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Christmas, for many, is about traditions. Traditions that are passed down from parent to child for generations. They can be activities that are ceremoniously carried out each year, or decorations that are strategically placed out of curious hands.

Like Rodney – he was my dad’s and when he died, the funny little reindeer was passed down to me. It was a special joke between he and I that it was mine and he stole it from me. When he died, I got him back. Rodney has a special place high atop the TV armoire, and my kids know he is special because he belonged to Grandpa.

Rodney Reindeer

My grandmother’s Creche, complete with hand carved pieces. The lever you see is a music box and plays “Away in a Manger” as the angels turn.

Oma's Manger

While Oma’s creche stays out of reach, this little creche set is all theirs. It was mine when I was their age.

Kids Creche

We traditionally just have one big tree. I set it up the weekend after Thanksgiving and we all decorate it. I see a lot of people with several trees in their homes but for us, the tree is symbolic of our family and the years we’ve spent together. Each year as a child (and even as an adult) I was gifted with at least one new ornament. When I moved into my own home those ornaments came with me. Now each year my own children receive a few ornaments as gifts (I can never seem to choose just one!). They get a new ornament on the day we decorate our tree, and usually one more in their Christmas stocking. The ornaments are always symbolic of the past year, like our trips to Disney World and Hawaii, or their favorite character at the time.

Christmas Ornament Traditions

We have many special ornaments. These crocheted ice skates are one of them. My grandmother made them many, many years ago. Thankfully we have a few pairs, because they are a favorite for everyone to put on the tree each year.


My favorite tradition of all is Christmas at Disneyland. The lights, the tree, the treats, the parade…everything just puts me in the holiday mood. They have the best Santa, and we have pictures with the same one from the time Cooper was born.

Disneyland santa

Christmas is all about tradition, but more than that, Christmas is about family. It all began with one tiny family in a stable. It wasn’t a traditional family in the sense at the time. A  young girl became pregnant and then married a man who wasn’t the father, who loved her and her child unconditionally. It speaks volumes to what we see as a traditional family today, and to what I’ve always known in my heart. Family isn’t about blood; it’s about people loving each other and being there for each other, and accepting each other as they are. Our family is no where near what you might call “traditional” in the 1950s Norman Rockwell sense, but it’s ours. Our little family was joined together by adoption. Our family was joined together by the love of great friends. We sit around a table and celebrate that, because just like the traditional 2.5 kids and white picket fence family we share a bond that goes far beyond blood.

Two men holding two children on the beach

Family Disneyland Xmas Castle

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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  1. jodie richeal says:

    That was lovely, sweetheart. I want to live in a world full of people like you.