Thursday, December 21, 2017

Christmas Traditions

There is no time of the year more seeped in traditions than December.  We do so many of the same things year after year and I find a lot of comfort in that; things we only do in December which makes them extra special.  With all the shopping decisions to be made it's nice to have so many of our activity decisions done.  We'll just do what we did last year which largely works.

Until my sisters and I started getting married, and then having kids, our childhood Christmases were much the same every year, how we celebrated, who we celebrated with.  Some of those traditions have carried over to our adult lives, some of them we've instituted into our small celebration at home, must the three of us.  I know these will adjust some day but for now, there is a lot of fun in doing the same things, every year.

Opening One Present at a Time
There was never the frantic, paper flying every where, open all the presents within 5 minutes when I was growing up.  It was one at a time, every one could see what every one was getting.  We've carried that into our lives, which is admittedly pretty easy with only one kid.  But we still do this at my parents for our big Christmas celebration, for the most part (some godparent/godchild exchanges happening at the same time but that's usually about it).

Christmas morning breakfast
I try to mostly stay out of the kitchen on Christmas, prepping food ahead of time.  We'll let Luke open a present or two and then finish up our special breakfast (orange rolls, cheesy sausage, cooked apples), eat and then back to presents.  It's still a lot of sugar but at least not JUST that.

Gift Exchanges
We have WAAAAY too big of families to buy presents for everyone.  Including in-laws, I have 14 sisters, 13 brothers, and Luke has 45 cousins.  Buying that many presents would be INSANE.  So we don't.  We draw names between my sisters and brother-in-laws and each buy for one other person.  Luke is in a cousin exchange on each side.  Then it's just our little family, parents, and godchildren!  Keeps the shopping (and budget) MUCH more manageable and doesn't make our big celebrations all about gifts!

Watching the Same Movies
There are a lot of movies we watch at about the same time, every year:

The Family Stone while addressing Christmas cards on Thanksgiving Eve
White Christmas while decorating the tree
Pearl Harbor around December 7th
Love Actually and The Holiday while wrapping presents (during quiet time, neither are Luke appropriate)
The Polar Express on Christmas Eve Eve
It's a Wonderful Life on Christmas evening
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day while writing thank yous
Beauty and the Beast (1991 animated version) while taking down the tree

Boxing Day Stockings
In our early years of marriage we spent most of Christmas Eve and Day bouncing back and forth between both sets of parents houses, for various get togethers.  We'd open our gifts to each other in pieces, starting Christmas Eve afternoon at home and finishing Christmas night, with two or three others sprinkled in there as we were home.  Because of this we never got to stockings until the 26th and that has stuck, even though now we are home a lot more on Christmas Eve and Day.  (Quiet Christmas mornings at home is about my favorite thing about the holiday).  It's nice to have a little things to look forward to even after the excitement of Christmas Day is over!

What are some of your Christmas traditions?  I love hearing how others celebrate!

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