Family Holiday Tradition: Horses and a Pickle

We received another great Family Holiday Tradition submission from Ginger S. in Austin, TX. Thank you for sharing, Ginger! Everyone, keep these family tradition memories coming. We love them!

ginger's tree with horse ornaments

Two of my favorite family Christmas traditions are: The hanging of the pickle ornament and a surprise for the individual that finds it and horses.

The pickle tradition came from my husband’s family. After we married, his Mom gifted us with a pickle ornament for our own tree. One of the first things our family does on Christmas morning is look for the Christmas Pickle.

ginger's horse tree ornament

I suppose I have always had a tremendous love of horses. Growing up, my brother and I always wanted a horse. When I was about 8, I awoke on Christmas morning, looked out my window and saw a real horse tied to a tree in our back yard. My brother and I spent the day wearing the horse out as we rode around our yard and up and down the neighborhood streets. Late in the evening our Uncle appeared and offered to keep the horse at his farm. We often spent many fun days at his farm riding our Christmas horse.

ginger ornaments carriage

My daughter’s love for horses surfaced before her first Christmas. She constantly chose horse toys to play with and picked out pictures of horses from books and magazines. She started her riding lessons at age 6, saved enough money to buy her own horse at age 9, and owned 5 horses by the time she went to college on a scholarship she earned through her horse projects. Beginning with her first Christmas, Santa put a horse ornament in her Christmas stocking. This Christmas Santa will leave her 41st horse ornament.

ginger ornament white house

My granddaughter continues the tradition with a great love for horses. Santa now also places a horse ornament in her Christmas stocking each year.

Who else collects a certain type of ornament?

Read about more Fun Family Holiday Traditions.

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Tags: Holiday Fun · Holiday Traditions

I am Grateful For …

As Bing Crosby sang in Holiday Inn, one of our family’s favorite Holiday movies, “I’ve Got Plenty to Be Thankful For”:

  • A husband who loves me and lets me pursue my passions both personally and professionally
  • A son who makes me pull my hair out, but makes me laugh like nobody’s business
  • A daughter who can amaze me with how bravely she fights Type 1 diabetes and make me smile with her artwork
  • A kitchen filled with donuts
  • A cat who can calm me and put me to sleep by purring in my ear
  • A smaller, weirder cat who is so funny looking I can’t stop smiling when I see him
  • An huge extended family that we can have fun with
  • A pair of red shoes
  • A lovely, renovated house that is warm and cozy
  • Incredibly friendly neighbors
  • Friends who get my sense of humor and love to come out and play with me and my hair-brained ideas
  • A beautiful, furry dog who is still with us this Thanksgiving
  • The smell of turkey and gravy in my kitchen
  • Customers and friends who support my business so I can share my passion for having more fun with family and bring smiles to as many families as I can. Thank you!
  • I am grateful for you and I hope that you have plenty to be thankful for today and your day is full of “Chocolate Cake Moments.” Have fun with your family. I’m off to eat turkey with my family!

    Sue Kirchner
    Chief Fun Officer

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    Tags: Holiday Fun · Holiday Traditions

    Thanksgiving Decoration Ideas for the Kids Table's Kids' Table Decorating Ideas

    On Thankgiving, did you ever have to sit at the Kids’ Table? I distinctly remember being banished to the dark, dank basement to eat with the other messy kids on major Holidays. I didn’t like it. So, I was thrilled when I saw’s post on Kids’s Table Decorating Ideas. Some of these ideas are so cute and creative!!!!! If our kids table had looked like this, I would still be sitting there as an adult.

    So, get crafting and your kids are sure to be thankful that they aren’t eating in the dark, boring basement.

    You might also like:

    Conversation Game Questions for Thanksgiving Dinner
    Thanksgiving Family Fun Ideas

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    Tags: Fall Season Family Fun Activities · Family Fun Ideas · Family Party Ideas · Holiday Fun · Holiday Traditions

    Remembering Your “First” Christmas Present

    A favorite handmade Christmas present from Great Grandmother

    Here is another family Holiday tradition sent to us from Erin B. in IL. She shares her family’s tradition where the kids got to open one present after Church on Christmas Eve, ending hours of anticipation. She always remembers these “first” presents of the Holiday because they were from her Great Grandmother, they were handmade, and they were the first gift they were allowed to open on Christmas Eve. Thanks for sharing the story and the photo Erin!

    As a child growing up in Round Lake Beach, IL, our house was the center for family on Christmas. Those who had traveled from out of town (Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles) found themselves sleeping in my bed or on the sofa sleeper. Many children today would be mortified to be resorted to sleeping in the same bed as a sibling. However, my brother and I couldn’t have been happier. We knew that no matter how much we fought with each other throughout the year, we could contain ourselves for that one glorious day when we would awake to find the tree adorned with presents underneath.

    Weeks before the big day, our house would be flooded with packages of presents from family members who could not make the trek to our house. It took a lot of patience on the part of my brother and myself not to sneak a peek at those colorfully decorated boxes. On Christmas Eve, following the 7pm church service, we were allowed to open the present from our Great Grandmother. This present was never anything too extravagant as her funds were limited, but rather it was something that was handmade by her. The fact that this gift was handmade was of course special to us but it was because it was the “first” present that I truly believe it meant more to us. To this day, I still have those handmade presents, though my Great Grandmother is long gone.

    As a new mother of two, I intend to carry this tradition over to my young children as I believe every child should remember their “first” present every Christmas.

    Did your family have a tradition of opening certain gifts first? Please send us your Holiday Traditions stories. We’d love to post them and share the fun.

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    Tags: Family Celebrations · Holiday Fun · Holiday Traditions

    Moms Night Out – A Holiday Tradition

    Holiday Tea at the Peninsula Hotel

    Holiday Tea at the Peninsula Hotel

    You know Holiday Traditions don’t always have to be about family. One of my favorite traditions is a Mom’s Night Out. For a few years now, three of us girl friends have been getting together in December to have Holiday Tea. So civilized! Chicago has some amazing places for tea – the Drake Hotel, the Peninsula Hotel, the Russian Tea Room. We meet, drink, eat and exchange some gifts. I dig the champagne, exotic teas, and the cute little sweet tray. I look forward to it every year. (While the food is better at the Peninsula, I like the Drake best for it’s traditional decor.)

    Here are some other ideas for outings with your bestest Mom friends. Take some time for yourself during the Holiday Season to unwind and recharge. After all, if Mommy ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

    1. Shopping Spree – Kill two birds with one stone and organize an outing to get your Holiday shopping done. Head on over to that new Mall you’ve been dying to visit. Or take the train and go to the big stores downtown. It’s always more fun when you have someone helping you shop for those impossible people on your list.

    2. Cookie Swaps – Do you and your friends like to bake? Get a cookie swap going this year. has all the tips on How to Host a Cookie Swap. Stand around the kitchen with some cookie dough martinis and bake up a storm. Put on some music and dance while you’re at it. (Make sure your husband takes the kids to the movies. You don’t want them to die of shame while you boogie and sing.)

    3. Holiday Wine Tasting – Do you have a local winery or gourmet wine shop in your area? Call and see if they will give you a tour or a mini wine tasting class. You can tell your hubby that you are going to find the perfect wine for Holiday dinner but we all know you are going for the fun. They may even have little snacks. Bonus!

    4. Nutcracker Ballet – I love the Nutcracker Ballet. We are lucky in Chicago to have the Joffrey Ballet perform the Nutcracker every year. I’ve seen numerous versions and noboby does it better than Joffrey. I fortunately have a husband who doesn’t mind going to the ballet with me. However, many of my friends don’t. So, this is the perfect excuse to get together with the girls and get your sugar plum fairy fix.

    5. Cooking Class – Another option for a fun evening out with the gals is a cooking class. If you don’t already have a favorite place for cooking classes, ask your friends what they recommend or look online. Some Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table stores have Holiday themed cooking classes. You can even have a private chef come to your house and teach the class in a more comfortable setting. Learn how to make killer Holiday desserts or New Years Eve party appetizers.

    What do you like to do on your Mom’s Night Out?

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    Tags: Friday Night Fun · Holiday Traditions · Mom's Night Out

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