We put up our Christmas tree this week and it was extra special because this is Evelyn’s first Christmas! We got a real tree and we had all these intentions of making a trip to a Christmas tree farm to cut down our own tree, but alas, we ended up picking this one out at our local home improvement store!
The day we were going to go, I just did not feel like wrapping the baby up and dragging her through the woods in the cold. We want to make cutting down our own Christmas tree a family tradition – but this year she couldn’t care less and probably enjoyed the trip to the store in the stroller a lot more than the woods anyway! It only took us 2 days or so to get it up and decorated! Between meals and naps and bedtime it was quite the process.
This first holiday season with our new little family has really got me thinking about all of the holiday traditions that I grew up with. I loved Christmas as a kid. Although, what kid didn’t? My brother and I believed with all we had that Santa was up at the North Pole and we couldn’t wait for him to come visit our house. My mom played Santa so well. Our gifts were wrapped in Santa’s special wrapping paper and we never saw that roll of wrapping paper in the house. We wrote him letters the night before Christmas to leave out with the milk and cookies (and carrots for his reindeer) and he would write us back in a magical scrawl that could only be from Santa. Which of course matched the writing on the gift tags. I remember inspecting the crumbs on the cookie plate and looking at the glass the milk was in to see if I could see any of Santa’s fingerprints on it. Of course not though – he was wearing gloves, duh! My mom and dad don’t drink milk, so who could have drank the milk if it wasn’t Santa?! Even though they probably just dumped it down the drain. Santa was so magical in our house that it makes me nervous if I can pull off the same magic.
My family is not religious, but celebrating Christmas is very special time. We celebrate our family and the time we have together, appreciate all of the things we have in our lives, are grateful for all the gifts we receive, enjoy the feeling of giving to one another, give to those who are less fortunate, reminisce about past years, and enjoy the wonder and magic of the season.
Here are some of the traditions my family has at Christmas time:
The Christmas Tree Decorating Apron – I have worn this apron since I was small and tripping over it because it was too long. I really don’t know where it came from or why I started wearing it. But that is how the best traditions are made. Me and Evelyn wore it this year 🙂
Christmas Cookies – We use Mom’s tried and true Christmas sugar cookie recipe that has something like “good one” written at the top (I will get a copy and post). We pull out the 100 Christmas themed cookie cutters that my mom has and use the same 10 good ones. Of course, we always try the Santa head – but his ball on his hat falls off and Rudolf’s antlers never stay attached. Still, they are the most delicious cookies I will eat all year.
Christmas Eve Jammies – When we were younger we got to open one gift on Christmas Eve – but my mom got to pick it out. It was always pajamas. The first few years I think we thought it was a coincidence. But I loved having brand new jammies to wear that night to drink hot chocolate and watch movies in and then wait for Santa. I think last year might have been the first year I didn’t have my new Christmas Eve jammies (darn adulthood) – but this year Evie gets her first Christmas Eve jammies and that’s even better.
Christmas Crackers – These are a tube, like a toilet paper roll, wrapped in pretty paper that resembles a wrapped candy, that has two ends you are supposed to pull, and when you do they make a loud popping noise. Inside is some small toy or trinket, a paper hat, and a joke or riddle. We do this at the table before our Christmas dinner and then wear the hats while we eat! This is a common Canadian tradition (I am Canadian – from my mom’s side).
One Last Christmas Gift – I’m not sure when this started either, but my mom always saves one last gift that we open at the dinner table. I think it is meant to draw the Christmas Day excitement out as long as possible! And it makes the dinner table presentation look even better.
I am so thankful for my parents and everything they have done for us and for making Christmas time so special, with so many good memories. I can’t wait to start our own family traditions with my husband and our baby bear.
What are some of your family holiday traditions? Leave them in the comments below!