My Favorite Childhood Christmas Memories @PlungedinDebt

Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love the smells, sights, traditions, friends and family, I love it all. Unfortunately, most of my childhood memories of Christmas are pretty crappy. My grandfather died Christmas Eve and I grew up living in a house with a mother who had (has) ‘issues’. Even in the bad times I have a few good memories mostly because my sister and I created them together.

As an adult I have amazing memories of Christmas, mostly due to my husbands family, our friends and my sister, but in light of the topic being childhood I will share the good ones with you all!

Here are a few of my favorite memories:

Christmas Movie

Choosing just one movie would be way too hard. I have a few that I have to watch every year but growing up my sister and I would always watch:

  • Charlie Brown’s Christmas
  • Muppets Christmas Carol
  • The Christmas Story
  • Home Alone
  • Christmas Vacation
If Christmas day came and we, for some reason didn’t get to watch any or all of these movies, we’d be up all night making sure we crammed all of them in.
Christmas Carol/Song
Little fact about me…I use to sing in an honor choir. We were pretty good. We were really good actually and our Christmas concerts were my favorite concert performance (We held silver at Nationals). Given my love for Christmas and music, I could make a whole post dedicated to my Christmas song selections but my favorite carol growing up (and still to this day) probably has to be Carol of the Bells.

I can’t chose just one song (vs carol) so we’ll chalk it up to the entire Dolly Parton/Kenny Rogers Album or Barbra Streisand Christmas album. My sister and I would play these on repeat. What can I say, I’m an old soul. It’s no wonder my mom didn’t throw them out especially since the Barbara Streisand one skipped during her version of Jingle Bells….

Favorite Food/Drink

Oddly enough my favorite ‘Christmas drink’ was chocolate milk. My mom was the mean mom who only bought treats, including chocolate milk, for special occasions. Every Christmas my sister and I would have a glass with our huge Christmas morning breakfast including delicious hashbrown casserole, another favorite we only seemed to get at Christmas.

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or Both?

Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the year. Even as a kid I loved it. I loved the anticipation of everything and excitement of it all. My mom, sister and I would traditionally get dressed up, see the Christmas play at our local theater and mom would cook up a delicious meal after church. My usual request was made from scratch fettuccine alfredo…YUM. Christmas morning we’d wake up and do the same thing every year. Huge breakfast. Walt Disney World Parade (on TV). Stockings. Cleanup. Presents. Dinner. We would still be opening gifts mid afternoon because we would take our time and take so long with eating and watching the parade. 

In Canada we also have Boxing Day- Dec 26th which, as a child we would spend with my father (parents divorced).


My favorite tradition is one that I continue today. We would buy one ornament every year on vacation or special trip together to hang on the tree. Each year when we decorate the tree we would reminisce about the good times we had. My sister and I would usually fight about the positions of our favorite ornaments, rearranging when the other left the room since we both wanted ours in the center of the tree. In hindsight it was totally stupid especially given the size of the trees we would buy.


I adore decorating for Christmas. My favorite Christmas ‘thing’? The tree. I LOVE Christmas trees. We always have a real one and spend too much time picking it out. It has to be tall and fat but have a nice shape to it. My sister and I would scrutinize every tree on the lot until we found ‘the one’. One year we found one that my mom insisted was way too big but we didn’t care it was the one we wanted. Well the tree was much larger than even my mom thought…we ended up cutting about 24” off the tree trunk and top and had to totally re-arrange the living room because the tree was so fat once it opened up we almost couldn’t walk around it. I loved that massive tree though.Yes, we lost a tree one year…and many ornaments because not one but 3 cats decided to climb it.

School Concert

I hated these. I sang in a choir from the age of 11-18 but hated the school ones. I think because it was always such a long night waiting for all the classes in each grade to perform. My daughter is only 5 months old and I’m already dreading them (great mom, eh?). What really comes to mind when I think about school concerts though is car theft. My parents car was broken into 3 times in my 6 years or primary school as well as many other cars, without a doubt at least 1 car was hit during the concert, sad.

Kid Parties

Every year my aunt would host a huge gingerbread building party for all the cousins. It was a load of fun. She’d make the gingerbread from scratch too…so yummy!

I have to give a HUGE Thank you to Siccora at Tackling out Debt for arranging this series. Please take some time, head to her site and read fellow bloggers posts today! It’s beginning to feel like Christmas!


Photo Credits: Disney; ClarkDolly Parton/Kenny Rogers Album; Cat


  1. Justin@TheFrugalPath says:

    Catherine this is a great list of Christmas favorites. It’s important to remember that the best part of Christmas isn’t the gifts, we usually don’t even remember them the following year. The best part is the traditions and time we spend with those we love. My favorite movie is a Christmas Story or Disney’s old cartoon version of A Christmas Carol. And I’d definitely agree with you about Carol of the Bells. When I was a kid it was the “Home Alone” song.
    Justin@TheFrugalPath recently posted..Tracking Expenses: A Budget’s FoundationMy Profile

  2. We do the ornament tradition in our house, too! I think it makes putting up the tree seem like much more of an event when it has all those trips down memory lane!

  3. We also try to buy one new ornament every year…although maybe we should try to do that on vacation. Right now, we usually buy a magnet on vacay, but I like ornament better:) I hated those school concerts and programs too, until I got to high school where we did some fun choir stuff. Thanks for sharing!
    Greg@ClubThrifty recently posted..My Favorite Christmas MemoriesMy Profile

  4. I love the Muppets Christmas Carol and I used to always watch home alone around Christmas time.
    We used to buy a new ornament for the tree each year, but stopped for some reason. I’ll have to get back on that.
    Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted..Novemeber 2012 Goal ReviewMy Profile

    • Catherine says:

      You should for sure! Buy a pregnant lady one for your wife to remember the year you were preggers with your first kid!

  5. We try and buy an ornament each year as well. We always buy it for our Isaac as we imagine him enjoying Christmas with us as well. Our favorite thing to do is go looking at all the Christmas lights. There’s nothing quite like hearing our little ones enjoy all the displays and get excited over it.
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..Giveaway: Four Simple Ways to Save Money on GroceriesMy Profile

  6. You really have a musical connection with Christmas!!! I think that is pretty awesome.. I love this time of year, for oh so many reasons… The fact that we are getting closer and closer to being debt free is just the cherry on top..
    Jefferson @SeeDebtRun recently posted..That Christmas Time of YearMy Profile

  7. Christmas Vacation is my favorite movie! Love Randy Quaid in that one. Happy Holidays!
    Paul @ The Frugal Toad recently posted..Carnival of MoneyPros – Find Me a Holiday EditionMy Profile

  8. We do two trees in our house. One is kind of the pretty tree that has the same ornaments on it. The other is our special ornament tree where ornaments we get from family and such go on. It’s something my wife established with her family when she was a kid and she brought to our family. I love it!
    Michael @ So You Think You Can Save recently posted..Perform A Line By Line Exam Of Every Bill And StatementMy Profile

    • I like this idea and I think we’ll eventually be a two tree house especially when kid start bringing ornaments home etc! A real one and maybe get a cheap fake one for the basement.

  9. I also used to sing in choir, and now I feel like NOT having a concert this time of year means something is missing 🙂 We also do the vacation ornaments. So cute!
    L Bee and the Money Tree recently posted..My Favorite Childhood Christmas MemoryMy Profile

  10. We share some of the same wonderful Christmas memories. And to this day I listen to Christmas music all the time and love all of the cartoons & Christmas movies too.
    Tackling Our Debt recently posted..My Favorite Childhood Christmas Memories @TacklingOurDebtMy Profile

  11. My boyfriend and I started buying a Christmas ornament every time we are in Banff at this huge Christmas store! So far we have bought 3 together! Lovely traditions, I love Charlie Brown Christmas as well!

  12. So many great Christmas movies. It doesn’t feel like Christmas until you watch them. I also buy my daughters a new ornament every year for Christmas. When they leave home, I’ll give them the ornaments to decorate their own tree in their own home. Sniff. Sniff.
    Shannon @ The Heavy Purse recently posted..My Favorite Childhood Christmas TraditionsMy Profile

  13. Cool idea. And I gotta say, as a guy I am not a huge Christmas music fan. BUT, the Kenny/Dolly CD was introduced to me by my future wife and has become my favorite over the years, especially the song Christmas to Remember, always takes me back.

    Glad I stumbled onto your blog, I’ll be be back!
    Kyle James recently posted..5 Gift Ideas For Kids Who Have Too Many ToysMy Profile

  14. I love ornaments and could put 2000 on my tree if I didn’t contain myself. You will be able to make some great memories with your daughter. Mine is 5 now and she helped decorate the tree and it was so much more fun with a little helper.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..My Most Memorable ChristmasMy Profile

    • Yeah I can’t wait for that! Like I said in another comment, we may eventually turn into a two tree house because I love them so much!

  15. Great list of memories. We had a fat tree like that one year at my sister’s house. When they cut the rope it opened so far that it nearly pushed everyone out of the room. We still talk about that monster tree!
    Maggie@SquarePennies recently posted..Memories of Christmas Cookies PastMy Profile

  16. My mom bought us all an ornament every Christmas. When we moved out on our own she gave us a box with all the ornaments. Every Christmas when we pull them out I smile and remember each year (based on the funny, weird, and cute ornaments she bought).
    KK @ Student Debt Survivor recently posted..My Favorite Childhood Christmas Memories @StuDebtSurvivorMy Profile

  17. LOL that cat picture made me giggle. I love the Muppet Christmas Carol! I almost forgot all about it.
    Daisy @ Add Vodka recently posted..How to Get In the Christmas Spirit (Frugally)My Profile

    • Catherine says:

      I love cats but they’re evil when it comes to trees! Although our cat likes the tree skirt not so much the tree.

  18. Ah! I totally forgot about Home Alone. I watched that every Christmas too! Going to have to put that one on the list for this year. 🙂 recently posted..My Favorite Christmas MemoriesMy Profile


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