Our Family Holiday Traditions

It’s that time of year again. Whether you’re the family that waits to put up the Christmas tree after Thanksgiving or immediately after Halloween, the warmth of the holiday season is certainly in the air! Here’s a list of things my family does to delight in some Christmas cheer.

Twinkling Lights

There’s a brief window of time with the weather before the cold snap hits in the month of December where it’s pleasant to be outside. One of the first things we do is visit the lights at the Baton Rouge General Hospital on Bluebonnet. It’s about a 10-20 minute visit. If we go early enough, we like to drive around the neighborhoods afterwards and find the best decorated home while listening to holiday music on the radio.

We also make it a point to check out the Zoo Lights at the Baton Rouge Zoo during the holiday season. This visit ranges from 30 minutes to an hour. There are many fun illuminated sculptures and displays. This event takes place at night when most of the animals have been brought inside, but it’s always fun to see which animals can be found for both the young and young at heart.

Mmm. Mmm. Yum!

Every December I make a double batch of Orange Drop Cookies. These cookies are a labor of love but are always a crowd pleaser! My grandmother made this recipe throughout my childhood. One year she gave me the recipe. I get close to making these cookies as good as Grandma’s cookies. 

For a salty treat, we look forward to the coveted Jax Cheese Puffs. My husband’s side of the family likes this cheesy treat so much that it comes as a gift with several family-sized bags for each household. Cousins in the family also covet these bags of cheese gold. Once the bag is opened, it’s hard to stop devouring them!


I adore getting the annual photo of my son, David, with Santa. We enjoy the magical experience where David sits with Santa and tells him what he wants for Christmas. We like to take pictures with Santa at either the Mall of Louisiana or Alexander’s Highland Market on Highland Road.

I’m looking forward to another picture: it’s the family picture taken on Christmas Day, or if you’re like my family, it’s the day we actually celebrate Christmas together. Sometimes the pets make it into the family photo. We are known to include in the family picture the Jax Cheese Puffs too. No matter what, we like to have fun!


It wouldn’t be the Christmas season without watching some of our favorite holiday specials! My husband and I attend the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra and Chorus Holiday Concert to silently cheer on my in-laws, and obviously listen to the beautiful music, as a date night. This year, we’re a little excited and anxious as this will be the first time we’ll be bringing our son.

There are a handful of Christmas movies that we watch too. In no particular order: It’s a Wonderful Life, Die Hard, The Family Man and Mystery Science 3000: Jack Frost.

On Christmas Eve, we leave the Christmas tree illuminated all night into Christmas Day. A plate with cookies and a cup of milk are left out for Santa overnight too. He always stops for at least one bite of the cookies at our house.

On Christmas Day, we open presents in our pajamas and spend the whole day with family while feasting. Sometimes we sing Christmas carols, read the famous editorial, “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” and reminisce about how good God has been to our family and acknowledge the countless blessings that we have – remembering the real reason for the season: the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

I have a feeling that many families share similar traditions as our family. I hope that some will inspire you. May they contribute to your sense of comfort and belonging as we begin to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.  

Angela Martin
Originally from Minden, LA, Angela and her spouse, Cameron, moved to Baton Rouge to start their careers and family. When they aren’t working, you might catch them playing at the park or checking out library books with their son, David. Angela is mostly introverted and a deep thinker. She enjoys self-improvement books as well as romance and underdog stories. When she isn’t keeping to herself, she enjoys laughing with loved ones, making memories and developing authentic deep relationships. She hopes to connect more with her community.


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