolutely love? Anything funny or unique?

Here are a few more great ideas for the holidays that we have done but haven't quite become a yearly thing:

  • Go ice skating
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen or sponsor family
  • Have a holiday-movie-marathon
  • Go Christmas Caroling
  • Look through old photo albums and videos
  • Check out the local holiday festivals or parades


  1. I notice you toned down your description of how you and Kelly behave when looking for "the pickle"!
    Some good holiday traditions. Hope you and Scott make some of your own that involve having your Mama visit every Christmas!!

    Happy Birthday Deanna!

    1. You're right... I try to push Kelly down to find that pickle!
      I spazzed out and was a couple days off on Deanna's birthday.
      Yes, mama is welcome to come visit every year!

  2. I see Scott's Christmas creme brulee' in the top photo, I think he made it without having the special lighter to burn the top and had to put it in the oven, still tasted delicious.
    That poor old Advent Calendar has seen better days.

    1. I vaguely remember the creme brulee situation. I don't think we've used it since but I am using the dishes from it to heat up Cora's food!

  3. its so weird, i had never ever heard of this pickle thing until your blog, but now i've randomly seen it on a couple other websites, AND i've seen pickle ornaments everywhere. Target has them. I guess they were probably always around and i just didn't notice. Most fascinating story of your life=just happened

    1. That is random. And definitely the most fascinating story of my life!