December 21, 2013

Establishing Holiday Traditions

So this is totally crazy considering this is my seventh Christmas with TJ - but we haven't started or created any special holiday traditions together! None, zip, zero, zilch.

For the first three years he spent Christmas with his family and I spent it with mine, and then we kind of just "winged it" ("wanged it?" lol) for the two years after that, and then last year, our first Christmas as a married couple, he went over to Germany before I did, and we didn't get to spend the holiday together. Sad face.

So technically, this is our first Christmas together as a married couple and I'm realllllllly looking forward to establishing a few special traditions that we can carry on for years to come.

But where do we start? I feel like we're marking history in stone this year, it needs to be special, you know what I mean?

So far we're thinking of having a little cookie decorating day, hunting for a special ornament keepsake, maybe finding a neighborhood to drive through to take in some Christmas lights (God I hope none of his teammates ever find my blog, lol) ... but what else should we do? What do you do?

I asked the lovely girls who are on my sidebar this month what their favorite holiday traditions are, and they gave me the following fun and unique ideas to consider and run off of:

One thing that I know is probably different is in my family we ALWAYS eat dessert before dinner. Our theory has always been that if you eat dessert first you don't have to worry about saving room for it while you eat dinner. I know that this is odd and it has taken time for the married-into-the-family folks to get on board. We always eat it again after so who doesn't love dessert twice? 

Sara from Life as a Hughes || twitter / instagram / pinterest

Every year after Christmas Eve Mass, my family meets at my grandparents for Christmas Eve dinner. Back when we were kids we would all go outside and look for Rudolph's nose after dinner. My dad was the only one who could ever see it, but when he DID see it, all of the kids scrammed to the basement to pretend to be asleep for Santa's arrival. When he arrived, he would stomp and ring his bells and talk to the adults, and he would leave gifts for us to open. Even though the secret's out now, I still sometimes wish I could go back to the days of hiding in a basement closet, hoping Santa didn't actually check my bed.
On my side of the family Christmas Eve is the biggy for us! All of the extended family that are visiting or still live here in Alaska (that is between 30-60ish people), get together at my grandparent’s house for food, games, and the classic Nativity Play that most participate in. It’s always fun to have, what some of us call, “sweat-togethers” with my huge family! I’m going to miss it this year though, because I will be spending Christmas with my husband’s family for the first time! I’m excited to see what their traditions are and see how my husband and I can incorporate both traditions when we decide to start our family! 

We start each holiday season with going up to the mountains to pick a tree and then continue to make the month magical by doing a book advent calendar, reading under the christmas tree with hot chocolate, making christmas ornaments etc. We also each pick out one new ornament for our tree every year, and after 7 years have quite the interesting collection! 

- Darlene from Young Mama Tales || twitter / instagram / pinterest

My husband and I love Christmas and have way too many traditions that we like, but my favorite one has to be watching The Polar Express. Since our first Christmas together we always set a date to watch the movie snuggled up on the couch. We make popcorn and drink glass bottle Coca-Cola. Half way through the movie we pause it and make delicious hot cocoa. That is definitely my favorite tradition and I hope it keeps going for many many years.

- Melissa from Blush and Jelly || shop / twitter / facebook

My husband and I just got married this past October, but as a kid my mom always bought my brother and I Christmas PJs and put a star on the wrapped gift. Every year she'd ask, "Who wants to open a present?" But would only let us open that starred gift, and it was ALWAYS the Christmas Jammies. Last year I carried on that tradition with my now husband, and I can't wait to do it again this year! I am still looking for the perfect Christmas PJs for him.

- Brittany from Happy Is A Choice || twitter / instagram / pinterest

My husband and I have been married two years, and most of the time we have been moving during the holidays so we don't have any traditions. I guess moving would be a tradition, but we are staying in sunny Arizona for the holidays!! One thing that I have always done is look at Christmas lights. I love seeing what people come up every year.

My immediate family (parents + brother) and I take food (sandwiches, snacks, and drinks) to an area hospice each Christmas Eve in memory of my grandmother who passed away at the facility on Christmas Eve 2003. Time is precious, especially at the end -- we were grateful for those that brought food so we wouldn't have to leave even for a few minutes, so we've paid it forward each year since.

- Christina from Route Bliss || twitter / facebook / instagram
Morning: A caloric breakfast of champions sporting sweet Santa hats, followed by taking our dog Stuart on a long walk through Heidelberg's old town. Midday: Open a bottle of red and begin baking my Grandma's famous thumbprint cookies and then our Holiday movie marathon begins. Evening: Out of the kitchen and off to dinner at a swanky Tandoori Indian restaurant down the street that we've always wanted to try followed by skype sessions with friends and family.

On Christmas Day my dad and I traditionally go on a hiking trip into the mountains. This usually involves the two of us getting some pea soup at a roadside cafĂ© before wading through snow that’s hip high. It might not sound like much fun to the outsider, but it’s quality time spend with my dad. After our hike, we usually return home to a nice, warm living room with our beautiful Christmas tree in it and my mum waiting with our dinner.

- Miriam from CL&I || facebook / instagram / pinterest
A tradition that we have on my mom’s side of the family is getting all of the girls in our family together for a sleepover a few weeks before Christmas to play games, eat, and watch Christmas movies. We have done it for the past 10+ years and it is something we will continue to do as long as we can.

- Melissa from Two Miracles || facebook / twitter / instagram

I LOVE all holidays but Christmas holds a special place in my heart. Every year as soon as Halloween is over I am in full on Christmas mode. I started the 'Elf on a Shelf' tradition with my nieces last December and it is quickly becoming one of my favourite traditions. The girls are always wondering what Candy Cane will be up to next and I love how into it they are!

Do you have any special or unique Christmas/Holiday traditions? 
If so, leave them in a comment below :)


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  1. My family doesn't really have any Christmas traditions anymore. When I was younger, we'd always do midnight mass on Christmas eve, and after we got back from mass we'd be allowed to open one present. Then we had to wait until after dinner on Christmas to open the rest of our presents because we'd usually have a huge family Christmas dinner. But since we all grew up we don't do that anymore.

  2. love the cookie decorating day idea x

  3. This post is awesome :) Thank you so much for sharing! This will be my first christmas with my hubby and I am trying to establish some traditions. This helps ALOT :)

  4. My family always rides around and looks at lights while playing Christmas music and we watch all the claymation Christmas movies (I am 150 years old so they are what I grew up with). Also some of our traditions are by accident. We just did things a certain way one year and the next year said "Hmm. Let's do that again." Like the meal. We ate one thing and it just "stuck." (for a while it was meatloaf!) Sometimes you just fall into them! Enjoy your day and try not to put too much pressure on yourself to create the perfect traditions! Some of them will happen organically!

  5. This will be my second married Christmas with my husband and we were dating for 8 years before that and we are STILL figuring out holidays! We want to see both our families and be together, obviously, but it hasnt been easy to figure out... but I think this year we've finally got it!

  6. This will be my 7th Christmas with my husband also! We always buy a special ornament each year, it's always fun to talk about them as we place them on the tree. This tradition actually started when we got engaged in December of 2006 (it was at a winery and we bought a wine bottle ornament at the little shop they had there) :) Now we have 3 kids and they each get a special ornament each Christmas also. Other traditions we have: We drive around the neighborhood to look at all the lights, then bake and decorate sugar cookies (for Santa!), then we get new pjs to wear as we all sit and watch a Christmas movie together while eating popcorn and drinking hot chocolate and then on Christmas morning I bake cinnamon rolls!

  7. What a cute idea for a meet the sponsors post! I love that you can make your own traditions now. We made cookies at my house this year and it was a lot of fun! I hope you have a great time and enjoy this Season with TJ!

  8. Ha, thanks for sharing Kym! I love this idea for introducing all of us gals on the side bar. :)

  9. I love holiday traditions: Me and my girlfriends go ice-skating and for food Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve is also new pyjama night (got to look good for Santa haha), I've had my jammies ever since I was little Christmas Eve!! Then it's hot chocolate and a film Christmas Eve!! Can't wait to hear all about your fun traditions!!! Xoxo

  10. There's some great ideas listed ... years ago we used to drive around all the subdivisions and neighborhoods in and near town to look at Christmas lights, but when your hometown turns into a "certified retirement community" (no, really, it has!) no one seems to bother with the lights quite like they did when they had kids at home :-/

    My personal tradition has been to collect ornaments for all the places I've traveled the last several years -- my tree this year is nearly full, so I guess I'm gonna have to get a bigger tree next year!

  11. What a great post, asking the various Christmas traditions and incorporating into a post, Find a church close by and go to the early service, at least here the early service is always Children and the Christmas Story and it gives you an hour to reflect upon your year and think of family and friends where ever they may be. Then some quiet quality time together to savour what it means to be with each other, that is our Christmas Eve Tradition.

  12. Wanged it. OMG, I can't stop laughing!!

  13. My BF and I have been together for just over a year; for the last two Christmas' we've gone to Primark and bought matching Christmas jumpers then we walk through Selfridges in London wearing them fresh from the store. We bring them out again on Christmas day to wear together!

    Katie <3

  14. Love all of these! Matt & I have made it a tradition to go look at Christmas lights every year. No set place or plan but, there's one house that we've been to the last 3 years that always goes above & beyond - it's so fun to see what they come up with! We went to Christmas Eve Mass this year & I want to make sure we do that each & every year. I also want to start some other traditions next year though... like cookie decorating or something of the sort! Would be a fun thing to do together!

  15. nice information and really useful one to read. thanks for sharing this valuable info with us.


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