As we head into the holiday season, I’ve been thinking about our family traditions surrounding Christmas. Some of my most vivid and favorite memories from childhood surround the holidays. After spending some time diving into these memories, I think it wasn’t so much the activity but what the activity represented that makes them my favorite. It was feelings of togetherness, lightheartedness, excitement, anticipation and love that stand out.
I want to absolutely be sure that when my children look back on their childhood, they also remember these beautiful times and feelings. So, I thought I’d share a little bit about some of our Christmas traditions, ones that we have pulled from our own childhoods, and some that we are looking into adding to the mix.
By the time I hit 30, I had a Christmas decoration collection that would make Mrs. Claus envious. In 2014, we purchased our forever home, and now I have plenty of room to get all of my decorations out. There is just something magical about coming home to a Christmassy-decorated home.
Making & Frosting Cookies
Making and decorating sugar cookies has always been part of my holiday traditions. In our house growing up, if it was a holiday, there were sugar cookies. My mom’s frosting is the BEST, and, I believe, a well-known favorite of my childhood friends. I actually like to think of decorating cookies as only a holiday tradition. Simply because, if I didn’t, I would be eating these cookies like crazy!
Christmas Eve Mass & Presents
We always go to mass and open family presents on Christmas Eve. When I was younger we usually went to midnight mass. I won’t promise we will keep up this tradition with a little guy. But, I’m sure we will go to Christmas Eve Mass even if it isn’t at midnight. And, depending on when we go, we do all presents, except the ones from Santa, before or after.
When I was little and lived in California, we would pile into a minivan with some close family friends and drive around looking at Christmas lights. My dad, who is known as a rather eccentric vocalist, would belt out the Rumpapumpum from “Little Drummer Boy.” Actually, that may have been the only verse he knew, but I will forever cherish this memory. This is still a tradition I love, and one we make sure to get in every year.
When I was little, my dad and I would take an afternoon and set up our Christmas Village. We had a bay window and for the month of December, our little snowy town would take it over. I am thrilled because our new house has a bay window and my mom has finally, finally released the village to me. When I was old enough, my mom would let me play with the people of the village and I loved it. Loved it! We put ours up last week and N has already spent loads of time staring at it and playing with the little people.
A Helping Hand
We are so, so blessed in many ways. We have a loving, caring family; a beautiful home to celebrate the holidays in; feast after feast and party after party to attend during the season; and the list goes on and on. I want N to grow up knowing that we are blessed and that we shouldn’t take these things for granted. I am keeping my eye out for ways to offer a helping hand, whether it’s pulling wishes off a Christmas tree at Target or some other worthy cause we find. I’m hoping to find something we can do together as a family and can continue year after year.
Every-other-year we trade off Thanksgiving and Christmas in Iowa. The years we are in Iowa for Christmas, we put up our artificial Christmas tree. On the years we are in Wyoming, we pick a real Christmas tree from a pop-up parking lot sale. I recently learned that about an hour and a half north of our community, we can purchase a ticket and walk out into the woods and find and cut one down. Amazing! This is definitely one that I’d love to get added to our tradition list on the years we’re in Wyoming.
As I mentioned, one of my most favorite things about the holidays is the togetherness. But, I also love and cherish time with my little family. When we are in Wyoming for Christmas, I want N to get to stay home in his jammies, with his mom and dad, and enjoy his presents. And, I want to get to be lazy and relish the slow moving day and coziness of our home.
How about you? What kind of Christmas traditions have you pulled from your childhood and what has your family started on their own?
Be sure to also check out these Jelly Bean Journals posts!