Compiled by Michelle Talsma Everson


While I can remember some of the wonderful presents I received over the holidays as a child (I looked really cool in that “life size” bright pink Barbie car!), now that I’m an adult—and a mom—what really stands out are the holiday traditions. Big family breakfasts, opening new pajamas on Christmas Eve, baking cookies, these are all of the memories I pass along to my son year after year.

Recently, we asked our readers on social media what some of your holiday traditions were and received many wonderful responses. Read on to see how other local families celebrate the holiday season and maybe find some inspiration to start some new traditions of your own.


“The day after Thanksgiving we deck our halls—outside lights, indoor décor, light village, etc.—and then end the day with a family viewing of Christmas Vacation while indulging in eggnog. It kicks the season off right!”

– Heather


“When my sister and I were kids, my mom started this tradition with us. Every year on Christmas Eve we would get new pajamas and slippers or fun socks. She saved the gift bags and used the same gift bag for each of us every year so we knew which pair was ours. It was always a lot of fun to see what she picked out for us. My sister and I would pick out a pair for mom to wear so she could have new pajamas on Christmas morning too. After we opened our pajamas, we tried them on and took pictures in front of our Christmas tree. We have pictures of the three of us in front of the tree every year in our new pajamas. Since we have now grown up, moved out and have families of our own, my sister and I both continue this tradition with our own families.”

– Felicia


“Our tradition is a Christmas movie themed dinner. So far, we keep picking The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. We have five trees, one is a Who-Tree, and we serve Who Roast Beast and Who Pudding at dinner, with other Grinch and Who-ville goodies. I think we stick with the Grinch because we truly believe Christmas doesn’t come from a store, Christmas really is so much more.”

– Mandy


“Our [tradition] is actually for New Year’s. We go up to Flagstaff each New Year’s Eve for a snow day and to see the annual Pine Cone Drop. My kids love it and are anxious each year to go.”

– Jacque


“Our special holiday tradition is that each year we buy a tag to cut down our very own fresh Christmas tree from beautiful northern Arizona!…A tag is $15 and includes one tree and as many pine cones and tree trimmings as we want. The kids love collecting pine cones to bring back to their teachers for crafts and I harvest a variety of fresh pines and use them to make fresh arrangements and give as Christmas gifts!”

– Kimberly


“Our family tradition is to go to the luminaries in Moon Valley every year on Christmas Eve. I started going when I was in high school. I went with my mom, with my friend, who later became my husband, and we went before kids. Our daughter is 17 and our son is 14 now and we have been every year. Some years were a struggle to keep them awake, but it has always been a special time for us!”

– Deseire


“Every year about 25 of us get together at my grandfather’s house to make tamales! We have a lot of fun doing it. Typically we make about 30 dozen to all split and share throughout the year. Tamales always remind me of the holidays.”

– Liz


“We play Christmas Eve bingo and the prizes are an assortment of the silliest joke presents we can get our hands on: crazy glasses, glow-in-the-dark pigs, wacky hats, unicorn masks—the goofier, the better!”

– Shannon


“Most days it’s cold cereal for breakfast in our house, but I cook a big breakfast on Christmas morning. I try something new every year –aebelskivers [puffed pancakes], beignets, gingerbread scones, etc.—but there is always lots of bacon.”

– Valliere


“I wrap all of their Christmas themed story books and put them all in a big red velvet ‘Santa’s Bag.’ Then my kids take turns choosing one to open and read each night. They love it and it makes sure all of our Christmas stories get read at least once.”

– Jessica


“There is always one gift that is part of a scavenger hunt in the house. We wrapped the box to put under the tree, when she opened that, there was a clue about where to find the power cable when she found the cable, there was a clue to find the battery. The battery had a clue to find the ear buds and so on. We have a video where my teenaged daughter hated the game, but now that she has her own kids, she is adopting some of the same fun hunts for her kids.”

– Gail


“Every Christmas season, we pack up the boys in the car in their pajamas, grab some hot chocolate (or hot beverage of choice for the adults), some cookies and drive around looking at all the coolest holiday light displays in town. We have done this every year since our oldest was born and this is a tradition that goes back to when I was a child. We pick our favorites, know all the best neighborhoods in our area to go drive through, sing Christmas carols—it is something we as a family look forward to each and every year.”

– Gretchen


“We exchange Christmas ornaments on Christmas Eve. We have fun giving them to one another and hanging them on the tree. Our tree gets more nerdy every year.”

– Desiree


“On Christmas Eve we would go to my grandma’s home in Sun City West. My sister and I would help grandma and her neighbors put out the luminaries. We would put on our roller skates and were given long stick lighters and would go around the block. The neighbors loved us. Then we would have a big Christmas dinner and go to ‘midnight mass’ at 7 p.m.”

– Katie


“We’re blessed to have all four grandparents in the area. On Christmas morning they all come to our house before the kids are allowed to come downstairs to see what Santa brought. The amount of cameras/iPhones/iPads capturing two Christmas-PJ-clad kiddos coming down the stairs is downright comical!”

– Michelle


“We opened all our presents on Christmas Eve. Santa brought us our stockings, which had small gifts plus candy. Our stockings were always hung on the doorknobs overnight by Santa.”

– Kerri







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