Traditions keep families alive. I swear having traditions has what have really strengthened my relationship with my siblings and my parents. We set aside quality time to spend together at specific times where we make memories and build friendships.
Our annual Taggart Family Christmas Party is one party everyone looks forward to every single year. I thought it would be fun to share some of these fun traditions with you. Tis the season! We have the entire night planned from the time we walk in the door to the time we all leave. Feel free to adopt some of these ideas into your own family. I’d love to hear if you tried any of our traditions and want to hear your favorite traditions you love too!
First – The Meal
We eat the same dinner every single year starting with shrimp cocktail and stuffed mushrooms. To drink we have eggnog and sparkling apple cider. The main course is always Prime Rib with steaming hot Au Jus and Horseradish sauce. We have raspberry jello topped with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, baked potatoes with sour cream and loads of butter, brussel sprout, and homemade orange rolls.
Second – The Bells and Nativity
In 1999, my mom made these amazing bells out of pipe. She cut them and we use these huge nails to cling them together – anyway, each year we each get a bell or two. As my dad narrates the Nativity from the New Testament, we stop every once in a while and sing a Christmas Hymn as part of the story.
Third – Our Gift to Jesus
This may seem like a unique one. In fact, the first Christmas Ammon participated in this tradition, he wrapped himself a Starburst and wrote himself a note that said “Merry Christmas, Ammon,” so the next year when we opened the gift to Jesus, he had a little treat. This is an example of what not to do.
What we do each year is we write down a gift that we are willing to give to Jesus. When I was a little girl I wrote that I would be nicer to my little brother, I would help my mom do the dishes every single night (HA), or I would say a prayer every morning. As I have grown older, I really think hard about what I want to give Jesus that year. What is something I can do that would show him my gratitude? Once we decide, we write this gift down on a small piece of paper and wrap it up in a small earring box that stays in the bottom of our stocking. And each year we open that box up, read our gifts to Jesus in years’ past and write a new one.
Fourth – Talents
My mom started this tradition when we were all a little older and I don’t know if I like it or not. We have to perform a talent that we have for my mom. Again, Ammon likes to have fun with this one. The first year he blew up a rubber glove using only his nose. It 100% sealed the deal that he was supposed to be in our family. My sisters sing or play the piano, some have PowerPoint presentations of their talents. We have had people make videos, do magic tricks…a whole slew of things to see. It is quite entertaining to see what talents we all have up our sleeves.
Fifth – Secret Partners
This is where my terrible gift giving skills debuted for years. Since we have a bigger family, instead of buying everyone gifts and breaking the bank, we choose a secret partner. Each person draws a name randomly each year and we get a present for that one person only. We always give gag gifts and every year people come prepared with an array of silly gifts. As each person opens their gift, they then have to guess who the gift giver was. I am not great at giving gifts, but now I love this part of the party because I have challenged myself to do a homemade gift each year. I have to spend time on the gift and sometimes, this can take hours. I feel that the more time I spend, the more love I’m showing to the person I’m giving the gift to. I get so excited watching my secret partner open the gift and the true spirit of Christmas always fills my soul.
Sixth – The Nut in the Pudding
My dad lived in England for two years serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and one of the traditions there is called the Nut in the Pudding. We also eat brussel sprouts because of his time spent there too. Trust me, eating those in the 90’s in my family were nasty, no one knew how to cook those properly. Back to the nut in the pudding, my dad cuts up a bundt cake and slides an almond under one of the pieces. We all come in and pick a piece. Whoever ends up with the nut, gets money. That’s right, they win the money. Each year the pot goes up $5 so we are at $220 this year!
We end the night on a high. It is so fun and special to all of us. Traditions do not have to be this in depth, but it truly has formed deep familial relationships. I can honestly say my best friends are my siblings and parents and it’s no doubt because of this time we spend enjoying each other’s company.
As for Ammon and me, we have made some fun traditions with our small family that have bonded us too. We love doing the the Christmas train, where we line up and follow each other around the whole house finding presents in each room. This was something Ammon’s family did while growing up. I make beef Wellington and have a nice dinner prepared. We always try and so something special for those who may not get presents or a big Christmas and try to teach out children the real meaning of the season.
Can’t wait to hear your fun traditions or unusual pastimes during holiday seasons.