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5th Day of Christmas Giveaways with Mandy Young

  12 Days of Christmas at KarenEhman.com

Welcome to the 5th Day of Christmas Giveaways!!!

Today my friend Mandy Young is joining us to talk about her family traditions. She will be giving away the scarf in the image below (she’s also wearing it in her bio picture!)

12 Days of Christmas at karenehman.com

To join in on the fun and be entered to win the various prizes, simply leave a comment on the post answering the question of the day. ALSO—one grand prize will be given to one person who comments on all 12 days.

The Grand Prize is a $50 gift certificate to Proverbs 31 Ministries store and a $50 gift certificate to Amazon.com!!!

Now, here is Mandy to offer you today’s post…

Young Christmas Traditions

Mandy young ScarfHi, I’m Mandy. “What happened to your leg?” is a question I get asked almost every day. But it’s such a loaded question.  I was only 8 years old when I lost my leg, but my story doesn’t begin or end there. I was only 9 months old the first time I developed Spinal Meningitis.  I have been a research patient at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland for 23 years.  Scientists there have decided that I’m the only person in the world to have my exact Genetic Mutation. You can connect with me on Twitter here.  I am a good friend of Karen’s and am privileged to share some of my family’s traditions here today.

Merry Christmas everybody!  Christmas is by far my favorite holiday!  The first reason of course is the true reason for the season; Christ’s birth.  But I also love Christmas music, the pretty lights everywhere, the movies, finding the perfect gift for those I love, watching everyone come up with creative adventures for their little elf friends, the parties, the ugly sweaters, holiday food….oh my word the list goes on and on!  But really I think why I love it so much is the traditions.  I’m a traditional kind of girl and this Holiday has tradition all over it.

I’m sure you’re wondering, “What traditions do the Young’s have?”.  Great question!  I’m here to answer that question you’ve been wondering about for the last 5 seconds – haha!

Young Family Traditions at KarenEhman.com

My first tradition starts the day after Thanksgiving…that’s right Black Friday shopping!  Now I’m not much of a shopper normally but there is just something fun about shopping in the middle of the night and standing in line to get a good deal!  My sister (Alex) and I venture out around midnight Thanksgiving night.  We make our lists beforehand of who we are buying for and then read through the sale papers and head out!  Honestly this year I don’t think we got any wonderful deals but it was tradition and it’s one we love!  We especially enjoy the sister time!

Another tradition I love is putting up my pink tree!  Yes, you read that right!  I have a pink Christmas tree and I love her!  She makes me so happy!  As soon as it’s appropriate to put her up I do!  She has white lights and silver, glitter ornaments!  Her pinkness usually goes up the week after Thanksgiving and then I take her down right after New Years.  If it wasn’t frowned upon I would keep her up year round!

My dad started a tradition when we were little (I’m pretty sure it was all mom’s idea) where he goes out shopping by himself to buy my sister and I each a gift that is just from him.  With no help from mom or mom buying it and putting both of their names on it; nope, this one is just from him.  And now that my sister has children he buys each one of them a gift too!  Being a daddy’s girl it’s always one of my favorite gifts to open!

About 5 years ago my parents and I started a new tradition for our family.  Christmas Eve we head out to a favorite restaurant for dinner. We feel bad for those who have to work on Christmas Eve, so to thank at least one person, we leave a very large tip for our server.  We want him or her to know that we appreciate them being there and we thank them with a gift.  It’s all about getting to bless someone!  And it’s extra special if we are able to peek around the corner and watch them find their blessing inside the receipt book!  It feels good to give!

After dinner, I head over to my sister Alex and her family’s house to spend the night.  We read the girls the Twas the Night before Christmas and then we watch A Muppets Christmas Carol (my sister and I have watched it on Christmas Eve since we were little ourselves; which is a tradition we are now sharing with Alex’s little girls, my nieces).  Once the girls are fast asleep we turn on the movie Elf and finish wrapping last minute gifts.  Christmas morning my parents, grandparents and aunt come to my sister’s to join us to have breakfast and to open presents.  Instead of the traditional Christmas dinner we serve a big breakfast!

Do you see why I love Christmas so much?!?!? We really don’t have enough time between Thanksgiving and New Years to enjoy all the wonderfulness that is the Christmas season.  We have become so rushed that without traditions in place we can become a Grinch very easily.   But don’t get so wrapped up in the traditions that you forget the true meaning of Christmas or don’t enjoy your time with family!  Sometimes you change traditions and there is nothing wrong with that!  Some will stay the same and some will change, just remember to enjoy them either way!  If you don’t have traditions already in place feel free to borrow one of mine or get creative and come up with some on your own!

Answer one of these questions below to be entered to win the scarf and grand prize.

What are your family traditions?  Do you have movie night while making popcorn garland to put on the tree?  Going to see Santa and giving him your wish list?  Maybe going around your neighborhood singing Christmas carols?  What are the traditions that keep you in the Christmas spirit?   We can’t wait to hear them!

All winners will be announced Tuesday December 22nd.

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  1. So many of our traditions have change years, but as a little girl I loved bundling up to go Black Friday shopping with my mom and grandma. Every other year my aunt make 40+ gingerbread houses, from scratch, for us to decorate. She sets up tables, makes the icing, all we have to do is bring candy to share :)

  2. My husband and I love watching the various adaptations of A Christmas Carol. We also like going to Candle light Service on Christmas Eve. While I love traditions they can easily morph into expectations so we try hard to go with the flow and not stress over “we always do so and so”
    One of my favorite Christmas traditions, though, is that when we set up our Crèche and manger scene we leave Jesus out (after all he isn’t born yet!!) and when I wake up he has magically been placed in his place. ?

  3. There are too many to list them all, but my very favorites are on Christmas eve. We always get all dressed up and go to church, and then we come home and have a birthday party for Jesus, complete with cake and candles. We invite whomever we find – family, friends, people who might not have anywhere else to go – and eat, talk, and visit in front of the fire. I love it!

  4. On Christmas Eve, we always go to church for the children’s Christmas program. (As a child, I was always in it and now my kids are in it.) Then we go to my grandparents’ house to celebrate with my dad’s side of the family (aunts/uncles, cousins, their kids, etc.) There are always between 30 and 50 of us. It is so great to spend this time with family.

  5. One of our traditions is putting on Christmas music, making hot cocoa & decorating the tree as a family.. at the end of the night, we sit back & watch a Christmas movie while enjoying the lights..

  6. Christmas Eve everyone comes to our house and Christmas day we go to my husband’s brothers home and back to our home! We’re blessed!

  7. Every year on the second weekend in December, our extended family meets at a state park where we spend the weekend in cabins and enjoy one another’s company.
    We are in the process of creating traditions for our little family. This year we took an overnight trip to view Christmas lights at the beginning of December. We enjoyed it so much, we are already planning next year’s trip.

  8. Thank you for sharing your family Christmas traditions! Our family likes to put the tree together and decorate with my littles ages: 4, 6 and 8. We bake and decorate cookies, worship our Savior on Christmas eve with the brethren, Christmas morning we gather round the tree and my husband reads from Luke 2, we pray then open our gifts! After that, we watch movies and play games together as a family!

  9. Oh my! I just realized that Mandy and I our kindred hearts. So many of her traditions are our traditions, too. It’s my favorite holiday for all the reasons Mandy listed. Our Christmas Eve movie we watch together is The Christmas Box — it was on TV many years ago and we still watch it on DVD that we taped, which just adds to the charm. My husband always likes to buy his own present for our 3 daughters, too! I don’t have a pink tree, but with 3 daughters, we have a tree that is decorated with pink and cream ornaments. One tradition we have is that we bake povitisa every year with my mother. Our girls are in college or grown now, but we all get together to do this and love our time together.

  10. My husband and girls put up the Christmas tree the Friday after Thanksgiving. (This year my 10-year-old daughter even declared a “Tree Friday Miracle” when she thought she was sick the night before… it ended up she had just eaten too much chocolate.) We also eat a different cookie with our Advent reading each night. Traditions are important to me.

  11. Posted in reply

    We start Christmas music on Thanksgiving Day! Having all the carols fill the house is so wonderful. The Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving has become a “foil dinner” party. I directed summer camp for years. The last summer one of our staff members died (not at camp). The staff gathered at the end of the summer before leaving back to various schools. The asked if we would open our house at Thanksgiving for them to gather and make ‘foil dinners’ and see each other. For almost 10 years they have continued to come. Now with spouses and babies. Never the same group but always the same menu: foil dinners. Lots of laughter, pictures and stories.

    My husband IS Santa…our kids, grandkids, and international students choose a day that Poppa Santa is at the mall and we get Santa photos. Our kids are in various places and if they can make it they come for Santa time.
    Our elderly neighbors put up a manger scene for 30 plus years. When they needed to move to assisted care their adult children asked if we would continue their family tradition. For at least 15 years we have put up the large plastic figures, fixing the lights and adding a stable frame. Baby Jesus is held together with packing tape, the cow has lost an ear, the wisemen are a bit tattered. We were late once and a distant neighbor walked by as we worked on the scene. With tears she exclaimed that her daughter was coming home and wanted to see the manger scene. Her mom didn’t know if it would be up….and when she saw it she was so happy for her daughter.

    These are some of our treasured traditions. Of course there are Christmas Eve services and family dinners…and these little reminders that God so loves the world.


  12. Family Traditions are that everyone has to be home and participate in putting up and decorating the Christmas tree while Christmas music is playing. We always turn off all the lights except Christmas tree lights and just sit, talk, reminiscence while we look at the tree. We also have a tradition of going to look at lights in our city, there a few homes that have become regulars. And we always open gifts on Christmas morning after we’ve read Luke 2.

  13. Our tradition was always getting the extended family together at granny and papas house. Now that they are gone, we still get together on Christmas Day or close to it, and there are about 50 of us!

  14. My daughter has a pink tree in her room and it makes me happy too! We decorate the day after thanksgiving and listen to Christmas cd’s. I make lots of cookies to share during December and listen to lots of Christmas cd’s. We also watch it’s a wonderful life every Christmas Eve (a tradition that started with my parents).

  15. Making a gingerbread house.
    Making & decorating sugar cookies.
    Watching ‘Elf’ with my daughters.
    Attending the Christmas play at church.
    Taking my daughters to shop for each other.
    Making goodies for the neighbors.
    Ringing the bell for Salvation Army. Giving food donations.
    Ollie our Elf.

  16. Our traditions include a party for my girlfriends (a meal, crafts and gifts from me), a cookie exchange at my home for the gals from church( includes crafting, eating and a big giveaway :) )Christmas eve at my parents’ home with the extended family for a cozy dinner and opening of gifts followed by Christmas morning at our home ( our 24th together this year) a big cooked brunch and quiet moments together! Welcome Jesus!!

  17. We pick a weekend and go driving around looking at all of the Christmas lights. Plus, we usually go to the Christmas parade.

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