I love Christmas traditions and I love how every family has different ones. Growing up, there are a few key traditions I cherished the most: opening our very awesome Advent calendar everyday, sleeping by the lighted Christmas tree at least one night in December, occasionally going to see the tree in NYC (moreso when I was a teenager with friends), participating in the church pageant, opening up a new pair of pajamas to wear Christmas Eve and waking up Christmas morning to one single present by our beds from Santa that we could open right away.
Throwback: 1989 NYC Trip with my family
When Justin and I built our life together, we created our own Christmas traditions. We’ve had to abandon a few of them due to our nomadic life (i.e., decorating–I have four boxes of Christmas decorations sitting in storage in Virginia and it makes me very sad, but I did steal a set of Christmas lights–circa 1980–from my mom to decorate our cabin in New Mexico this year).
Throwback: Our heavily decorated New Hampshire apartment in 2007.
Still, there are a few traditions we’ve kept, mainly involving our nephews and niece. For years and years, Justin called Ryan (now 14) and Sarah (now 11) pretending to be Santa. Then our friends had kids and upon request, he calls them. On this year’s phone call, our goddaughter Anna (4) said, “I love you Santa!!” and it just about brought tears to all our eyes. This year, he started calling our nephews, Everett (4) and Owen (2+). J’s “Santa Calling Program” stemmed from his time as assistant director of parks and recreation in Danville, VA. If you want the full story of it and hear about the funniest phone call ever, check out this post from 2009.
Everett says: “Well Santa, don’t make your sled too heavy cause the reindeer can’t pull it.”
When J’s mom lived in New Jersey, we used to be able to easily shuffle around and split our holiday time with both families. But now with all of J’s family in Colorado and mine still on the East Coast, we have to choose one side! I mentioned in last year’s post that we’ve switched to spending Christmas with J’s family, given the young age of our nephews on that side. Christmas with youngins’ draws in the true spirit, although I may have to throw my family a bone one of these years, as sister and niece really miss having us there … But for now, Colorado it is.
A tradition we’ve kept over the years–even as nomads–has been the Eve reading of “The Night Before Christmas” to the kiddos. Everett and Owen love it just as much as Ryan and Sarah did all those years.
New traditions are being kept with J’s sisters and Mom. Just like last year, we attended the children’s mass on the Eve, followed by dinner hosted by my MIL. Christmas morning, we all convene at my SIL’s house as early as we can get our butts over there (the kids are up at 7am, ready to open presents). The 15-minute kid-present-opening is followed by a big brunch. We all disperse for afternoon naps and whatnot, then come back to Russ and Julie’s to stuff ourselves with more delicious foods. The adults also participate in a “grab bag” gift exchange. J & I stopped exchanging in our nomadic life, so it’s kind of fun to have that to look forward to!
Hope your holiday season was merry and bright. What traditions have been your favorites?