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Last year we made the hard decision to stay home for the holidays. The previous year we went home for Christmas, and despite being with all of our family, and in our favorite place (New Mexico), it was really depressing to wake up in a hotel room on Christmas morning. I know there are worst things in life, but we ended up being so busy running to and from different places seeing family and friends, that we didn’t get to actually enjoy the season. We were so busy and stressed, and we decided right then and there that we needed to do what was best for our family and start staying home.
Because we’re staying put for the holidays, and because our family has grown in the past three years, we’re excited about creating our own Christmas traditions. These aren’t extravagant or anything too out of the ordinary, but they’re the things I hope my girls will look back on when they’re older and know that even though we may travel a lot and move homes often, that some things can be done no matter where we are.
Cherishing the Present
I’m partnering with Glade® and the Glade® Limited Edition Winter Collection, and while I was standing in Kroger, trying to figure out which scent from the collection I liked the best, there was one that caught my eye, as well as my nose, CHERISH THE PRESENT™ Apple Cinnamon. The second I smelled it, it literally made me do one of those happy sighs. It’s rich and inviting, comforting and uplifting, spicy and sweet, and it embodies exactly what I was feeling when I sat down to think about our family’s traditions.
Since my husband is in the military, any holiday that he gets to spend with us is a gift in and of itself. We “cherish the present” because we know he may be gone the next year, or for the next holiday, or the next birthday. So, while we don’t spend Christmas Eve or Christmas Day with our extended family, it’s nice knowing that we’re laying the foundation down and making memories with our little immediate family.
Celebrating with New Christmas Traditions
Christmas time is all about “cherishing the present” and enjoying the season with your family, and I hope we can follow through with these for years to come. The following are a few Christmas traditions we’re starting to implement, along with a couple I’m excited to start doing when they’re a little older. I’d love to hear about Christmas traditions you do with your family, so don’t forget to mention them in the comments!
Decorate the House the Day after Thanksgiving
I’ve mentioned this before, but my husband is a holiday purist; he likes celebrating each holiday as they come. This means that come Black Friday, we pack away all things fall, switch on the Christmas music, and start decking our halls! I guess we could start calling it Christmas Friday instead of Black Friday 🙂
Take Cookies and Baked Goods to Our Neighbors
I have good intentions every year for wanting to deliver cookies to our neighbors, but I always forget to follow through. But not this year! I already bought some cute boxes to put the treats in, and I’m making a little list of what I want us to make. I enjoyed doing this growing up, and I’d like my kids to get in on the generous act, too.
Drive Around One Night to See Christmas Lights
We’re somewhat strict when it comes to bedtime at our house, but we do make exceptions once in awhile, and we make sure Julia knows it’s a special treat to stay up late, not the norm. Last year she could’ve cared less about seeing the lights (she actually fell asleep in the car), but I have a feeling she’s going to love it this year. Everything is magical to her now…just as it should be! And what better treat is there to stay up late listening to Christmas music and seeing pretty lights?!
New Jammies for the Night You Decorate for Christmas
I saw a friend post this on Facebook, and I LOVED the idea. Why wait until Christmas Eve for new pajamas? Kick the Christmas season off with presents under the newly decorated tree! Give the kids new jammies for the first night that the Christmas tree is up. We actually sort of did this this year, but because I couldn’t find matching Christmas pajamas for the girls (and because these owl jams were only $5), they get matching footed owl PJ’s this time.
Activity Advent Calendar
We’ll start implementing this when the girls are little older (I’m hoping Julia could be ready next year to understand and want to participate), but I really want to do things with the girls. I love the idea of having different activities to do each day or a random act of kindness to share with others. I’m open to ideas for great resources (besides Pinterest, of course).
Host a Gift Wrapping Party
I went a gift wrapping party last year and had an absolute blast! It was so much fun that I recently hosted a party with some of my MOPS friends last week. Basically, everyone shows up with their unwrapped gifts, wrapping paper and accessories (like scissors, tape, ribbon, etc.), then you wrap your gifts! The beauty of it is that you can all swap paper (so you’re not stuck with the same roll you’ve had for the past two years), you can talk with your girlfriends, and you can wrap everything without having to be sneaky.
Buy Gifts for a Needy Family
I remember doing this every year growing up, and it was such a valuable tradition. We do buy gifts from giving trees around town, but I’d love to team up with another family or two and sponsor a family by taking them a full Christmas meal, as well as gifts. It was always an eye opener to see just how much we have and how lucky we are for our circumstances. Plus, the joy and love we’d spread to others with that act of kindness is immeasurable.
Take Time for Myself
I get it. I have a lot of high hopes and big plans for the Christmas season, so I need to make sure I take time for myself. “Cherishing the present” also means slowing down and relaxing. It means soaking in the day and reflecting on the high and low points. I personally love taking bubble baths, and there’s no better way to unwind from the hustle and bustle than with the lights turned down low and a lovely scented candle off to the side. Perhaps this tradition will be one that once Santa’s delivered his (ahem…or her if Santa is deployed), I can enjoy the rest of the evening by soaking in the tub.
Funnel Cakes on Christmas Morning
I don’t remember when this tradition started, but it’s been with my family forever (or at least since I was really, really young). We’d drive over to my grandma’s house after opening presents on Christmas morning, and when we’d get there my grandma would make funnel cakes from scratch with a dusting of powdered sugar on top and syrup drizzled over the whole thing. Talk about an exciting treat! Now, as an adult I’ve continued the tradition, and every Christmas morning we make funnel cakes from scratch!
How do you cherish the season with your family during the holidays?