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December 24, 2012

12 Family Christmas Traditions

Let me start this post telling you that I am not blogging on Christmas Eve.  I am going to use the scheduler feature so it will "seem" like I am on the computer, but in actuality I will be in the midst of our family celebrations - yes, plural... 
Why do something once if you can do it again and again...
This was taken during Winter Wonderland at school.
Yes, my youngest was the one screaming to get away from Santa - he calls Santa "Ho, Ho, Ho" -
So his words were, "No Ho, Ho, Ho!!" 
I wanted to share my 12 absolute favorite family Christmas traditions.  This year, maybe because for once I'm so organized (ha ha)... or maybe because I've had an entire week of vacation before the holiday even hits, I'm so at peace at the moment.  I'm actually HAPPY going into Christmas - not stressed, not upset, not wanting to go hide... I'm really content with life.
Now this list of traditions are things we tackle over the couple of weeks leading up to the big day - it's not like we are doing them back to back in a "we need to do this or else my Christmas will be ruined" type of way.  I'm sure after I hit the publish button I'm going to think of more stuff that we do every year... oh well...I'm limiting it to 12.  Get ready for a long post... 

Tradition #1: Decorating on the day after Thanksgiving.  We decorate, we get the Christmas music going, then we sit and relax.  We then do it all again at my parents house either the next day or the next weekend to help out.  
Tradition #2: Bake, bake, bake.  This year I got smart.  Instead of baking up 6 batches of cookies (which equals 18 dozen) that we need for all the gifts, I made up the cookie dough in my mixer, and stuck the dough in the fridge.  Every night I just stuck 2 dozen on a cookie tray when I was cooking up dinner and had "fresh" ones for the next day's gifts.  I just did the last of the cookie dough yesterday and now we have cookies for Santa.
Tradition #3:  Becoming elves... I love the tradition of delivering lemons to our neighbors.  I know I've mentioned it before.  I also love that my boys are getting into it.  This year we also took 2 night drives and delivered lemons and cookies to friends and family.  We didn't call first, we just showed up and knocked on the door.  There wasn't time for them to rush around trying to give us something in return - it was just a gift for them to accept.
The second part of this is the RACK's in our community.  I cannot stress enough how fun it was to watch the look on the faces of the firemen, CHP, and the dentist when we delivered thank you goodies.  They don't get enough thank yous and to see grown men get emotional - it was worth it.  The CHP was also collecting toys for the kiddos in our community.  It's a good thing to have my own boys get in a habit of helping others.  
Tradition #4: Date night and wrapping party.  Once or twice during the month my parents take the boys and we are able to have a date to finish up the shopping and then we spend the rest of the time wrapping everything.  Yeah, I'm thankful for family.
Tradition #5:  I love when we do PJ drives.  We are the type of family that the kids usually go to bed at 8 pm, they read for a bit (or listen for a bit), and then it's lights out.  It's a fun night when we load up the car in our PJ's, blankets, and swing by the drive thru for Hot Chocolate.  Then we just drive around our town and look at the Christmas lights.  My boys are so silly.  It started a couple of years ago but they bring cameras with them.  When they see a house that has "stuff" in front of it - not just lights, but reindeer, Santa, penguins, nativity - we will pull over and they take pictures of it.
Tradition #6:  Movie nights!  There are so many wonderful kid's Christmas movies.  We have had quite a few family movie nights lately.  We always get PJ's on first, then pop popcorn with a touch of sprinkles on top (they think it makes it extra special), and then we settle down with the classics.
Tradition #7: Decorating Gingerbread Houses.  Enough said about that.
Tradition  #8:  Christmas Eve with my parents.  I know when I get older I'm supposed to make new traditions, and we have... but it's also nice to revert back to the same traditions that I've grown up with.  I love going over to my parents, knowing that Dad to have set the dining room table with all the fancy "Christmas only" tablecloth and plates.  My oldest son reads the Christmas story from Luke 2 out of his own Bible, we have a delicious meal, then we gather in the family room around the Christmas tree to open presents.  The youngest always goes first, then we take turns opening gifts.  The kids "deliver" the gifts to each person.  My sister is there too... we laugh - we joke - it's family time.
Tradition #9:  Christmas Eve service with the family.  It's so important to me when I can snuggle with my kids in church, singing carols, hold a little candle, and know we are worshipping as a family.
Tradition #10: Christmas morning.  We have a gate on the landing at the top of the stairs.  Standing behind the gate the kids can't see over the banister.  Every year my husband goes downstairs where the tree is and gets the camera ready to capture the kids expression with seeing what Santa has brought.  I help the youngest walk down the stairs since with all the gawking there is always a chance that some child will trip and fall...  Santa never wraps anything when he comes to our house, and he always sets up whatever big thing he brings.  He told me that he is bringing them a big play tent for them this year.  I'm sure that their stockings will be right outside the tent along with whatever else he brings.  I kind of think it's funny how many pictures we take since we are all in our PJ's and I'm not exactly the kind of person to broadcast PJ pictures to random visitors to our house - or put them into any photo albums...  
Tradition #11:  Christmas Breakfast.  We are having my husband's family over for a late breakfast - right now the menu will include Eggs Benedict's like normal, but I'm also thinking of Popovers and Sausage... We will have our 3rd celebration at that time with them - more presents, and then our 4th will be at my cousin's... This year we aren't hosting Christmas.  We were supposed to, but it meant more to my cousin - so she gets the big double side of my family at her house - my in laws are coming too.   
Tradition #12: Jesus' Birthday Party - Yes after we come home from all the extended family celebrations (a little earlier this year to let the dog out) we will have a birthday party for Jesus.  I make up our traditional birthday cake - it happens to be Angel Food Cake, we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus, we blow up balloons, and then the kids start playing with all their goodies from the day.
Fun times ahead!
What are your favorite traditions?

Hope you have a great day!  



  1. What a great set of traditions! Movie night sounds so fun! I bet the kids love it :) Thank you for sharing with us.

    Teaching in Room 6


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