Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Traditions

Well, hello there!
If you're visiting today from the blog hop, I am so glad you're here and hope you like what you see.

I have always been a traditions kind of girl.
 I love everything there is to love about holiday routines and the things we all look forward to with each new season of the year, and I fully believe that no part of the year carries more traditions than Christmas.
From the food to the family, we all want the holiday season to be special and fun.

Only sometimes it's not.

Sometimes we are instead so caught up in who's giving who what
and who we are mailing Christmas cards to this year
and baking that one last thing for that one last person,
 that Christmas becomes nothing short of an exhausting, big hot mess.
That's soooo not the way it's supposed to be.
Good. Let's be friends.

Here are a few of our favorite family traditions that help take our minds off of the Christmas hustle and bustle and help us focus on the true meaning of this very special holiday.

A few weeks ago, Libby jokingly said, "Mom, I think we have more Christmas books than we have Christmas ornaments...."
The funny thing is, I think she's right.

I LOVE Christmas books for two reasons:

1. Since they're only read one time a year, they are special and something different.

2. Sometimes the books say things in a way I just can't quite master. They tell the true meaning of Christmas and talk about baby Jesus in words that are just right for my little ones. What could be better than that?  Some of our favorites are Mary Engelbreit's The Night Before Christmas,  The Crippled Lamb, The Cajun Night Before Christmas, and Llama Llama Holiday Drama.

Every year, we pick out two ornaments to add to our tree: one for Libby and one for Hollyn.

We try to find ornaments that somehow relate to something we did that year or something the girls were interested in that year.
We always write the date on them, and Libby can't wait to see her special ornaments each December. The plan is to not only help them remember special moments from their childhood one day, but when they one day have homes of their own (sigh.), they'll already have a head start at ornaments to decorate their own trees.
This year Hollyn's ornament is a Santa Claus. Since she's learned to say Ho, Ho, Ho!, we thought this was fitting. Little did we know she'd be terrified of him when they met in person last week.....oops.

For many people, Christmas correlates with yummy treats.
We are some of these people.
And for my girls, it means Christmas cookies.
This year we invited friends to join us and had
Not only did we get to eat some yum yum gingerbread men (and women, according to Libby),
but we had a great time making the biggest mess my kitchen has ever seen.

Every year, Lee and I take our families out to dinner.
 By this I mean, my family + his family= twelve people.
 It's our treat, and it's one of the few times each year that our girls have both sets of grandparents at the same place at the same time. We go to the same restaurant every year (Lee's fav.), and it's one of our very favorite traditions. No presents, no stress. Just families being together.

This is a touchy subject. So many people have differing views on Santa, whether or not to 'do Santa', what Santa should bring, and so forth.
 Here's what Santa does at our house:

Since Libby was born, Santa has brought three gifts to our house.

We do this for several reasons:

1. My kids are two toys away from being spoiled rotten. Between their aunt and uncle and two sets of grandparents, they neither need or want for anything.

2. As the kids get older, their Christmas lists are bound to get more expensive. If we've always done three gifts, they will never feel like they're getting less when their gifts one day cost more.

3. The best reason: Baby Jesus got three gifts. By giving our girls three gifts, we help relate Christmas at our house to Christmas in Bethlehem.

Our girls know they are getting three, and Libby loves relating this to Jesus.
We usually break it down into three categories: something big, something educational (games, books, puzzles, etc.), and something they want.

Santa also brings stockings, in case you were wondering.

And this, my friends, is my favorite thing my family does each year.
On Christmas Day, we celebrate with Lee's parents, and while his dad is a top-notch cook, this is our dessert of choice each year. Not only do we eat birthday cake, but we also sing.
 Favorite. tradition. ever.

What are some of YOUR favorite family Christmas traditions?
I'd love to hear....

Only two more days. Are all of your presents wrapped? If so, please feel free to come on over and help me wrap mine. I'll be watching Elf and sipping hot chocolate if that's any motivation....

Happy Friday to you and you and you.


  1. Oh my gosh, McCall, you are a ROCK STAR. Seriously. I just saw on my FB feed that you posted to your blog...I LOVE all your Christmas traditions! I've always wanted to do the 3 gift rule on the day (if/when) I ever have kids. I think it's a great idea. And, I will also file away the ornament idea. That is wonderful!
    Love you girl - you seriously are truly amazing.

  2. Great post! I LOVE your reasons for Santa bringing your girls 3 presents. In the spirit of the season, I just wrote a blog article for the company blog about our employees favorite holiday traditions. Check it out if you get a minute. I was so proud of everyone for sharing!


Cool people leave comments. Comments make me happy. You do the math.