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Christmas Traditions

Holiday traditions are important to every family and group of friends. Whether you’re traditions include a trip or food or gifts it’s the tradition of being together that matters most.

Corrie’s Christmas Traditions 

Growing up, Christmas was always magical to me. We didn’t have an elf on the shelf, we didn’t always bake cookies and we never had extravagant presents. But, my parents always made sure that Christmas was family-oriented and focused on the birth of Christ. While I have many wonderful Christmas memories and traditions, there are two particular traditions that I hold most dear…picking out our Christmas tree and reading the Christmas story.

Around the 10th of December every year, my dad, my siblings, and I would hop in the truck and set out to find that perfect tree. We would walk around in the woods to find the perfect tree. Once we found it, my dad would grab his ax and get to chopping. Many times he would send us kids back to the truck to stay warm. After a short period, he would suddenly appear at the edge of the woods, dragging the tree behind him. I remember as a little girl thinking that my daddy was the strongest daddy because he would drag WHOLE trees out of the woods. Driving home, my dad would always sing “Oh Christmas Tree” and we would join in. Once we got home, we would trim the tree and find the best spot in the house. Decorating the tree was a lot of fun, but my favorite was the time spent in the truck hunting down our perfect tree. 

On Christmas morning, we had strict instructions to wait for our parents on the stairs. We were not allowed to go downstairs without first listening to my dad read the Christmas story. His favorite passage to read to us was Matthew 1 & 2. These verses talk about the shepherds and it gives a longer account of Christ’s birth. Whereas, Luke is a shorter story and gives an account of the wise men. When I was young, this tradition always seemed long and boring. I would always wish the time away. As an adult, it is one of my most cherished memories of Christmas. Not only were we able to spend a short time with our family before the chaos of presents, but we would sit quietly, reflecting on the reason that we have a Christmas season in the first place.

As an adult with my own children, I’ve begun new traditions and continued some from my childhood. The greatest thing I’ve learned is that it doesn’t matter what tradition you start or continue, but it’s the presence of traditions that can make Christmas magical. 

Corrie Kent Green’s Christmas

Bill’s Christmas Traditions

My wife and I have always shared the same desire to establish meaningful and long-lived Christmas traditions. We worked to keep the focus on the birth of Jesus even when our children were very young. On Christmas morning our children would place baby Jesus in the manger and in the afternoon we celebrated with a special birthday cake for Jesus. 

Our children knew to remain in bed until we let them know that Santa had made his delivery. The children would then line-up on the stairs in birth order and enter the living room in the same fashion. Santa’s gifts were enjoyed for the morning. We would later open family gifts, but first, we would enjoy our traditional Christmas Morning Breakfast featuring, home-made mini-quiche, German Christmas stollen, baked grits casserole, and cranberry bread. 

Family gifts were exchanged with the Disney Parade playing in the background. The gifts were opened one at a time in a round-robin fashion to amplify the joy of giving and receiving. One of the best parts of Christmas was enjoying my wife’s homemade (and should be dubbed world-famous) Christmas Cookies. 

Christmas Eve dinner is a long-standing tradition in our family. The meal consists of my homemade pizzas and drinks include “Santa Cokes” in small glass bottles. Preparing and enjoying the meal together provides for a long festive night of family fun and togetherness. 

Our traditions are an integral part of our family bond. The value of strong traditions became more evident as our children became adults. (Every stage of a child’s life brings great joy, but having adult children who become your best friends and competent advisors, is quite simply the best.) Several years ago it became apparent that we would need to celebrate Christmas on a different day if we wanted to have everyone together. The siblings now choose the day our family is to observe Christmas. Because of our deep commitment to each other and our long-standing Christmas traditions, McCown Christmas always feels like Christmas to us. And yes, we still prepare Christmas Eve pizzas served with 6-ounce coke in glass bottles. The siblings still enter the living room in birth order and open gifts one at a time while a pre-recorded Disney Parade plays in the background. 

Clayton’s Christmas Traditions 

Of all of the small Christmas traditions, my close and distant family held close to their hearts the one that stood out to me the most and something that I’ve continued to do as an adult is what we have coined the “Christmas PJ’s Tradition”. This tradition was one that started when my sister Jessica was first born and 32 years later it’s something we have begun to do with our own families as well. 

The “Christmas PJ’s Tradition” started many years ago on Christmas eve. All of the children gathered around the Christmas tree and we are allowed to open one gift – our Christmas pajamas! We completed our nightly routine, changed into our new Christmas pajamas, and then nestled into the couch with a mug of my stepdad’s famous crockpot hot chocolate. We would spend the evening enjoying whichever Christmas movie we could all agree on. Somewhere along the way, we began to replace the Christmas movie we once watched with something all of my fellow Mississippi gulf coasters know as “A Cajun Night Before Christmas” on WLOX. If you are unfamiliar with “A Cajun Night Before Christmas” please see the link below. You won’t regret it! Cajun Night Before Christmas 

Crock Pot Hot Chocolate Recipe 


  • 2 cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 7 cups of milk
  • 1 cup Heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Add-ons of choice


  • Combine all the ingredients into the crockpot
  • Cover and cook on low for 2 hours
  • Check and stir occasionally

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