rekindle your holidays: family traditions {$50 starbucks giftcard giveaway}

December 13, 2012 by Ali

My little sis (on the left) and I rocking the homemade Christmas light sweaters, circa 1988.

This week, I am excited to be sharing a 3-part series with you devoted to celebrating the holidays.

I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t matter how many holiday seasons I have lived through, how many conversations I’ve had over the years about how to “simplify” and slow things down, or what great intentions I may have. Decembers are simply always busy. Usually “good” busy. But busy nonetheless. So amidst the hustle and bustle, I will always take any reminders or ideas to heart for bringing back the meaning and joy of the season. Each year I am grateful that those reminders often come through traditions — both those that my family made for us growing up, and those that I have created on my own. And in my life, those traditions often revolve around family, music and giving.

So today we begin with family! Whether your family lives near or far, whether you have a big family or small, whether you are the young grandchild or the eldest patriarch or matriarch, hopefully a few of these ideas might help get your ready for the holidays with those you love.

Sled time with the cousins…with Yours Truly crying up a storm in the middle. Proud moment.

Break out the photo albums!

Your family may get along famously and enjoy every minute together. But whether you do, or whether that might not be the case, there is something about the magic of cracking open those weathered photos from the 80′s and seeing an earnest smile beneath sky-high poofy bangs that will bring joy to just about any room. Especially as someone with a terrible memory, looking through photo albums and then hearing the stories that accompany them is such a fun way to remember and celebrate good moments from the past. Even awkward teenage memories lose their edge a bit when you see how ridiculous awesome you looked in those big blue glasses.

So grab some photo albums and a family member (and better — grab a new family member to join in!), and take a trip down memory lane. (And then remind yourself to get those photos converted to digital after Christmas so that they will really stand the test of time!)

Break out the good eats!

As a food blogger, I hear from so many people who super-stress over cooking the perfect holiday meal. But if I’ve learned anything from helping entertain and cook around the holidays, the last thing you need is extra stress. Especially over a Christmas ham. My recommendation is always to do what you can do and still have time to hang with those you love and sleep.

So if you find yourself cooking for a huge crowd with little time to prepare, do not volunteer to do all of the work!! T his is not the time to prove yourself. This is time to enjoy your time with family. So if you need to delegate, delegate. If you need to keep things simple, go simple. If you want to go gourmet, go gourmet. If you want to do delivery or go out, there are now tons of amazing options out there.

Our family’s tradition is to have a big meal that everyone helps make on Christmas Eve. And then our immediate family enjoys monkey bread for breakfast and a shrimp peel for lunch on Christmas Day. One big feast, one quick and simple. And both provide plenty of leftovers so that you can kick back and relax the next few days (one of our favorite traditions).

Break out the board games!

Turn off the tv, and put those phones down. This is not Words with Friends.

Go and grab a real live Scrabble board, or Monopoly, or Settlers, or a deck of cards, or whatever your fam may have. Even if you haven’t played together in years, games are such a fun way to get everyone to interact and see everyone’s personalities come through. You will inevitably have someone who is a hard-and-fast rule abider, someone who wants to talk and always misses when it’s their turn, someone who wants to create new rules, and someone whose competitive streak will come out to surprise you. But regardless, keep everything in good fun and enjoy putting those brains to work while laughing it up and enjoying the company of your family.

Break outside!

Maybe it’s being from the Midwest where the weather is usually freeeeezing around the holidays, but for some reason, it seems that holidays often equal long hours indoors for so many families. So mix things up this year and start some new traditions outside! And if you have snow on the ground, all the better!!

Our family had a tradition of making (literal) snow bunnies whenever we had a White Christmas. But even if you’re not up for rolling around in the snow, grab your boots and just go for a nice walk around the neighborhood after a meal. It will help you start burning off some of those calories, and can be a great time to chat it up with a family member, or even get a few minutes to yourself if you’re an introvert. Either way, the fresh air will do you good.

And of course, you can always break out the Christmas sweaters.

Well, that may not be a tradition with the people†in our family. But Henry dresses the part each year.

$50 Starbucks Gift Card Giveaway:

How To Enter:

How are you preparing for the holiday season? †Leave a comment below and you’ll be entered to win a $50†Starbucks†gift card!†


No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  • a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  • b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  • c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  • d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 12/13/12 -12/28/12.

Visit the Starbucks brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts and find more chances to win!

filed in Articles, Giveaways

About Ali

Ali Ebright is a freelance recipe developer and food writer/photographer, and blogs at Gimme Some Oven and Gimme Some Life. She also loves all things music, traveling near and far, actually making things from Pinterest, cozying up with a good book and her sweet pup, Henry, and spending time with a wonderful group of friends. Come say hello and follow Ali on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ & Instagram.

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174 thoughts on “rekindle your holidays: family traditions {$50 starbucks giftcard giveaway}

  1. tweet
    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

    - Tabathia B

  2. baking gingerbread house with the kids

    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

    - Tabathia B

  3. Shopping & looking up recipes!

    - Lynn

  4. this year I decided to bake up a storm with my family:)
    Thanks for the giveaway!

    - Jasmine A

  5. I decorate with ornaments that have been passed on from my grandmother and I put xmas cards that we receive on the door so we can see friends/family as we walk outside each day.

    - cw

  6. Decorating the house for Christmas and preparing the Christmas dinner menu.

    - RJ

  7. We’re not doing much! Just enjoying time together.

    - Brandy

  8. Preparing by housecleaning first!

    - Eugenie

  9. Baking cookies with my 4 year old.

    - Heloise

  10. I have decorated the Christmas tree and we will be baking Christmas cookies this week to bring to our family.

    - Kelly D

  11. By starting some new traditions with my daughter like making sugar cutout cookies that she can decorate herself or making a gingerbread house. She also is helping with the decorations! Such fun!

    - Sarah T.

  12. I’m baking and decorating up a storm!

    - Jesse

  13. By purposefully not being stressed! Instead, savoring all the holiday moments with my family and friends

    - rachel

  14. Shopping, wrapping presents, listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas movies…so excited!

    - Stacy Van Kleef

  15. I’m preparing by decorating the tree and the house, making my Christmas menu and grocery list; and finally, buying and wrapping the presents!

    - Dorothea

  16. Deciding on my Christmas movie – Les Miz or Hobbit!

    - Cheryl

  17. I purchased my first home this year and although I’m still settling in and unpacking boxes, I purchased a few outdoor lights and an outdoor, lighted Christmas tree. My goal is to someday be the Clark Griswold of my neighborhood :)

    - Jennifer @ Solo Travel Girl

  18. We picked out recipes already for Christmas Day and the parties afterward.

    - Madeline

  19. Wrapping as soon as I get home with gifts!

    - Megan S.

  20. My family is far-flung. We no longer try to impress one another with gifts. Instead we set aside time to talk and share our lives more at this time of year.

    - Gypsy

  21. i’m, wrapping as a i shop and stay away from malls to keep myself in the spirit

    - nannypanpan

  22. I am preparing for the holidays by doing some last minute shopping, spending time with family, and listening to A LOT of Christmas music!

    - Caroline

  23. I wrap presents and do my shopping early so I can enjoy holiday parties and not stress as much

    - Kristin

  24. It is not my year to host the big holiday for family, so I am getting ready to travel. I have also made batches of home made gifts–vanilla extract and vanilla sugar that I need to label.

    - Mary Beth Elderton

  25. I’m preparing by baking lots of cookies!

    - Beth C.

  26. I am preparing for the holidays by encouraging my husband to help me come up with some holiday traditions of our own this year :-)

    - Rachael

  27. Looks like that monkey bread is going to become a major player in my little family’s holiday tradition!

    - Christine

  28. I prepare by making a list of what I need to do

    - C R Williams

  29. I’m cleaning, getting the shopping and wrapping done as far in advance as possible, and deciding what goodies to make for my in-laws’ big Christmas get together.

    - Lynne M Meyer

  30. I’m preparing for the holidays by shopping and wrapping gifts along with keeping a list of things that I need to buy.

    - Janice Cooper

  31. We are preparing for a road trip to spend Christmas with our family :)

    - Blessie Nelson

  32. Cleaned house and put up tree and decorations.

    - Maria Cantu

  33. By making LOTS of lists and boxes to sort each destination for gifts that are traveling

    - Shauna M

  34. I also tried to let our lily cat wear sweaters, hats, and boots, she’s super cute :D poor thing. We’re travelling for the holiday season, I’m knitting gifts for family and friends. Thanks for the giveaway.
    songyueyu at gmail

    - sy

  35. We are making the dough for those cookie recipes that can be frozen and baked later. We started the cleaning by doing a little every day so we won’t have to rush on the 23rd. Bought the turkey and all other ingredients except for the fresh veggies.

    - Kitty

  36. preparing cookies, buying decorations on sale and keeping a list of all the holiday appetizers to try this year!

    - beth

  37. We have put up our tree and lights and are reflecting on the advent season each week.

    - Kel

  38. Getting ready for Christmas by baking, listening to my awesome Xmas playlist on repeat, shopping & decorating as much as possible! I love Christmas!!

    - Jenn

  39. We’re putting up a tree and a few decorations but most of our holiday will be at Grandma’s so we don’t put out a lot of effort.

    - Carmen

  40. I’m preparing for the holidays by baking and decorating the house :)

    - Dee

  41. Making Christmas cookies :)

    - Steph

  42. I’m getting ready to go across the country to California for Christmas. Only regret is definitely no white Christmas for me this year. Of course, with a Starbucks every 10 steps in airports & on every block in California, I could really use the $50.

    - tabbie

  43. Baking a lot! Drinking eggnog lattes! Burning candles! I LOVE this time of year!!!

    - Emily Palmer

  44. I am preparing for the holidays by not getting caught up in the hype of the holiday gimmicks to need all the things advertised…to be grateful to,have what I do and remember nothing material can change my life..true change, the best holiday gift starts with me

    Oliviatheservicedog at hotmail dot com

    - Olivia Rubin

  45. I’m writing my thesis to finish grad school and starbucks would be wonderful!

    - Brittany S.

  46. I’m getting ready by planning gifts (doing my comparison shopping at home on the laptop instead of wandering through stores), drinking eggnog, and cranking the Christmas music.

    - Allegra

  47. I’ve been doing a lot of shopping and decorating!

    - Kerry

  48. We set up all our christmas decorations, our tree, and made our xmas cookies! We are all ready :)

    - Nicole Larsen

  49. came across your blog on pinterest! love it!

    - Christine

  50. This is going to be my first Christmas away from my family- my first Christmas as a wife. I’m having a hard time getting in the holiday spirit but I am excited to combine some of our individual family traditions to create our own traditions as a couple. In the mean time- listening to christmas music and looking at my tree make the season a little brighter!

    - Jessica

  51. I am preparing by exercising now so I can eat my heart out when I get home next weekend!

    - Kristin

  52. Awwww, such cute photos! And Henry is adorable.

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway! I’m preparing for the holidays by utilizing my slow cooker for many of the big meals – that thing is a godsend!

    - Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious

  53. We like to ride around with the kids and look at lights. We pop some corn and make some hot chocolate and make an event out of it!

    - Courtney Mac

  54. At the moment, I’m mostly preparing by baking and cleaning! Soon, though, there will be decorating and wrapping presents and meeting with friends (:

    - Ally

  55. This weekend is the annual bake-a-thon for holiday goody plates!

    - Carrie

  56. Lots of baking, listening to Christmas music and decorating!

    - Sara

  57. I tweeted about this promotion.

    - Kim Catapano

  58. I’m preparing for the Holidays by doing a lot of grocery & gift shopping, baking, decorating, listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas cartoons & movies, and drinking lots of ginderbread lattes.

    - Kim Catapano

  59. I’m doing lots of baking!

    - Melisa

  60. my wife and i kept it simple this year for Hanukkah. we’re spending time/skyping with family in other cities and letting our puppy get us a present.

    - Jonathan

  61. We have been going through our house trying to see what clothing and toys can be donated.

    wildorchid985 at gmail dot com

    - Wild Orchid

  62. tweet–

    Thanks for the chance to win!
    wildorchid985 at gmail dot com

    - Wild Orchid

  63. I began my holiday preparations by throwing a Christmas party last Friday. We cooked and baked so much food! And it wouldn’t be Christmas if I didn’t make everyone listen to my Barbara Streisand Christmas vinyl at least twice!

    - Christine Capp

  64. I’m preparing for the holiday season by getting my fill of pepperment mochas before they’re gone!!! And of course I’m preparing lists of wonderful things I would like to bake, but chances are I’ll only get to one or two. Bring on the chocolate rum cake!!

    - Heather

  65. I tweeted! My followers ar probably very sick of my giveaway tweets!

    - Jennica Bridgman

  66. I’m gathering my supplies to bake, bake, bake for Christmas gifts.

    - Jennica Bridgman

  67. I’m preparing by getting to the both the mall and grocery store for everything I need as soon as possible!

    - Catherine

  68. I’m so UNprepared this year that I’m beginning to panic.

    - Tammy

  69. I’m preparing for the holiday season by getting all my shopping done!

    - Natalie S

  70. Lots of baking, xmas music, xmas movies, taking my little man to see xmas lights! This is my favorite time of year!

    - Alaina

  71. Aside from our tree up and lights on the house, I’ve hardly got anything done!

    - Laura R

  72. Ive been decorating my small apartment with in an inch of its life, watching Christmans movies, looking at lights, and eating rich holiday food!

    - Tricia

  73. I am getting ready by decorating and doing some Christmas shopping. My favorite part is actually wrapping the gifts, but I have to buy them first!

    - Bethany

  74. I make lists on paper and ask my hubby help me.

    - Tina M

  75. The apartment has been decorated and the shopping is done! Next on the list is baking cookies to prep for the Holidays!

    - Alyssa

  76. I have been shopping, baking, and decorating nonstop, but I love it. The holiday build up is the best part!

    - Karen

  77. My favorite part of the holiday season is Christmas Eve- when all of my family is together in one room relaxing before we open presents.

    - Melissa

  78. We do a lot of baking and cooking for holidays.

    - Jessie C.

  79. We have been preparing for the holiday’s by doing a lot of baking. My daughter loves to find new recipes on Pinterest. We have made Gum Drops, Caramel Brownies and Cherry Bark.

    - Tammy S

  80. Doing puzzles with family is one of my favorite holiday traditions. It’s right up there with playing board games.

    - Andrea

  81. Baking lots of cookies! Its my favorite part about the holiday season!

    - Corey

  82. By packing! We have lots of traveling to do this year.

    - Rachel

  83. wrapping presents! because then I feel like I’ve accomplished something AND it looks like christmas!

    - Victoria

  84. I would love love love me some Starbucks! Drinking coffee is the perfect way to spend an evening with family and friends.

    - Kate Troxell

  85. I have been watching Christmas movies (Elf is my favorite), baking cookies and will put together a Gingerbread house on Christmas Eve.

    - Carol B

  86. I buy the best eggnog I know and love from the Amish in Reading Terminal Market (philadelphia) and will be using it for eggnog scones!

    - Angela

  87. I’m going to Christmas festival, watching Christmas movies, and buying presents for my family!

    - Heather Hicks

  88. We decorate the house and bake cookies for Christmas

    - Elena

  89. I’m finishing up my Christmas shopping (most of which I did online this year) and planning on having a small, quiet Christmas with my close family. No big parties for me!

    - Rebecca

  90. We decorate a tree and will be baking cookies.

    - Ali

  91. I’m making gingerbread cookies tonight and listening to Barenaked for the Holidays. :)

    - Leah

  92. To get ready for the holidays I am baking all of my favorite from my childhood.

    - Sarah

  93. I’m getting all my shopping done early, and wrapping all the presents up.

    - Kim D.

  94. I tweeted:

    - Carole Spring

  95. I am wrapping presents, grocery shopping, and anticipating having Christmas dinner with my family.

    - Carole Spring

  96. Bake cookies, wrap presents, and listen to a lot of Christmas music!

    - Kristin T

  97. I’m going home!

    - Jenny

  98. We have been decluttering in order to make room for decorations

    - Theresa J

  99. tweet–

    - Mami2jcn

  100. I’m wrapping presents and decorating for the holidays.

    - Mami2jcn

  101. This year is super simple… a new start in a new town! No kiddos, so Christmas looks like presents for the fam bought with gift cards we have held on to, a small wicker tree strung with lights and our favorite ornaments, a few new recipies to try and a little spending money in January! I think it might be one of our favorites so far, since it is making us aware that we truly do have an abundance.

    - Liisa Rettedal

  102. I grew up baking tons of Christmas cookies with my mom and our family would drive around on Christmas eve looking at lights in different neighborhoods and delivering cookies to friends and family.

    - Mindy S

  103. Tons of biscotti always appears (aka my mother makes it) in my house around the holidays. Delicious!

    - Hallie

  104. I am going through stacks of pictures, still making holiday ornaments. Am obviously running behind.

    - Meadowlark

  105. That doggie sweater!! :) We get ready by baking lots and lots of cookies and gifting to friends and neighbors!

    - Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen

  106. We get into the holiday fun by decorating the tree and the house!

    - Chelsea

  107. I’ve always kicked off the holidays with a baking frenzy! Always looking for new recipes to try, yet usually end up making the family favorites again and again.

    - Susan G

  108. I prepare for the holidays by decorating the house and baking many treats for friends and family.

    - Laura

  109. we prepare by decorating the tree and making lots of cookies! :)

    - Veronica

  110. I’m making a ton of holiday cookies to bring to my bf’s family Xmas! and we have little, but a few, apartment decorations.

    - Adriana

  111. I’m preparing with lots of decorations around my apartment!

    - sara

  112. Spending time at home with my family and all my friends- just loving every moment

    - Lindsey Krause

  113. I’m vowing to do less, and do what I do with more intentionality.

    - MomQueenBee

  114. Loved this post! Such a great reminder of the simple, fun ways to enjoy the holidays.

    - Miriam Maya

  115. I’m making chocolate peanut butter no bakes to remind of my aunt who passed away two summers ago. No matter how well she was doing (financially) around the holidays, we could always afford to make these delicious cookies and making them with my kids reminds me of her.

    - Kristain

  116. Decorating my families house when I go home next week (they always wait for me to come home to do it) :)

    - Amanda B

  117. We always bake a cake with our kids to eat for breakfast on Christmas morning. Since it is a holiday celebrating Jesus’ birth, we figure a birthday cake is appropriate. The kids are in charge of decorating it,even if that means it turns out to be a sloppy sprinkled mess. It’s always fun. And, when else do we eat cake for breakfast? Never. Makes it memorable.

    - Stephanie Spencer

  118. We’re participating in advent, the daily anticipation of Christ. Everyday, we do an act of service or project with our 2 year old in hopes to bring Jesus into the whole season of Christmas, to encourage generosity and service, along with daily Bible readings. It has been so fun to see her get excited about things.

    - Bree Courtney

  119. I am doing better this year wrapping as I shop instead of waiting until the last minute to wrap EVERYTHING!!!!

    - Bernie B

  120. Let’s see, I baked, frosted and decorated 200 sugar cookies last weekend, tmade a quadruple batch of homemade Irish Cream Liquer; this weekend I will make at least a double batch of almond roca, a double batch of coconut macaroons, and hopefully assemble gift baskets/trays. Having a full-time job and a two-hour daily commute definitely puts a crimp in my Christmas prep though in the form of exhaustion.

    - Diane Troxell

  121. hmm, i think this is a trick question. can one REALLY prepare for the holidays? …no, we just think we’re prepared, haha! :)

    - kat

  122. we always make cinnamon rolls or coffee cake and deliver to friends and neighbors on Christmas Eve, so they don’t have to worry about Christmas breakfast

    - MeLisa

  123. I am preparing for the holidays by taking it easy. The week will be stressful, and I need to not get wrapped up in the hoopla.

    - Kimberly @ Healthy Strides

  124. I’m preparing for the holiday season by baking a new cookie each week!

    - Marissa Kubinski

  125. Oh I’m trying to prepare by making lots of lists! I’m hosting Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so there’s a lot to keep track of!

    - Tamra H

  126. I love decorating and baking with my kids. We’re making sweet and warm memories together. :)

    amy [at] utry [dot] it

    - Amy Tong

  127. My 3.5 yr old and I created a December bucket list. It’s included many fun things, including crafts which we will use as gift for family members. It’s been a great way for him to be aware of the holidays. And for us to show him that it’s not just about gifts you buy.

    - Heather

  128. Preparing for the holidays looks a little different for me this year with a baby–more easy and quick recipes and less decorations around the house.

    - OneCandace

  129. Spending my free time volunteering and planning what I will be baking.

    - Lauren

  130. I’m prepping by getting ALL my shopping DONE early.

    - Keri-Danielle

  131. Definitely through holiday baking!

    - Kara D

  132. I am preparing for the holidays by finishing my final exams (yuck!) and going home and baking with my family! We are having a family cookie baking party on Sunday :)

    - Katherine R.

  133. baking, i love to bake. I’m giving away lots of baked goods as christmas giftc this year.

    - Robin

  134. I’m sending a few Christmas cards each day! :)

    - Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray

  135. I’ve done most of my shopping online so my holiday gift prepping has been a breeze!

    - Megan

  136. i’ve been freezing cookie dough for the past month!

    - grace

  137. I’ve prepared by putting up my little 4 foot tree and baking up a bunch of different cookies which I freeze and pull out as needed for holiday potlucks/parties.

    - NikkiS

  138. Getting ready for our Christmas Eve brunch where our family and friends all make an ornament to decorate our homemade tree. So much fun!

    - MaryB

  139. i am preparing by performing in the nutcracker all december long!! :)

    - Emily

  140. Making crafts with kids!

    - Shelby G. S.

  141. I’m wrapping gifts, counting down with 2 Advent Calendars, and slowly filling up stockings, all while jazzing to christmas music! ;D So much fun! :D

    - Treva

  142. I am picking out perfect gifts for my family and hopefully will start baking soon!

    - Stef

  143. I am knitting up a storm making gifts for most of the family. I like to make as many of my presents as I can every year!

    - Liz Bourne

  144. I’m currently baking and wrapping some gifts for loved ones! Then I’ll be packing up to go home for a week for the holidays :)

    - Kayle (The Cooking Actress)

  145. I preparing for this holiday season by baking! I’m currently unemployed and have been making a lot of gifts this year!

    - Cara

  146. So much baking and holiday cooking going on here! Lots of Christmas parties and get-togethers, and that doesn’t even include Christmas with all my extended family which is a busy full time. I’m trying a good number of new recipes this year, too. :)

    - glenna

  147. We’ve somehow misplaced every strand of garland we used to have so I’m making new garland out of the remains of an old beading hobby and waxed thread

    - Teresa