Much of what makes the holiday season so special is the collective pause people take in December and January of every year to observe traditions that span multiple generations.
Some of them are as simple as hanging stockings the night before Christmas or baking the same six kinds of cookies every year. But as The Inter-Mountain recently learned, many readers have established customs that are far more unique than the average holiday fare. Want to incorporate a few of the most creative Christmas traditions into your Yuletide routine? Keep reading.
Elkins resident Jessie Roberts and her family slice, dice and fold up fillings into eggrolls each year.
"We are not Chinese, but it is a tradition we started 10 years ago," Roberts said. "Everyone pitches in someway - either cooking the filling, or rolling them, or helping fry them. Each year we get better at it! Last year I added homemade fortune cookies to the menu also. None of us make eggrolls any other time of year so it's a special tradition for us... and one worth the wait and effort."
Ruth Cobb, of Elkins, and her family come together to make one large Belgian waffle cookie. They flavor the cookie with cinnamon, honey and other sweet spices and share it with friends at holiday gatherings annually.
"The recipe came over to America with my uncle's family, which emigrated in the early 1900s," Cobb said. "It is well-liked and so good."
Clayton State University professor Randy Gooden and his wife Christmas carol at friends' houses each Christmas Eve. The former Elkins resident has carried that tradition with him to Georgia, where he lives now.
"My wife and I started in the first year of our marriage, and now it has grown to include quite a chorus with our three sons," Gooden said.
While many traditions were related to cooking and caroling, others were connected to one of the hallmarks of the holiday season -gift giving.
Melody Loudin of Elkins recalled a gift-giving custom that also doubled as a practical joke of sorts. Each year, one family member wrapped a blue plastic whale that used to contain shampoo for an unsuspecting family member.
"You had to display the hideous thing in your house until next Christmas," at which point it came time to hand off the whale to another family member for the year, Loudin said.
Dee Dee McCloud of Elkins fondly remembers giving her grandma a cloth calendar every year for Christmas.
"After she passed away," McCloud said, "Mom gave them to me and I'm sewing them together to make a blanket."
Charlotte Cave Richards of Elkins reminisced about Christmas Eves when she and her sister would each open two gifts - pajamas and a coloring book with Crayola crayons.
"Mom always knew that new pajamas and a couple hours of coloring made for sleepy girls, and Santa never came until we were asleep," Richards said. "We woke on Christmas morning to a tree surrounded with presents that were all perfectly wrapped and beautifully adorned with ribbons and bows. A memory I will cherish, forever."
Contact Katie Kuba by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.