Share Your Family Holiday Traditions for a Chance to Win!

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Holiday traditions — whether you and your family celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, Diwali or Kwanza — repeated year after year, leave lasting impressions and forge special memories that last a lifetime. Some traditions common today date back thousands of years in some form or another. We remember the Christmas tree and caroling, the lighted candles of the Chanukah menorah, enjoy holiday foods, exchange gifts, and sing traditional songs. We continue to celebrate these ancient traditions that began long ago.

Families worldwide celebrate many similar holiday customs. While many send holiday cards to friends and relatives, decorate trees, gather to exchange gifts, each family has their own special way of celebrating with different twists.

Leading up to this holiday season, we want to hear about your family’s holiday traditions and how they began!

What signifies these Holidays to you and those in your household?

Tell us the story behind your traditions, and make sure to include photos! Let us know in the comments below or write to us at stories@myheritage.com by December 16, 2018, with your entry.

We’ll choose our three favorites to win MyHeritage DNA kits and we’ll also share some of your other stories in our blog.

Looking forward to reading about your family traditions!

Good luck!

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  • Rodney van Eck


    November 14, 2018

    Our family Xmas tradition started some 65 years ago when as a child my parents encouraged me to write to Santa Claus and to put out some milk and cookies for him to refresh him for his exhausting journey to all the ‘good’ children around the world. I continued that tradition 35 years ago when my first daughter was 3 years old. My second daughter automatically followed in that tradition. Both were flabbergasted on Xmas mornings to see the milk glass empty and the cookies gone. In fact, one Xmas Eve we had a tremendous storm around 11 pm. We were having a Xmas eve dinner at my in-laws (another family tradition). It so happened that a family member phoned the house. My brother-in-law returned to the lounge and said Father Xmas was on the line and that his sleigh had taken a lightening strike and was broken, could he come help fix it. I told the kids we had better get home and hope that Uncle Lionel could fix the sleigh. The kids swallowed it hook line and sinker. We returned home with two very concerned and anxious looking kids. Next morning the household was awakened to shrieks of delight and “Well done Uncle Lionel! You fixed Father Xmas’s sleigh. He brought our presents.” Once they had outgrown this novelty, I then introduced them to The Polar Express starring Tom Hanks. We continue that tradition of watching Polar Express still today. This is followed up by Dinner For One on New Years eve. I have also continued my childhood tradition of having Xmas lunch, which I’ve held at my home the past 40 years for my Mom, Brothers, Sisters and our children. This year I will be passing on that tradition for the first time to my 3 year old granddaughter. I am sure our Xmas tradition will live for eternity through my children and grandchildren.
    Xmas Traditions, May They Long Live!

  • Marcia White


    November 14, 2018

    In mid-October we go to a nearby tree farm with our sons and their families to choose our Christmas trees. We pick them up the 1st Sat. in December and they go up that same weekend. I have a special artificial tree I decorate with Santas and Newfoundland (dogs) ornaments. Eve we spend with my sons and their families at my youngest son’s home. We have a sit down dinner. Sometimes it is goose, boar, pork loin, boneless chicken breast, homemade Romanian sausage – all grilled. I make the vegetables. We open presents after dinner. Christmas Day is spent at my house with my family plus my sister and their families, and often friends who otherwise would be alone. We have a potluck buffet for the meal, but lots of appetizers, cheeses, crackers, chips and dips. It is a wonderful time to catch up with families we may not see often during the rest of the year. The cousins all have a great time catching up with each other.

  • Jessica Blaylock


    November 14, 2018

    My family tradition was to leave santa Claus milk and cookies out for Christmas Eve for his journey we are keeping this tradition. When I was a kid we would open one present before bed.

  • Shelley Lesh


    November 15, 2018

    We do not bring a tree in, but we bring in a bough. Then decorate with garland and light a candle. We sometimes get together with family and or friends. Then we will exchange small gifts. Even small gifts for the animals.

  • Mary Mahaney


    November 15, 2018

    Each Thanksgiving weekend, we order Chinese take out and watch “A Christmas Story”! Fa ra ra ra ra! I would love to win this DNA kit because I was adopted and while I have made a few biological connections on my mother’s side, I know nothing about my father, not even his name! Please help me finish putting the pieces of the puzzle together?

  • Corinne Dolling


    November 15, 2018

    I gre up in England so it was usually freezing cold at Christmas but Christmas morning my sister and I (we shared a room) would wake early about 6am to find a pillowcase on the bottom of our bed with our presents in and we would get up and take the pillowcase into our parents bedroom and sit and open the presents from all our Aunt and Uncles. At the bottom of the pillowcase was always an orange and a mandarine and new penny. Christmas day was just our family with a chicken for xmas dinner and that was the only time we ever had a chicken. Boxing day we got together with all the relatives and had another big dinner with a sherry trifle for dessert that my Aunt made. Very fond memories of christmas .

  • Cathie


    November 15, 2018

    When I was a little girl, my brother and I would always leave one of our shoes outside our bedroom door for father Christmas on December 6th. My family on my grandmothers side are Catholic, and this was a way of celebrating St. Nicholas Day, I’m sure it was passed on from my Grandmother from her childhood to my mother and too me. I will be starting this with my 5 year old daughter this year. I’ve also always had a gree glass pickle hanging from my tree, I, like many others thought it was a German tradition, but that myth has been debunked, but it brings back memories of my childhood so it lives on in my house.

    Merry Christmas

  • Stephanie Beam


    November 15, 2018

    Thanksgiving
    My grandparents always started with a prayer,then we would go around the table saying what we were thankful for.
    The menu…Turkey,mashed potatoes,candied yams,peas,stuffing,brown & serve rolls. Dessert Apple or pumpkin pie.
    Grandfather and my uncle would watch football, my grandmother,aunt,cousins movies.

  • Laura


    November 15, 2018

    On Christmas eve the kids got to open one gift from Grandma which was always new pajamas. They would put them on and we would read the story of Jesus coming to earth for us. Photos would be taken with the kids in new PJs!

  • Wendy Goicochea


    November 16, 2018

    My family was my Mom and I. We traveled alot so places changed but Christmas was always the same.
    We would have a little table top tree with out decorations that we saved from year to year. The little singing chorus of wax candle Angel’s. Red candles that were lit every night.
    On Christmas Eve we would read the story of Joseph and Mary and The Christ Child from the King James Bible. And sing Christmas Carols.
    All by candlelight.
    The next morning we would open our small gifts to each other. Mine were usually hand made doll clothes that my mother would stay up nights crocheting.
    I loved those special times and I remember my Mom each year as I continue these traditions.

  • Deborah Kinton


    December 10, 2018

    One year my Son brought home from Kindergarten a Red and Green decorated paper cone full of birdseed and glitter . He informed me that it was Reindeer food and we had to make sure to sprinkled in on the ground Christmas Eve for Santa’s Reindeer because not only was Santa hungry so was his Reindeer (after all they fly all over the world Mom) he informed me very seriously. So we sprinkled it on the ground Christmas Eve. I think he was as excited about the Reindeer eating their food as he was about Santa’s cookie and milk. For many more Christmas we continued to not only remember Santa needs a snack but so did his Reindeer. Marry Christmas All