There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays


Kendra Thornton Picture

I was recently requested via email to do a collaborative Christmas post on Valourbörn. The request was from a fellow adventurer, Kendra Thornton, who has travelled many places and written all about her experiences. This particular Christmas story is about her family’s traditions and the joy she finds at home.


Silver Bells! This time of year is always a winter wonderland here in Chicago as people light up with joy amid the holiday decorations and the shopping and fun times such as ice-skating and indulging in yet another mug of hot chocolate. Everyone is bustling about, shopping and planning, music and excitement filling the air! In my Norwegian family, we have a ton of rousing traditions that include lots of good, traditional food and drinks.

Shouts of ‘Skol’! –the Norwegian version of ‘Cheers’!—go up time and again from our outrageously wonderful family crowd as we gather together to make family recipes such as kringla and lefse and indulge in lots of laughter and good-natured fun. Christmas Eve traditions are special ones to this family, filled with memories and love. One of those treasured yet laughable traditions is an oyster shoot—where we literally swallow raw oysters all at the same time! The celebration is continued with a warm, yummy bowl of our homemade oyster stew followed by another family toast, using our strong Scandinavian spirit, Akvavit—which brings many a tear to our eyes as it burns fiercely all the way down! Skol!

Family traditions such as ice-skating, cookie baking and enjoying hot cocoa are always a part of our Christmas celebration, year in and year out. We set up our Christmas tree in the big bay window at home and load it up with bright lights and our family collection of special ornaments. Each and every ornament is attached to a special memory. Our decorating party is always followed by cozying up with hot cocoa and enjoying some of the freshly baked and decorated cookies—we make sure to leave some of those cookies out on Christmas Eve! Another fun family tradition is the reindeer dust—which is sprinkled outside the kids’ windows so the reindeer can find their way to us on this Eve of Christmas! Our children adore this tradition and are so excited every year.

In all of my years and all of my global-wide travels, I have seen Christmas in both cold and warmer climates. I read an article on Gogobot’s blog about warm vs. cold Christmas’s and there is definitely something to be said for being home for the holidays in Chicago! I treasure Christmas at home with my family amid the cold and the snow, my favorite season for holiday celebrations! Palm trees and rollerblades just cannot compete with snow-capped evergreen trees and hours spent ice-skating followed by even more hot cocoa, in my opinion! What kind of weather defines Christmas for you and your family?

Kendra Xmas Kids

The Thornton family loves our cold, crisp weather at Christmastime! We are embracing all of our traditions as well as enjoying new activities and making memories all the way! We are so excited to be staying home and hosting our family for the holiday again. We had such a blast at Thanksgiving! I wish for you and your family a wonderful holiday season filled with love and laughter, family and friends, wonderful food and memories to last a lifetime! Happiest of Holidays to you and your family from the Thornton Family!


Kendra has asked to hear my own Christmas traditions, so tomorrow I’ll put up a post of what makes Christmas special for me. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you!

What Christmas traditions are dear to you?

May your holiday traditions be simple in their act, but yet enormous in their meaning.



3 thoughts on “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays

  1. I love talking to people about their family Christmas traditions. When I was a kid we used to have family traditions, but that stopped a looong time ago, and now we do nothing. It’s a shame really, and quite upsetting, but memories live on with you which nothing can take away :)

    I’m looking forward to reading about your Christmas traditions (:

      • Ha, it’s fine. It is what it is! Such is the way of my family, and it cannot be helped, so why dwell? Honestly, I think memories are more precious than anything else in life. Anything.

Make a connection

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s