// Holiday Traditions

Ever since Toby came to live with us permanently, I've had a newfound appreciation for holiday traditions. I know it's not as simple as saying "Well, we're going to do this ever year!" but I guess it makes sense to start somewhere and think with intention, right?

We started off December with Toby's Alternative Advent Calendar and it's crazy that we're almost finished already! It was a lot of fun to put together and we've been able to spend so much quality time as a family this month. Of course if we do make this a yearly thing, we'll probably change things around a little bit next year. For example, be more mindful of our schedule so we don't over do it, and maybe take it easy on the time-intensive activities so late in the season (Gingerbread house, I'm looking at you!) But overall, I loved Toby's excitement for his calendar and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
Pajamas are a huge Christmas tradition trend and this year is the first year we're planning on participating. I love me a good pair of pjs and so does Toby, so hopefully it'll work out well! For those of you who do the pajama tradition, how do you do it? Do you each get the same (or similar) pajamas? Or does everyone get something different? This year everyone got something different, but I'm excited to wear them Christmas Eve!

Every year we add a "family" type ornament to our tree to commemorate the year. Sometimes we buy it, sometimes we make it. Mike and I started this our first year together. This year we decided to expand on that a little bit and each person in the family gets to pick their special ornament to add to the tree. I love seeing Christmas trees that have a lot of personality, and I think ornaments are the perfect thing to be passed from generation to generation. I'm not sure that the next generation in our family is going to want a lot of glittered donut ornaments, but ya never know! Haha Truth be told, we try to buy ornaments that reflect things that have happened over the year. For instance, this year Mike bought a little pipe ornament because he's been hand whittling pipes for himself and friends. I love that. It's fun to look back and remember those little events as time passes.
This next tradition has nothing to do with Toby or Mike, but it's one that I've had since (before?) college... every Christmas Eve I love to watch Love Actually. I don't know why that is my go-to Christmas movie (especially when there are so many other great holiday rom-coms!), but it is. I love that Netflix always adds it back for the Winter. We'll be going, going and going come Christmas Eve this year, but I fully intend to make it happen! Even if it means I watch it on my phone on the way to a family get together! haha
Despite being almost 26 years old, I always spend Christmas Eve night at my mom's house, and I've woken up there on Christmas morning every morning except once (and that was a pretty miserable day so obvz I blame it on not being at home!). Apparently she's spent the last 363 days worrying that I'll never wake up there on Christmas morning again, but I'm happy we're going to stay with my parents this year. I think it's nice to wake up surrounded by people you love, and why would we want to miss out on that?! Plus, my mom makes a mean breakfast! I've already put in my request for chocolate gravy and biscuits! (Any other Southerners out there love chocolate gravy in the morning?!)
Sometimes I think the best traditions are the ones that we don't think about... the ones that sort of fall into place and just become assumed. Of course now that we have a family I'm trying to not over do it by saying "Oh this will be a tradition! And this, too!" because that seems to take a little bit of the magic out of it, right? But seriously, it's hard to not want to just "MAKE ALL THE TRADITIONS!" 

How about you? Any traditions for the holidays as you grew up? Or anything that you do with your significant others/family/kids/friends/alone? I love hearing how others celebrate the season!

22 comments:

  1. My mom started the Christmas pajamas tradition and we all love it! Fair warning: my brothers and I still expect a pair of pajamas every Christmas (and the youngest of us is 23, so, uhm, be prepared to buy lots of pjs over your lifetime lol) :) We always get something different based on our interests/favorite colors, and I love them allll. Pjs are the best!

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    1. haha! I love that! Mike's stepmom does it with Mike's sisters still I think! It's just such a sweet and simple (and practical!) tradition :D

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  2. We always go to the movies on Christmas Day in the evening. We do it Thanksgiving Day too. We aren't big supper people, we each big brunch/lunch meals, then it's popcorn at night! :)

    Lately, my Mom has also allowed my sister and me to take a childhood ornament home, since we have so many from our travels as a family. It's a way of letting us create our own traditions in our adult homes.

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    1. You know, I've always really loved the movies-on-the-holidays tradition that people do, but I also have to say this: You're nuts! Yow! haha! How do you deal with *that* many people?! It's like a Twilight premier or something... soooo many people! (Though I'll admit I want to convince Mike to do it one year... at least once!)

      The ornament thing is ADORABLE! Oh my stars, I can't even. See, that's why it's so fun to pass them down! I love that!

      PS; me, you, the laurens + jenna... brunch after the new year please! :D

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  3. Love Actually and Nightmare Before Christmas are my all-time favorite Christmas movies. (OK, so Nightmare Before Christmas is just year-round viewing in my household, tbh...) But what is chocolate gravy?! I have lived in Georgia my *entire life* and have never heard of this Southern delicacy. To Pinterest!

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  4. It's a tradition in my family to have pancakes with chocolate syrup on Christmas morning and I'm already totally craving it! I have had biscuits and chocolate too, but the chocolate is a lot thicker than the one we make to top off pancakes. Yum! Merry Christmas!!

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  5. Chocolate gravy? Why have I never heard of this before?!

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  6. Just read the advent calander post and that is such an amazing idea! What a lucky little boy. Merry Christmas!
    Hayley
    Water Painted Dreams xxx

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  7. These are so cute, I love your little family traditions. We share the same film tradition of watching Love Actually on Christmas Eve - I'll be right there with you tomorrow! x

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  8. I love that you still go to your mom's for Christmas Eve! I still spend every Saturday morning with my mom. We've kind of accidentally turned it into a tradition. : )

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  9. I love creating traditions with the family. Every year we do breakfast and then just play board games all day long, it's just so wonderfully fun!

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  10. Fun traditions! I'm really excited to start traditions with my son. I want to do an Advent calendar-esque dealio, and the pajama Christmas box thing (with the movies and the hot chocolate, etc.) I also want to go crazy decorating the house for the holidays... I just want my son to look back on his childhood and remember all the love.

    My entire family ALWAYS gets together on Christmas Eve. ALWAYS. My extended family is massive (my dad is one of twelve kids), so it's always a ton of fun. :)

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  11. These traditions are lovely! There are times that I try to start some simple traditions for Christmas but we never really got the chance to stick to one.

    http://thedeerlady.blogspot.com

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  12. I was trying to explain to someone what chocolate gravy was the other day, and there mind was blown.

    We always got nonmatching PJs on Christmas Eve and got to pick out one gift each that night.

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  13. My family did lots of different things growing up, but when my mom passed away two years ago, the one tradition we held onto was waffles with white sauce [it's a German thing] when we do Christmas together. This is our 3rd Christmas, and even though we did our gathering before Christmas, we went out and bought a waffle maker just so we could keep the tradition going. YUM.

    This year is J & I's first Christmas together that we won't be with either of our families, so we are trying to pick & choose a tradition that is unique & fits us both. We haven't quite settled on one yet, so I'm excited to see what we come up with!

    Allyson
    Allyson Wonderland Blog

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  14. My family has had the PJ tradition for generations! Never had matching ones though. My family always makes sure that it's something that each of us will enjoy and will wear for more than one night haha. My dad makes french toast with Pantone bread every Christmas morning...it's the only time I like breakfast food!

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  15. We just tried out a bunch of traditions this year since the kids are old enough to be excited for Christmas but not old enough to remember what we do every year and I got to say, the Advent Calendar will probably not make a return next year. I found it to be a lot more work then it was worth. Same with Elf on the Shelf.
    The tradition that I have been pretty good about is making a hand-print ornament every year. I just love the idea of having at least 18 hand-print ornaments for each kid by the time they move out. We are also trying out the PJ tradition this year but that's one I'm pretty excited about.

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  17. My husband and I have been married two years now and we're starting to get traditions going. So far, I always make snickerdoodles for him and we have waffles Christmas morning. We decorate the tree on my dad's birthday. And since we do so much traveling we decided to try to be home by Christmas night to have our own small family Christmas time and exchange our personal gifts. My dear friend came over last night to help with baking as we watched love actually, too, and I'd love to make that a tradition. Such a sweet post! Merry Christmas Flynn's!

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  18. We have a few traditions we do every year. We decorate a gingerbread house and then in January we put it outside for the squirrels. Last year we made it squirrel friendly by using peanut butter for frosting and decorating it with seeds, nuts, dried fruit and cheerios. But my son decided it wasn't pretty enough so the squirrels are back to getting a sugar high this year! lol We also buy or make an ornament that reflects something that happened during that year. Christmas Eve means a new pair of PJs (usually winter or xmas themed) hot chocolate, home made Chex mix and a movie. This year we bought Rise of the Guardians :)

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  19. "Home" to me is at my grandma's house in Mexico. We celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. We don't really have "Traditions" but more like "Givens". Like, it's a given that my aunt and uncle will be playing scrabble. It's a given that my cousins and another aunt and uncle will be playing guitar and singing around a bonfire. Then there's midnight mass and then back home(literally across the street) for more partying. A couple of us will pull all-nighters just talking and whatnot.

    My mom is JW, so I don't really have memories of Christmas, aside from my grandma's house, from when I was younger.

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HEY! Thanks for dropping by. xo KB