The Best Gift of the Holiday Season: Tradition

Jillian Berndtson

| 3 min read

Parents and daughter picking out decorations
There really is no place like home for the holidays. Coming home for the holidays is often met with many different traditions and experiences. Whether it be decorating a tree, eating a special meal or seeing the holiday lights, each family is unique in their own holiday traditions.
Ultimately, it’s not the gifts you remember, but the people and experiences you shared that live on for years to come.
Here are some of the A Healthier Michigan team’s favorite memories from the holidays over the years:
Amy:I’ll never forget when my mom took me to see the Nutcracker ballet live in Chicago when I was 5 or 6 years old. As the oldest in a family of three children, it was rare for me to have a moment with my mom alone. For an afternoon, it was just the two of us – all dressed up, sipping on hot chocolate and enjoying the ballet.
Angela: My family has a recent tradition of making an annual trip up north the day after Thanksgiving. Instead of getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of shopping and the holiday craze, we get a shared lodge and just enjoy one another’s company in the comforts of a warm and cozy cabin. We bring board games, food, drinks and just spend time with one another.
Brianna: My favorite holiday experience is having Christmas breakfast at my mom’s house every year. It’s an amazing feeling to have everyone together laughing and opening presents while we watch holiday movies.
Bridget: My favorite holiday experience was when we decided to forgo gifts for a family trip to an island off Belize. We spent Christmas snorkeling and drinking pina coladas. All the palm trees were decked out in lights and it was so cool seeing how the locals celebrated the holiday!
David: While I wouldn’t say it was always my favorite tradition, picking out our Christmas tree every year was always memorable. We’d always go out to some tree farm in the middle of nowhere to find the perfect tree. I clearly remember some outings would drag into the evening. I suppose it was worth it in the end. Our house always smelled nice.
Elise: My favorite tradition is making a big Christmas Day breakfast with my mom after everyone has opened their gifts. We plan out the meal ahead of time and bond while preparing the food. Then, our whole family gets together and enjoys the food we prepared while enjoying each other’s company, free from the distraction of phones.
Jill: One tradition my family has is putting up a Christmas-themed village in our house. They’re a bunch of small ceramic houses all decorated for the holiday season. We put them up on a bookcase in our living room and they light up at night. They always make me smile when I go home. My sisters and I also donate to a charity each year instead of giving each other gifts. We rotate who chooses the charity each year but it’s always one that has a special meaning to us. I love that tradition.
Julie: I love taking my family to the Christmas and Holiday Traditions display at Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids. Seeing the different ways trees are decorated around the world all in one place is really special and gets everyone excited to deck the halls back home. I love that displays celebrating Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Ramadan and more are incorporated as well. As a mom, I’m trying to raise global citizens and teach my little ones the importance of being accepting and open to everyone’s faith traditions and these displays have been a fun way to start those conversations.
What’s your favorite holiday tradition? Share with us in the comments.
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Photo credit: StefaNikolic

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