We love traditions. We love how they start and how they change slightly over time. We love the times when we improvise a tradition because circumstances change while still keeping it alive. We also love when a tradition is adhered to, avoiding the smallest variation, even though we as people change. Traditions live in time limbo, belonging to the realm of memories but also to the world of the future. Each one waits for the moment when it will live again, reincarnated in a new form each year. We asked our Heirloom Art Co. team to write about their favorite holiday traditions. We hope that in reading these traditions you might find an eagerness for the feelings of the season or a new tradition to add into your holiday repertoire. 

One of my favorite holiday traditions growing up was receiving a book from my grandparents on Halloween night. After my siblings and I went trick or treating, my parents would load us up and take us to our grandparents house where we would show them our costumes and tell them about all the candy we had received that night. Out on their kitchen table they would have a collection of Halloween themed books for each of us, all different and personally picked for each one of us. I remember one year getting The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything and reading it over and over again. Popcorn by Frank Asch was another I received and loved. Gifting books on most holidays has been a long tradition in my family as my grandpa largely emphasized the importance of reading in our lives. - Tori, Merchandising & Product Coordinator

One of my favorite holiday traditions is what my family calls “crazy dinner!” The night before Thanksgiving we give our mom a break from cooking and head to the store as a family. Each person gets $5 and they’re allowed to purchase whatever food they want. The only rules are you can’t influence anyone else’s decision and you can’t go over your $5. We bring everything home and that’s what we eat for dinner! One year we had chow mein noodles, garlic bread, cherry sour candies, pomegranate seeds, and sparkling cider! Definitely not a healthy balanced meal but it’s always fun to see what people bring home. - Hannah, Product Photographer

While some may spend Black Friday shopping the best deals, for me, it’s the day we go to the forest and spend the day searching for a tree as tall as me with my hands raised above my head. The search begins in earnest: is this one too tall or too wide? The moment you find “the one” is filled with pure delight. Getting it home and in the house is a challenge of its own. Tightening the tree into its stand with all that twisting and turning until it fills the room just so. The pine scent and sharp needles sets the mood for the holiday season. There is an intentionality of happy holiday work: watering the tree, battling the strands until the lights wink from every branch, and adorning the tree with ornaments. Each one is a memory—the ballerina grandma gave me, the elves on a train from Germany, the handknit balls from a dear friend. Once the work is done, the tree is that warm glow all season long, as we watch our favorite Christmas films, read Christmas classics, drink hot cocoa, and eat too many sweets. Two nights before Christmas we sleep under our happy tree dreaming of sugar plums and reindeer hooves. On Christmas Eve one gift for each person appears under the tree to open on Christmas Eve as we gather around the tree to read the sacred Christmas story. - Chelsey, Creative Director

I grew up in a family with many traditions, some generations old and some new. A few holiday traditions included my entire extended family and others were little things we did each year in our home with my siblings. One of my very favorite Christmas traditions came during the cozy evening hours in December. At the beginning of the month, my mother would wrap all of our Christmas books and place them in a large basket near the Christmas tree. Each night, we would all gather around the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree and pick a new story to unwrap and read together. The little kids always picked the biggest books, I preferred to find the tiny little stories hidden in the bottom of the basket. My mom makes the most delicious hot wassail and would often heat up mugs for each of us to sip as we read a new story we opened and re-read the favorites that we already opened. This is the first Christmas that I will have my own little family to unwrap and read stories with each night. Over the last few months, I have been making a list of books I want from the shop. A few of the ones I am most excited to include: Letters from Father Christmas, The Helpful Elves, The Nutcracker, Christmas Angels, A Christmas Carol, Mary’s Little Donkey, Shoemaker Martin, and ’Twas the Night Before Christmas. - Emily, Inventory Manager


Every Christmas break, when all us kids are back from college or from abroad or from wherever we may be the rest of the year, we do something we’ve dubbed “counter sits.” In the evenings, inevitably a couple of us find ourselves standing around a cheese ball or a bowl of cranberry salsa, chatting at the kitchen counter. Soon the group grows until everyone in the family has gathered in the kitchen, most of us perched in our pajamas in various places on the island and kitchen counters. Dad brings over the tin of truffles from the neighbor, mom breaks open the caramel popcorn, and we sit for hours, snacking and regaling each other with stories from the last year. I find these are some of my sweetest memories of my family, moments when we really learn about each other and make each other laugh. - Carolyn, CEO


My mother made Christmas a holiday that I would cherish for the rest of my life. This tradition would start weeks before December 25th. It was the day we set up our family nativity. I will always fondly remember when my mother and I carefully unwrapped the nativity figures from their tissue paper and placed each of them on the table. My father would go and get fresh hay from the pasture and get the beautifully made nativity creche out of storage. As we worked my mother would tell me the story of the nativity, remarking on how she loved the specific looks of our little figures because they looked young, this is how she imagined Joseph and Mary were when they had Baby Jesus. Something that always stood out to me is that my mother would place the figures around and look towards Baby Jesus. In many homes today you may see nativity figures looking out at you, being the one looking at the nativity scene. However, I always loved how my mother placed the figures around Jesus, the donkey close to Mary protecting her and the baby, the sheep near his face, and the Shepard right behind Joseph ready to comfort him if needed. This is something I continue to do in my own home. This has always set off the holiday season in my heart and reminds me, as the holidays bustle around me, to stop and focus on our Savior. - Lesa, Store & Events Manager

My parents always did a good job of making sure the Christmas season was something to look forward to. We gave Thanksgiving the respect and attention it deserved, but every member of our home knew that once the day ended, it was time to welcome in Christmas. The day after Thanksgiving, which was typically free from work and school, would be spent decorating the house and setting up our tree. Every night leading up to Christmas, my dad would gather us around the glowing tree to listen to a Christmas story before bed. Some evenings he would read one, others evenings he would improvise a story, usually finding creative ways to weave us as the heroes in his plot. It wasn’t so much about the actual stories being told, but about the time we spent together huddled around our tree giggling, listening, and waiting in anticipation for the night when Santa Claus would visit our house again. - Tyler, Marketing Manager & Customer Care


October 18, 2021 — Heirloom Staff


Senny Powell said:

I love your journals… so many traditions are familiar in my childhood growing up in a Swedish/German family.
We have purposed to pass these traditions on to our children as they raise their families.

Nuria said:

I love your “journals” Is there a way for me to subscribe to them? Thanks

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