Wednesday, December 14, 2022

There is such a sweet spot with kids when they understand and enjoy the magic of Christmas. I was telling Tom the other day I would love to re-live it but with my exact kids. We used to go to several events held by church, school, and community. I thought I would share our currest-ish traditions that have evolved since my kids were teens, I suppose. They are now 20. I was lucky to be in the same car with just my sweet college kids and we talked about some of their favorites.

We have always had an artificial tree, so picking out a tree was never a tradition for us. Also, I only had them sit on Santa’s lap once or twice and probably only if it was at a special breakfast like Christmas at the Zoo. We did all put the tree together and hang ornaments as a family. Now I like to have the tree set up and all the decor done by the time they come home for break. I didn’t have it up during Thanksgiving.

Ernie even got to get a photo with Santa one year!

Here are some things that have pretty much stuck as traditions. Maybe some of these will appeal to you and maybe you can give me some ideas in the comments, too!

Church on Christmas Eve – a 4 or 5 o’clock service with just the 4 of us

Picking up Mexican restaurant chips, salsa, and queso to eat on Christmas Day – we like to have a breakfast casserole and then snack around. I haven’t decided what else I will make – maybe hawaiian ham and swiss sliders.

Opening Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve – as they turned teens this became fleece pants and maybe a plain long sleeve shirt but sometimes just pants

Opening a new game on Christmas Eve and playing it

Christmas Day waking up and seeing the gifts and the stockings. No one opens until everyone is up. We enjoy stuffing Ernie’s stocking and watching him with his stocking, too!

Baking and having pink merengue cookies on hand. They are a couple of times a year treat!

I am not going to say I will never do Christmas cards again, but I am taking a break. I did photo cards for 14 years. I still love receiving them, but it’s one of those things that I have let go for now.

My hall table with my cards of past:

On my side of the family, we are doing white elephant gifts – including all of the kids and adults – you are supposed to bring a present that is something you already have in the house. It can be a re-gift but you cannot go out and buy anything. We will play Dirty Santa with the gifts. This is a new tradition that we started last year. We only give gifts to my mom now.

We also decided to do a pasta party – each of the moms is bringing one or two types of pasta and we are having salad, garlic bread, and dessert. I am making baked ziti and bacon alfredo.

Tom does my stocking and I do his stocking. We also put stuff in a stocking for Ernie, as I mentioned. Ernie’s stocking says “Archie” because our Pottery Barn stockings are no longer available but I also like seeing “Archie” as a tribute to our first sweet chocolate lab boy. Ernie doesn’t care. He is chiill about it.

Our kids still get stockings. We also put the Santa gifts next to our fireplace and our family gifts under the tree. The Santa gifts were hidden until Christmas morning. No one was allowed to open until the whole family was up.

Also, Tom’s family tore into their gifts simultaneously like animals (Ha!) and I was appalled when I first saw this. We take turns so each person can see what everyone received.

This year, I would like to take a night for all four of us to go out to eat and see our botanical gardens lit up. I would also like to find a movie for all of us to see together. Since we have not been all together much since August, just time at home eating dinner is special. Our kids just love staying home and staying in their cozy fleece pants.


18 thoughts on “Christmas Traditions

  1. That sounds wonderful! We wait until everyone is up to open gifts and we somewhat open gifts one at a time but overlap slightly as most of the boys like to really open and explore each gift so once we’ve seen what it is we move onto the next person.


    1. Yes! My kids love watching each other open, too. It’s always been really sweet. They ask if similar sized presents are the same and if they should open them together. Their presents used to match a lot more than they do now!


  2. Sounds like you have lots of sweet memories and I am so happy Ernie can’t read! Ha!!!Our dog has a stocking but we never put anything in it – she can’t wat anything except her special food and she doesn’t play with toys anymore, she’s just too old. Bless her little heart. I used to get all up in arms about getting Christmas cards out but now I’m good with doing a New Year card if I need to. Less stress is where I find joy!


    1. Ha! Yes, that is true! Ah – sweet girl. I will do another one again I know, but it has been nice to take a break. My friend said the cost of cards has really gone up – like everything else!


  3. I loved reading this and love that your boys still like to do fun things like this. We don’t really have traditions like this anymore now that ours are all older. Maybe we’ll eventually come up with a new one, but for now we haven’t. I feel like we’re still adapting to having grown up sons and haven’t quite figured things out yet. It’s tricky having one that doesn’t live here at all and only spends the night once a year and then dealing with work schedules. We will probably find a night next week when we can all go out and do something. I can consider it a late birthday dinner/gift. I’m such a sucker for traditions!


    1. Thank you – we don’t do much, I will admit. In fact, it is so rare that all four of us are in the same car. I guess you guys can’t all fit! I think you will have to play your “mom card” sometimes and say you need everyone available. It is much harder with 4 schedules to coordinate.


  4. So many fun traditions! I always love when you share your table with past holiday cards. I love that idea. I need to scramble up old ones and see what I can put together. I’ve seen some make a garland to hang and clip previous cards in them. I love your traditions. Love the Ernie and Santa pic. You are so funny – Tom’s family opening all at once 😂


    1. Thank you! It is very easy decor that is on my level. I love the idea of a garland, too. I was kinda doubting my tradiitons like these are not grandiose enough, but then reminded myself that traditions don’t have to be huge. His family doesn’t do that anymore! I made them change!

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  5. I loved reading this! I just listened to a podcast today about how traditions change over the years. This is the first year I haven’t sent out Christmas cards in probably 20 years and I am okay with it, especially when I think of all the money and time I have saved! I need to start planning my Christmas Eve and Day menus too.


    1. Thank you and I think I might have listened to the same – Midlife Matters? It is very hard as kids grow up and your traditions change. We had the death of my Dad on Dec. 18 4 years ago and then the pandemic so many of our traditions are a bit different now. My friend was just telling me how much the cost of cards has gone up! I would love to hear your menu when you know!


  6. We have many of the same traditions, like taking time to open gifts and waiting for everyone to wake up. You’re right – when everyone is home together, just eating dinner or watching a movie together feels special. Love this post!


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