My Holiday Traditions

just a note

I’ve been thinking about how everyone celebrates their holiday season.  Christmas Eve has always been my favorite day of the holidays.  As a kid, we would wait ALL day, and then eat lots of sandwich and cracker/cheese foods.  We’d decorate the tree and open up family gifts.  Sure, Christmas Day was special, but there was something MAGICAL about the night before.

So, as it is now my favorite day of the year, I’d like to share some of my personal holiday traditions!  I know this isn’t a book-related posts, but I hope you enjoy it.  I’d also LOVE to hear about your traditions.  And if you’d like to post something similar, I’d love to read it!  So, without further ado, here is how I celebrate:

Christmas Eve

Now that I’m married (and a mom!) things have change over time.  I miss those magical moments as a kid, but I absolutely love what we do as our little family of four.

On Christmas Eve, we bake sugar cookies as a family.  The decorations are messy and ridiculous, but we have a blast!

Our cookies look NOTHING like this.


We compromised on the presents (hubby didn’t open any until Christmas Day and we opened everything but Santa), so we now open ONE gift on Christmas eve.  And it’s new pajamas (and sometimes slippers!)  This way, we all have something brand new (and cute!) to wear when we take pictures of present opening in the AM.

We don’t wear matching jammies and sing catchy tunes that go viral, though.


We then read some Christmas stories: The birth of Jesus, The Night Before Christmas, Santa Mouse (a personal favorite from my childhood), and The Polar Express.  We’ve also added the Elf on a Shelf book since we got our elf.

No Smoking Santa The_Elf_on_the_Shelf_(book) Santa Mouse image

This year, we plan to watch a movie as a family.  My son’s vote is for Charlie Brown Christmas.  My husband will undoubtedly want to watch Christmas Vacation once the kids go to bed, because he can quote the entire movie verbatim (and LOVES to show off this talent).

PeanutsChristmas The Griswold Family Christmas Portrait

Before the kids go to sleep, we spread our reindeer food, put out Santa cookies, and remind the kids that Santa doesn’t come if they aren’t sleeping.  We usually look at the ‘Santa radar’ to see how close he is to visiting.

Then, we’ll go to bed so Santa can visit.  But since I’m too wired and full of that magic to sleep, I’ll watch 1. Doctor Who (long standing tradition since 2010) and 2. Midnight Mass.  I’m not Catholic, but I love watching the Midnight Mass.  It’s a beautiful service and a wonderful way to begin Christmas.

Christmas Day

When the kids wake us up, we all do Santa presents.  Then stockings.  We always watch the Disney parade and eat a wonderful breakfast.

"Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade" special taped at Magic Kingdom
Only the best parade!

We then make a two hour trek to visit hubby’s family.  We do Christmas with them (which is absolutely insane, by the way! In my family, we opened gifts one at a time, with lots of pictures in between… Rusty’s family all opens everything at the same time.  I love both ways, so we now have some quasi-type in between the two styles).  We then have a nice, big Christmas dinner with the entire family, which is loud, and fun, and usually the one time a year we all can get together.

And then, that evening, I watch the Doctor Who Christmas special.  This year (my fourth special), I’ll be watching with Kleenexes of course.

Noooooo, don’t leave us Eleven.


So, those are my traditions.  Nothing too special, but something that I look forward to each year.  The moments, like snuggling in our p.j.’s watching a movie, or spreading cookie dough and trying to make a snowman smile are the things that I treasure.

What about you and yours?

Happy Holidays and Much Love

heart jess new

11 thoughts on “My Holiday Traditions

  1. WOW. Our families need to hang out. This is so funny because our Christmas Eve/Day schedule is pretty similar!! We make cookies and a gingerbread house for Santa… read our Christmas books… go out for dinner….. go to church…. watch frosty the snowman…. then open 1 present!! Mr. Betty and I play an epic game of Risk once all the presents are under the tree! On Christmas day… same thing as you. We do our thing at our house– presents, breakfast, etc… then hop in the car for a 2 hour drive to Jersey! I hope you have a Merry Christmas!!

    • Ahh, I love the idea of adding a game of Risk. While I’ve never played that, I’m sure we could add Scrabble or Monopoly or something.

      Enjoy your celebration tonight and tomorrow 🙂

  2. I love this post. It is fun to hear what traditions everyone engages in.

    I love all the traditions you have! My favorite has to be the movie… and I am with your son- I vote for A Charlie Brown Christmas! Actually, it has inspired me to get that out tonight to watch while my Mom and I exchange gifts. We kind of cheat and exchange gifts on Christmas Eve… I am not sure when or why that tradition started, but it is just what we do!

  3. Christmas Eve, my mom and I are in the kitchen all day (she makes our traditional Christmas dinner: pozole and chicken enchiladas, while I make all of the “Santa” treats). The boys are usually doing their last minute wrapping because they are boys and wait until the last minute. We usually have all of “Santa’s gifts” wrapped but we hide them in either my room or my parents (so the boys don’t see). My dad usually is watching some western sneaking steals from the kitchen while we are cooking. We’ll get on to him half-heartedly amd he’ll make a face like a five year old that is down right hilarious. After we eat dinner, we’ll relax and take a power nap, if needed, before we go to Midnight Mass (this is my favorite Mass celebration and it truly is a beautiful Mass to be a part of). Once home and the boys go to bed, my mom, dad, and I will bring down the “Sanat” gifts as quietly as possible which is never really that quite. After that everyone will go to bed and I will read a chapter or two or five from whatever book I am currently wrapped up in.

    Christmas Day: the boys will separate all the packages making huge piles on the floor for everyone. Once the presents are separated, we open our stockings (my favorite part of Christmas Day) and then each take turns opening our presents staeting with the youngest. After all the gifts are opened, the boys and my dad pick up the living room and rid it of its trash while my mom and I cook breakfast. After eat, it’s a lazy day where the boys usually disappear and we take naps.

    This year though we had to amend our tradition a little. Since the grandson First Christmas was this year, he opened all of his first before he went to bed. We also had to celebrate Christmas a week before due to work schedule conflicts. But the day doesn’t matter for us, it’s just a day on the calander; for us being with family is most important.

    Merry Christmas!

  4. Awww, this is lovely! Since my family is so spread out, my Christmas is usually fairly quiet, but I’m so looking forward to creating new traditions with a family of my own eventually. I’m a gigantic holiday lover, and I get really into everything Christmas-related, so I can’t wait to share that joy with my kids someday.
    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

    • It really is so much more fun with little kids. This year and last year they’ve really gotten into everything.

      I hope you have a lovely Christmas, even if it is quiet 🙂

  5. Beautiful traditions Jess. Someday your children will be grown and not always able to come home for Christmas, but because of your example, they will surely develop their own traditions. Merry Christmas. xoxoxo

Lovely words from lovely people!

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