Everyone loves to go home for the holidays – whether it is to Grandma’s house or home to a new house. It is great to start new traditions and keep old ones. We have some great tips on how to decorate for the holidays – how to work color into your decor from Cindi MacPherson of Interior Partners and how to incorporate nature into your decor from Donna Mathis of DMD Designs. Just visit our Trends section on Design to read these articles.

The team at Atlanta Real Estate Forum thought it would be fun to share some of our holiday traditions. We hope you enjoy them and will share some of yours with us as well!

Laura Everett – I’m really excited because this year and next year are going to be the start of some new traditions for my family as I just purchased my first home and we are preparing for a new addition to our family (our first addition). While there are many traditions from my childhood that I would like to carry on to the next generation (like unwrapped Santa presents and going to the Fox Theatre to catch the Atlanta Ballet’s The Nutcracker), one that I am happy to let go of is our annual Christmas Eve shopping excursion. Growing up, my family would spend the night of December 23rd at a hotel near an Atlanta mall, typically it was the Marriott connected to Lenox Mall. This way, we could spend the 23rd and 24th getting all of our Christmas shopping done without having to battle traffic. While I always had a great time and loved this tradition as a kid, it has trained me in my adult life to wait until Christmas Eve to get my shopping done – not a good habit to have.

Mike Rieman—On Christmas Eve, we typically gather around 2 p.m. at either my mother-in-law or sister-in-laws house. We play video games, board games and watch Home Alone or Christmas Vacation. Around 6 p.m., we bring dinner in (usually wings or pizza) and enjoy dining in a non-formal atmosphere in front of the television. Typically, there are a lot of laughs. We like to have a good time.  During dinner we formulate our plan as to where we will drive that evening to see Christmas lights. As soon as dinner is over, we all pile into my mother-in-laws Expedition to see the lights. Once we get home and the kids are asleep, my wife and I exchange a few gifts and prepare for Christmas morning out our house.

Michelle Serra – Every Christmas Eve my family gets together to open one present. You can chose any present big or small. After we all hang out and watch Christmas movies and eat popcorn on the couch. For the past few years we’ve gone to Michigan to see my family who lives up there. We spend Christmas morning at my dad’s mom’s house and the evening at my mom’s parent’s. Its great to see both sides of the family and catch up with my cousins and everyone. My dad is the oldest of 10 and my mom is the third of six, so there’s a lot of catching up to do because I have 75 aunts, uncles and first cousins alone.

Carol Flammer – My newest tradition is to do all of my shopping via the Internet. The past two years I’ve been able to complete everything online in a number of hours and then just venture out to Target for a few other miscellaneous gifts. So far that has started off well this year.  Other traditions include decorating a live tree with family memorabilia while a fire roars in the fireplace. We drink hot chocolate and egg nog and everyone is welcome to participate. We like to go to Christmas Eve services at our church. After church we leave chocolate chip cookies out for Santa and reindeer food.

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