Our writers and designers share their favorite holiday traditions.
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What is your favorite holiday tradition? My family puts up a Mr. & Mrs. Snowman made out of wrapped round bales of hay on our family farm.
How did your family come to have this tradition? Somebody got the idea and it took off from there. We have even added a snowman kid and a cow some years!
What’s the best part of it? Besides being a fun family time, the community loves it too. We shine a spotlight on it at night and families will stop over and have their kids hold the Snowman’s hand while the family takes a picture. So cute!
What is your favorite holiday tradition? Getting our Christmas tree at Finestkind Tree Farm in Dover-Foxcroft.
How did your family come to have this tradition? My dad ended up buying a ‘Charlie Brown Christmas tree’ from a grocery store parking lot one year. After that fiasco, one of his friends suggested Finestkind and we have been going there, without fail, for over 20 years. Driving all the way to Dover-Foxcroft to get our tree is worth it.
What’s the best part of it? Picking out a handmade ornament in their shop.
What is your favorite holiday tradition? The Christmas Eve service at the Church of Universal Fellowship in Orono.
How did your family come to have this tradition? My family has been part of this church for a long time, but their Christmas Eve service (there are two — one for kids and one for everyone) is generally jam-packed and open to all comers.
What’s the best part of it? The music is beautiful, and it is a true holiday joy to sing favorite carols in multi-part harmonies with new friends and old.
What is your favorite holiday tradition? Dia de las velitas (Little Candles’ Day).
How did your family come to have this tradition? December 7 is the unofficial start of the Christmas season in Colombia, where I’m from. On this day, family and friends get together and place candles and paper lanterns on balconies, sidewalks and streets; everywhere they can be seen, in honor of the Virgin Mary and her Immaculate Conception. We had a wonderful time last year introducing our Maine friends to this celebration.
What’s the best part of it? Getting to spend time with friends and family and celebrating the beginning of the Christmas season all together! This is a great tradition for kids to look forward to each year.
What is your favorite holiday tradition? My favorite holiday tradition is the evening or late night Christmas Eve service, with its special music and candles, then to come home and sit with the lighted tree and maybe read the Christmas story from the Bible or the annual Christmas story my Dad writes.
How did your family come to have this tradition? Our family always leaned toward remembering the religious origin of Christmas — the reason for the season, as some say — and I find that the Christmas Eve service makes me feel close to those who are now gone or who live too far away.
What’s the best part of it? The best part is the time for quiet reflection. The world stops and there is only peace.
What is your favorite holiday tradition? Going to Piper Mountain Christmas Tree Farm in Newburgh with my family to pick out a tree and wreath and roam around their gift store with a complimentary hot apple cider and donut.
How did your family come to have this tradition? My family discovered the tree farm when I was a little girl growing up in Winterport, and we just loved the festive feel of the place and the kind people who run the operation. We’ve returned ever since.
What’s the best part of it? Every year each of us picks out an ornament from the gift shop. It’s always fun to see what people choose.
What is your favorite holiday tradition? My husband and I are long-ago converts to the joys of the fake Christmas tree. Every year, we drag our huge, artificial Douglas fir out from the basement, and generally, we manage to construct it without any major arguments. Once it’s standing tall, the fun starts. We put on our favorite Christmas album (“A John Waters Christmas,” a collection of oddball r&b and pop songs curated by the film director) and get to hanging ornaments and arranging lights. We light the gargantuan Evergreen-scented Yankee Candle that only gets lit in December, to make it feel festive. We put “Roaring Fire For Your Home” on Netflix, as our apartment doesn’t have a fireplace. And after it’s all over, we make hot cocoa with Bailey’s Irish Cream, and watch the greatest Christmas movie of all time: “Die Hard.” It’s a Christmas movie, and you can’t convince me otherwise.
What is your favorite holiday tradition? Getting together on Christmas Eve has long been a tradition for my family, but a few years ago we added a bizarre game that we now all look forward to: Saran Wrap Ball of Fun. There are lots of tutorials online about how to make one and how to play — start with a small ball and start wrapping it with pieces of Saran Wrap of different sizes, wrapping in small treats and prizes along the way. For the game, the first person starts unwrapping as fast as they can while the person to their right rolls a giant pair of dice until they roll doubles and then it’s their turn to unwrap. Whatever prizes fall out while you unwrap are yours to keep.
How did your family come to have this tradition? My father started the Saran Wrap Ball of Fun after seeing the idea online, and each year it seems to grow and the prizes inside become more random and sought-after. Tiny flashlights (which made the ball glow oddly), fishing bobbers, candy, measuring spoons, a package of goggly eyes, a small sock monkey — and every other oddity found at the dollar store.
What’s the best part of it? Our family is big and all ages and our celebration always includes some in-laws and friends. The Ball of Fun is something everyone can play (and get a little competitive about) — and something we all look forward to every Christmas Eve.
Sarah Walker Caron
What is your favorite holiday tradition? Our food tree!
How did your family come to have this tradition? I borrowed this idea from a friend years ago. I started collecting food themed ornaments and display them on a special food tree in our dining room or kitchen. It’s been a few years since we last put it up — we didn’t have space for it for awhile. But I am so excited to have it again this year.
What’s the best part of it? I love our house to feel like Christmas has exploded all over. So this adds to the fun while honoring the career that’s given me so much.