The holidays are my favorite, I love this time of year more than anything. When I was growing up my Grandma Remy would always go all out for Christmas and I know that my love for Christmas comes from her love for Christmas and the joy she had around the holidays. Sadly, my grandma is no longer celebrating Christmas on Earth with the rest of us but I am determined to make the holidays as memorable for my kids as she did for me. I have taken some of my favorite traditions from my childhood, and added a few new fun ones that we love.
Our Thanksgiving celebration is always so fun, and we make it extra special by creating our gingerbread house during our celebration. As the kids get older I see an annual gingerbread competition in our future! Nothing better than a little family fun!
Thanksgiving weekend is filled with Christmas scented candles, Christmas movies, and decorating our house for our favorite holiday of the year. We put the tree up, stay in our PJs, and sing Christmas music. If everyone is feeling up for it we head to Easton to finalize Christmas lists and see the beautiful tree.
Christmas Shopping Trip - Every year my grandma would take us to The Lee Middleton Doll Factory and let all the granddaughters pick out a special doll, we'd follow it up with Christmas shopping, and a fun lunch. I have started doing this in two ways. 1. My husband and I do a date night, where we head to the toy stores, spoil our kids, and then head to dinner out together. I buy a lot online to save money but we enjoy doing this shopping trip together, and it's fun for me to watch him spoil our kiddos. 2. My daughter and I also have a shopping day together. She and I start with afternoon tea at Cambridge Tea House, followed by shopping for those she wants to shop for. I love doing this with her and I'm so happy to carry on a tradition so special with my daughter. I can't wait to do this with both of my daughters next year and watch them together as we make wonderful memories.
Make A Gift - This tradition started with my mom, her sisters, and their spouses many years ago. Every year they would draw names and whoever's name you got, you had to make a gift for them. You could buy materials but you absolutely could not buy the gift. I always loved this gift exchange but was never allowed to be part of it, they had a rule that you had to be 16 years old to be allowed to be included, and by the time I was old enough they had stopped doing it. I never understood why. So in our house we do a smaller version of this gift exchange, because we include our kids and there are only 4 of us. My husband, our kids, and myself draw names and then we make a gift for the person we get. I am the only one allowed to know who has who, because let's be honest I'm the one helping both kids create their gifts. This tradition is so fun, you get to see everyone's creativity, the hard work and thought that goes into every gift, and I love teaching our kids that money doesn't buy happiness. If you give from the heart - that's what's matters.
Christmas Cookie Party - Every year my mom would invite all of my cousins over to our house close to December 25, and together we would make sugar cookies, decorate them with way too much icing and tons of sprinkles, while singing Christmas carols and watching How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Unfortunately, my kids don't have any cousins, with me being an only child and my husband having much younger siblings. That doesn't stop us from carrying on this tradition. We invite some of our closest friends and their kiddos of course and decorate cookies, play fun games, eat way too much sugar and laugh until we cry. This is one of my favorite days of the year and I love that we have such great friends to spend it with.
Jam out to Christmas music in the car - This one is from my Pa, like my Grandma Remy, he is celebrating Christmas in Heaven now but every time, Little Drummer Boy, comes on the radio you better believe I am using the steering wheel as my drum and singing that song at the top of my lungs. Embarrassing my kids a little and laughing with them a lot. We do something similar with a lot of other Christmas carols.
Christmas Pjs - Every year my mom would let me open ONE gift on Christmas Eve, and every year I knew exactly what that gift would be....Christmas Pajamas. A different pair every year but always very festive and fun. She made me fall in love with this so much that I refuse to give up wearing Christmas Pjs as an adult, so even now as an adult with kids of my mom, my mom buys us ALL Christmas Pjs and I LOVE it!!!
Those are all the big ones - we also watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas a lot, drive around looking at pretty lights, I wear red and dress up on Christmas Eve, we wear comfy clothes on Christmas, we have no rules on the holidays which basically means my kids eat way too much sugar and my husband takes a nap while laying on the playroom floor (haha - no seriously happens every year but he deserves it with as many toys as he has to put together), Santa brings mom and dad stockings every year and I love seeing what my husband fills my stocking with, we have matching stockings from Pottery Barn and I am madly in love with them, we play board games on Christmas Day, we visit the Statehouse for their annual tree lighting in early December, we play in the snow if it's there, and we smile and laugh a lot.
These are the moments I will remember for the rest of my life and I hope my kids know how much I love celebrating these moments with them. I hope they find comfort in some of these traditions as they grow into adulthood and I can help them carry on some or all with their families.