Holiday Tradition Stories from the CMOR Staff

See what traditions you have in common with our team!

Published on December 3, 2021

Happy childhood concept. Black man palms holding child palms with heart shaped cookie, panorama

Traditions are the things that make the holidays so special and memorable!

It’s impossible to be in a bad mood when thinking about holiday traditions. It’s great to repeat them every year, but never forget to also tell your tradition stories to the younger generation. Keeping those happy memories alive will truly give you joy this season.

One of the fondest tradition memories I have is making cookies with my mom all day long a few days before Christmas. Of course, Christmas music was blasting on the radio the whole time. We would have so much fun delivering them to family and friends in the community. Now as an adult, I look forward to making cookies with my husband and delivering them to our neighbors and friends every Christmas.

The staff at the Children’s Museum wanted to share some of their tradition stories in hopes that it will inspire you this season. Pour yourself a mug of hot cocoa, lay back, and enjoy our stories!  

-Hilary (Education Coordinator)


Every year, my family would visit 34th Street in Baltimore (where I’m originally from). The street is decked out in holiday lights and decorations. Thousands of people come out to see it every year.


Each year, my family draws names to find out the one person we’ll be shopping for. We have a cap and with that, we get a gift AND make a donation to a charity in that person’s name. We don’t give each other ideas of what to buy or who to donate to, so it’s a fun way to see what the person thinks would be a good fit for you.


Every year growing up, my dad would make my siblings and I wait at the top of the stairs. Then he’d go downstairs and sadly exclaim “Oh no! It looks like Santa didn’t come this year!” It only worked for one year, the rest of the time we were onto him, but he continued to do it every single year.


When I was a child I NEVER got to miss school. My mom was a teacher and she took school attendance very seriously. Despite this, every December our parents would take us out of school to go downtown and visit Legendary Santa. I loved everything about it (except waiting in line!). I remember watching Bruce the Spruce and shopping in the Fawn Shop; I thought the Snow Queen was magical, of course. Sometimes we were lucky enough to see Santa come down the chimney after feeding his reindeer. He’d throw up his hands and say “Ohhhh, my babies!” – I can still hear him. It was also special for us to go downtown and out to lunch after our Santa visit. I’m so thrilled that now I work for an organization that helps other families start or continue their own Legendary Santa traditions!


My family always had a real Christmas tree every Christmas. As part of our tradition, my brother, sister and I would take turns going with my dad to pick out our Christmas tree that year. It felt so empowering as a child to be in charge of picking out the family tree, and it taught us patience during the years when it wasn’t our turn. My dad taught us valuable knowledge about how to pick out a good tree, and I continue to get a real tree every year because of how much that tradition meant to me.


I have a wonderful group of friends with families and (pre-Covid) we would have a Winter Solstice party to celebrate the winter season. We would set up nature themed crafts, bring good food, star gaze with a telescope and just have a lot of fun. We look forward to bringing that back, and it’s a wonderful new tradition for us.


Growing up in Colombia, As the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve it is traditional to eat one grape per chime – so 12 grapes in all – and make a wish each time you eat a grape! So you’ll need to have 12 grapes ready and 12 wishes already prepared in order to ring in the New Year Colombian-style.


My mother has always made a HUGE assortment of holiday cookies – I remember finally being old enough to roll out the Sand tart dough and cut out those with cookie cutters along with decorating them with various sugars, red hots, and sprinkles. She would always plate up an assortment of cookies to gift to neighbors, friends, coworkers as well as travel with LOTS of containers when we’d go to my grandparents in Pennsylvania (we grew up in Kentucky). One time on a cookie plate gift delivery to a neighbor’s house, they weren’t home, so we ate the whole plate of cookies on the way home!


Almost my entire childhood, we lived about an hour from where we went to church. One Christmas Eve on the drive home, one of us started singing a Christmas hymn and then when it ended, someone started another, which continued until we pulled in the driveway at home. It became a sweet tradition every year on Christmas Eve that we would sing our favorite Christmas hymns the whole way home!


We had a wooden star on a stick with a poem that we used the whole season. The star worked like this: the person who has the star does a secret good deed for someone else in the family and then leaves the star on the pillow of the recipient who then does a secret good deed for another family member. Repeat! It was a great way to encourage a giving spirit that needs no recognition. My whole family enjoyed trying to figure out what was done and by whom.


When my brothers and I were really little my Mom started giving us one gift to unwrap on Christmas Eve. It’s always a set of somewhat goofy Christmas pajamas that we end up wearing all day, and even though we’re all getting into our 30s, we can still count on Mom to provide the cozy Christmas attire each year.