Christmas Traditions And Giving Back

Generationally, geographically, historically … Christmas traditions are birthed out of and shaped by many factors! With 2020 being a year many are returning to simplicity (due to social distancing), we thought we’d explore some family Christmas traditions and safe ways to give back this holiday season!

Notably, A Different Time

Wally Bronner With Foil Trees
Bronner’s originator Wally Bronner with foil trees.

If there is one thing that history has shown us, it is the resilience and innovation of mankind to overcome and make the most of difficult times! Did you know that our Christmases today are largely shaped from traditions birthed in the WWII era?

  • Notably, was the growing popularity of artificial trees as lumber was in high demand for the war effort.
  • Consequent to material shortages – ribbon was hard to come by! – tree decorating adapted to include things like foraged items from nature (i.e. pinecones etc.). Homemade crafts like newspaper chain garland or ornaments cut out from magazine illustrations were also popular tree decorations.
  • Light bulb producer Corning Glass Works converted their machine to produce ornaments on American soil, that up until that time had been largely produced by Germany and Japan.

Enjoy the idea of a Vintage Christmas? Than our Vintage Christmas post may be a dream-come-true for you, too!

While COVID-19 has brought us many challenges, this Christmas can still be remarkable! Check out these Christmas tradition ideas to see if any might be a fit for you …


Christmas Traditions

Baking Memories Of A Lifetime

Christmas baking may be one of the most popular Christmas traditions! Be it the customary Christmas cookies and treats or family recipes passed down through the generations, spending time in the kitchen has a way of baking memories to last a lifetime!

Children enjoy Christmas time baking.
📷 Instagram Photo Credit| Shanda of @LittleHouseBecameAHome

Come join our Virtual Cookie Exchange!

What better way to “give back” than by filling the “Giving Plate” with treats for contactless delivery?! (Opt for treats from a favorite bakery or festive wrapped candies to support local business!)

The Giving Plate

This plate is for giving
It belongs to all.
Enjoy the treats upon it,
then fill it with some more.
As you pass it on
the love never ends,
a growing circle of family & friends.

Christmas Light Shows

If you’ve ever been to Bronner’s, you know their love for Christmas runs deep! Every evening from dusk until midnight Bronner’s transforms into a magical de-light as over 100,000 Christmas lights illuminate the 1/2-mile-long, scenic drive. But whether you choose to travel and see light shows from within the safety (and warmth!) of your vehicle, or enjoy your local neighborhood’s displays – the only way to do it is with a mug of hot cocoa to-go and Christmas music!

Christmas decorations and lights shine bright on Bronner's Christmas Lane at night.

Christmas Car Parade

Want to put a spin on the tradition?! Why not start a Christmas car parade?! Decorate your vehicle (observing legal guidelines in your region) and spread the Christmas cheer!

Honk if you love Christmas!🚗🚗🚗

Bronner's Christmas Wonderland's Christmas Lights Displays

Family Photo

Family photos are a picture-perfect Christmas tradition! (If you’re family is like mine, you may have to pull a few arms to make it happen – but trust me when I say it is very much worth it. Especially after the loss of loved ones. Those photos become treasured keepsakes!)

Some families enjoy exchanging seasonal PJ’s on Christmas Eve to cozy up for an evening of favorite Christmas movies; but they are also a super fun way to capture your family photo! (How adorable is this German Shepherd in Bronner’s Road Trip shirt?!)

Christmas pajamas family photo.
📷 Instagram Photo Credit| Amy Hehre

The Week Of Christmas

We love this idea from Abby Manchesky who shared her family’s Christmas tradition for the week of Christmas!

“Stockings are labeled and ready to be filled with goodies! Actually, the elves come every day the week before Christmas and leave a little treat.”

Christmas stockings are one great way to enjoy this fun family tradition! But did you know there are also Christmas countdown calendar boxes that hold small notes or treats for each day of December leading up to Christmas?

Christmas Tea

Growing up, for many years, my family would travel to celebrate Christmas day with our extended family. My cousin and I always looked forward to this special day because it meant we would be allowed to get out her fancy, miniature tea set! We’d tuck ourselves quietly away from every one, in the back room on the landing of the stairs. Undoubtedly it was for this reason we were able to escape in to our own little world, where without judgement, it was perfectly acceptable to drink Coca-Cola from a tea set (as long as your pinkie was out!) And gorge ourselves on little snowball cookies!😂

Tea And Cookies At Christmas
Mexican Wedding Cookies recipe from Bronner’s Cookbook.

Those years have gone, and in their place have come ladies’ Christmas teas at my church. (No more coca-cola in tea cups for me!) You can imagine my excitement when I recently discovered a recipe for “Mexican Wedding Cookies” in Bronner’s Flavorful Favorites Cookbook – aka, those magical snowball cookies of my childhood! So much so, that I got in touch with my cousin who now lives across the country to ask if we can have a virtual tea party this Christmas!

Whatever the circumstances, be it distance or our current world situation, look for creative (and even new) ways to keep those special traditions with loved ones alive and continue making the memories of a lifetime!


Christmas Memories

Many family Christmas traditions have stood the test of time, while others have sadly faded. Keep your hiSTORY alive with our Christmas Memories Book tracking 20 years of celebrations! Made in the USA, the pages of this beautiful hardbound journal are filled with notes on Christmas traditions and prompts for your memories in nostalgic calligraphy. Hand-drawn illustrations embellish each page and ribbon page marker will keep your place from year to year.

Journaling cues include:

  • “Christmas in the year – _________”
  • Holiday Visits and Visitors –
  • Christmas Eve –
  • Christmas Day –
  • Christmas Dinner –
  • Special Gifts –
  • Things we want to remember –

And a place for a “family photograph” and your “favorite Christmas card“.

This Christmas Memories Book is sure to become a cherished family heirloom, to pass down, filled with hand-written mementos over the years!


The Gift Of Christmas Traditions + CONTEST!

Here’s another chance to give back! Whether old or new, I’d love to hear what at-home, family traditions are special to you?!

Share your family’s creative Christmas traditions in the comments below to inspire others’ celebrations and be entered in to Bronner’s GIVEAWAY!

Bronner’s will select one winner to receive their Christmas Memories Book, 2020 Annual design ornament and a $25 Bronner’s Gift Certificate!

Want even more chances to win?! Leave a comment on their Christmas Traditions post on Facebook or tag them in a photo on Instagram (@BronnersChristmas) with the hashtag #ChristmasTraditions, sharing your tradition for additional entries! (Bronner’s must be tagged in the photo and your account must be public for us to see it.)

**CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED**
Congratulations to our winner, Amy!

Contest Rules

Contest ends December 13, 2020 at 12 a.m. EST.

To enter, share a family tradition in the comments below this post – additional entries may be submitted through commenting on Bronner’s Facebook post, and also by tagging @BronnersChristmas on Instagram with a #ChristmasTraditions photo through a public account.

One winner will be selected by our committee to receive our Christmas Memories Book, 2020 annual ornament and a $25 Bronner’s gift certificate. Winner will be contacted via email. Prize is non-exchangeable, non-transferable, and is not redeemable for cash or other prizes.

Must be 18 or older to enter. Contest is open to US residents. Void where prohibited. Bronner’s staff and immediate family members not eligible.

Bronner’s reserves the right at its sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the contest at any time.

47 thoughts on “Christmas Traditions And Giving Back

  • December 13, 2020 at 8:59 pm
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    Hello,
    Every Christmas Eve, my Sister and Brother -in-law and their kids would come over to my parents house, where I also live and stay the night! We have Appetizers, drinks and so much more. My niece and nephew run down the steps to the basement and once we all got down, they would open gifts from my parents. The look on their faces were priceless!! Soon after, we gather up stairs for Christmas Eve Dinner. Later on we would have all kinds of desserts and also have a carvel ice cream cake and sing to Jesus on his birthday.. The kids would soon run upstairs to get there Christmas pj’s on and then we would hand out the Reindeer Food, and Carrots!! They get out the Cookies for Santa which they made a week prior, and set it up with milk.. In the End, my dad always read The Night before Christmas with the kids next to them!!
    The Next Morning, the kids would wake us all up and us adults, would put on our sweatshirts/shirts that the kids made in school with there foot prints so we all would be matching!! The Adults would go downstairs and get the coffee on etc and take pictures of the presents. The kids would be waiting upstairs by the steps with excitement and when they came running down, they look outside for the food and then the cookies for Santa on the table.. They run over to the gifts, so excited not sure what to open first, but go to the stockings and open and us adults too! The kids would scream with excitement when they open gifts. Then we would all exchange gifts with each other! We would take breaks in between to have Cinnamon Rolls for breakfast. Once we we’re finished with gifts, the kids would watch Disney Christmas Parade on tv. Later on in the afternoon, it was time to say goodbye to them, as they were headed to there cousins . The Best memory for myself was having this tradition ever since they were little.. They are now 14 and 11!!! It also brings such happiness to my parents and I seeing them open gifts and just being here with us!

    As for this year, we may not be together but we still may see them for a brief time to exchange gifts!! Here’s to next Christmas!! Please stay safe everyone!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! ⭐️

    Reply
  • December 13, 2020 at 8:49 am
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    My fiancé and I got engaged at Bronners last October and it was the most magical day! We are getting married next weekend, December 20,2020, and will be starting our tradition to go to Bronners Christmas wonderful each year around our wedding anniversary!

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  • December 13, 2020 at 6:37 am
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    One special tradition that my family has is called “Ian’s Gift”. When the first Christmas after my 7 year old son died (from heart defects) I couldn’t bear the thought of not getting him a Christmas gift even though I knew he was and still is celebrating with Jesus. I read an article that said we didn’t have to forget loved ones at the holidays. I embraced it. We chose a child who was going through a tough time and needed encouragement and she happened to be a friend of Ian’s. We chose gifts that Ian would have liked and gave them to Adrianna. It has changed a little but every year we still pick a family that might need a little encouragement and give them a few gifts and tell them about Ian and his joy. This is year 15 of Ian’s Gift. If you lost Grandma this year, find a sweater that she would have liked and give it to someone all alone in a nursing home. If Aunt Linda loved to read, donate a book to the library that she would have enjoyed. (Most libraries will put a donation inscription in the front).

    P.S. The little girl who got the first Ian’s Gift will be a nurse in a couple of months….and she still has the Thomas the Tank Engine that she received on her shelf.

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  • December 13, 2020 at 12:56 am
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    My mom always gets my sister and I pajamas on christmas eve! We have a fairly large dinner on christmas even too! Then, on christmas morning, I always wake everyone up and we open stockings and eat blueberry french toast for breakfast. We play games watch movies and hang out for most of the day!

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  • December 12, 2020 at 5:47 pm
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    For the last 7 years, my husband and I have gotten extremely dressed up and gone to Bronner’s for a yearly couple ornament, as well as whatever has happened in that year (vacations, new car, new job, etc…). A few years back we met two other couples and now all 6 of us meet up every year. We have a ‘best dressed’ contest and even a nickname – The Franken-Bunch. We go to Bronner’s and then Zehnder’s for dinner. We can’t wait for trip this weekend for our ornaments – though it will unfortunately be just us two.

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  • December 12, 2020 at 5:46 pm
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    My grandpa was hospitalized in 2008 on the day before Christmas Eve so I spent Christmas night pretty much alone in the hospital waiting room while he was in the ICU. I vowed after that night, that I would make every Christmas after that special, because I never knew when one would be the last for someone I loved. I put Christmas trees up all over the house, even in each of my kids’ rooms. Every year they get a couple of new ornaments (They love picking out some from Bronners!) so they can have a bit of cheer and magic in their rooms. Every year my mother in law gets us a new family ornament as well from Bronners along with one from her for the kids trees. We put up an outdoor display of the Peanuts gang ice skating because as a kid one of my favorite homes to visit was one where they had ice skating cutouts in the yard. We bake cookies, watch Christmas movies, and on Saturday nights we go see lights around town. This year I organized our block we live on to put up lights outside together and everyone has worked really hard to decorate our homes on the outside so people can drive by and see a full block of lights.

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  • December 10, 2020 at 3:18 pm
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    Our family gathers together on Christmas morning. I make a Christmas feast of eggs, bacon, sausage, cinnamon rolls, and chocolate milk. After all the kids and grandkids gather we open gifts. Later on, the adults watch our favorite Die Hard Christmas Movie (while grandkids play with their new toys) every year. Then we have honeybake ham for dinner!

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  • December 9, 2020 at 6:22 pm
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    Christmas Eve is the really big evening – friends and family for dinner of Polish foods.

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  • December 7, 2020 at 2:45 pm
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    I will be so glad to get the catalog and maybe find the christmas things we are looking for from your store. I am looking for the Chirping bird ball in gold and we want 2 of then.

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    • December 7, 2020 at 4:36 pm
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      Hi Sharon! I am so sorry to inform you that we have not been able to get the Chirping Bird Ball in, for a few years now, due to our supplier discontinuing them. And we hope you receive your catalog soon, we are letting people know after they sign up that due to bulk mail processing and delivery it may take several weeks for a catalog to arrive. In the meantime you may wish to enjoy browsing our virtual catalog online!

      Reply
  • December 7, 2020 at 9:13 am
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    We have a few traditions that we do. One is a Christmas Eve box and family gift exchange on Christmas Eve. We also light our advent wreath during the season and the very first candle we sing Silent Night. We make cookies and make bird seed feeders. It’s a lot of crafting activities in our house.

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  • December 6, 2020 at 9:41 am
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    Our family tradition is making homemade noodles. Its from my great grandmother and I am passing it down to my children. No all recipe to follow. Its done by feel and learning how to do it.

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  • December 6, 2020 at 7:59 am
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    Growing up my favorite Christmas tradition was putting up the village with my grandpa, pa, he always had the best ideas. I remember it being so big an everything having a special place. We would then put the lights outside an again his intelligence would just astound me. He just knew. Where it all needed to go to look perfect.

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  • December 4, 2020 at 6:56 pm
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    One of our holiday traditions when I was a kid was making ornaments as a family. My mom would pick a certain kind for the year – we would all paint clay ones, or sew the little cotton pillowy looking ones, etc – and then we gave them away to friends and relatives for the holiday. We always kept a few for our own tree too 🙂

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  • December 4, 2020 at 6:09 pm
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    My favorite Christmas tradition is just being at home with my family, making dinner, and celebrating Jesus.

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  • December 4, 2020 at 5:55 pm
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    Decorating the tree then eating cinnamon rolls. Watching Christmas movies each weekend.

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  • December 4, 2020 at 5:47 pm
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    Santa always showed up while I went to church on Christmas eve. I’m a musician, so I always had to be at church before my Mother came. As soon as we got home, we opened our gifts and ate Christmas snacks.

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  • December 4, 2020 at 4:54 pm
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    Growing up we had a large family. 10 kids and often foster brothers and sisters with us too. We didn’t get name brand or sugar cereal often, it cost to much and that many kids would just fly through a box. But every year at Christmas we each got a box of our very own sugar coma inducing cereal with our stockings. Something I looked forward to Christmas morning. Sometimes they were wrapped and placed in ‘our spots’ on the table. Sometimes we drew numbers to see which one we got. But we always got one. It’s a tradition we all still carry on with our our children now. I always get a little nostalgic when putting them out Christmas Eve, thinking of how that small tradition was something I looked forward to every year!

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  • December 4, 2020 at 3:32 pm
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    Making fudge. Pizza for Christmas eve dinner. Making Christmas cookies to leave for Santa. When my grandparents were alive the family gathering for dinner and gift exchange. Grandma always made popcorn balls died red and green for everyone. I miss those days.

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  • December 4, 2020 at 1:44 pm
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    We have had several family traditions at Christmas as it’s our favorite holiday because of the Reason. One of the traditions is to celebrate on Christmas Eve morning with a huge brunch we eat all day and opening presents now that our children are all grown with children of their own. That night we go to church to celebrate the coming Christ. Then the kids and grandchildren can celebrate together Christmas morning.

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  • December 4, 2020 at 1:39 pm
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    My family CHRISTmas traditions goes back to my grandma. She always made CHRISTmas cookies to give to all the family. We have CHRISTmas dinner together. We will open up CHRISTmas gifts. My mom had continued with the CHRISTmas traditions. My Aunt took over the baking of CHRISTmas cookies. My mom went to heaven in 2014. So me and siblings are keeping up with the traditions. We now make the cookies, have the dinner. I hope that my kids will keep up with the CHRISTmas traditions also.

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  • December 4, 2020 at 1:37 pm
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    We would go to church Christmas Eve. Afterward we would drive around our town looking at the lights on houses. We’d then come home and light the dozens of candles around the house. Christmas Eve is truly my favorite day of the year.

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  • December 4, 2020 at 11:33 am
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    We drive around the neighborhood as well as go to a local Light Festival and drive through that.
    Also a trip to Bronners with my best friend!

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    • December 4, 2020 at 9:24 pm
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      Drive around looking at a the beautiful lights

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  • December 4, 2020 at 11:20 am
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    We love to take a family walk on Christmas night. We look at the neighborhood light displays and reflect on the holiday season. So joyful and peaceful.

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  • December 4, 2020 at 11:19 am
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    This dates back to when my husband and I were dating in 2004. Our first Christmas together he got me an ornament with our names and the year on it. We have continued this through dating, engagement and now our marriage of 13 years. I love getting out “our” ornament and hanging it on the tree each year. We have some family and kids ornaments mixed in but “ours” are always my favorites. Most are from Bronners. I even have two identical ones from back to back years because I couldn’t remember what I got the year before. I must have really wanted that one! ❤️

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  • December 4, 2020 at 11:16 am
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    We love to snuggle up on the couch together, eat popcorn & candy, & watch Christmas movies. My seven year old’s favorites are The Polar Express & A Charlie Brown Christmas.

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  • December 1, 2020 at 8:23 pm
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    We watch our favorite Christmas movies, make a gingerbread house, get Christmas Eve pj’s, and visit family.

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  • November 30, 2020 at 4:13 pm
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    We always do Christmas Eve and we give gifts and bake Italian deserts

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    • December 1, 2020 at 11:42 am
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      Delizioso! What are some of your favorite Italian treats, Nathan?!

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  • November 30, 2020 at 12:42 pm
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    Our annual trip to Frankenmuth from Ohio is a much anticipated moment for my sister, my mom and dad and me. Our first stop is always the Silent Night Chapel, when we sit together and pray. We then head over to Bronner’s for the first visit of our stay. It really is amazing how much the sights, sounds and smells of my favorite place can fill me with peace, comfort and joy! The pandemic has forced us to change how we celebrate this year. It has also taught me the truth that people and shared experiences far outweigh material possessions. Our shared experiences at Bronner’s from this year and years past will sustain my family this holiday–as we focus on Jesus.

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    • November 30, 2020 at 1:17 pm
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      This is so lovely and full of truth, Angela! Our Silent Night Chapel was a project, of gratitude to God for His many blessings, very near-and-dear to the heart of our originator, Wally Bronner! It was his wish that Bronner’s would be a place people could “decorate their HEART and home with peace and love”! It sounds like your family is doing that, this year and in past! Merry CHRISTmas!

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  • November 30, 2020 at 12:10 pm
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    Every year for Christmas, our family bakes Christmas cookies from out Grandma’s homemade recipe. The night we bakes cookies we watch Christmas movies with our two kids while we decorate with our homemade frosting. We are festive all week long and make gingerbread houses. On Christmas Eve, the kids get a new pair of pajamas and book to read.

    Our tree goes up before Thanksgiving therefore our annual Bronners trip is usually every early November.

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    • November 30, 2020 at 12:59 pm
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      This sounds like a lovely tradition! Is Grandma’s cookie recipe a family secret?! If not, we’d love to have you share it on our Virtual Cookie Swap post, where we also plan to do a drawing to win a set of Bronner’s Flavorful Favorites cookbooks!

      Reply
  • November 20, 2020 at 11:24 am
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    I am an avid collector of Dept. 56 North Pole Village. I started collecting long before we had grandchildren. Even from an early age, our granddaughters knew that “Grandma’s Houses” were a “No Touch, Only Look” item. They were so good about this! As they grew up, I allowed them to help me put the village together, by showing me which accessory pieces go where. Now at ages 18, 16 and 11 they are even more helpful and can hardly wait to “put up the village”. They even start talking about this in October! This year will be a bit different as our grandson, now 16 months old, has not yet learned the boundaries. This could be interesting, but the tradition continues. I can hardly wait!

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  • November 19, 2020 at 7:57 pm
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    We so a Christmas Eve box at night as a family. I put a pair of pjs for each kid, a Christmas movie, a game to play as a family, and some hot cocoa packets. Its a great way to end the night after dinner with family.
    Another tradition is picking out an ornament at Bronners then having dinner out in Frankenmuth. We always pick a themed ornament for something big that happenes that year. Our first ornament together was our “just engaged” one, then “just married”, then “our family grew by 2 feet” when our daughter was born (just to name a few)

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  • November 19, 2020 at 2:13 pm
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    We are always look forward to going to Bonner’s around Christmas time and enjoy the beautiful arrangements of Christmas ornaments and trees.

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  • November 19, 2020 at 12:54 pm
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    We fill our stockings every Christmas Eve since our first Christmas together in 1988 . We still fill our children’s and their spouses as well. They are always the first to be opened. Now we have 3 grandkids and Santa fills theirs. Also we have to make cookies, and make sure we have nuts and oranges. Dad says it’s not Christmas without nuts and oranges.

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    • November 19, 2020 at 12:58 pm
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      I used to have oranges in my stocking as a child, Michele! I never understood the significance, but last Christmas while visiting Holiday Nights at the Henry Ford Museum, I learned that fruits at Christmas were a treat due to wartime rationing! It certainly brings a whole new perspective to being able to enjoy the citrus fruit!

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      • November 19, 2020 at 3:17 pm
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        A Christmas tradition with my mom was to give her daughter’s a campbells kid ornament every year, for our tree she would order one each year out of the catalog. I have several dating back to the 1980’s. They each are different colors and have a different picture with the year on each. Every year they are on my tree. They are very special because my mom has passed 2 years ago

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        • November 19, 2020 at 3:32 pm
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          I’m so sorry to hear of your loss, Stephanie! The Campbells kid ornaments sound very neat!

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      • November 22, 2020 at 9:51 am
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        Yes it was hard to get citrus in the winter back then also. Snow storms stopping trains from deliveries. Also citrus is good for you during the dark months got to get some vitamin c . Happy holidays to you and your family.

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  • November 19, 2020 at 12:31 pm
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    We do Christmas eve boxes, hot cocoa, jammies and a book or movie or socks. The kids really enjoy it and it’s a great way to celebrate more Christmas happiness as it goes by so fast.

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    • November 19, 2020 at 12:59 pm
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      This sounds like a lovely time, Heather! Does your family have a favorite book or movie?

      Reply

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