My 4th grader recently had a homework assignment prompting him to write about his family holiday traditions. This inspired me to write about our family’s Christmas traditions on this blog. None of them are super unique or even that spectacular, but they are what makes this time special for us.
The weekend after Thanksgiving we decorate the house, buy and put our tree up. My hubby and I always set-up the tree, launching our annual “putting the tree in the stand” argument. Even though every year I make a promise with myself that I will be patient and not fight, it always ends up happening. In the end it’s worth it. Nothing beats the smell that a fresh live Christmas tree brings to the house.
I also load up all the fabulous Christmas CD mixes my BFF makes in the car. She makes a new one every other year. The kids and I have fun all season long singing along. The first Christmas song I traditionally listen to every year is:
I can seriously write a whole blog post on the awesomeness of this video!
My husband and I take time sometime during that weekend to watch “Love Actually” after the kids have gone to bed. We enjoy watching it with a hot cup of gluwhein (A mulled wine that is traditionally drank in Germany during Christmastime. We drank it while we shopped at the Christmas Markets).
On December 6th we celebrate St. Nicholas feast day. The boys leave their shoes out the night before and in the morning they are filled with goodies. That night I make a German meal.
The week before Christmas, we drive around and out and look at Christmas lights around our neighborhood. We also try to attend local holiday events in our town. Nothing is better than a hometown Christmas parade.
We have our big celebration on Christmas Eve. That is what I did growing up and thankfully my hubby was ok with making it our family tradition. My parents normally visit us during this time. We sometimes have friends and their families over as well. We normally go to the Children’s Mass, which is in the late afternoon. Afterwards we have our Christmas dinner. The dinner itself has consisted of many things over the years. I have cooked Italian, Salvadoran, Spanish, and American. I like it to be different every year. This year, we are leaning towards surf and turf. After dinner, we open family gifts.
We then watch “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” while enjoying dessert.
Before we put the boys to bed, we sprinkle reindeer food on our front yard and put out Santa’s treat. We have started to leave him whatever we had for dessert. We figure having cookies a billion times in one night can get old. Last year, he had Guinness chocolate cake and the year before flan. My hubby then reads them T’was the Night Before Christmas. Once they are dreaming of vision of sugar plums, Santa’s elves go to work (powered by festive libations, of course). Our Santa does not wrap; all the toys are ready for play. SO whatever their presents are, they must be in working order and have batteries in the morning. A few years it has been a breeze, but the Playmobil Christmas year was really a pain, especially once the said libations kicked in! The year Santa brought the life-like cardboard bricks was also hard. I was surprised all 60 of them fit in such a small box. Silly me! They had to be put together!!!
Christmas morning is very low-key in our household. We have a nice light breakfast and we really just watch the kids play with their presents. We also don’t travel on this day, no matter what. That is the only rule my hubby has during the holidays. During his childhood they did a lot of traveling on Christmas Day. He hated that he didn’t get a chance to really enjoy his presents that morning. He doesn’t want our boys to have to go through that frustration. We spend the rest of the day eating leftovers and hanging out. If my parents are visiting, my hubby and I sometimes sneak out to the movies. Some years we have gone to friends houses for lunch and dinner.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, this year we will be surrounded by a lot of friends and family that we normally don’t see during this time of year. I am so excited for all the new memories and possibly new traditions that we will make this year.
What are your favorite Holiday family traditions?