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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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195 Comments

  1. A little over 2 years ago we moved to a town of 600 people! And one of the local Churches has Santa come and give presents to the kids. The kids get to write Santa something they would like for Christmas and drop their letter off to Santa at the post office. The kids try to patiently wait for the night to come to go to the Church and see Santa. They sing Christmas songs and have cookies. And the kids get a special present. This is our 3rd Christmas doing this and has been a fun special and new tradition to do with our kids.

  2. We’ve been married for 37 years, so we have lots of traditions. One of them is that we don’t play Christmas songs until the day after Thanksgiving. Another one is that my sister and sister-in-law and niece all got thrift store shopping together the day after Thanksgiving. That is SO much fun!! One of our older traditions is making and decorating Christmas cookies.

  3. Christmas Eve starts with Bisquick Sausage Balls for Breakfast. My son and I always watch Twas the Night Before Christmas (the old one with the mice). And we go to the Children’s Christmas Eve Mass. It’s a wonderful day!

  4. We spend Christmas Eve at my grandparents farm.. All the cousins and family come in.. There are usually between 40-50.. The kids put together a program and perform-singing, playing instruments, reading the Cheistmas story.. We have finger foods and open presents! It’s my favorite holiday tradition!

  5. My traditions include goi g to look at Christmas lights after the annual Christmas parade with my two young kids. Also, elf on the shelf is becoming another tradition. A new tradition we started this year is an advent kit that I purchased from a church member. Each day there is an activity and bible reading hidden inside a balloon.

  6. Worshipping on Christmas Eve and celebrating Jesus birthday with a cake or cinnamon rolls while singing Happy Birthday.

  7. Every year (actually this coming Friday) we pick up our 2 grand-daughters in their jammies. We bundle them up in blankets & we take cookies & hot chocolate with us and we drive them around to look at Christmas lights.

  8. My favorite Christmas tradition is decorating the Christmas Tree. We usually have White Christmas playing on the DVD player!

  9. We have “dollar” gifts we exchange. Everyone gets lots of fun gifts and it’s inexpensive so we can focus on family and not stress over expensive gifts.

  10. We enjoy making “Christmas” cookies…sugar, shortbread, gingerbread, and many other sweets…mincemeat tarts, butter tarts, and different squares. We enjoy sharing these with family, friends, and neighbours. We decorate the tree together…although this year it was done by 4 children aged 6 and under. They did a pretty good job and we are not changing a thing…there are crowded areas and areas with nothing. :) A highlight was having family gather together but two of our children and their families have chosen not join us this year so that is leaving a hole. We do an advent calendar/devotions to which we are semi-faithful. Blame my poor memory! :) Christmas Eve one gift is opened. Christmas morning stockings are opened and then we have breakfast, read the Christmas story from the Bible, and then open gifts. We have friends and/or family and/or people who have no one and no where to go for Christmas supper.

  11. We spend Christmas Even with the in-laws and Christmas day with my family. Over the years, some of the faces have changed, but the tradition remains

  12. We have started the tradition of going Botanica and seeing the illuminations of all the Christmas lights. You can literally spend 3 hours looking at all them and not see them all. Even though the price of the tickets are kind of high it is so worth it to see my grand kids eyes as they look at them. This year I am hoping that my daughter, 16 year old granddaughter and 4 year old grandson will be able to go. My two grandsons who are 13 and 9 got to go with me and it is so fun watching their eyes light up as they see the lights.

  13. We do visit Santa! We read a Christmas story each night! We watch Christmas movies! We literally eat, sleep, breathe Christmas!!

  14. Baking cookie plates to give as gifts, candy making some years, Christmas caroling with our church, Christmas music, wrapping a book for our boys to unwrap one a day during the Advent countdown to Christmas, and family time, whether its with my husband’s family or my family….and then all the holiday fun to pick from, Nutcracker, Handel’s Messiah performance,…school program…I LOVE it all!

  15. Hubby and I watch White Christmas together snuggled up by the tree every year, and we make our family’s Italian Christmas cookie recipe. The kids also enjoy decorating gingerbread men in new and funny ways every year, and we open one gift (has to be something fun like a game we can enjoy together) on Christmas Eve.

  16. Every Christmas Eve, we have Christmas at my grandma’s house, then afterwards, my brother and I have always watched “A Christmas Story” over and over until we fell asleep. My mom always bought us new pajamas and let us unwrap them on Christmas Eve as well, and I have continued that tradition with my daughter. I always wait until Christmas Eve to finish wrapping the presents and putting them under the tree, that way it’s a surprise for my daughter when she wakes up on Christmas. Some new traditions I have started with my daughter are reading about the birth of baby Jesus in the bible on Christmas Eve before bed. We also put out a “Santa’s Magic Key” to allow Santa to enter our house and reindeer food (oatmeal and glitter) for the reindeer in our front yard. We also put out cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve before bed. I like to make Christmas magical for my daughter, as I always thought it was the most magical time of the year growing up. I also want to remind her of the true reason for the season as well, so that’s why we always try to focus on Jesus Christ. :)

  17. We get hot chocolate and drive around looking at Christmas lights. Christmas morning is a traditional lunch at my mom’s house. She has done it every year since before I was born!

  18. Traditions have been difficult with my husband in the military. So we do just a couple of things right now – I get the kids new pajamas each year for Christmas eve. We do go to Christmas eve candle light service at church. I am hoping to start a few more traditions now that we are out of the military and a bit more settled.

  19. Every year we drive around with hot cocoa and look at the Christmas lights, always ending with our favorite home. : )

  20. We pack Christmas boxes for those less fortunate, we adopt a child to buy a gift for from a giving tree, we bake cookies and goodies. The best one is Christmas Eve church- even though its late for the little ones its the MOST important. And then we spend all day on Christmas just hanging out at home playing.

  21. Our Christmas traditions are changing as my 4 children are becoming independent. But a tradition that we have continued on my parent’s side is to have all 5 of my siblings and their families (usually around 30 people) gather at Mom and Dad’s for our once-a-year slumber party. We also where we can find a corner and eat and laugh lots!

    I also make special Christmas chocolates for all our Christmas gatherings.

  22. One tradition we enjoy is crab legs and Caesar salad for our Christmas Eve dinner. This year because of some travel issues, we will celebrate Christmas with our children on Saturday and enjoy this traditional meal then.

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