A belated Happy New Year

fHappy New Year, dear readers- new and old!  I apologize for my disappearance after the holidays.  The day after Christmas I got really, really sick and did nothing but lay in bed for nearly four days.  Then Dan got sick.  And then it was New Years.  It's been a bit crazy ever since, but I'm catching up with my little shop and blog.  It's about time and I've got lots to share.

I wanted to thank all who participated in the Sew Mama Sew giveaway!  I had so much fun reading your comments and thank you for sharing your favorite holiday traditions with me.  I think I might be incorporating some of them into our holiday festivities in the future!  I love your comments so much, that I wanted to share them with you all.  Maybe you'll adopt one or two as your own tradition.

But first, I should officially announce the winner. Heather, comment number 40, was selected via the Random Number Generator.  Heather was notified immediately after the contest was finished, but I figured I should make it official here as well.  (Heather, your necklace in the mail and should be on your doorstep any day now.  Again, thank you for your patience!)

Favorite Holiday Traditions from Helen Ethel Studio readers:

My favorite tradition is our annual Christmas Breakfast! It is a nice time together and always filled with wonderful treats! Jingle

I love attending the Festival of Lights in Lyon during the holiday season - Sarah
Every Christmas we all go to the midnight church service on Christmas Eve - it's so magical! - Gill
We have one that involves pouring over all the pictures we took during the year and picking the perfect one for our Christmas Card. The discussions are lively!!  - Spontaneous Threads
I love putting up the tree and the daily count down on the advent calendar! Nancy
We love making gingerbread houses every year! Deserae

My favorite holiday tradition is any type of Secret Santa giving. Drawing names at work, adopting a family, angel trees...I looooove them all. :) - Daydream Kate
That is so pretty and unique! After Christmas my mom and I get together and cut up all the cards we received and make new ones for next year! Esther
My favorite tradition is cutting down our Christmas tree! - Amy
What a beautiful necklace! I enjoy listening to Christmas music while decorating the tree. - Sandy and Cosmo
I love baking and decorating Christmas cookies! MissMary
After all the running around is done, my husband and I get to snuggle up on the couch and watch Love Actually - my favorite movie. It's a quiet, cozy tradition that I love. :) - Burrito
We have a tradition of giving a special ornament to each of the boys on Christmas Eve. Lora W.
I like the end of the day when me and my Mum get home and relax in front of the telly with a bottle of champagne. - Shevvy
So beautiful! I love your work! My favourite tradition is cutting down the christmas tree in the woods behind our house. Susan
Wow that thing is beautiful! My family plays board games for the holidays. - Angie
My favorite tradition is christmas eve with family. eating, visiting and wearing the kids out so they will sleep. thanks for a great giveaway - CMEH
Our family tradition is reading every afternoon, with tea or cocoa and biscuits...in German we say: gemütlich LOL 
 - Claudia
A group of family friends and my family get together and bake/decorate cookies. We've been doing it since I was two, so it's definitely a tradition that we all look forward to.  Kess
After dinner, my family and friends all go out and watch a movie. Then we head back to my mom's house and eat leftovers and watch the guys play poker!! Sarah W.
I love doing an Advent calendar for my kids every year! - Heather

I love getting together with family and friends and celebrate Christ's birth! Making cookies, croquettes and olibolen. - Ash and Geoff

One of my favorite holiday traditions is to do my Christmas baking cinnamon pecans, chex mix and toffee. - Robbie
I love painting cookies with my mom and sisters while listening to Christmas music and recalling funny stories. - Shayla S.
We started a new tradition this year with our children. We hand made our own advent calendar which has been a wonderful success. I also made each child their own personalised felt bouble. Cant wait till next year to do it all again!! - Steph
I love baking cookies with the kids. - Ann S.

We always have a Christmas party. The whole family invites their friends (that includes my parents and siblings) so there's people of all ages having fun. :) - Alessa
I like going to the German-language service at the local Lutheran church with my father - it's the one thing just the two of us do together. - Dang and Blast!
At Christmas we always spend lots of time putting up our tree and decorating the home. - Knitgirl66
My favorite holiday tradition is cooking up some homemade caramel corn! - Duff
As for my holiday tradition, they change some based on what directions my family is moving. But my mother made a special dish and I like to make it each year, to anchor me to some continuity. And I like to have my children over, share some food and play a game together. We all enjoy the shared fun. Michelle
My family is just starting traditions this year, we're doing 3: advent calendar, Christmas Eve church service, and my newest fun thing, which may become my favorite (I'm not sure since I just got the fruit loops tonight after the kids went to bed): making fruit loop garland for the tree! - Caren
Enjoying the lights Ballardquilter
We have a Jesse Tree we put ornaments on every day during Advent. - Laura
On Christmas eve we make rum balls, go to church, then come home and watch "It's a Wonderful Life." I can't wait. Merry Christmas! - Anne