Northern California Christmas Traditions from Lisa Fulmer

The very ‘crafty’ Lisa Fulmer of Northern California shared some of her family traditions with us:

One of the traditions my family has – that I never realized was different from anyone else until I got married and spent xmas with my in-laws – is to open gifts one at a time, rotating in turn, he opens one, then she opens one, then I open one, etc., enjoying the process slowly. We always buy each other lots of little gifts, wrapped separately, to draw the process out for as long as possible. We always have a two-tier tray of cookies, breads and See’s candy in the living room, nibbling before breakfast while we open. For years when I was a kid, one of the neighbor dads dressed up as Santa every xmas eve, and all the neighbor parents would put secretly put a gift for each of their kids out on the porch. Then Santa would come to the door, put the gifts in his bag and ring the bell, and pull out a gift to give each kid, take pictures, do some ho-ho-ho and then on to the next house.

My in-laws had a different tradition – at Thanksgiving, a hat would be passed around and each adult would write down their name and a list of thing(s) they want (max value of $100) on a slip of paper and put it in the hat (the kids didn’t do the single gift exchange, they got a gift from everyone). Then the hat got shaken and pass around again for each adult to pick a slip in secret, that was the only adult we had to buy for. Then on xmas we’d transfer everything from under the tree to the respective recipients, so each person had their own gift(s). Then we would go in order of age – the oldest opens their gift, then the next oldest opens theirs, and so on down to the youngest. The next year, we’d go in the opposite direction of youngest to oldest.

Lisa Fulmer, Northern California

Like Lisa describes, the idea of drawing names for one adult, seems to be a trend amongst those of us who have seen quite a few Christmas mornings already. Not only does this make for a more affordable Christmas more often than not, it also allows the person buying the gift to really think about that one special gift that is just right for their recipient (or perhaps a bigger item found on their wish list). Thanks for sharing Lisa.

Editor’s Note: Christmas is about Sharing. To this end, we’ve asked for readers to contribute their own Christmas traditions and family stories. By sharing traditions, everyone gets a better understanding about how Christmas is celebrated around the world.

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