New Series: Blogger Holiday Traditions {Ornament Swap}

Today marks the beginning of a new series I will be featuring over the next few weeks. I love the holidays - the crisp air, bundling up in front of the fire, cooking with family, and spending quality time with the ones I love. I also have some fun holiday traditions that I look forward to every year, something that makes me happy and gets my butterflies going in excitement as soon as Elf comes on TV for the first time of the season. I reached out to you via facebook and twitter to see if you have any traditions to share, and heard back from several of you already, so stay tuned for some fun posts over the next few weeks.

I wanted to kick off the series with a favorite tradition that we do every Thanksgiving: an ornament swap that was started with Pat’s family by his aunt, and we now do with my side of the family too.

{Elle G. Photography for Valley & Co. Find the whole DIY here to make your own!}

Everyone attending Thanksgiving dinner brings a wrapped ornament (any ornament will do, but the funny/unique ones are usually the most sought after!) and after dinner and dessert have been served, we sit around the table and everyone takes an ornament from a grab bag, unwrapping as they go. We then roll two dice, and every time someone rolls on a 7, 11, or doubles (college drinking game, anyone?), you get to take whichever ornament you want from someone else at the table. We play for about 10-15 minutes (usually set a timer) and families usually work together to get the ornaments they want for their tree, and fun rivalries develop along the way. You know the kids always end up with the one they wanted in the end, but it’s fun to take the ones you know someone else likes just to keep it fun before giving it back :)

This is a tradition we look forward to every year, and living in California, have brought to our cousins’ house as well, as we haven’t been back east for Thanksgiving the past few years. It’s fun to leave Thanksgiving with a new ornament for your Christmas tree!

Do you have any fun holiday traditions or recipes you’d like to share? Drop me an email and we’ll get you lined up :)

  • valery says on November 15, 2011 Reply

    oh FUN! Plus it’s a little something to add to the day instead of gorging on food, cleaning up and passing out! :)

  • Anna says on November 15, 2011 Reply

    this is such a good idea! we just eat too much and groan for the rest of the day. i have a friend who’s aunt sends all the kids on a scavenger hunt. when i have kids i’ll have to come up with a good tradition.

  • Brit @ Landlocked Bride says on November 15, 2011 Reply

    Love this idea!

  • Koru Kate ⎨Koru Wedding⎬ says on November 15, 2011 Reply

    How sweet! We don’t have any formal Thanksgiving traditions. My wheels are turning- it’s never too late to start.

  • Aleah + Nick Valley says on November 15, 2011 Reply

    Can’t wait to see this series roll out! Well for Thanksgiving we get our jump on Christmas! We wake up and watch the Macy’s parade and start cooking traditional goodness. The rest of the weekend is spent relaxing and putting up trees and decorating!

  • Alicia {The Charity Wedding} says on November 15, 2011 Reply

    This is such a fun idea! Maybe you should add a drinking element in there, just for fun! :)

  • Kristina says on November 15, 2011 Reply

    This is such a great idea! I love it! I may have to add something like this to our Thanksgiving tradition too.

  • birdie to be says on November 15, 2011 Reply

    Such a sweet idea! And that ornament is so cute… and your ring!!! :)

  • Alexa says on November 15, 2011 Reply

    Oh my gosh the sweetest idea! LOVE it!

  • Lena says on November 15, 2011 Reply

    What a great tradition! Does arguing about the species of tree count as a family holiday tradition?

  • Jaime @ la vie...J'aime says on November 15, 2011 Reply

    fun! i will have to think of a good tradition/recipe :)

  • Leah says on November 15, 2011 Reply

    That’s such a fun idea! My mom has given each of my sisters and I an ornament each year since we were born because after her and my dad were married, they had no ornaments to put on their tree since the ornaments they’d put on the tree growing up were their moms. My mom didn’t want that to happen to us girls so each year when we decorate the tree we get to open an ornament as the first gift of the season. It’s really special and we look forward to seeing what she comes up with each year! Maybe that’s something you want shared in this series? Anyway- love the friendly competition in your tradition - that happens to us with Christmas Bingo gifts! :)

  • Erin * Sparkle & Hay says on November 17, 2011 Reply

    this is such a cute idea!!! i may have to suggest it at Thanksgiving this year to propose for 2012!!!

  • Mel {The Oceanside Bride} says on November 17, 2011 Reply

    Awww this is great! My family does something similar. Every year my grandma hosts a Handmade Ornament Exchange party and the theme gets changed each year. We have to make at least 20 to swap and you get 20 back. This year’s theme is anything Hawaiian. =) Although I live in Florida, I love that this is something I can still participate in and send mine in time for the party. Makes me still feel included. =)

  • Mel {The Oceanside Bride} says on November 17, 2011 Reply

    Oh I guess I should have noted, the exchange takes place in Southern California. =)

  • Diana says on November 17, 2011 Reply

    What a wonderful tradition! There is this wonderful light show near Philadelphia, its on a farm and you drive around looking at all the amazing light displays they’ve made. We’ve taken the kids every year since we’ve been together!

    PS… a few yrs ago with my in-laws we started the tradition of giving ornament gifts at Christmas time and I love it…ornaments are really a wonderful gift, this yr I want to make some homemade ones like the one in the photo! :)

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