A (Re)Look at Christmas Traditions

Happy Monday!  As I type this (on Sunday night), it is pouring rain!  Literally…pouring.  I am ever so grateful that it is not too much colder or who knows what would be falling out there?  I am also grateful for this warm house and the cozy sheets I will be climbing into very shortly!  But, first, I want to get a post up.  I have so enjoyed everyone’s visits and all the comments lately.   I especially liked the comments after Thursday’s post (you can check that out here if you missed it).  I’m happy to know that just about everyone opens their gifts one at a time.  Hooray for orderly Christmas mornings:)  Anyhoo, I did not want to stop the conversation and/or the blog visits and connections. However, try as I might, my brain is about as sloppy and uninspired as my front yard right about now.

All of my holly-jolly ideas and anything that was even remotely of any Christmas value or wisdom…well, it was eluding me.  So, I began looking through my own blog.  My older posts.  I was hoping fresh ideas would springboard from one of those previous posts.  That didn’t exactly happen.  Although, I did read some interesting things:)  So, this is simply a repost.  From about three years ago.  If you remember it….well, you can go ahead and skip to the end.  If, by chance, you missed it or you don’t remember all the details, well, then read on.  I hope you enjoy!  And, here’s to getting inspired as the week goes on!!

Now for the repost (with just a few minor modifications):  Traditions around here have changed.  Some have evolved or others have been modified over the years.  And that used to bother me – even upset me, truth be told – but I am learning more and more to embrace each year.  Each season of life.  Both my season of life and those of my children! They are adults now and there are no little ones at our house during the holidays.  Things are bound to change and traditions adapt.  But I still love to reminisce…especially about those traditions we had when the children were young and Christmas was extra magical:)

There are two traditions (things we did every year and things that made the Christmas season “complete”) we did with the kiddos when they were little that make some of my best memories.

1 – Advent Christmas basket.  Instead of an advent calendar, we read a Christmas book each evening of December.  This was before Kindles or other ebooks and required my checking 24 books out of the library.  I usually had to do this early in November or the books would be all picked over.  Once chosen and secured on my library card, I would wrap the books and number them – one a day for the month.  The kids loved this!  I loved this!!  We looked forward to our Christmas book each evening…and we loved watching the basket become more and more empty!!

2 – Individual date nights with each kiddo.  Again, this was years ago.  Before “date night” with your kids was a thing.  Or, at least, before anyone called it a date night.  Back then, eating out was much more of a treat.  Even a luxury.  However, I was given a Christmas bonus each year (which was such a joy!) and I divided it three ways and then took each one of my children out for an evening of dinner – just the two of us and they chose the restaurant- and shopping.  Again, they loved it.  Of course, we all know who really loved it the most!!:)

A few other things that we did each year (and that may or may not continue today)……

3 – Coordinating wrapping paper.  Paper had to match.  Having a theme was even better but, at the very least, it had to all be the same color and coordinate.  With matching bows.  And (dare I risk saying this) but bags were a huge no.  This one has been challenged as the kids became adults (and do their own wrapping) but I think the rules have pretty well been established.  Just sayin:)

4 – No children downstairs until all adults were awake and downstairs.  Three little munchkins would perch on the top step until mom, dad, and all grandparents were up and ready.  And camcorders were rolling!  You remember camcorders, right??  Ours was a big as a bread box!!

5 – Presents are opened one at a time.  Someone (this used to be Dad but our son has assumed the role in recent years) dons a Santa hat and hands out all the gifts from under the tree and we take turns opening them.   Honestly, I thought this was how everyone opened gifts.  If I’m wrong, don’t tell me.  How stressful that would be!!

6 – The Christmas boxes.  We have some velvet boxes that are usually for display but “just always seem” to have “a little something extra” that is found, discovered, or opened after everything else is done and the morning is over.  It didn’t start as a tradition but after one or two years, those boxes become very much anticipated – and appreciated.  Especially by older children.

And there are a few traditions that have developed in more recent years.  They might not be as “old” as some of the other traditions, but we look forward to them just the same and they help make Christmas at our house…well, Christmas:)

7 – Going out to eat in the afternoon.  We enjoy getting out of the house.  We enjoy the atmosphere out and about.  For instance, last year we went to Georgetown.  The restaurant we selected was ringside to a created ice rink.  Families – children and lots of puppies too! – were everywhere and having such a great time.  The holiday spirit was contagious.  We are certainly hoping for good weather again this year!

8 – Tyler’s cinnamon rolls.  Our buddy, Tyler, loved to cook and, especially, loved to bake.  He began making cinnamon rolls every Christmas morning a few years before he died.  We have been making the same cinnamon rolls – using his recipe out of his Emeril Lagasse kids cookbook – every Christmas since!!  I’m pretty sure if we did not, we would not even bother to finish the day.  Grief is still real during the holidays.  But we continue to give ourselves grace.  We embrace the joy that is still ours.  And we do love our cinnamon rolls:)  as well as the memories they give us of our sweet son and brother!!

Okay, back to the present:)  Funny…that I mentioned opening the gifts one at a time.  Again.  This is either incredibly important or very traumatic for me!!  (Relax, Jennifer!)  And, just for the record, we have reservations to go back to Georgetown again this year!  Woohoo!!  I hope you enjoyed (another) look at some of our traditions.  Leave a comment.  Say hello:)  And I hope you will come back on Thursday!  Have a great week…..


9 thoughts on “A (Re)Look at Christmas Traditions

  1. Yes it is hard to enjoy, fully, the holidays without those we love…but we must press forward and enjoy the memories and love that still surrounds us now…
    Love the post!

  2. I love that you continue Tyler’s traditional baking – although it must be bittersweet to remember when he was here to bake them himself, continuing to make them is a way of keeping him with you through your happy memories.
    Of course you should only open one present at a time – how else can you really appreciate your gift? Although my children always found it unbearable to have to sit and watch someone else open a present before their turn came round again!

    1. Yes, it is a special (and yummy) way to remember Tyler each Christmas morning! And the waiting for your turn can be hard….for old and young alike:)

  3. I am impressed that Tyler was baking at a young age! How wonderful to continue that tradition. I love your tradition of reading books to your kids during advent. Have a great Monday. Hope the white stuff stays away! We are predicted to get a little snow. I can´t decide if i am glad about that or not :).

  4. We don’t let the kids go downstairs on Christmas morning without us either.. of course now that they’re teens that is no longer an issue. In fac t last year my husband and I managed to watch an entire movie before they got up! Alec has started making us croissants every Christmas morning for our family brunch and I am loving it. I tried to make cinnamon buns our tradition but we only managed them a year or two. We had pouring rain all night and all day today (and 2 separate power outages… the 2nd of which is still going strong). I was glad it was not ice or snow and I am so thankful for our generator.

  5. Hello Jennifer, yesterday it was pouring here, very heavily but warmer than it has been. What an excellent idea to look through your old blog posts. Thank you for reposting this one as it is new to me. So many wonderful traditions, I loved reading about them. Thank you so much for sharing them, and Merry Christmas (in case I don’t get back before the 25th).

  6. What a fun read, Jennifer! Thank you so much for sharing these fun family traditions that you had when your children were young. Reading about you using your bonus each year to have a date night with each of your children…and shopping brought back special memories of Saturdays when my mother would take one of the three of us with her to town for her weekly shopping. It included lunch at a “real” restaurant …not fast food, in other words…and shopping.

    I wish you a lovely peaceful and joyful Christmas, my friend. It’s been such a blessing for me to get acquainted with you these last few months!

  7. I loved reading about your traditions. I think making Tylers cinnamon rolls is a great way to remember him on Christmas.
    I am also a fan of matching paper and not using bags, my daughters do the same. 🙂
    And I so agree about opening gifts one at a time. Doing them together would be traumatic for me too. 🙂

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