Merry + Bright Holiday Traditions

Volunteer Insights

Merry + Bright Holiday Traditions

Holiday traditions bring a sense of nostalgia and hope for the holiday season. Whether they have been a long-standing tradition in your family for as long as you can remember, or it’s something that you just started in the past couple of years, they bring a sense of comfort and joy.

We turned to our volunteers to ask them about some of their most cherished traditions of the holiday season. On behalf of all the volunteers here at CommonGround Minnesota, we wish you a very merry holiday season and the happiest New Year.

Katie Brenny

Getting the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving – then bringing it into the house and decorating two days later, as the tree needs to rest. The tree then comes down on January 6 as the wise men come. Santa and Mrs. Claus also come to the family Christmas party and bring small gifts!

Sara Hewitt

My most cherished time during the Christmas holiday, is the time spent together, but I especially enjoy the magic and blessings of Christmas Eve. On Christmas Eve, my family attends our Christmas Eve church service together. It isn’t Christmas Eve church without singing Go Tell It On The Mountain and Silent Night. After church, we come home and I break out the new matching family Christmas pajamas for Christmas movie night! The kids can’t go to bed until they put out reindeer food (sunflower seeds, oats and glitter mixed together) in the snow for Santa’s reindeer each year.

Ellyn Oelfke

We have a number of holiday traditions that I look forward to and cherish each year.

Cinnamon rolls – Every year, I make at least two batches of The Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls. I love this recipe because it makes so many pans and the icing has maple flavoring and coffee in it – YUM! I gift pans of these rolls to my co-workers, neighbors, and we deliver them to our landlords and people we do farm business with. I love to make them pretty with ribbon and a tag. They are an inexpensive way to show someone you care! Plus, they are great reheated and make for a delicious holiday treat with a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate.

Stovetop simmer pots – In recent years, I have become obsessed with making my own stovetop simmer pots. With oranges, apples, fresh cranberries, evergreen, cinnamon sticks, and whole cloves, this combination will seriously make your entire house smell like Christmas. And it is beautiful! I enjoy these simmer pots myself, but also love to dry my own oranges and apples and then put all of the elements into mason jars to gift to people throughout the season. They make the perfect hostess gift for all of your holiday parties, the perfect addition to a care package, or a “just because!” pick-me-up during a busy time of year.

Ham dinner just me and my husband & chess – After my husband and I got married, we have made a tradition of having a special Christmas dinner just the two of us. He loves a traditional ham meal with all of the fixings, so I cook up his favorites and we enjoy a meal together. It may be on the 23 or 26 of December, but nonetheless we like to stop and treasure a few moments just the two us in between the hustle and bustle this season brings.

Charcuterie competition with my family – We just started this tradition last year, but on my side of the family on Christmas Day, we have a charcuterie board “competition”. Each couple takes a different course and prepares a board. Last year, my husband and I had the dessert board. So, we made a cheesecake for the center and sprinkled in a variety of Christmas cookies and chocolates throughout the board. This year we have the appetizer board and I need to come up with something unique that will win us the competition!

Sarah Kern

Growing up, my mom had a collection of Christmas books that only came out in December. I now have a collection of my own. I love the nights the kids all pile on the couch to listen to one of their favorites. This photo are their favorites.

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