Holiday Traditions

In these difficult times, I think we need a little extra to get into the holiday spirit. Here’s my small effort, about my family’s Christmas traditions.

My little family (my husband, dog Sasha, and I), like others, has certain protocols that must be followed every year. One is something I impose, no decorating until after December 1, because that’s my birthday. My husband shrugs about that because he’s the one who has to get the decorations down from the attic. Ours is not a formal house, so many decorations are simple, but we love them.

The outside wreath is first, hanging beneath our dining room bay window and draped with lights.

Here is the mantel, with battery candles for safety and my grandmother’s crystal bowl filled with small shiny balls. My husband both builds and collects clocks so they’re everywhere. The one here on the right is an antique from his family. On the right is a traditional shelf clock he built and sells on his website. Not holiday decorations, but I thought you might wonder why two clocks if I didn’t explain.

For a long time I collected angel ornaments and people gave them to me, but when the number became overwhelming on our tree, I bought an artificial wreath and hung them on it. This one hangs in the dining room.

Now the tree. It’s a fat one, but not tall because it has to fit into the living room bay window. Yes, the lights look odd. One set died, so when I bought new ones, they were white, not yellow, but it was too late. They were already on the tree. I would’ve started over, but not the, ahem, person draping them around the tree. Next year…

Several ornaments are also traditions. When we were first married, we had little money and crafted our own ornaments. Those are mostly all gone, except for these macramé snowflakes. A colleague at the school where I was the elementary reading specialist taught me macramé, and I made at least a dozen of these. Some were for gifts, but I kept about eight for our tree.

At the same time, my former apartment mate and bridesmaid, who is responsible for my meeting the man who became my husband, created these needlepoint ornament with the year of our marriage. They go on the tree every year.

At some point during the holiday season, we watch It’s a Wonderful Life, which puts us in the spirit. No matter how many times I have watched that film. I find something new each time. At this moment, I’m picturing the scene where George Bailey is nearly in tears, holding little Zuzu as she  drapes icicles on their tree. I tear up too.

Here’s a felt snowman given to me by the mother of one of my students who has always been special to me. He had been failing at learning to read, and our work together moved him forward.

Finally, our Christmas breakfast is a break between opening presents. I used to make an egg and cheese puff, but after enjoying the popovers at Acadia National Park’s Jordan Pond House, we bought the popover pan and switched to those. Delicious with butter and my own raspberry jam. Since I’ve never taken a photo of mine, here is a photo from their website.

If you’re not already in the spirit, I hope this post has helped to put you there. From my house to yours, I wish you the merriest of holidays and safe gathering with family and friends, and a Happy New Year.

Sasha wearing her Christmas scarf

Will you share some of your holiday traditions? Perhaps I’ll find a new one to adopt!

About susanvaughan

Susan Vaughan loves writing romantic suspense because it throws the hero and heroine together under extraordinary circumstances and pits them against a clever villain. Her books have won the Golden Leaf, More Than Magic, and Write Touch Readers’ Award and been a finalist for the Booksellers’ Best and Daphne du Maurier awards. A former teacher, she’s a West Virginia native, but she and her husband have lived in the Mid-Coast area of Maine for many years. Her latest release is GENUINE FAKE, a stand-alone book in the Devlin Security Force series. Find her at or on Facebook as Susan H. Vaughan or on Twitter @SHVaughan.
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8 Responses to Holiday Traditions

  1. John Clark says:

    We also have ornaments with a special history.

  2. maggierobinsonwriter says:

    How cozy everything looks! I gave most of my old ornaments to one of my daughters when she moved into her new house, so it’s been fun finding new ones these last 14 years. We usually do our tree at some point around Thanksgiving, when everyone is home to help. This year, the tree was almost single-handedly decorated by 5-year-old Josephine, who had to be lifted by her dad to get to the high branches. The kids, all adults now, still look forward to seeing all the teddy bears crammed into a sleigh as they have been for over 40 years.

  3. Brenda Buchanan says:

    Thanks for this morning boost, Susan! I especially like the homemade ornaments. Christmas trees (and in your case, that angel ornament wreath) spark so many memories. I’m sure your popovers are every bit as good as those from the JPH.
    Merry Christmas! (And happy belated birthday. Mine is also December 1, birthday sister . . .)

    • susanvaughan says:

      Thanks for the BD wishes. When I had blood tests this morning, the tech wished me the same as you. lol I hope I wished you a Happy Birthday earlier. I think I did. If not, consider it wished, please.

  4. Popover envy. No matter how careful I am, mine always go flat. Thanks for sharing your holiday.


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