Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holiday Traditions

It seems that there are a number of deadlines floating around at the moment among the Supernatural Underground writers. I am lucky enough to have snuck under the radar. That’s not to say that I don’t owe my agent a couple of things, but I don’t have a hard deadline floating over my head like the sword of Damocles.

So in the meantime, I’m going to following along Tracey O’Hara’s recent post and talk about some of the holiday traditions that are important to my family. Now, we do the usual thing of getting together on or around Christmas, exchanging gifts, and eating way too much food, but the things that stick out in my head are the events that take place with my immediate family.

One of my favorite things to do is to attend the Cincinnati Zoo’s Festival of Lights show. It’s the only time that you’re able to walk around the zoo at night and they have every tree and shrubs covered in lights, not to mention standing displays of lights depicting different animals in flashing lights. My mother has a knack for picking either the warmest night of December – when the zoo is at its busiest – or the coldest night of December – when you are completely dependent on cups of steaming hot cocoa in order to keep from freezing stiff.

The zoo has a small train that takes riders around the park, showing off different animals and the lights display. The video below shows off some of the lights that are on Swan Lake in the middle of the zoo.

My second favorite display and considerable warmer place is the Krohn Conservatory. My family has a very old tradition of attending this place every year to see the massive tree when you walk in the door decorated by handmade ornaments. The exhibit hall has a giant music box that is made to look like the iconic places of Cincinnati, Ohio. And there is just the joy of seeing the different plants, bonsai trees, and the tall waterfall in the rainforest exhibit. Before the end of our trip, my parents would allow us kids to pick out one ornament to take home and hang on the Christmas tree. As a result, we have a fairly extensive collection of ornaments. For me, Krohn Conservatory is a peaceful place that will always remind me of family as we discover and marvel over exotic flowers while wandering through a glass masterpiece of construction.

The video I have for this place is a little old as I made it as a promotion for my book, Pray for Dawn. There is a section of the book that takes place in the Conservatory, but it still gives you an excellent look at the place.

So, what family tradition do you have over the holidays?


Book Chatter Cath said...

Hiya, I'd really like to do something different for a change.
Every year we HAVE to go to my In-laws for lunch, which is fine, everyone eats too much, exchanges pressies, drinks too much and then there's the blow up....some one ALWAYS has to dredge something up (due to the booze!!) and pick a fight. Thats NOT my idea of the Christmas spirit but it does seem to be a tradition!!!!!!!!

Sharon S. said...

The conservatory is beautiful! It reminds me of the butterfly pavilion in Durham, NC. I like going to light festivals. We don't have any specific traditions around Christmas other than we always get Chinese take out Christmas Eve .

Jessica @ a GREAT read said...

I always like to drive by this neighbor's house on the corner of a nearby street. They go all out on lights and decorations. During the day it looks a little odd, but at night it's really cool all lit up!

I also love baking our variety of Xmas cookies. We used to do this with my grandma all the time!

Even though I hate crowds, I still love xmas shopping too! I usually get mine down very early, I start in November and try to finish up early December. I am officially done and have been done since last weekend! I love buying gifts for people, especially if the gift comes as a surprise!

I also love decorating our tree with our million and one ornaments that have accumulated over the years! It's full of Disney, Barbie and other miscellaneous characters like Scooby Doo and others!

And lastly I absolutely LOVE watching the 24 hour marathon of A Christmas Story! It's my fave Xmas movie along with Elf! I could watch those two movies all month long and never tire of them!!

Brenda Hyde said...

I've never been to Cincinnati though I live in Michigan-- I NEED to go:) Our tradition is the little "party" we have on Christmas Eve with our three kids (10, 16 and 17). Everyone requests fun appetizer type food which we set out like our own buffet with all the Cmas platter, plates etc. then we play Christmas music, while playing boardgames of the kids' choice until bed. They have the best time and so do we:)

Tracey O'Hara said...

Wow - both of those places look amazing.
Being in australia - it's the beginning of summer. So our tradition was get up - open pressies - eat food lots of food. Play backyard cricket involving lots of alcohol and then my there would be the intoxication fueled family fights. I do very little Xmas things thing except have lunch with my hubby and boys.

JenM said...

In New Mexico and other parts of the Southwest, there's a lovely tradition involving the lighting of luminarias on Xmas Eve. A luminaria is a small paper bag filled with sand and a small votive candle. The candles are lit and the glowing bags are placed along the walkways and driveways of the houses. Everyone then goes out on Xmas Eve and drives around looking at the luminarias and it's really beautiful.