Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tis the Season!!

(Post inspired by Catherine :)

**DISCLAIMER** I am not skipping Thanksgiving!! In fact, I have strict rules about listening to Christmas music, decorating for the holidays, watching Christmas movies, etc. before the DAY AFTER THANKSGIVING!! Just so you know. :)

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My family has always had GREAT Christmas traditions!! During the month of December we have several holiday activities.

We walk around Temple Square in Salt Lake one night to see the lights and end our night with hot chocolate at the mall.

We spend one night with my aunt and uncle and cousins. We eat yummy food, of course. And the kids dress up and enact the Nativity as it is read and we all sing the accompanying hymns. This is usually followed by challenges of song.

"Play something on the guitar!"
"Get out the harmonica!" "Now all the boy sing Jingle Bells!" "All the girl cousins sing Rudolf!" "I'll sing a solo if you do!"

It turns into most of us rolling on the floor in laughter. I love it.

On Christmas Eve, my family drops off the neighbors' Christmas gifts (usually yummy bread from Kneaders and a scripture like John 6:33). That night, everyone wears their pajamas and we have an elaborate candlelit dinner in the formal dining room. Dinner is always delicious, but never the same, except for the sparkling cider.

After dinner we play Christmas bingo, do a reader's theater about Jesus Christ, try to remember the answers to some Christmas trivia (we do the same questions every year, you'd think eventually we'd get the right answers!), listen to my dad read The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg and I Believe In Santa Claus by Diane G. Adamson, and then open one gift (always an ornament from Santa Claus!). We have hot chocolate with peppermint stir sticks and usually watch a Christmas movie before bed.

That night, all the kids sleep in the same bedroom. When everyone is awake (I was always waking everyone up around five am, which is really crazy because I was never up before noon if I could help it) we wait for Mom and Dad to turn on lights and take a few pictures. Then everyone comes down the hall,
to oldest,
to see what Santa brought during the night!

After those presents are opened, we clean up the wrapping paper and make a HUGE breakfast!!

pork chops,
buttermilk biscuits,
jams and jellies
(usually gifts received from neighbors),
and juice.


When everyone is stuffed beyond belief we head into the living room. My mom has a HUGE tree that is PERFECTLY decorated. It's probably the most beautiful tree in the world. :) Presents are sorted by recipient and then we open them 1 at a time, youngest to oldest. This way, everyone sees what everyone gets and we get to watch everyone's excitement. It also makes Christmas last until around two in the afternoon! :)

By the time we're on the last few gifts, everyone is bored and wants to play with their own toys so we shred through the last ones.

We spend the rest of the day trying on new clothes, playing with toys, watching new movies, calling relatives and friends, and just being together as a family.

Mom makes a ham, spinach dip, cheese ball, and more and we much on those and crackers and veggie trays all day. :)

Jason's family never really had traditions like these, so he's loved being able to experience it with my side of the family the last four Christmases.

This year we'll be in Wyoming. Jason is scheduled to work the week of Christmas so we won't be coming home. A part of me is sad and will miss my family, but another part of me is so excited to be on our own! We'll be incorporating so many of these traditions and making them our own.

Now, I don't want to do EXACTLY what my family does every year. I want to have our own traditions. Things that our kids will remember forever. This is where you come in! What are your favorite family traditions? They can be fun, spiritual, food related, for Christmas day or not, whatever!! I need some great ideas to make our 1st Christmas alone special for our little family!!

Can't wait to hear what you do!!


The Lewis Family said...

We get a new christmas story book thanksgiving eve after dinner is over. WE also try to get a new nativity each year, last year was a felt puppet one, so it doesn't have to be fancy :)

Tressa said...

You've made me excited for all our fun traditions!! We'll miss you this year!

Anonymous said...

NOTHING like what you do but all that sounds so fun! I spend Christmas Eve making veggie trays, deviled eggs, pumpkin pies, and other dips for snacks on Christmas. Then, Christmas day, we open our gifts with the webcam relaying Christmas to my family. We make another traditional Thanksgiving dinner for dinner that we also munch on all day. Oh, and we pork out in front of movies all day. Simple, but I love it! :)

Scimber said...

ok, this may sound totally disgusting, but you cant knock it until you try it....this is my favorite thanksgiving/ christmas day treat to eat. You take a block of cream cheese, and pur A-1 Sauce over it and then you spread that over Ritz crackers. I really dont know how it started in my fam, but it is DELICIOUS! I love it so much, I really should make it more than twice a year, but then it wouldn't be as special. If you dont like a-1 you may not like it. But if you'll love it!

Steffani said...

Fun traditions! You made me really excited for Christams this year! Our traditions are a lot like yours, but one other thing we do is have a White Elephant party! It is a lot of fun!

The Larson Family said...

Wow, you guys have some awesome family traditions! How fun! You guys really have all the traditions covered that I can think of. It would be way fun and cute for a little family like yours to bundle up and go carolling though.

Lindsay said...

when I was young us kids (all 4 of us) would line up shortest to tallest and go into out parents rooms where they were "Sleeping" and sing christmas songs to wake them up to go start presents. I loved loved loved doing this and I will always remember it. Now that I am older I know that we were always to loud trying to organize ourselfs to let my parents sleep, but they always played along and it was so much fun!!!

Ryan and Nicole Lee said...

Begining on December 12 and continue until December 23, each of those nights we lay our slippers by our bed and the "Brownies" Leave a little treat in the slippers. The "Brownies" are little elves that help Santa keep an eye on who is nice and who is naughty.

The Smith Fam said...

We have a Candy Counter. Christmas Eve we have a big lunch and then for dinner we have a whole counter full of snack food such as veggie tray, wheat thins and cheese, jolly ranchers and other stuff that we request. The good thing is that it lasts for a few weeks and you just get to much on whatever you want.

Burgon Fam said...

FUN! how are you? ive missed catching up with everyone! have you moved yet? well hopefully soon if not!

The Deegans said...

That is so fun that you can be with you little family this year. I am excited to start traditions this year with our family. Because most of our family lives here we are always bouncing back and forth all day. My favorite tradition is cuddling and watching Scrooge after reading "the" story by candlelight on Christmas Eve.

Trying to Stay Calm! said...

What a great blog you have here :)

camille said...

You got me all excited for Christmas! I LOVE ~ love christmas! This is our first Christmas with a kid, I'm just so excited to share it with her. I'm not much help on the tradition thing. I just like to do things kinda spontaneously, so we'll see what happens...