Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holiday traditions

This time of year is full of different traditions for everyone. I've experienced Christmas while living not only in my homeland; Australia but also in France, the Netherlands and now the USA. Each country has its own traditions and experiencing these has been the highlight of expat life during the holiday season. From the marche de noel in France, to the arrival of Sinterklaas by barge in Holland (and the complete absence of Christmas decorations until after the 5 December) and watching how everyone's trees here go up the day after Thanksgiving - well, it's been interesting seeing how much it differs between countries!

A couple of years ago, I posted about Christmas traditions - now that we are a family of three, these traditions are evolving. We are trying to find our feet in a new country and figure out how we want to celebrate such an important holiday within our own little family unit. There are some traditions from my childhood that I want to continue, some that we've developed since being married and some new ones that I want to start as a family.

Food plays a pretty important role in the holiday season for me - I love to cook, I love to eat and I love how a good meal can bring people together. Gingerbread, aberdeen sausage, apricot balls, white Christmas, hot wine... I could go on. Yum yum!

Looking at Christmas lights - this was a big one for us in Australia. Both as a child and an adult, I've always loved driving around to see the Christmas lights each year. In Europe this didn't seem to be a done thing - however from what I can tell, it's just as big in the USA as it is in Australia - YAY!!! It's going to feel a bit strange going light looking on a cool winters evening rather then a balmy summers night, but I can deal with that. We've got a list of places we want to go visit this year but it seems that in the past few weeks one or two of us have always been sick so it just hasn't happened yet - luckily there's still a couple of weeks til Christmas!

Christmas carols - not just listening to a CD, but going to carols by candlelight (or watching it on TV) is one of my favourite traditions! I'm feeling like this is an Australian tradition though? We asked some friends about it recently and they had never heard of these organised events - it can be a small community event run by a church or a large event with performances by stars. Do they exist anywhere in this country? I think I need someone to record my tacky Lord Mayors Christmas carols and send it over to me. I'm going to be missing this one and I'm sad Mr Oliver won't get to experience it either!

The advent calendar - I had one growing up that was a beauty. It was old, it was glittery, it had cute pictures and well worn cardboard windows that I could open with excitement each morning. I picked a similar one up in France a couple of years back and Mr Oliver has been enjoying helping us open it this year.

Decorations are important! I don't have the same pizzazz as my Mum or sisters when it comes to Christmas decorating (seriously - they are awesome! I wish I could share all our past Christmas layouts because some of them are magazine worthy) but I do love getting into the festive spirit around the house. A new tradition we have started this year is decorating the exterior of the house. Now, it's only very simple - this is our very first year buying outdoor Christmas lights and although it doesn't quite compare to some of the extreme inflatable festive craziness going on in our neighborhood, I am a simple person - some icicle lights, a reindeer and a fresh wreath adorned with a red bow did our porch well this year :-)

That's just a few of our traditions, past and present. What are your Christmas traditions?


  1. So cool to have experienced so many different culture's traditions!

  2. I agree with Steph's comment - so cool you got to experience so many different traditions! I love, love, love looking at the holiday lights, too!

  3. Our tradition is to get eachother an ornament that represents something we did that year! Stopping by from the Sippy Cups giveaway! Happy Holidays!


  4. Stopping by from Sippy Cups & Pearls!

    Kaitlyn (:


  5. That is a shame that you have to miss one of your favorite traditions. We have a few, but nothing out of the norm. Chocolate oranges (the ones you smack to break apart) have to go in my oldest three children's stockings, or they just don't feel like everything is in order.:) I like the pictures!

  6. I just found your blog on the Tea on Tuesday Social Hop :)

    I loved reading about your evolving Christmas traditions! My family has turned much more to fitness and healthy living the past couple of years. Last year my parents and in-laws started the new tradition of doing a 5km run (in Santa hats, of course) on Christmas morning before opening gifts. I was a little defiant towards it at first but love the idea of (somewhat) guilt free eating the rest of the day! Looking forward to our chilly morning run again this year.


  7. i think that is one of the reasons why this time of year is so special because of the traditions!

  8. I love reading about other people's Christmas traditions!

    I found your blog through the blog hop and I'm now following you! Great blog! I'd love for you to check out my blog, too, and follow back if you want.


  9. It's got to be awesome to see how Christmas is similar/different in such different places! I am big on Christmas lights so we also love to drive around and look at them.

  10. Christmas carols always sound like so much fun but I have never had a chance to go caroling. I think it would be fun to do one day. Otherwise I just enjoy the music on the radio and in church. Thank you for sharing and linking up!


Thanks for reading, your comments make my day :-)


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