Christmas is coming! Christmas is coming! My most favorite time of year is the time leading up to and Christmas day and now that I have my own child to celebrate with, I look forward to the holidays even more. Although Ivy just turned one, and doesn’t have much of a clue as to what’s going on this time of year, I find myself dreaming about what our Christmas morning will look like and the traditions we’re going to start as a family of three.
Over the past 10 years the hubs and I’s tradition included spending time with my family on Christmas Eve evening and then driving to Iowa late at night and spending Christmas Day with his family. While I realize things get busier with kids, I knew once we had kids I didn’t want to deal with that hustle and bustle anymore – I want to enjoy the day outside of a car and from the comforts of the home we’re building together. So starting with this year, that’s our plan and I couldn’t be more excited for it.
So, in no particular order, here is my “bucket list” of Christmas traditions I’m looking forward to kicking off with our little family.
- Cutting down a tree as a family. Even though Minnesota gets bitter cold starting this time of year, it always seems easier to get through when you’re out doing things for the holidays. There are quite a few local tree farms that offer patrons the opportunity to come in and cut down their own tree, often providing other activities as well. I’m looking forward to bundling up and drinking some spiked hot chocolate while finding the perfect tree for our family.
- Decorating the tree while listening to Christmas music. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I tend to listen to Christmas far earlier than most people would find it acceptable. There’s something about the catchy tunes that can just lift my spirits and put me in a better mood. Some of my favorite Christmas memories growing up are decorating the tree and listening to Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet’s Christmas albums. Make no mistake – I also love me some Bing Crosby and, of course, some Mariah Carey – I’m not one to discriminate when it comes to holiday songs.
- Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. I haven’t had a chance to do this before, but there’s a variety of cities nearby that have this type of event and I think it would be so fun to make this an annual tradition. Drinking hot chocolate while watching the tree lighting sounds like the perfect way to kick of the Christmas season.
- Sending Christmas cards. I’m a lover of all things paper so naturally this is a must-do when it comes to holiday traditions. I always enjoy receiving family and friends’ Christmas cards in the mail and I’d like to think most people feel the same way. It’s a great excuse to do an annual family photo shoot, too – to ensure you have the perfect photo to share with your loved ones. I meant to start this tradition last year with Ivy’s birth announcement, but getting myself acclimated to being a new mom proved to be more exhausting than I anticipated.
- Christmas baking. For years I’ve gotten together with my sister, and sometimes other family members, to spend a day (or two) baking up a bunch of Christmas cookies. In all honesty, we usually end up starting late in the day on a Saturday and spend hours baking only to be too tired to frost everything. I swear, one year we’ll get everything completed in one day – and I truly feel this year might be it. We usually stick with the same three cookies – kiss cookies, spritz’s and sugar cutouts. I’m so looking forward to when Ivy’s old enough to help with the baking (although wishing for time to move any faster with her!).
- Fresh new PJs and a Christmas book and/or movie. I started doing this tradition with my nieces a few years back after finding the idea on Pinterest. Now that I have my own Ivy, I will continue with her. I love the whole matching PJ’s craze that’s going on right now (is that new or have I just been oblivious to it all this time?) and am trying to figure out how I can talk the hubby into getting onboard. I’ve already started looking at age-appropriate Christmas books for Ivy for this year and hope to find a movie that can keep her attention for longer than 2 minutes (she doesn’t get much screen time at this age anyway so the books best at this age). I think most people who have this tradition have the PJs and book/movie wrapped up and ready to open on Christmas Eve. Since we have an extended family event that we go to every year at my aunt and uncles house I think this can be something that we open the weekend before Christmas so we can enjoy it just a little while longer – we have to savor the season as long as we can, right?! 🙂
- Christmas Eve church service. Church on Christmas Eve has always been my favorite. I love singing all the of Christmas songs, especially ending it with Silent Night while everyone holds a lit candle. I love the idea of dressing up Ivy in her Christmas best and teaching her the true meaning of Christmas and why we celebrate it.
- Christmas morning treats. I totally see Christmas morning going something like this: the kids wake up super early (in matching PJs of course), excited to see what Santa brought them, me and hubs lug ourselves out of bed laughing at how fun it is to be a kid for the holidays; we head downstairs and open gifts as a family and follow it up by me cooking a breakfast of pancakes in the shape of Christmas trees (I better start training myself on that now), bacon and sausage and fresh fruit while the kids play with their new toys. Later that afternoon we head to a family members house, or host, to celebrate the day with the extended family.
Yes, I realize my traditions wishlist sounds like a very own version of Miracle on 34th Street, and in all honesty I’m just hoping it doesn’t end up like a version of Home Alone. I’m just really excited to enjoy these days with my growing family and celebrating my favorite time of year together.
What traditions do you have with your family or what’s on your ‘Christmas Tradition’s Wishlist’?