What’s Your Holiday Tradition?

I love Christmas. And I start preparation the day of Thanksgiving. Long before it was known as Black Friday, I used to pack up the kids, go to a toney café for hot chocolate and baked goodies and then go shopping for one new Christmas ornament for each of us. That way, they would have enough to decorate their first tree after they grew up and moved out. Here’s a photo of the ornament my grandson picked out a couple of years ago.

So I asked the Miss Demeanors: If you celebrate the holidays, what is the first thing you do after Thanksgiving in preparation for the season?


Keenan, that’s a tricky question for me because I am terrible at planning ahead. The most organized thing I do after Thanksgiving is make turkey soup. I would love to get my tree up and decorated the day after Thanksgiving. I’d also like to get in on all those Black Friday sales. But what I usually do is nothing. Then, when the pressure builds, I go out and buy gifts. 


I love your ornament tradition! What a nice memory. 

In our household, the weekend of Thanksgiving we decorate for Christmas. This started when my husband I hosted an annual holiday party the weekend following Thanksgiving, and needed the house to be ready. Since then, even though we haven’t had that party for years, it’s become habit to get the tree up and decorated! 


Before I had my son, I mostly just wanted the day off. And I mostly vegetated with a book for the entire day. I had no Thanksgiving tradition growing up.

After he came into my life, I needed the day off more than ever, and there was always angst involved because by then I was firmly in e-commerce, and that’s like working in a store. Black Friday equals no day off. I even had to be on call on Thanksgiving.

When he turned eleven, I gained more control over my work schedule and insisted on getting the Friday off. Only then did we develop any kind of tradition. Usually, we have a day in Manhattan. We go to a museum and then brunch. That weekend we put up the tree. 

So, my tradition has been dictated by work and kid, and now I look forward to it. 


We always travel several hours to see my family on Thanksgiving, and then travel several hours back that night. So the Friday after Thanksgiving is mainly a day of rest. However, now that my children are grown and living all over, that day has become a time for catching up. My sons like to cook and often we watch a movie. Sometimes we play games. I always hope that we’ll put up the tree, but we’re all so tired. So mainly we just collapse and chat.


When we lived in our “big house,” we would go buy our fresh Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. At first, we bought a large Scotch pine, but then we discover Concolours, which have softer needles and a citrus fragrance. Now our smaller tree is placed on a table outside of our sliding glass doors and is purchased when we’re in the mood. So what I now do the day after Thanksgiving is rejoice that I have learned to resist the commercial frenzy of Christmas, enjoy a turkey sandwich (which is better than the full meal in my view), and curl up with a book. 


Nowadays, honestly, I don’t do anything special right after Thanksgiving. I usually go to work. (I’m taking the day off this year, though.) I went to a Black Friday sale once, just to check it off my bucket list. Never again. 

When I was growing up, I was a stickler about not starting the Christmas season until Santa’s float went by in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. (I was an uptight child.) As soon as Santa went by, I’d break out the Christmas albums. We still played vinyl records then. I’d play them on my parents’ 1960s-era hi-fi system, the kind that looks like furniture, until the record player part broker. Then it was my more modern, but less stylish, record player, with speakers that were larger than a child. Johnny Mathis and the Harry Simeone Chorale were always first. When I got older and streaming replaced vinyl, it was still the same music, played on my phone. Once, the year before last, I played Christmas music as soon as Sirius XM started their Christmas station. It felt like cheating. I’ll wait this year.

Share with us below or on Facebook or Twitter! What’s your holiday tradition?


Keenan Powell


Keenan Powell is the Agatha, Lefty, and Silver Falchion nominated author of the Maeve Malloy Mystery series, Deadly Solution, Hemlock Needle, Hell and High Water.

While still in high school, she was one of the illustrators of the original Dungeons and Dragons. Art seemed an impractical pursuit – not an heiress, wouldn’t marry well, hated teaching – so she went to law school instead. When not writing or practicing law, Keenan can be found oil painting, studying the Irish language, or hanging out with her friends at mystery conventions.

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