Non-traditional Traditions

Living away from my extended family became a given when J joined the military. Since we’ve been married, the closest I lived to our families was a seven-hour drive. The closest Little Bug has ever lived to her grandparents is an airplane ride half way around the world. This leaves us spending most of our holidays with friends or just as our family, which has given us a lot of freedom to make our own traditions.

Our first tradition came about after we got married. I wanted a Christmas tree full of ornaments, but we were poor and that was an unnecessary expense. Instead J suggested we buy a single ornament each year. We try to find something weird or at least meaningful and unique. Seven years of marriage later our tree is still a little bare, but I love everything we hang on it.

Our first ornament J picked it out and it’s his favorite still.
The ornament for Little Bug’s second Christmas and my all time favorite.



Here are two of the best ones on our tree!





Every Christmas Eve we watch an old animated movie. Jack Frost is my favorite, but I’m happy if Rudolph or Frosty the Snowman is on the screen too.

And the first snow we make snowball cookies. Little Bug may not even get a chance to bake cookies with her grandmas before the holidays and decorate sugar cookies with her cousins on Christmas Eve, but she will remember snow ball cookies.

What are snowball cookies? They’re crinkle cookies, but we renamed them.

The recipe is simple.

Snowball Cookies

1 box of cake mix (any flavor, but our favorites are strawberry and lemon)

1 egg

8 oz Cool Whip

Powdered sugar

Sprinkles (optional)

Heat the oven to 350 and grease a cookie sheet. In a large bowl beat the egg a little then add the cake mix and Cool Whip. Mix everything together. (It will be sticky!) Roll a TBSP of the dough in powdered sugar and set on the greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 10-12 minutes. Add sprinkles if you want!

I couldn’t get a picture before little hands were trying to snatch one up!


The powdered sugar looks like snow, hence the rename. I made them with Little Bug when she was a bit over a year old, and she loved playing in the powdered sugar. When she was two we started calling them snow ball cookies, and now at three we ran out to get the ingredients as soon as the snow started sticking to the ground.

People (well-meaningly I’m sure) have asked me if I get sad we don’t live near our families, and Little Bug won’t have the same type of memories I have from my small town childhood. Honestly, it does make me sad sometimes, but she has things like snowball cookies, baby pictures in Tokyo, and memories of exploring castles here in Germany.

I like our traditions even if they aren’t the traditional kind.


  1. Stefanie says:

    Your tradition is so cute and meaningful. I’m definitely going to try those cookieswith my little one. They look yummy

  2. Becca says:

    We love getting a new ornament for the tree each year too. Brings back awesome memories when you decorate each year. And those cookies look great! Pinning for my littles. 🙂

    1. admin says:

      It really does! It’s crazy how when we bought the ornament just comes back. We look all year long, and especially if we go on a trip or are moving somewhere we’ll try to get one there.

  3. Elle says:

    Those cookies sound delicious! I love that you can customize the flavors to your liking.

    1. admin says:

      That’s my favorite part! I like making them for parties and having a variety of flavors for people.

  4. Des Mon says:

    Nice to have traditions right? Sure your family will look forward to this events every year.

    1. admin says:

      It’s hard to find traditions that move with us, but even if we move somewhere without snow I figure it can be a first day of winter tradition!

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