One of the best parts of the Christmas season, in my opinion, are family traditions. I love hearing about what other people do to celebrate the holiday! So last week, I posted a simple question on my Facebook page: “What Christmas tradition do you look forward to each year?” The post received dozens of comments, and I had a blast reading through all of your responses! I was so inspired by your responses that I thought I’d write a post dedicated entirely to Christmas traditions. I’m kicking off the list with a new tradition in our family… making (and eating!) Serinkaker, which are buttery and delicious Norwegian Christmas cookies. Get the recipe below, and then keep scrolling for 9 of YOUR favorite family traditions! Maybe you’ll be inspired to start one or two new traditions this year! :-)
1. Traditional Norwegian Holiday Cookies (Serinakaker)
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup plus 6 Tbsp (300g) softened butter
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 medium eggs, lightly beaten (or 1 large egg)
1 tsp vanilla sugar (or vanilla extract)
1 egg white, beaten
Pearl sugar and/or chopped almonds, for topping
Blend the flour, baking powder, and butter together in a bowl using your fingers, until it has a sandy texture.
Then use your fingers again to blend the sugar into the mixture.
Add the egg(s) and vanilla sugar or extract. Use your hands to mush and smash the dough until it comes together into a ball. It’s okay if the dough seems to be a bit on the dry side.
Cover the dough in plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge for at least a few hours, or overnight. When you’re ready to make the cookies, take the dough out and let it warm up a bit on your countertop, to make it a bit easier to work with.
Break off pieces of the dough and roll them into balls that are between 1” and 1 1/2” inches across. Once you have a sheet tray full of cookies, use your thumb to gently press down onto each ball to create an indentation. (If you see a few cracks around the edges of each cookie, don’t worry – that’s what you want!)
Beat an egg white in a small bowl, and use a pastry brush to brush the tops of the cookies. Finish them off by sprinkling a bit of pearl sugar and/or chopped almonds on top.
Put your sheet pan of cookies into a 350 degree oven for about 16 minutes, until the cookies are a light golden color. Move them over to a cooling rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
2. Czech Vanilla Crescents (Vanilkove Rohlicky)
Submitted by Anetka H.
Anetka says that each year, they bake up a bunch of these Czech Vanilla Crescent cookies. They package them up to give as gifts, and I’m sure they enjoy several at home, too. Even if you don’t have Czech ancestry, it’s always fun to try out Christmas treats, no matter where they come from! Anetka says that this recipe in particular is her go-to.
3. Christmas Around the World
Submitted by Juliana L.
Speaking of other cultures, Juliana has a fun idea for those who might want to spice up their Christmas celebrations. Her family decides on a different cultural theme each year, so they can learn about and experience the Christmas traditions in different countries and cultures around the world. This year, Juliana says they are celebrating “Christmas in France!” Perhaps they are exploring French customs like assembling detailed crèche scenes, attending “la Messe de Minuit” (Midnight Mass), or baking up a delicious Buche de Noel cake!
4. Fire Station Fundraiser
Submitted by Kaite O.
Katie loves participating in a very special Christmas tradition in her town. The wife of one of the local firefighters takes on the daunting task of arranging very special visits from Santa! Local parents who want to participate can contact the fire department, and submit a monetary donation that benefits local charities. In exchange for the donation, the local fire department will visit the family on a firetruck decked out in Christmas lights, with none other than Santa himself on board!
Santa delivers gifts to each of the kids (supplied to the fire department by the parents). Each visit lasts about 15 minutes, enough time for plenty of photos and some great memories! The money raised by this fundraiser helps support needy families in the community. I can say with total confidence that the true spirit of Christmas is alive and well in Katie’s community!
5. Reindeer Food
Submitted by Anna F.
Anna says that for the past few years, her kids have come home with bags of “reindeer food” that they made at school. She says that they have a blast going out into the front yard in their jammies on Christmas Eve to put the food out for Santa’s reindeer. What a special memory to make with your kids!
You can make your own “reindeer food” at home! Check out this recipe from Frog Prince Paperie, along with some cute free printables! (Or you could even make it as simple as putting out a bowl of oats!)
6. Christmas Eve Box
Submitted by Jenny K.
Jenny puts together a special Christmas Eve box for her daughter. The box has everything you need for a cosy Christmas Eve together, like a Christmas movie, hot chocolate mix, fuzzy socks, and of course, popcorn and treats for the movie!
I love this idea, because many families (including ours) spend Christmas Eve watching a movie or just spending time together. Putting together a special box is a simple gesture, but it’s sure to make this special night feel even more special! Here are some great tips and ideas for assembling your own Christmas Eve box.
7. Cheese and Sausage Snacking
Submitted by Angel F.
Angel says they enjoy a specific snack each Christmas. They order a gift set of cheeses and sausages from Swiss Colony, and snack on them while watching a Christmas movie together! I love this tradition because not only is it delicious, but I bet even the sight of a Swiss Colony gift set inspires fond holiday memories for Angel and her family!
8. Stocking Search
Submitted by Andrea L.
For all you sleep-deprived parents out there, Andrea has the perfect sneaky Christmas tradition. Rather than having the stockings laid out or hung up over the fire, Santa places her kids’ stockings in hidden locations around the house. The kids get to enjoy a fun treasure hunt for their stockings (and more importantly, Andrea gets 15 more minutes of sleep!)
9. Checking For Santa
Submitted by Emma C.
Emma shared a sweet and simple Christmas tradition that ANYONE can do. She says that every year on Christmas morning, her father made her and her siblings wait at the top stairs while he went down to see if Santa had visited while they were sleeping. She says he did this every year without fail, even when she was in her early 20s! What a sweet way to keep the childlike excitement of Christmas morning alive!
10. Annual Ornaments
Submitted by Kim C.-L.
Kim shared a fun way to commemorate Christmases over the years. Each year she buys a new tree ornament that represents one of her son’s current interests. She has been doing this for 14 years now, creating a kind of visual timeline of the growth of her son. I think this is so sweet, and I’m sure she will cherish those special ornaments for decades to come!