Finding the pickle and other glorious Christmas things

Every family has their holiday traditions, and for my family, it’s traditions associated with the 25th of December and jolly-ole Saint Nick. I love Christmas-time with my crazy, wonderful family, and I love our Christmas traditions even more. So in the spirit of the holiday season, I present a compilation of some of my favorite Christmas things.

Finding the pickle

For those of you not in on this odd (and awesome) German-sourced tradition: a pickle ornament is hidden in the Christmas tree with good luck or a reward for the person who finds it first. This is a new one for me. Mike is German, so when I walked into one of Epcot’s German shops over Thanksgiving break and saw the giant tree of pickles I knew I had to bring one home. The pickle now proudly hanging amongst my glittery and shiny balls, and it’s glorious.



I’m Norwegian. And for Christmas (and Thanksgiving… and really anytime of the year), Norwegians make lefse. If you’re not fortunate enough to have put this glorious tradition on your taste buds, you my friend, have been really sucking at the Holidays. Lefse is made out of potatoess and it is often described as a flatbread; however it’s really more like a tortilla. Making lefse is serious business in my family, and if you don’t have the right gear (i.e. lefse stick, lefse grill, ricer…) the making won’t go well for you. Smother it with butter… or sugar… or fill it with all the meat and gravy you can get your hands on. It will change your life.


“Give up your dough for Christmas yo!”

We all have favorite Christmas jingles. But among the Rongstads, this is not one of them. This masterpiece by Run DMC found its way onto one of our epic Christmas CDs, and every single time we put on our Christmas morning tunes it finds its way to the playlist. We grumble. We complain. We laugh. But not a single one of us gets off our lazy butts to change the song. (I think it’s growing on us).


Frosty Friends


Frosty Friend 1990 ornamen; source:

Hallmark’s Frosty Friends ornaments have been hanging on my Christmas tree as long as I can remember. My mom has been collecting them since before I was born, and since moving out on my own (with my own big girl fake tree), I have started my own collection too. Some of my favorite holiday memories come from post-Thanksgiving decoration days finding the perfect place on the tree for my favorite Frosty Friends ornaments.



I’m Norwegian… but I’m also Italian. And Italians make the best desserts. Pizzelles are one such scrumptious treat, and my 100% Norwegian father was trained to make these (on a special Pizzelle grill) by members of my mom’s Italian family. He makes them every single Christmas, and they go so fast you better not blink around them.

 Fuzzy socks

Remember when you were little and you absolutely HATED when someone gifted you socks. Well, now we’re all grown up and socks are better than gold. I love all socks, but the colorful, fuzzy Christmas socks that my wonderful mother manages to find year after year are by far my favorites things ever. (And yes, I wear them all year long). (And no, I am not ashamed to admit that).


Yelling over Christmas lights

When I was little, it was my dad. He would spend hours (and I mean hours) un-tangling the hundreds of feet of lights we shoved into boxes in our post-Christmas slump the year before. Yells. Half of the lights wouldn’t work, and then he’d spend more time trying to find the one bulb out of thousands that was causing the problem. Yells. He would then have to go outside (in Minnesota winter) and attempt to hang everything before dark. More yells. Now, it’s Mike. He was tasked with hanging one string of lights (yes, one string), and the task was so frustrating for him that he lasted a grand total of five minutes before throwing the lights into our flower pots and storming back inside. Yells.


Yelling over everything else


Like who gets to ride the toboggan first or who gets the leftovers of broccolli cheese casserole or just yelling because we’ve been sitting in the same room for far too long. Yelling is a part of Christmas, and we do it because we love each other too much (I think).


Happy Holidays!