I wrote this post last year, but I’ve decided that this needs to be an annual discussion.  There are a lot of new people around here with opinions that deserve to be voiced, and some of you who were around last year may have had changes of heart, seeing as how my own preferences have changed since last year, all noted below.

Christmas traditions pull opinions out of people with the fervency of a string between a doorknob and a loose tooth.  Even people who are typically easygoing and un-opinionated can shockingly explode when a despised Christmas song comes on the radio, or alternately burst into tears of unbridled joy when their favorite holiday movie scrolls by.

And dare you mention one of your own holiday preferences on Facebook, you will receive an avalanche of arguments for both the hatred and the love of your personally opinionated item.

So, in that vein, I’ve decided to open myself up for judgment to the Holiday Masses and share my own opinions.  And I hope that you will add your own lists in the comments – who knows…if there’s enough data, perhaps even a graph or two will be birthed.

Rachel’s Top 10 Christmas Tradition Dislikes:

10. “Santa Baby” – the engulfing skeeziness of this song makes me feel the need to immediately wash my ears upon hearing.  Nobody wants to think about Santa like that.

(Also – mixing children AND “Santa Baby” should be illegal.)

9. Elf on a Shelf – This is on my bottom 10 list because I’m the uncool Mom who hasn’t done it.  So the overwhelming number of your witty Facebook pictures of what your Elf was up to last night does nothing but pile guilt and intense feelings of inadequacies upon my head.

Also?  He’s creepy.

8. “All I want for Christmas Is You” – I’m not ashamed that I like a bit of 90’s Mariah ballad action.  But this song is the epitome of mixing her high-pitched squeal with whine.  Yoooooo-oooo-ou BAYBAY.

7. Little Girl Santa Dresses – Obviously, matching Christmas Smock should be on this list, but that was too expected, so I added fuzzy Santa dresses instead.  These remind me of the song “Santa Baby”.  See item #10 for further explanation of my hatred.

6. Any and all Charlie Brown Christmas movies – I remember these fondly from my childhood, but upon DVR’ing a couple for Ali last Christmas, I was immediately overcome with sadness and angst over Charlie Brown repeatedly being called dumb, fat, stupid, and a loser.  I know, Linus and the end and the Christmas story and all…but I couldn’t fight through the depression to make it there.

5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – This movie would have easily been #1 on the list a few years ago – I despise trainwreck movies with all my being (“Meet The Parents” = my concept of hell).  However, my dear friend Nikki has helped me see SOME intrinsic value in this movie by pointing out it’s more subtle nuances, like Cousin Eddie’s dark black dickie under his thin white sweater.

4. Visiting Santa at the Mall – My child has never had any inclination to talk to any stranger, let alone sit in one’s lap and tell him her deepest desires.  Whose kid does this??  And how much Jack Daniels do you have to sneak into their sippy cup to make them want to do this??  And what type of illegal holiday cheer are you on to make you willing to wait in that interminably long and whining, screaming, pooping-in-pants line???

(Okay – so we obviously did this one this year.  I do feel a bit traitorous to my own opinions, but it is what it is.  Let’s hope Elf on a Shelf doesn’t come to make me stick my foot in my mouth next year.)

3. “Baby It’s Cold Outside” – Again – the skeeze factor gets me on this song.  I don’t want to stay – quit trying to talk me into it!  Didn’t you know my sister will be suspicious??

2. “Christmas Shoes” – Nothing tests my radio reflexes like the first four bars of this song.  Lock me in a room and make me listen to “Butterfly Kisses” all day long – just don’t make me listen, ever, ever again, to It’s Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size…

1. A Christmas Story – hands down the most depressing movie I’ve ever seen.  And was forced as a child to watch over.  and over.  and over.  Despite the season.  Despite my hatred.  I might be traumatized…and a little bitter.

Rachel’s Top 10 Christmas Likes:

10. Reindeer Antlers and Noses on Cars – I don’t own a pair of these, but if I did, My Pilot would wear them proudly.

Chris bought a set of these for me last year after I wrote this post – and someone stole one of my antlers during my maiden voyage.  So now, due to the bitterness in my heart toward The Thief of my Christmas Joy, I kinda despise them.

9. Multicolored Lights – I get all you white-lighted Christmas tree people – it looks elegant and aesthetically excellent.  But nothing is cheerier than 11pm, kids quietly in bed, mocha in hand, snuggled with the hubby, lights out, gazing at the colors of the Christmas tree with squinty eyes in order to make them shoot all over the living room.

Also, they look pretty good on dollhouses.


As a note, I’ve just discovered what makes my friend Ashley’s tree so brilliant: she puts white AND colored lights on her tree.  White to make it glow, and colored to make it cheery.  I will be trying this next year.

8. Miracle on 34th Street (both versions) – This movie just makes me happy.

7. Christmas Jammies – Which reminds me – I need to go to the store NOW and find some for my kids!!!  SAVE THE LAST TWO PAIRS FOR MEEEEE!!!

6. Wrapping Presents – I may have mentioned this particular obsession last week

The thought of wrapping presents this year is severely stressing me out.  So I’m striking it from my list, and replacing it with:

6. NoëlleThis is the only Christmas movie I own (Chris may own Christmas Vacation but I certainly do not.)  It also might be the only movie that makes me cry every single time I watch it.

(Well, that and Hope Floats.)

5. “Oh Holy Night”, “What Child is This”, and “O Come O Come Emmanuel” – Put these three songs together in a Medley, and I’d probably float away with bliss.

As a very important note, the best Christmas Song ever sung is Andrea Bocelli and Mary J Blige’s What Child is This.  Seriously.  The BEST. 

4. “Mary Did You Know” – I’ll never get over this being my all-time favorite Christmas song.  Or the fact that Mark Lowry wrote it.

3. Christmas-Flavored Coffee Creamers – The only difficult part is deciding every morning whether I want Pumpkin Spice, Warm Cinnamon Sugar Cookie, Gingerbread Latte, or Brown Sugar Maple Latte.  Yes, we have all of them at once.  And no, I don’t care if every one of them is filled with artificial dipotassium phosphate.  I ADORE THEM.

2. A Real Tree – This subject has been the source of many “conversations” throughout mine and Chris’ married life.  He grew up fake, I grew up genuine.  We all know what’s best.

1. Hearing The Christmas Story Read Aloud by my Husband – there’s something warm and supernatural that happens in my soul when I hear the first sentence… “And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus…”

What are your most passionate Christmas tradition likes and dislikes? 

41 thoughts on “Traditionally Hating and Loving Traditions: 2012.

  1. You just make me laugh…agree or disagree isn’t an issue for me. I just enjoy reading and having a good chuckle!

  2. I have had similar feelings about Mariah Carey and “All I Want for Christmas is You” *until* Jimmy Fallon did a duet with her and his crazy musical instruments, and it was awesome. Still can’t stand the original …

  3. I have to take serious issue with your inclusion of A Christmas Story on the worst list. I can totally understand being traumatized by something you had to watch over and over as a kid, but it’s a wonderful movie, and not the least bit depressing. It’s about family and love and Christmas wishes coming true and it’s hilarious to boot. It’s a solid part of my & my husband’s Christmas traditions.

    I also love Charlie Brown Christmas with all my heart.

    Hates: Baby It’s Cold Outside, Christmas Shoes, obnoxious people who think saying “Happy Holidays” is the same as a slap in the face
    Loves: traditional hymns (esp sung in four-part harmony at Mennonite churches), twinkly lights on houses, Charlie Brown, A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, my husband reading Twas the Night Before Christmas to his little brother.
    Misses: My grandpa reading the Christmas story from Luke as we all sat around the tree. (He died this year. One of my favorite childhood memories.)

    1. I suppose I *should* give A Christmas Story another shot one year. After all, I don’t think I’ve watched it as an adult.

      Not this year, though. I’m just not ready.

  4. Baking cutout cookies is the worst! I never have any success with these, it stresses me out and frustrates me and I end up yelling at my girls. So after a disastrous attempt at making my dough from scratch this year and then one batch of store bought tube “blobs” we gave up. We rolled the dough in balls and dipped them in sprinkles and baked. We had fun, I didn’t yell and we have yummy cookies. And we had time left over to play some board/card games! My favorite tradition is reading Twas the Night Before Christmas at bedtime on Christmas Eve

  5. I also hate the Elf on a Shelf and thankfully have not been asked by my five-year old why we don’t have one. If he asks, I probably give in, but my excuse is going to be that our dog would eat it.

    We did our Santa visit last night. We had always gone together with my brother and his kids, but they moved to California so we were on our own this year. On the way over Brandon said he was scared to talk to Santa, so he wrote out his list in the car and had Santa read it (with some help interpreting it from Daddy). It turned out to be fun and helpful when Santa reminded him that he couldn’t bring everything on his list since he added a ping-pong table at the last minute and Santa has already finished up (plus we have no room for something so big).

    Definitely love wrapping presents. Most of ours is done. Also real tree with white lights in our family room, multi-colored lights on the small one in his room.

    Good luck on the Christmas jammie search. Spent yesterday scouring the Galleria with no luck for my son. Seems the Christmas pj’s came out in September and were gone early. So few to choose from for boys too, especially when they get past a size 4T. Most of what I saw in his size had skull and crossbones on it, not real Christmassy. :(

    1. Did you get any Christmas Pjs? I ended up getting mine at Carter’s Outlet – which is where I always get them, so who knows what took so long.
      Merry Christmas!!

  6. Okay, I’m gonna have to disagree with you on “A Christmas Story”. That is my absolute FAVORITE Christmas movie. :-) Of course, I come from a family with a sick, weird sense of humor.

  7. I also love ‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel’ along with ‘Carol of the Bells’ (which is kind of being ruined by being in like every commercial EVER) but can’t listen to ‘Silver Bells’. Not because I don’t like it, but because when I was 10, a family friend lost their 2 year old while on Christmas vacation. When we went to the funeral, that song was playing while we parked and got out of the car. :(

    I love colored Christmas lights, but only one at a time. For example I have purple ones strung up on our chandelier in the dining area, and blue icicle ones in our bedroom, and white ones that are intended for the tree (if we ever get around to getting one this year…)

  8. I am laughing so hard over here! I have never thought of “Santa Baby” as creepy until reading your post from last year, and Christmas Vacation is one of my favorite movies ever!

    I loathe “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.” I wrote a post last week about how that sound disturbs me on a deep level. Someone please tell me how Grandma being murdered by Santa is fun and joyful. AND there’s a cartoon movie to go with the song! http://tanyasylvan.com/2012/12/12/christmas-carol-from-hell/ That and “Christmas Shoes” are the two songs that turn me into the Grinch.

  9. Likes: Heirlooms by Amy Grant, Blue Christmas by Elvis, Merry Christmas Darling by THE Karen Carpenter (It’s not Christmas till I hear these songs); nostalgic ornaments on my tree; baking day with mom (new tradition: 4 years and counting); the real Christmas story, straight from scripture; apple cider; Caroling, wherever you may be; The Grinch (the animated one, of course – none of that ridiculous Jim Carrey junk); White Christmas (Bing!!!); my aunt’s peanut butter balls!

    Dislikes: Santa Baby; Baby It’s Cold Outside (Dude, she said she can’t stay!); warm weather when it’s supposed to be cold (why do I live in Alabama?); wreaths on cars; giant inflatable snowglobes where the ‘snow’ is permanently stuck to the side of the globe; shopping traffic; pictures with Santa; dressing up your dog;

  10. This year I sang “Mary did you know” with a friend for our church. And last week I sang it at Hospice for my husband’s Great Grandmother while we were stressing out waiting for her husband’s death. Her name is Mary:) I like many of the Christmas Hymns while I despise most other Christmas songs. I think this one may be ok with me from now on.

  11. Oh dear. I like all of your likes, and quite a few of your dislikes too. lol But I completely agree with you on the hating A Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation. Blech. My favorite Christmas movies are the old ones–White Christmas and Christmas in Connecticut.

    We got married 5 days before Christmas, and our recessional was “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” Don’t hate me. lol

    1. Welllll, I suppose you SHOULD get a pass for that one. It’s the best use of that song I’ve ever heard of.

      Merry Christmas AND Happy Anniversary!!

  12. I agree with most of your likes/dislikes; my kids are a bit too old for Elf on the Shelf and I too think he is creepy too; I haven’t ever seen A Christmas Story or Christmas Vaction; I can’t stand It’s a Wonderful Life but love White Christmas. And trees have to be real or its just not Christmas lol!
    My kids have seen Santa once; I never did as a kid and I’m with you and just don’t really see the point.

  13. My single favorite Christmas song of all time is the David Bowie/Bing Crosby ‘Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth” duet. Magical.

    “It’s Cold Outside” can vary for me a lot depending on the performers. Some manage to make it sound like fun, flirty, “I really don’t want to go but I really should…” cuddling in front of a fire. And some make it sound like incipient date rape. The version I heard in the store the other day that put a little bit too much emphasis on “have another drink” skeeved me out…

  14. You got me thinking….

    I have to disagree with you on A Christmas Story (a bunny suit? Fa ra ra ra ra in the Chinese restaurant? Come on, that’s funny!) and Christmas Vacation (kitty food in the jello, aunt Bethany wrapping the cat, black Dickie under white sweater), also good stuff.

    My dislikes: Elf on a Shelf (completely creepy, so glad my kids are too old for this), neighbors on my street who don’t put up Christmas lights. We have about five houses right in the middle of our 19 home street that are dark every evening. Black Friday shopping starting on Thanksgiving day.

    My likes: Chris Tomlin’s Glory in the Highest CD is awesome, Christmas lights (any color), making peppernuts (cookies), soup for Christmas eve dinner (oyster stew for my hubby and something else for the rest of us, usually chicken corn soup), homemade cinnamon rolls for Christmas breakfast, peppermint smelling soaps, my hubby reading the story from Luke before we open presents Christmas morning.

  15. Just found your blog today and I am so glad I did. LOVED your jeans posts! And you made me laugh when I needed it. So thanks. Personally, I despise blue lights. I think they are just plain eery. I held out as long as I could on the Elf thing, fully intending never to bring one into our home. Too much work, like my Elf has got to be more sneeky and creative than your Elf. But then a package arrived the first of Dec. from a well-meaning uncle with what inside but a little Elf friend of our very own. So I caved. It has been fun to see the kids all excited to find out where he will appear today, but I refuse to make a mess in my kitchen or throw toilet paper all over my house. No thanks!

    I absolutely adore all the cheesy, made-for-tv Christmas movies. I make my husband watch them with me every night. He loves it, I promise :)

  16. Yes, THANK YOU! Elf on the Shelf is totally creepy. AND, I think he steals a bit of the focus off of Christ, and onto presents. I’m trying to keep the focus on Jesus, which is hard enough as it is, so I don’t want to have to move an Elf around every night! The stress! One tradition I heard, was to take the manger (with Jesus) and hide it around the house every day. The child who finds it, gets to move it a little closer to the nativity set every day. OR, if you don’t want to hide it, just have each child pick it up and move it closer to the nativity every day until Christmas. =) And Santa Baby is just wrong.

  17. passing through, while I do some work, so excuse the rambling nature of this comment, but holy cow, we have matching lists!

    I’m with you on all of these, esp the dislikes list. You nailed my feelings on Charlie Brown Christmas — I remember it so fondly from my childhood, but the first year I showed it to my then-toddler daughter I wanted to curl into the fetal position from the saddness and overall blech attitude. (but that speech by Linus makes me cry in a good way)

  18. We’re a mixed marriage — he likes colored lights; I like white. I win because I’m in charge of all things decor-related.

    Totally agree with you about Santa Baby and Baby It’s Cold Outside. And both are SO overplayed on the radio! I do love All I Want For Christmas Is You, though. Like, seriously love it. I also love Justin Bieber’s “Mistletoe” [hides face in shame].

    We really enjoy the Elf on the Shelf. I would never think of it as creepy and I’m surprised that so many people do. I think of as just another doll. (Though I’ll admit that I’m not the one who has to find a place to hide it every night — that’s my husband’s job.)

    My favorite movie to watch at Christmas time is The Family Stone, although it inevitably makes me want to have a ton more kids, which is dangerous….

  19. The joys of Christmas Hymns. I absolutely love singing in choirs at this time of year. I have no idea how I managed to never pay attention to “Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel” before singing it this year but it is my new favorite! I could sing these kind of Christmas songs all day.
    My husband’s favorite Christmas movie is A Christmas Story and I curse the network that plays it non-stop on Christmas Day every year. 24 hours of the Ralphie. He insists that we not change the channel. Seriously. The first time I watch it each year I give a half-chuckle at the jokes, but after the 4th time hearing “you’ll shoot your eye out” I am ready to leave the house. At least he and I agree that the Christmas Shoes song is not allowed on our radios.

  20. Ha! That Santa Baby song sounds creepy to me too. But I have to say, I kind of love Christmas Vacation. ; ) I won’t let my kids watch it, but I think it’s pretty funny. My favorite Christmas tradition might be going to the Nutcracker. I also really love Christmas breakfast.

  21. I dislike the implication that I HAVE to send people cards and letters that include all of the fantastic things our family did this year.. a picture is worth a thousand words. I’m a big fan of photo cards… in June.

    I too am not a fan of Santa pictures or The Christmas Story. My husband likes it, I prefer.. over and over.. Elf.

    I love the baking, the eating, the family get together shuffle or smashing. And, since one side of our family has been out of whack since a death on Christmas Eve four years ago.. The family get together part really holds most of the significance of the season for me.

    I am a fan of home-made or “gift certificate” presents. I think I’m going to get my daughter registration for a babysitting class for Christmas this year. It’s practical, and something I don’t just have money sitting around for. Maybe it’s my kids’ ages, cause for my youngest, I still wanna roam the toy aisle.

    My favorite tradition is my dad reading the Christmas story from Luke, and my husband acting it out with the nativity scene! Priceless!!

  22. I can agree on most counts…but come on Elf on the Shelf is fun. ;) We got a “different’ one, b/c my hubs thought the original was creepy too. {Christopher Popinkins} anyway, what I love is that I tote the line “if you don’t keep your toys picked up Izzy (our elf) will think you are unappreciative and take all the toys to the north pole.” My house has never looked better. ;)

    1. I can definitely see the Elf’s benefits, but I can’t get past his drawbacks. Then again, I’ve never tried the Elf, so I have no authority to knock it.

  23. We went with the dual lights this year, too…every Christmas we have ended up in a monumental argument over whether the tree should have white or colored lights, and somehow we realized this year that we could do BOTH! Brilliant, right??? I’m not quite sure why it took 7 years to figure that one out, but I like it. :) And we were both in a good mood by the time the tree was all lit.

  24. We watched The Christmas Story after this post last year and I have to say I was NOT impressed! We are actually watching National Lampoon’s Christmas vacation (for the 1st time) as I type and obviously as I am reading blogs I’m a little bored. Train wreck movies aren’t my favorite either. Too ridiculous to be funny.

    I don’t really know anything about the self on the Shelf thing except that moms complain about it on FB. That’s enough to make me not want to do it!

    Oh and your #1 like is mine too. It’s magical.

  25. Okay, this may not make it through moderation, but if I ever become a gazillionaire, I plan on buying a hundred of those creepy elves and posting my results on FB – things such as Elf vs. the Blender, or Elf vs. fireworks, or Elf vs. an ’07 Tundra.

    In an unrelated note, if said windfall occurs, I’ll also travel with an array of fine tipped sharpies so I can draw faces on those Willow Tree Figurines.

    I too, thumbs down A Christmas Story, white lights on the tree, Christmas Shoes, Santa at the mall, and Christmas Vacation. At our house, the biggies are: Movie nights (White Christmas, Wonderful Life, Original 34th St., Elf), going to look at lights (almost every night), and ANY Christmas song sung by an artist prior to 1988 (and also Dave Barnes).

  26. Dislikes: Many secular “Christmas” songs (so inane! so missing the point!) Songs about bells seem to be the exception though.
    Elf on the Shelf – I agree it’s creepy.
    Still haven’t seen many of the Christmas movies you reference
    Self-imposed pressure to find meaningful gifts (gift giving is definitely not my love language & therefore challenging!)
    Commercialism (our closest mall’s Christmas slogan this year is “A time to shop”, which annoys me enough that I haven’t been back)
    Inability of family to decide on details of get togethers until last minute unless I organize it (also, people who don’t want to commit to whether they can come to Christmas dinner in case they get a better offer. Some things like participating in a gift exchange or ordering turkey needs advance notice! Gah!)

    Things I love about Christmas:
    Singing the Messiah
    Decorating the tree (multi-coloured lights that blink are my preference so we can watch the beautiful patterns & shadows on the wall)
    Counting down to Christmas helps: Jesse tree, Advent wreath, advent calendar (but not chocolate!)
    Putting out shoes for St Nicholas
    Christmas Eve service
    Baking cookies, Christmas pudding and Christmas cake
    Gingerbread party
    Homemade crackers
    Sending Christmas cards (love getting them too, but don’t judge those who don’t.)
    Raclette cheese (which I suppose we *could* do any time but… don’t)
    The Christmas Story!

  27. Love a Christmas Story, grew up watching it, however my husband didn’t and couldn’t make it through the whole movie. My FAVORITE Christmas movie though, is a Muppet Christmas Carol. Same old story, but they make it cute and funny. Just got Elf on a Shelf this year for my 4 year old, he enjoys it, I just need to remember to move him every night! He is a little creepy, have you seen the Memes? so funny. Favorite Christmas song, Carol of the Bells, Destiny’s Child version is beautiful and I don’t even like Beyonce, at all. I do agree with you on Christmas Shoes, HORRIBLE! Can’t handle that song. I hope Santa brings your kids and Elf this year ;-)

  28. you are so organized. i haven’t given a lot of thought to what i like and don’t like. i like hunting for our own tree – no, that’s not just from Christmas Vacation ;). i also dislike Christmas Shoes. and i have to be honest here: i don’t even know what Elf on a Shelf is. it just looks dumb to me. and yes, creepy. we don’t do santa around here. my folks never did as a kid and i don’t feel slighted. terry’s parents did do santa, but he prefers to get all the credit for the gifts!

  29. So, Christmas is WAY over, but I’m catching up on your posts and I wanted to contribute…. I really, really, REALLY can’t stand the little drummer boy. And I LOVE all of the cheesy tv christmas movies.

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