An Early Holiday Gift {Yes, a Giveaway}

Oh, the holiday season.  The traditions.  The memories.  The sentimentality.

And the realization that every family does things a little, uh, differently.  In my family, it’s a post-tryptophan, out-for-blood Thanksgiving Catch Phrase competition.  And the time it finally occurred to me why we left Santa an Italian Hero every Christmas Eve.

We all have our holiday quirks.

But did you put yours in a book?  No, me neither.  I’m a slacker like that.

That’s OK.  Because 1) If I put it in writing, it prevents me from exaggerating the details with each re-telling, and 2)  There’s a far better book out there than the one I could write.  This one.


The title says it all.  Can you feel the holiday warmth?

If you don’t already read Jen of People I Want to Punch in the Throat, we need to talk.  Mostly because I can send some folks over to help you remove the rock you’ve been living under.  And, as you can surmise from the title of her blog and her book, her sarcasm and wit have a special place in my heart.  Or at least in my Facebook News Feed.

Basically:  You may think it, but she’ll say it.  Brilliantly.

I read Jen’s book last month and loved it.  Cookie exchanges, bad Christmas sweaters, insane amounts of holiday decor — it’s all in there.

But I won’t ruin it for you.  Because you can win the book.  Yes, I have an autographed copy from Jen to give away to one of you.

What?  You want the book?  Wise choice, Grasshopper.

Here’s how to enter:

1)  First, you must follow The Fordeville Diaries on Facebook to have a valid entry.

2)  Then, leave a comment below telling me your favorite or most unusual holiday tradition.  {Don’t worry, you’re not being judged on creativity — this just keeps an official tally of the entries. But, by all means, feel free to tell me something entertaining to extend my holiday shopping procrastination bender.}


Entries close on Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 10:00am ET.  Good luck!

Giveaway small print: One entry per person. Contest open to U.S. residents age 18 and over. Winner will be randomly selected via and announced here as well as on Facebook. If winner does not respond within twenty-four hours, a new winner will be selected. I was not compensated for this post or for promoting this giveaway. I was provided with two complimentary copies of the book.  All opinions are my own {as always}.



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  1. Erica says:

    my favorite tradition is going out and cutting down the perfect tree, only to get it home and it being MUCH larger than it looked out amongst the other trees, and then suffering for the next 2 ½ weeks because I am allergic to said tree. 🙂

  2. Joy Rosario says:

    p.s. I LOVE your Facebook postings!!!

  3. Teresa Vanselow says:

    We don’t have any unusual holiday traditions other than having mexican food or hot chili on Christmas Eve.

  4. Lori Stevens-Nicholas says:

    I don’t know that it is tradition but my husbands family has the most random holiday meal I have ever witnessed. You never know what you will be eating before you get there. Take this past Thanksgiving as and example. There was fried sausage, crackers, ranch dip, veggies, baked beans, ham, green bean casserole, potato soup and mashed potatoes. I brought the mashers thinking we were having other normal holiday food. I have had Christmas dinners that included homemade spaghetti, a turkey, rotel dip, grilled hot dogs and other random items. It is so weird!!

  5. Lisa says:

    Decorating the tree for the first time. The other 30 times effing suck! Jeebus, cat can’t you leave off for one night?

  6. Christine Austin-Quist says:

    I love your page. We don’t really have any unusual traditions, except my husband HAS to turn the tv to the fireplace channel. We have a perfectly good gas fireplace that turns on with the flip of a switch but he has to have the tv one on.

  7. Kathleen says:

    We honor our 10% French Canadian roots with a spiced pork pie on Christmas morning. After sharing said pie with my husband’s family, it’s become clear that if you didn’t grow up eating the pie you don’t begin as an adult. Much like pork roll for anyone outside the tri state.

  8. Emily Butler says:

    Everyone gets together at my parents’ house to make gingerbread houses. My mom always buys a ton of candy. It’s not really Christmas unless at least one grandchild throws up after eating too much of the candy. Good times.

  9. April says:

    Sending random gifts to my hubby in Afhganisan! You just can’t send an appropriate Xmas gift to an FOB! I considered sending the Charlie Brown Xmas tree but thought it may be sadly appropriate! Then I thought about sending baked goodies until i realized what all this would require of me with my baking skills and just bought some premade baked goodies. This is his 3rd out of 7 married Xmases for him to be on active duty and I hope this is not a tradition we continue!! 🙂

  10. Marilyn Root says:

    For 40 Christmas Eve’s together, my husband and I have pulled old family recipes and spent the evening baking and making candy. He makes wonderful caramels and Scottish shortbread from his Canadian mother’s recipes; I make German cookies, especially almond crescents, based on my mother’s recipes.

  11. Alison Bradley-Carver says:

    My favorite Christmas tradition is the family breakfast we have together right before opening presents.

  12. Jessica says:

    Rockefeller Center has the annual Lighting of the tree, when I was a kid we had the annual Fighting of the tree. We would go out and buy a fresh tree and then my parents would fight until almost the point of divorce while putting it up about everything from getting it straight and centered to who’s lighting technique was better. Merry Christmas Kids!! Lol!

  13. Wendy says:

    My favorite holiday tradition is traveling 3000 miles across the country to avoid the guilt from dear ole’ Mom if a I miss a year. Oh wait, that sucks… That’s all I’ve got.

  14. Donna Cheatle says:

    One of our traditions is the breakfast we have on Christmas morning. Bacon and egg pie. It’s a tradition my mom passed down from her childhood. We all love it!

  15. Anna says:

    I love this book! We go to the zoo every year on Christmas, it’s awesome.

  16. Martha says:

    We cook. We eat. We open presents. We clean up. We eat again. We play games and maybe eat some more. We also drink alot all day!!

  17. Jaime says:

    Favorite holiday tradition is shrimp on Christmas eve!!

  18. melissa sweeny says:

    My hubby and I stay up all night Xmas eve wrapping presents because we are wicked procratinaters. Of is involved! 🙂

  19. Cristen says:

    My fav tradition is eggnog French toast for Xmas breakfast. My favorite part about it is that my husband makes it and I get the morning to relax with the kids.

  20. Erika says:

    We’ve started having fondue for Christmas dinner several years ago. We have our big, more formal dinner on Christmas Eve and have easy cozy fondue on Christmas night.

  21. madeline says:

    Among the many Christmas traditions we have in my family. One of my favorites is when my mom and I get together with my 3 boys and spread over about 2 or 3 days we bake and decorate waaaay too many cookies in (about 5 varieties) to give away to friends, neighbors and family

  22. Laura says:

    We go to a little town and split up- one child with my husband and one child with me and get little gifts for each other and then meet up and switch partners- we then go home and exchange gifts- we started this when we suddenly had our first Christmas EVER when we couldn’t go to my mother-in-law’s and we were all heart-broken. Everyone was cranky and snapping at each other and I came up with this on the fly and now we do it every year. It’s really quite amusing what we get for one another- our concept being nothing can be too small and we have a definite time limit- we should make it into a game show! (ftr, my boys are now 15 and almost 12, so it isn’t like we’re toting around toddlers with this one!)

  23. Heather says:

    Christmas Eve stockings for my kids from the grandparents. They say it is the little teaser for the next day.
    PUSHOVERS!! I never got my stocking early. I always had to wait those painful hours till the next morning.

  24. Amy blythe says:

    On Christmas Eve, I take my kids to the bakery to pick a cookie for Santa. Luckily, my kiddos haven’t figured out that we always pick daddy’s favorite cookie.

  25. raine says:

    My fave traditions is waiting on my always-hours-late brother so that we can open gifts. We take bets on how late he will be

  26. Christine says:

    Me and my husband cook a gourmet dinner, and make appetizers together every Christmas since we have no family close by to celebrate with, except the cats that enjoy it all. We usually have a beautiful holiday season, sometimes we ski if there’s snow and paint together (art, not walls)…Happy Holidays!!

  27. Sierra says:

    After years of spending two nights in a row (Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) up to our ears in overly-complicated meals and the accompanying dirty dishes, I decided that we needed a new Christmas Eve tradition. For the past three years, we have gone to the Chinese food restaurant in the airport (which sounds frightening, but is actually the best restaurant in my parents little town). We have elaborate pu pu platters and Peking Duck. We get to all spend time together rather than slaving all day and night in the kitchen while the men watch football with the volume cranked to the max. We drink too much wine and my sister (who isn’t 21 yet) drives us all home. BEST. TRADITION. EVER.

  28. Liz says:

    Nothing “unusual” to report from my family, except that the people in my family are unusual themselves.

    Our “tradition” if any, are those orange rolls from Pillsbury for breakfast, then the whole family gets together to exchange gifts and do dinner. My aunt usually gets pretty sloshed, and one year got a shelf sitter (a plant pot of sorts- it looks like a duck) but she was already a few drinks in, so when it came out of the box, she exclaimed “oh look! a self shitter!” She’ll never live that one down.

  29. Deanna says:

    Our favorite family tradition is to go sledding on Christmas Eve. I started this when my kids were so excited about Christmas that they wouldn’t sleep. I figured if I took them outside to play for HOURS then they’d have to get enough fresh air to knock them out so I could fill the stockings! It worked wonders and not it is my favorite tradition (now I love to make the 15 year old sled when it is totally something that is not “cool!”)

    • Christina says:

      I love that! I wish we could do that. Where we live there is never enough snow and even if it did have enough the closest hill is a dangerous road lol So that wouldnt work.

  30. Christina says:

    We have the normal traditions such as leaving cookies for Santa. I recently started having videos sent from Santa to each of the kids. I have two boys (ages 10 and 9) and two girls (ages 5 and 3) needless to say the boys are not fooled. But I still deny any claims that Santa is not real 🙂

  31. Stephanie Armstrong says:

    My favorite holiday tradition? Having nachos for Christmas Eve dinner!

  32. We do this old German tradition of wrapping a bar of chocolate really really ridiculously tightly, rolling a die, and whoever rolls a six gets to try to pry the candy bar free. It generally results in adults fighting each other to the death while screaming the worst combination of profanities they can think for a chance of some sweet chocolate while the kids look on, a little frightened.

  33. Leanne Haken says:

    My favorite holiday tradition is new pajamas on Christmas Eve!