Seeing as I’m still pretty new to the big world of blogging, I had to think long and hard about what I wanted to post. I mean people will actually read this (maybe), and heaven forbid I choose a potentially boring subject, or even worse, something that may be embarrassing in the future (the internet IS forever, after all). After wracking my brain for days trying to decide which of my loves I would write about for you fine folks, I went to Walmart to buy kitty litter. I decided to hit the seasonal section to see the new Christmas selection. Halloween is over and the remnants of candy have made it’s way to the clearance rack. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I knew what I had to write about.
Oh yes, there are two types of people in the world. Those who cringe and scoff at the festive baubles and the sparkles that appear in every retail outlet from the big box store to the humble flea market in mid October. Then there are those who head straight to the seasonal section the very second Halloween items are sent to clearance racks. Awestruck by the glitter, holly and pine-y magic that only Christmas can bring, I am almost embarrassed to say that I am the latter. I try to contain my excitement until November, and don’t put up any decorations until after Remembrance Day, but trust me, In my head I’ve been singing Christmas Carols since September.
In our house we hold strong to the idea of tradition. Some of our traditions are old, coming from mine and Hubby’s childhood. Others are new ones we made together as a couple. Now that our little miss is with us celebrating her very first Christmas, it’s important that we create even more traditions that will include her. No wonder people celebrate the entire month of December! How else do you fit in all the wonderful traditions that the holidays bring?
I decided to share some of our Christmas traditions, both old and new. Some we are planning to do for the first time this year, and others are ones that are decades old. Some of these ideas are silly and simple, others deep and meaningful, but all of them happen in our house in December, and each one would be missed if it were forgotten.
- Egg Nog. I don’t know who invented this stuff but I search for it starting in mid November. Hubby hates it, but it was liquid gold in my house! We would always buy the first carton we saw when it hit the shelves, and there would be eggnog in our fridge until New Year’s.
- Pajamas on Christmas Eve. We both did this as children and I am looking now for Little Miss’s first pair of Christmas pajamas. I feel like this tradition is something that pretty much everyone does, and I’m not sure why it’s so important, but it is. You get it. I bet you do it too.
- Tree Decorating Party. This is one Hubby and I came up with the first year we had a Christmas tree together. We invited our closest friends for supper, drinks and tree trimming. Well, what a time we had! Everyone brought an ornament to adorn on the tree, I cooked a chicken dinner and we drank and listened to Christmas music. I even put a little 13” television on a chair and played a yule log dvd and pinned stockings to it. We made the cutest, ugliest tree I’d ever seen. I was so proud of it! Then the cat wrecked it. This tradition we will probably tone down this year for little miss, but even if it’s just a bottle of wine between mommy and daddy, and decorating the tree while we eat chicken and watch movies, I will still cherish the memories we made .
- Making Ornaments. In my house growing up, we made our ornaments. There was no pretty tree until we were teenagers. Just a whole lot of glitter, ribbon, popcorn, and pom poms. Even when Hubby and I got together, I would still (in my twenties) sit on the floor making ornaments out of random objects like spoons, corks, twigs and pine cones. I fully expect to do the same with Little Miss.
- Dinner with Family on Christmas Eve. Why have one huge meal when you can have two? This is one of Hubby’s traditions. I have no family in the small city we live in, but Hubby has his parents, and an aunt and uncle. Every year on Christmas Eve Hubby and his family would walk up the hill to his aunt and uncle’s house and have a beautiful steak dinner, with coffee and this amaaaazing buttery cake and liqueurs afterward. The adults also indulged in one (or five) glasses of rum, wine or beer. All I know is, I can’t wait for that dang cake. Seriously, it is the best cake ever, and from what I gather the recipe is somewhat of a secret.
- Opening a gift Christmas Eve. Again, I think this one is done by more than just our household. I can only assume some parent somewhere got sick of their child asking to open one they gave in, and thus a tradition was born.
- Chocolate Initials. My grandparents immigrated to Canada from Holland, and growing up they would always send these Dutch Chocolate Letters in our Christmas package for each of our initials. You can get something similar in stores here, and I have always sought out our initials to put in our stockings.
- Attending Church in the month of December. I try to make it to church as often as I can, but honestly don’t go nearly as much as I should. I never went to church growing up but now that I have Little Miss I wanted to teach her about our Saviour Jesus Christ. The winter of my pregnancy I decided to start attending church in order to learn more about it. I went to Hubby’s childhood church on a random Sunday and found it to be the day they lit the first advent candle. The children from Sunday School Class had made special craft wreaths and the priest spoke beautifully of the meaning of advent. I knew then and there I wanted to center Christmas around Christ for my child, and thus decided to make sure no matter how busy our lives got, we would attend church for advent, to remind us of why we were so busy planning our celebration.
- Advent Calendars. Yeah, I’m talking about the cheap cardboard sheets with generic imagery and sub par chocolate hiding behind little hidden doors. I might spring for better chocolate but how can you not love these? Especially since in my house we got to open ours first thing in the morning, thus ensuring we had chocolate for breakfast every day.
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Every. Single. Year. Usually more than once. I might even say this is my favorite movie of all time.
- Giving to those in need. I might not always be able to do big grand gestures, but I take time out around Christmas to help those in need and to serve in the name of the Lord. Sometimes that is donating my change to the Salvation Army, or bringing toys to a toy drive, or donating food to a food bank. We remind ourselves not only of how blessed we are, but of how wonderful and humble serving others can be.
- Making a Christmas Village. Every year Hubby buys me pieces for my Christmas village, which now takes up the entire china cabinet and is quickly taking over my dining room. I find myself every year turning off the lights, lighting up the village and getting lost in the roads and buildings and tiny people trying to skate and carol.
I know this isn’t all of them, but you get the idea. These small gestures we repeat every year define what the Christmas season is for us as a family. The beautiful thing about them is that they are unique to us, and every family has their own. Please share in the comments below your favorite traditions in your home!