Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Traditions

Josh and I have been working hard the past year to make sure we have our own family traditions, especially around the holidays. I grew-up in a family where we had several traditions that I looked forward to each year. Some of my favorites memories growing-up revolve around these traditions. We always want Brody to know and understand the true meaning of Christmas, but we also want it to be a wonderful time that the 3 of us spend together making lots of fun memories. I hope the time of the year never become so busy that we lose focus of Jesus' birth and of the blessing of our little family!

Here are a few traditions we started last year. I am hoping we add a few more to it this year.

We go as a family to look at Christmas lights. We also take Brody to see Santa. I am hoping it goes as well this year as it did last year. We are going to try and go do this tonight!
We love watching Polar Express as a family one night around Christmas. Am I the only person that cries when watching this movie?
On Christmas Eve, we go to the Christmas Eve service at our church. I grew up doing this with my family and it is always a special time for us. This picture was from church last year when we went. Brody was tiny! :)

After the Christmas Eve service, we watch Christmas Vacation. It seems kind of weird that we leave church and go watch Chevy Chase, but this is seriously one of my favorite movies of all time, as I am sure it is with you all too. My family can quote the entire movie and we usually do randomly throughout the year. We are weird like that.

This year, since Brody is a little older, I will probably make cookies for Santa either Christmas Eve Day or later than night. I look forward to the day when he can help me make them! :)


We spend Christmas morning at our house, just the 3 of us. When we were in pre-marital counseling, our pastor told us we needed to set boundaries for the holidays the very first year. He told us that whatever we did the first year would basically set the standard for what people expected from us on holidays. We knew we wanted Christmas morning for ourselves when we had children, so that first Christmas, we spent the morning at home, just the two of us. It was WONDERFUL! Last year, our families already knew that is what we would do, so there wasn't any questions about the 3 of us spending the morning alone at home. I love that time with just us. The days before Christmas, Christmas Day, and the days after Christmas are always busy with family and traveling, but Christmas morning is OUR time and we will always cherish that time together.

Josh makes pancakes on Christmas morning. It will be even more fun this year, now that Brody can eat them!Josh also read the Christmas Story out of the Bible last year, which is will continue to do. Brody slept through it last year, but I know in years to come it will be more meaningful.


What are some of your favorite traditions with your family? I always love hearing these because it gives me new ideas for our family!

25 comments:

*The Smiths* said...

I totally agree! Christmas morning belongs to me and my husband. I love being able to spend time with just the two of us. We started that our first year married. We haven't been blessed with children yet, but I want to have that tradition in place. I love that time together when we can focus on Christ and the true reason for the season! Other traditions we have include going to look at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve. They make these cool glasses called Holiday Specs that make the lights look like little shapes, ie angels or star of bethlehem or snowmen. Really cute and they work on your Christmas tree at home. Christmas isn't complete without our Christmas pajamas! Thanks for your cute blog, I enjoy reading it, what a precious family you have. Merry Christmas!

jeanie@mageditor.blogspot.com said...

Choosing to keep Christmas Day to your immediate family is one of the best decisions you can make. Good advice you got! My kids are 18 and 13 now, but we try to keep Christmas morning to just us still. Obviously if we are out of town visiting family, that doesn't work but we adore just being the four of us.
We love looking at Christmas lights together while sipping hot chocolate, love cookies for Santa, love hearing the Christmas story, love Christmas Vacation and It's a Wonderful Life. All those things create such special memories.
We really love to go to the movies all together on Christmas Eve or Day if there is something good playing.
I found your blog from Kelly's Korner and I ADORE reading it! You are so sweet and your sister and her poof...let me tell you!! My daughter and I have done it now a million times. We have mastered the poof! Hallelujah!

Mallory said...

I love your traditions! I don't have a family yet, but when i do, i can't wait to come up with some! Something my mom has done every year since I was born was get me a really special ornament, something meant for me! She also gets me a new pair of crazy christmas pj's each christmas to last through the winter and year until the next christmas. those are both things i really look forward to at christmas time :)

Meg said...

What a wonderful idea to start traditions now. We get so caught up in the busyness that we let those things pass us by. My husband and I always exchange one gift the night before because we go to three different places on Christmas day. We also have what we call Feliz Navidad at my mom and dad's house on Christmas eve. For no other reason than the fact that she cooks a huge pile of enchiladas, the beef and velveeta dip, stuffed peppers and such. This year since we have our son, we haven't really talked about a new tradition, but we'll be having that talk tonight! :)

ps I love your blog, found it through some of my other favorites. Brody is so cute, I can't wait to spike my son's hair!

Haley said...

We watch Christmas Vacation on Christmas Eve as well! It is so great! We buy a new The Night Before Christmas book every year and my husband and I buy each other an ornament every year. I love Christmas! And next year we will have an 8 month old- how fun it will be!!! Merry Christmas to you and your precious family :)

Mary said...

Well one of ours has always been watching Christmas Vacation too! What is it about that movie that brings the family together? Ha!

I haven't done this yet but one of my favorite small things my mom used to do when we were little that always got us ready for Christmas was she'd buy us each an orange and let us stick cloves into them and put them on the kitchen table. I have no idea what that has to do with Christmas but it does make the house smell great and now when I see an orange I always think of that memory. Weird, I know ;)

Warf pary of 3 said...

We spend Christmas Eve watching The Christmas Story and church service that night. Christmas morning we spend as a family of 3 and open presents just us as well. My parents come over a few hours later and I cook brunch and we open gifts from my parents. Landon always gets new Christmas PJ's every year so he wears them Christmas eve and Christmas morning. We visit santa as well. I am looking forward to this year with Landon being older. Im not sure about the cookies this year. maybe next year he will enjoy it more.

Erin said...

Wow I love your Traditions. Its something I am trying to set with Alex and my husband and the new baby as well. I think its so important. I am going to make cookies on Christmas eve with her this year at Grandma and Grandpas house! :)

Nina said...

Great traditions!! Your family is beautiful.

Christa said...

Love all of your Christmas traditions! We always go around and look at lights too, I love it! We also go to the Christmas Eve church service, that service always seem so magical to me! We usually open one gift Christmas Eve night and then on Christmas Day we go to my grandparents house in the afternoon!

Whitney said...

What wonderful traditions! Our traditions are very similar to yours, from visiting Santa Claus all the way down the list to my husband making Pancakes Christmas morning. Our church doesn’t do a Christmas Eve service. I kind of wish they would. I love the part where you all read the story about Jesus and his birth. That’s very special. I really enjoy reading about your family. I found your blog off Kelly’s Korner. I am actually from Springdale and went to SHS along with my husband. We live in Texas for the time being but visit both our families often. I hope yall have a Merry Christmas! Have fun watching Brody rip open gifts.

Todd and Courtney said...

I would LOVE to spend Christmas morning just the 3 of us too but it's just not easy to do. Our family lives all over the nation so I don't want to miss out seeing my sister, cousins, parents, etc. We will spend it in Atlanta. When Lauren gets older, we will just have to miss out because I'm not traveling with her Santa gifts. I wish people lived closer :(

Summer said...

I sooo agree with you about Christmas Morning being with just the little family! That is what Greg and I have done with Kelcee since she was born! She is 3! On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we travel to see families but Christmas Morning is ours! I just treasure it! We have new and old traditions! Ever since I was younger my family always watched Christmas Vacation on Christmas Eve and Greg and I still do this after we put Kelcee to bed! We always go to our local festival of lights and on Christmas Eve night we drive with Kelcee to look at our neighborhood lights! We always open Christmas PJ's for Christmas Eve and couple weeks before Christmas we go to local farmer's market and buy greenery and drink hot chocolate!
We make sugar cookies, chex mix, and christmas jello jigglers! Kelcee loves doing this and I make peppermint bark for us and the neighbors! Oh and I read her the Sotry of Jesus out of her toddler bible and 'Twas the night before Christmas on Christmas Eve and we put milk, cookies and carrots out for Santa and the reindeer along with a sweet note Kelcee drew!
Your traditions sound lots like ours!
Your family is just precious
Summer :0)

Maggie said...

Christmas Vacation is also one of our favorites my sister and I always watch it the weekend after Thanksgiving. It is always the first movie of the season for us. We also quote it throughout the year too! We'll probably watch it again before the holidays are over! I can't wait to have kids so I can start all the little traditions. I'm already thinking about it. Everytime I hear one I like I right it down. I have a folder of things I want to do with my kids (once I have them). OkaY I just realized how weird that sounded when I typed it out.

Dawn said...

Jenn - Love the post! This will be me and Drew's first Christmas together as a married couple. Since we are from different towns, we have always done holidays with our own families, even when we were engaged. So this year will be extra special! We have decided to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with my family. I am excited to share the Ewing family traditions with Drew. We will be headed to Helena that afternoon to be at Mamaw and Papaw's for Christmas dinner with the Simmons family. It works out pretty well bc most of the Ewing Christmas traditions occur on Christmas Even and Christmas morning while the Simmons spend the evenings together. I definitely like the idea of having 'us' time on Christmas morning, but Drew and I can't seem to break away from our families and the traditions we grew up with...So hard! Anyway, I hope ya'll have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Leah said...

Well, now that we live 8 hours away holidays have gotten a bit more complicated. Eventually we want to stay here and do Christmas morning with just us and Perri (and sibling(s) ) but for now we still travel to AR a couple days before Christmas. We have always had a big Christmas Eve dinner at my parents and then would drive around and look at Christmas lights and then the next morning on Christmas do a big Christmas morning, opening presents, etc and my mom always makes Norwegian pancakes. We used to get cinnamon rolls from TJ Cinnamon in Little Rock but somewhere along the way this changed. Now, though, my brother and his wife life in Nevada and fly in on Christmas day (saves LOTS of $$ to come the day of) so we move the Christmas Eve dinner to Christmas night and do opening presents the morning after Christmas. Lots more traditions but that was long lol

Leigh said...

I love it....Christmas Vacation is one of our Christmas Eve traditions too...ever since I was young. How funny!

Julie said...

I love your Christmas traditions and I had completely forgotten about "Polar Express." I need to watch it this year.

Bryan and I have always spent Christmas Eve at his grandmas. We eat Taco Salad and do a Dirty Santa gift exchange. I usually take something I want and steal it back. The only dirty in our gift exchange is the stealing back and forth. The gifts are great gifts. Afterwards, Bryan and I go to his parents to do a gift exchange with them.

I think the advice your pastor gave you was great. I'm reading a book now called "Treasuring God in our Traditions" by Noel Piper.

Mallory said...

Your Christmas sounds great and very similar to ours. Since this is the 1st year we're married, we're spending Christmas Eve with my family--dinner, church, then presents, and then we will wake up at our own home Christmas morning and have our time together. I want to continue that when we have children so that will have to start this year! Then we will pack up and head to his parents house for Christmas with his family, 3 hours away. Have a Merry Christmas!

Sitesx6 said...

Our tradition is to make snack foods for Christmas eve. Dips and cheese and crackers and veggies. Then we dress up and go to Christmas eve. service at church (candle light...it is so beautiful) and then we stop and get hot cocoa on the way home and drive around looking at lights.

The kids get off to bed and my husband and I watch a movie until we know they are asleep and then we stuff stockings and set up the Christmas stash.

Christmas morning, I make a really good breakfast, we read the Bible, and then OPEN GIFTS. We don't go anywhere on Christmas day. We stay in our jammies and play with toys. We might sled later in the day, and I make a ham for dinner.

Simple and special.

Heather said...

We do SOOO many of these same things...but you know what stood out to me the most?? My husband and I TOTALLY quote lines from Christmas vacation...ALL YEAR LONG!!! We are weird like that, too. I love all your traditions...you guys are such a wonderful family!

Amanda M. said...

We have a lot of family traditions - and Christmas morning being just us as a family at home, a nice quiet time is really the best one!
So, I am Catholic so we usually attend Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. Every year after Christmas Eve dinner and festivities, while waiting for Mass, we'd watch Christmas Vacation! HA! So glad to know our family's not the only crazy one watching that silly movie and then going to church! hehe! :)

Betsy said...

LOVE all your traditions. We have so many of the same ones. :) I totally agree with your pre-marital counseling...you definitely need to establish your own boundaries and family traditions!

Jane said...

My dad is from Chicago and every year we get together with his extended family in Dallas. We have Aurelio's Pizza put on dry ice and flown to us for dinner! It is fabulous! It was my dad and his brothers' favorite growing up and now all of us kids and our kids love it too! Very yummy.

Jill said...

Our traditions are much like yours. We added a few this year, although its difficult because we travel over the holidays. We added this year, "the elf on the shelf" book and since we just had girl 2, my hubby is taking his girls out to get new shoes on christmas eve...including me.