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Donna Peak's Holiday Traditions

Editor in Chief Donna Peak reveals some of her family's favorite holiday traditions. What do your family traditions look like?

Written by Donna Peak
Donna Peak's Holiday Traditions
Photo Credit: Miroslava/Unsplash

Growing up, my family had a Christmas ritual from which we did not deviate. It entailed church on Christmas Eve, after which we'd come home, turn on the tree lights, drink eggnog and open one (sometimes two) gifts each, as a preview of what was in store come morning. The tree stayed on all night long.

When Christmas morning finally came, I'd rise before the sun and beg my parents to get out of bed to start the day. (Actually, I still haven’t outgrown this one, only now I’m begging my 13-year-old daughter to wake up instead.) My dad would brew a pot of coffee, and my mom would turn soft carols on the radio. After we unwrapped our immediate family’s gifts, my dad’s parents arrived for brunch, and somewhere around one o’clock in the afternoon, we’d head to my mom’s parents for a big old traditional family Christmas, with two of our own special twists:

1. Instead of a formal sit-down dinner, we had a buffet of an unbelievably large cold-cut platter, salads, my grandmother’s heavenly ham-and-navy-bean soup and about a dozen different cookies for dessert. Everyone simply grabbed what they wanted when they were hungry and returned to the fun.

2. With the presents opened, the evening was capped off by a game of penny-ante poker that lasted late into the night. As a little girl, I’d perch myself on a stool and watch the grown-ups deal the cards. When I turned 12, I was finally allowed to play. My grandmother always sat next to me and secretly slipped me a few coins when my funds would run low so that I could stay in the game.

Christmas rarely ended while the calendar still showed the date as December 25th.

These are memories I’ll cherish forever. And now that all but one of my grandparents are gone and I live 200 miles from where I grew up, they serve as my muse as I strive to make Christmas traditions for my own family. The fact is, it doesn’t matter where you are or what your house looks like. The people you’re with and the memories you make within those walls ... this is the true definition of “home.”

From our Timber Home Living family to yours, we hope you have a memorable holiday season.

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