Hi guys! It’s been a long time since I’ve written a more personal article just talking about my day to day life. I’ll be honest, raising two children is definitely kicking my ass. I’m not impressed with the stork who sent me two horrible sleepers. The sleep deprivation makes everything a thousand times worse.
Anyway, enough complaining about my sleepless nights. Let’s talk about holiday traditions, specifically those at Christmas. I’m looking to implement a few new ones within my family this year. There are quite a few I remember from my childhood and each of them were very important to me. Together, the small traditions add charm and magic to create the most special of holidays.
Right now, our traditions are fairly limited. We have Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve that are worn Christmas morning, dinner on Christmas Eve at my in laws, Christmas morning at our house and Christmas afternoon at my parents. We attend Christmas dinner on Boxing Day at my parents as well (Boxing Day is December 26). I had to think back to my own childhood and try to find some old traditions that I can make new once again.
Leaving Cookies for Santa
When I was younger, we used to take a chilly afternoon to bake cookies. Often times we would stick to the classic shortbread, gingerbread or chocolate chip variety, but sometimes we’d branch out. We would select the finest cookies out of the batch and serve them on a plate with a glass of cold milk for Santa. Often times we’d include a couple carrots for the reindeer because they deserved treats too!
Special Sweet Treats
My aunt used to make the most amazing homemade chocolate bark. For those of you who are unaware of what bark is, it’s flat chocolate pieces with whole almonds. It’s delicious. I remember after driving the eight hour drive to get to her house, having a piece of that chocolate bark was almost worth the headache from the trip. She used to make in it milk chocolate, white chocolate and candy cane white chocolate. Amazing.
My entire family had dogs. Each one of our families have at least one dog, and all these dogs were larger breeds who needed a ton of exercise. In the old fashioned women stay home and prepare Christmas dinner way, my uncles, father, siblings, cousins and I used to take the dogs for a Christmas walk in the forest. It was always fun to burn some of that post Christmas chaotic energy we had pent up after spending the morning binging on sugary treats and opening gifts.
Attending Christmas Eve Service
I wouldn’t say my family is religious. We don’t regularly attend church, we don’t pray together as a family other than the occasional grace before a large meal, but for some reason we attend church annually on Christmas Eve. I am baptized Catholic and our daughter is as well. I brought her to the Catholic service and it droned on and on. I much preferred the Protestant service I attended with my husband and his parents. It was more songs, a little performance of the Christmas story and the minister always kept the sermon short and sweet. It spoke of the true meaning of Christmas and a message I want my kids to learn.
New Book Before Bed
It doesn’t have to be a Christmas book, but just a new story that the kids can enjoy before they settle down for the night on Christmas Eve. If it’s a Christmas book, it adds to the magic of the holidays though.
My personal recommendation?
Watching a Christmas Movie as a Family
I loved watching Christmas movies as a family growing up. Some of the top contenders were the Grinch, a Christmas story, a Christmas Carol, Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red nosed reindeer. After the kids go to bed, it’s time to watch the hilarious classics like Christmas Vacation or the older classics like It’s A Wonderful Life.
Playing Board Games
Part of the magic of Christmas is getting to spend quality time with your family. One of the best traditions in my parents house would definitely include board games. It’s a lot harder now that we have children of our own, but we used to play multiple board games into the night. Our favorites were usually Trivia Pursuit and Buzzword in recent years. When I was younger, we preferred the classic games like Clue, Trouble and Guess Who. Check out my article on family board games here.
What family traditions do you have? Let me know in the comments below.