Working mom confession: I’ve been trying to write this post about our family’s Christmas Traditions for over a week now. I wrote half the post before my computer froze and I lost everything I had written. I’ve also been working 50+ hours a week, Christmas shopping and spending my downtime with family so blogging has fallen into the background. But before Santa slides down the chimney and delivers his presents, I want to share with you why Christmas is our family’s favorite time of year and how we celebrate.
The blue and white Christmas lights were installed on the house in the middle of November. We spent Thanksgiving in Louisiana but I decided we needed to drive home on Saturday morning because I was so excited to start decorating for Christmas! Once we packed the car and strapped on our seat belts, I turned to my daughter, Sophia and asked if we could finally turn on some Christmas music. She has strict rules about waiting until after Thanksgiving to listen to Christmas music. Eyes shining with excitement, she nodded her head and Trey put on the new Pentatonix Christmas CD. Our favorite time of year had finally arrived!
My family LOVES Christmas and the traditions we celebrate during the holiday season. Even if those traditions change a little from year to year.
This year we spent the Sunday morning after Thanksgiving picking out a Christmas tree. We bought a pre-cut tree at Home Depot, not a fancy Christmas tree farm. Sorry, but we live in Dallas and there are not many cut your own Christmas tree farms nearby. My kids have never been to a tree farm anyway, so they don’t know the difference.
For the first ten years of our marriage, we had a pre-lit artificial tree. Unfortunately it was heavy and difficult to store in the attic. Once the lights stopped working, I convinced my family we needed to upgrade to a real tree. This is only the second year we picked out a real tree and I love the way it fills the house with the scent and feeling of Christmas.
By Sunday night, the lights were strung, decorations were hung and my daughter had placed the angel on top of the tree. I made our first (of many) batch of hot chocolate with mini marshmallows and we drank it out of Christmas mugs. We sat on the couch and argued, like we do every year, about the stockings hung on the mantle. Since our stockings do not have names or initials, Sophia switches it up every year and decides who gets which stocking on Christmas morning. That is not confusing AT ALL for SANTA (sarcasm font).
Now that the tree was up, Christmas music was not longer banned and the timer was set to turn on the lights outside, it was time for our next family Christmas Tradition… matching Christmas jammies! Ever since the kids were babies, I’ve bought them matching Christmas jammies to wear during the holidays. Unfortunately my 10 year old daughter now wears adult sizes, so finding matching jammies for her and her brother was impossible. To my surprise, she offered to get matching jammies with me this year! We found red snowflake one piece pajamas at Target and they are so soft and comfortable. Once Trey saw that we matched, he took Tallen to Target and they came home with matching Rudolph jammies with foam red noses!Family Christmas Traditions, we all have our favorites. What is yours? Click To Tweet
One of my favorite traditions is our annual family Christmas outing, probably because we try something new each year. Over the past several years, we have rode the Polar Express train in Grapevine, froze our behinds off visiting the Ice Exhibit at the Gaylord Texan, and attended the Elf Movie Party at Alamo Drafthouse. This year, the four of us are going to drive Grand Prairie to see Prairie Lights. Also on the drive back to Dallas the weekend after Thanksgiving, I secretly bought tickets to the Christmas Vacation movie party at Alamo Drafthouse. Our tickets were for the first Saturday in December, so after spending the entire day Christmas shopping for the kids, Trey and I went to the movie party.
Picture with Santa
However my absolute FAVORITE tradition is taking the kids to see Santa and getting their picture taken. We have a picture with Santa over the last ten years, starting with Sophia sitting on his lap when she was just 4 months old. The photos are framed and lined up by year on the table behind the couch. One day this week, I will leave work a little early so we can pick up the kids from school and take them to see Santa. Then we will add another framed picture to our collection. Sophia did inform me last week that she will not sit on Santa’s lap forever. I told her that was okay, she could just stand next to him as she gets older but she MUST take a picture with him as long as she lives in my house. Because FAMILY TRADITION!
Baking is something I love to do throughout the year but the holidays are when I get to go over the top. Christmas cookies is a tradition I started with Trey before the kids were even born. Each year I ALWAYS bake the favorites; sugar cookie cutouts, chocolate chip, chocolate with peanut butter chip, and oatmeal butterscotch. Then I try out a few new recipes or Pinteresty ideas, like sugar cookie pops or dark chocolate mint cookies. Once the kids were old enough to stand on a chair beside me, they joined me in Christmas cookie baking. This year we have only baked a few batches of sugar cookies and gingerbread. I have a feeling a big baking day is going to happen this weekend. The kids and I will put on our aprons, bake multiple batches of cookies then deliver them to our neighbors.Can you guess my favorite family Christmas Tradition? It's not cookies Click To Tweet
Watching old Christmas movies is also a family tradition. Several nights a week, we curl up on the couch in our matching Christmas jammies, fight over the Christmas throw and pillows, and watch all of our favorite movies. So far we have watched Home Alone, Elf, The Santa Clause, and Home Alone 2. We still have Miracle on 34th Street, The Santa Clause 2 and 3, Jingle all the Way, Polar Express and The Christmas Story to watch in the next two weeks. Seriously though, we fight over that cozy Christmas throw every single day. It is the favorite blanket in the house right now and it may need to stick around after the holidays.
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
When Sophia was a baby, we still traveled to visit family during Christmas but once Tallen was born we started staying home. Not only did this relieve the stress of traveling during the holidays, but it was the foundation of starting new traditions for our family of four. On Christmas Eve, I will cook a big family dinner (which really means lunch because we will eat around 2 PM). Then we will get dressed up and go to 4 PM Christmas Eve service at church. After church, we usually visit friends and come home fairly late so the kids can put on their Christmas jammies and go straight to bed. Then the wrapping begins! Trey turns on The Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation (not safe for children) and I wrap presents until about 2 AM.
On Christmas morning, the kids are not allowed out of bed until the sun is up and they have to wake us up before they can go downstairs. I will put breakfast casseroles in the oven, make a pot of coffee and then we will spend the entire morning opening presents from Santa. We never change out of our jammies, take naps all day, eat leftovers from the day before and play with new toys. It is the best day of the entire year! Later that night, we will drive around looking at lights and listen to Christmas music.
Our Christmas traditions are simple but they allow us to spend time together during the holidays. As our kids have grown, I enjoy hearing what they look forward to each year. Sophia loves the music and food at Christmas. Tallen loves the presents and lights. Trey and I love shopping together, watching movies and just spending more time together.
What are your favorite Christmas Traditions? What do you look forward to the most during the holidays. Do you have any unusual traditions you can share with me?