What makes the holiday season so special are those cherished rituals we look forward to every year. Each family has their own unique traditions, with their own special spin on them. Regardless of the ways in which you may celebrate the holidays, togetherness is the true framework of this much-loved time of year.
Growing up, a favorite holiday tradition of ours was that my siblings and I would get to spend a special night at Mormor’s house. This usually took place leading up to Christmas, and it was a treasured night filled with wonder and excitement.
We would start out baking various Danish-American Christmas cookies, like traditional Danish pebernødder and American sugar cookies. Then, as we nibbled the finished product and drank hot cocoa, we would sit beneath Mormor’s tree while we playing games and she read to us. She taught us traditional Danish carols and told us stories of her childhood growing up in Denmark.
Afterward, she always had a small gift hidden under her twinkling tree for each of us; it never failed to surprise. Mormor was a very creative woman, and the individuality of each present was extraordinary. The love she put into each gift, most times handmade and incorporating some form of Danish folk art, was not in vain. Even as young children, her gifts rivaled those of even Santa himself.
All of Mormor’s gifts were exceptional; however, the one I received the year I turned eleven was my all-time favorite. I can still remember unwrapping the small box that she had decorated lovingly with various pictures and ornate paper. What it held inside was, and always will be, irreplaceable. For when I peered within, I found the true treasure. She had placed a few old pictures she had given me of herself at my age, along with a picture of her farmhouse growing up and one of the two of us together. She had embroidered an old handkerchief and had included one of her most precious childhood items, a wooden trinket from her grandmother. She also penned a heartfelt note about how special I was to her.
Over the years, she did this with each of my siblings as well. On one of those Christmas sleepovers, she had told us the story of receiving a small box from her own mother when she was a child. It had meant so much to her that she knew she wanted to pass on the wonderful tradition.
I still have this small wooden box to this day. In some way, I believe my affinity for antiques, old-timey treasures and a love of history began the Christmas that this cherished prize made its way into my hands. When they are old enough, she intends to continue this tradition with her great-grandchildren as well.
Today, we continue many of the same traditions with Mormor. We also love our visits to the Danish Home, where they have many wonderful celebrations and customs of their own, where there is fun for the whole family! You can read more about those events for residents and guests here.
Are you inspired by my Mormor’s special gift? If you are interested in making your own mini ‘hope chest’ visit our Create A Own Modern Day Hope Chest Pinterest board for loads of inspiration! IA perfect holiday gift!
Does your family have a unique holiday tradition? Submit it here and it could win you $500!