Today, we’re talking about holiday traditions. As in we. As in, yes, I convinced Jason to type a few words for all of you. A Christmas Miracle? Perhaps.
We have yet to develop any major Christmas traditions with just our little family. It’s tricky to develop your own traditions when you’re always at someone else’s house for Christmas! But we’re working around it. St Nicholas fills our stockings with treats and small gifts on December 5th (so that we wake up to find them on December 6th). It’s a tradition that my family did while I was growing up, and we’ve decided that it’s just too fun not to continue! We also send Christmas cards and host a festive sweater party.
This year, we’ll join my family for Christmas. Typically, we head to church on Christmas Eve, followed by a trip to my grandparent’s house for dinner, gifts, and my grandparents’ matching plaid pants.
Grandma & Grandpa + Plaid Pants = Awesome Christmas
We’d play with our cousins, or in recent years, just chit-chat. After we’d gotten our fill of shrimp cocktail and cookies, we’d open presents. Every year, my grandma buys too much for us, and every year, my grandpa claims that he was the one that went to the store and bought it. We pretend to be fooled.
Then, we head to my parent’s house to sleep and await Santa’s arrival.
In the morning, we wait until everyone wakes up. Poor bother Trevor – when Ashley, Robby, and I were younger, we’d be up early, ready to get a start on opening the plethora of gifts under the tree. Now that we’re older, we sleep in later. And, one of my siblings is not to be woken under penalty of death. Ahem, you know who you are. So, we wait. Someone makes cinnamon rolls and we eat them, then read the Christmas story from the bible. Finally, it’s present time!
In the afternoon, we’ll usually head over to visit with my mom’s family. (unless it’s an “off year” for them… then we’ll gather with them on one of the weekends close to Christmas). After eating a huge and very delicious meal, we swap gifts. We each buy one gift that anyone might find appealing… so on Christmas, we put all the presents in a pile and pick numbers. We go in numerical order, picking a present out of the unwrapped pile or stealing from someone else. We usually go through the order twice. It’s hilarious to see what gifts everyone brings – there’s always some sort of hunting equipment, tools, and kitchen-y stuff. Then, the desserts come out. Yummy!
Sometimes being the oldest isn’t that cool. Like when you’re 13 and forced to wear clothes that match your 8-year old sister and 3-year old brother TO THE MALL! to sit on Santa’s lap. Mom and Dad – you are very lucky that I played along without a fight. Future Children – I can’t wait to torture you like this in the name of a good Christmas picture.
On other years, we spend Christmas with Jason’s family. So here he is to fill you in on his family’s traditions:
My family traditions starts with mass – we always go to 8PM mass, which includes the full choir doing renditions of religious Christmas tunes as well as some secular favorites. After mass, we eat Chinese takeout from the local restaurant. Other traditions we flirted with on Christmas Eve were a movie tradition for Christmas Eve, and last year we tried instituting a Chipotle lunch tradition, but those don’t seem to have the staying power of the Chinese dinner.
On Christmas night, my parents stay up watching the mass from the Vatican, wrapping presents and having a cocktail. For Christmas morning, Santa leaves an apple and an orange outside our bedroom doors. I have taken this tradition to the next level by utilizing these fruits as wake up alarms for my sister. (read: Jason hurls them at his sister’s head! poor Bridget!) Then after we are all awake, we sit at the top of the steps while my parents find the camera to take our picture and finally we can go downstairs and open the presents. After all the fun and merriment of opening presents, we go over a relatives house and have entirely too much fun. On one of the days following Christmas, my extended family takes the train into Philadelphia to go to the Macy’s light show and Dickens village… two cheesy holiday events that wouldn’t be half as fun without the extended family!
Jason, his brother Kevin, and Santa
What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?
To see other holiday traditions, head over to Kim’s blog for the final week of her holiday party!