Holiday Traditions


We have many holiday traditions in our family. It seems that new experiences and activities continue to be added.


Gingerbread Houses

One tradition I brought home from my teaching career is making gingerbread houses. I made houses out of milk cartons covered with graham crackers with every group of students I thought over 30 years.

Day 1–build the walls on two pint-sized milk cartons that the students collect and clean from the lunch.

Day 2–add the roof,

Day 3-decorate with candy that the parents supplied

Every year it was magical.

December 2019 was the first year I tried them with my family. I think we had about 10 teens and adultish people around the dining room table with graham cracker houses. I provided the candy. We laughed and decorated. There were no experts. Some roofs caved in. Lots of candy was eaten. We had classic Christmas carols playing just like in my classroom

Holiday Shopping

Another tradition is the annual Hoffman woman’s shopping event. Each year, my mother-in-law and assorted others including myself and Aubrey go on a shopping trip together someday during the first week of December. 

Last year was memorable.

We went to the outlet stores in Wisconsin Dells. Throughout the day, it was cold and snowy. But as we left the shopping center, it was blowing like crazy.

Carrying our packages, we dashed across the parking lot, I unlocked the car and we all scrambled inside. Louewllen, my sister-in-law Michelle, my mother-in-law Louellen, and my mom. Wait, where was mom? We sat there a moment and talked about where she could be…maybe she couldn’t find the car and was roaming the parking lot!

I got out of the car to see her getting out of another vehicle.

She had mistakenly gotten in the wrong car and was simply waiting for everyone else to follow. She did note that the earlier purchases were missing…there was a child’s car seat next to her…and it appeared that my sister-in-law Michelle was in the driver’s seat…

That’s when it hit her, and she said out loud, “I’m in the wrong car!”

That made the strange lady in the driver’s seat let out a blood-curdling scream which caused mom to respond with her own scream. Mom jumped out of the car at which point I saw her.

I got back in my car and the lady drove by my driver’s side. I rolled down my window and she said, “I don’t know who was more scared, her or I.”

I just smiled in a bit of confusion.

We talked and laughed about mom’s adventure most of the way home. It still makes me chuckle. 

This year, we had brunch and Bloody Marys at the Mineshaft in Hartford and then shopped in Cedarburg. Se stopped at Stein’s and Aubrey introduced us to the yumminess of “Crumbl” cookies.

But thankfully, we didn’t add “car-hopping chaos” to this year’s list of traditions. 

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1 thought on “Holiday Traditions

  1. I was halfway through making 66 small bags of frosting with Jackie Motl when we got the call that there would be no school on Thurs. NOW WHAT??? Hoping to make them in the new year.

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