A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Creating holiday traditions around things other than food

on December 16, 2015

Yesterday, I was signing up for a potluck holiday party. I’m bringing buffalo chicken egg rolls and cranberry white chocolate cookies (recipe for cookies here and I’ll share the egg rolls when I work them out!). A co-worker said “my gallbladder will kill me but it will be worth it!” Part of me smiled at the idea that my food is so eagerly anticipated – I’m still a food is love person at heart. That can get us all into trouble, especially in the holiday season where indulgence can be the name of the game.

Pockets full of holiday adventure :)

Pockets full of holiday adventure πŸ™‚

We’re working on building non-food centered traditions into our holidays. We have a felt tree that we used to fill with candy to count down the holidays. Nowadays, we have activities in each pocket like touring Christmas lights, new holiday books and movies and introducing Oliver to the fine art of homemade snowflakes.

He kept telling me how important it was to be careful with scissors. I'm guessing his teachers say that a thousand times when they have the scissors out at school.

He kept telling me how important it was to be careful with scissors. I’m guessing his teachers say that a thousand times when they have the scissors out at school.

We also work to incorporate giving into our holiday season as much as we can. We adopt families at work and pre-K, as well as kids toys for the Boys and Girls club. O loves putting change in every red bucket we pass (and is disappointed if they aren’t out). Every step we take to pay it forward keeps our spirits on the best of the season. It’s about so much more than food.
I’m working on appreciating the little moments of holiday magic in the day. My favorite is turning on the tree every morning. I’m almost always the first up and moving in my house, so it feels like a little moment just for me. Christmas lights just make a little bit of my soul glow and even if they’re only on for an hour while we get ready for our day, it starts the day with a smile.

Oliver and I are starting a new Christmas tradition this year. On 12/23 (Christmas Eve-Eve per my inner child), we’re going to camp out together in our Santa jammies in the living room with the tree. Falling asleep under the glow of the tree after reading Christmas stories sounds like a perfect way to kick off our little holiday break.

What are your favorite non-food traditions?

PS Of course there are still some treats! Here’s the recipe for the lovely Gwenn’s sugar cookies. I’m going to try them with almond extract next time for a twist!



  • 2 cups butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl and add to butter mixture. Mixture will seem a little dry. ** Chill for 2 hours. Roll to desired thickness and cut out. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes at 350 F. Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet for several minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

I decorated these with sugar before going into the oven and icing after they’d cooled. They’re easy to work with, but the dough is a little stiff (which is why it holds up to cutting). Thanks for the recipe Gwenn!


10 responses to “Creating holiday traditions around things other than food

  1. I love the idea of your Christmas Eve Eve! Sounds perfect!

  2. That sounds like so much fun (the camp out)! I think we’ll make our sugar cookies on the weekend–I’ve got a new recipe that includes almond extract. I’m excited about it!

  3. Anna says:

    I love your new candy-free advent tree…so many memories will be made. I lived with my sister’s family for a while when the kids were much younger. We wrapped a bunch of Christmas books (they already had) and opened one each night for bedtime story. The kids loved the surprise element.

  4. I also love the idea of the non-candy felt tree! There definitely is something special about holiday lights. Each year my husband and I tour the holiday lights in the city. I think the focus on giving is also so important. Falling asleep under the tree sounds perfect!

  5. We call it Christmas Eve Eve too. πŸ™‚ Love your new traditions, O is such a sweet kid!

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