Hello Sweet Friend!
December is arriving and with it comes the excitement and thrill of the Holiday season! As, we're preparing, I'm starting to think about some of my favorite Holiday traditions, and the traditions I hope to start with my own family someday.
Growing up, my parents made sure to give my siblings and I the most magical Christmases. Every year, we got dressed up in our fanciest Christmas accouterments and headed out to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. I, traditionally, would fall asleep during Mass every year, only to be woken up by a boastful chorus and church parishioners holding candles as we all welcomed Baby Jesus.
When we returned home, my brother and I were allowed to open one present before heading off to bed, to open the rest of our gifts on Christmas morning.
I remember so much about those Christmases. The dark Church lit up by hundreds of candles, the smell of pine from the fresh trees when we returned home, my parents running into my grandma's room to finish wrapping our presents. The memories are etched in my mind forever.
Part of what makes the Holidays so magical, are the traditions that you participate in every year. And the ability for those traditions to remind everyone what's important: family.
Here are some of my favorite Holiday traditions, from my family to yours.
1. Midnight Mass. Though I don't consider myself incredibly religious anymore, I still have very fond memories of attending Mass as a child. We were the only family I knew of who went to Mass at midnight, and I thought it was very cool. Not only that, but it made Christmas Day much more enjoyable, because we didn't have to rush to get dressed for the mayhem of Mass at 9:00AM like everyone else. I don't know if they didn't know that Midnight Mass was an option, or if they didn't want to their kids up that late, but it worked for us. It should be mentioned though, that myself and my brother both stay up until the wee hours of the morning now, so if you'd prefer for your kids not to be night owls this might not be the way to go.
2. Christmas Tree Shopping. I know many people prefer to use artificial trees these days in order to help the environment, and save money, and I'm ALL for it. Buuuuut, there's something so magical about going to a Christmas tree farm or Home Depot to pick out your favorite tree. It almost feels like adding a member to the family for a short while. One that has its own quirks and imperfections, but you all love anyway. Not only that, but it brings an amazing smell into the home and creates lasting memories of driving together in the car to pick out your tree and celebrate with a cup of hot cocoa afterwards.
3. Holiday Card Photos. This actually isn't something my family did, but I always wished we did. And it's one of the things I'll be doing when I have my family. This year, Cain and I took one of our infamous trips to the beach to take Holiday photos.
We brought my camera and tripod and set out at sunset. I coordinated our outfits, set the poses, and the photos came out great! We didn't hire a photographer or make it anything too complicated. I even created the cards myself using Canva! A very inexpensive Holiday tradition that I can't wait to continue! A beach sunset Holiday photoshoot for years to come!
4. Christmas Movie Night! This is one I hope you do already! If your family is anything like mine, you also love to watch movies. And Christmas movies are no exception. In fact, during the festive season, my mom and I carve out a few nights throughout the month to watch all of our favorite Christmas movies, plus the ones that are new on Netflix. We started a little early this year, but the last two nights we've watched Christmas With The Kranks (my absolute favorite holiday movie) and Jingle Jangle (new on Netflix). I whipped up my famous stovetop hot cocoa and we sat with the fire burning and enjoyed a cozy night in. It was magical.
5. Trip To The Snow! Growing up in California meant that we didn't live somewhere where we got to experience snowfall and snow days at school. In fact, the temperature rarely gets below 30 Degrees here in the Winter. Definitely not cold enough to snow. So my parents made it a point to take us up to Lake Tahoe for several Christmases, so that we could enjoy the undeniable magic of a White Christmas. We've continued this tradition over
the years, and is one that I have so many funny memories of. Cain and I are going on a trip to Tahoe next month! Being from Colorado, he's no stranger to snow or a snowy Holiday, but it's something that brings me so much joy. While he skis and snowboards, I'll be enjoying Christmas movies and hot cocoa in the lodge. This is a fun one for the kiddos too! I have many memories of sledding and going to ski school as a child, and I'll continue the tradition of a snowy vacation!
6. Driving Around To Look At Lights. My family always found the best Christmas neighborhoods to drive around and look at Christmas lights and decorations. Our house was the only one on our street, so we didn't have a bunch of decorations to look at in our own community. There are many communities who organize in order to make sure every house is decorated and even coordinate the local radio station to play Christmas music while you drive through! A quick Google search will probably tell you where in your area you can find these fun neighborhoods!
7. Decorating Christmas Cookies. My dear friend Jaq and I spent one Christmas making dozens of Christmas cookies to take to my neighbors and friends. It was so much fun to set up our own production line and pick out the different ways we wanted to ice our gingerbread men. In the years following, I've made Christmas cookies consistently to send to friends or for my family to enjoy. Two years ago, my cousins from Panama came to visit for Christmas, and we all decorated Christmas tree cookies! It's such a fun activities to include little ones in because it joins crafting with eating!
8. Opening One Gift on Christmas Eve. I used to think we were the only family that did this until I found out years later that this is a tradition many families partake in. We always opened one gift after returning from Midnight Mass, but you can incorporate this tradition in any way you like! Whether that's having a big Christmas Eve dinner celebration and opening a gift afterwards, or doing it sometime during the day, I think it's a cute way to kick off the festivities. Christmas Eve is also a fun evening in our home. There's dancing, eating and celebrating, and opening one gift seems like a natural way to have even more fun the day before Christmas!
Well loves, that's it for today! I'm so excited for the upcoming Holiday season and I'm so excited to already be getting in the spirit. What are some of your Christmas traditions? Comment them down below!