I’m struggling to believe that Thanksgiving is already in the rearview mirror and Christmas is on the horizon. Where did 2017 go? I’ll be honest – I’m ready to give it the boot, but it really does seem like this year has flown by! The holidays are my favorite time of the year, because there is always full-fledged merriment. I know that the holidays often brings an onslaught of stress but I’ll let you in on another little secret – I thrive in that kind of environment! Maybe I’m a weirdo..HA! Anyway – with the holidays comes a lot of tradition for me and my family. Growing up, Dane and I both had family traditions that we shared with our parents and siblings, so when we got married, we both took what we loved and fused it to make our own. Today I’m sharing my favorite holiday traditions and a fun giveaway from Wayfair!
Every year that passes it seems like it’s more important to me than before to preserve the traditions we enjoy. I’m not sure if that’s a product of getting older or if I just genuinely love meaningful celebrations around Christmas. In any case, here are a few of my favorite holiday traditions:
Christmas Pajamas: Each year, we got a new pair of Christmas pajamas and it was always an anticipated part of Christmas Eve celebrations. My mom made sure that we all either 1. matched or 2. were in generally the same kind of apparel and opened them altogether Christmas Eve.
Stockings: I’ve mentioned before that stockings are a huge deal for us. Growing up, it was the highlight of Christmas morning, stumbling down the steps to see what was in (and around) our stockings. I’m not sure when it started (or why), but our bigger gifts were always part of our stocking celebration and quite honestly…they have become my favorite part of Christmas! Dane was confused by this when we first got together, but now he totally understands what the fuss is about! To see what I’m buying this year, check out Stocking Gifts For Her + Stocking Gifts For Him.
And stockings go beyond the normal fare of one per person (or dog) at our house. We have them on almost every single door knob of our house! I don’t know what it is, but when I see cute stockings, I can’t resist. Into my cart they go!
Gingerbread House Decorating: What’s more fun than decorating gingerbread house? Making it a competition! We always decorated houses as a family, because I come from a town where farmer’s markets with specialty candy are aplenty, so getting the goods for Gingerbread McMansions was relatively easy. When Dane and I started dating, he joined the competition. When we got married, we invited his family into the mix. It’s a fun tradition that seems to get better each year. Since we live so far away now, we send photos of our respective houses for judging, but nothing beats the fun of doing it in person with candy, drinks and snacks galore. And the best part is seeing them on display for the remainder of the season. One year my mom used them all as a centerpiece for her big Christmas morning breakfast!
Baking Christmas Cookies: For as long as a I can remember right after Thanksgiving, my mom would pull out a tattered recipe binder and spend an entire night baking in our kitchen. When we woke up, she would proudly show the fruits of her labor with dozens and dozens of cookies in tins. I think my grandmother did the same, because I distinctly remember going to her house as a kid and being able to snack on a cookie buffet at any given moment during the month of December. It was also great growing up in PA, because you could keep the tins of cookies outside in the garage so they were always cold! Now that I have a house and kitchen of my own, baking Christmas cookies is definitely a favorite of mine too!
Christmas Cards: It’s no secret that I love a good Christmas Card. In fact, I start planning it out months in advance. Call me crazy, but I love getting cards from other people in the mail and sending some snail mail cheer just makes me happy. You can see cards from year’s past here: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016. I’m already giddy to share our 2017 card!
Lights + Decor: During the other 11 months of the year, I take a clean, modern approach to decor, but come December all of that goes out the window. The bigger, brighter and flashier…the better! Give me all the sparkle, glitz and color, baby! Just out of curiosity, I took stock of our Christmas decor. In our house we have 5 trees (only 2 are big!), 35 feet of garland, 6 wreaths, 9 stockings, 150 feet of lights, over 100 ornaments (and counting) and countless knick knacks (throw pillows, blankets, santa figurines, etc.). I wish I had a more accurate count in the “knick knacks” category, but all I can say is that it takes 5 large plastic bins to house it all! We also used to have a beautiful manger scene that was gifted to us, but it (heartbreakingly) has seemed to disappear in one of our countless moves in the past 5 years. If there are any you’ve seen that you love, feel free to share a link!
My favorite scenes from Christmases past…
A new tradition that we’ve started this year is gifting experiences with our parents. Because we live so far away and understand that shipping, gifting, etc. might not always be the easiest task, we are planning trips together throughout the year together. I have to be honest – this has made shopping so much easier! Plus, the gift of quality time with the people we love the most is more special than any present.
If you’ve gathered anything from this post (or year’s past)…I’m a bit of a Christmas FANATIC! From cards to decor and everything in between – I love the merriment this season brings. Another fun fact about me is that I am a huge history buff, so when Wayfair shared the following historical bit about the holidays, it was the collision of two of my very favorite things!
“In medieval Europe, Christmas trees were hung upside down from the ceilings of castles and the large homes of the aristocracy, much like a chandelier. It’s possible the tradition of the Christmas tree dates as far back as the 8th century, where legend credits the spark of the tradition to Saint Boniface – but what is certain is that fir and spruce trees were being hung upside down by the 12th century, decorated with flowers and brightly wrapped food. In Poland the tradition of the upside down Christmas tree continued through the 18th century, when it was finally replaced by the German tradition of what today we consider a standard Christmas tree. The modern Christmas tree can trace its roots to 16th century Germany, where Martin Luther is said to have first placed lit candles onto an evergreen tree.”
Cool right? And what’s even more exciting is that just as the old adage state “everything old is new again” – these upside down trees are back in style! All I can say is…more room for presents and no Labrador tails knocking off my prized ornaments…HA! You can shop them here.
To celebrate these upside down Christmas trees and all the beautiful decor that the holidays bring, I’ve partnered with Wayfair to give one lucky reader a $100 gift cards! To win, simply visit Wayfair’s Upside Down Christmas Tree page, pick out your favorite upside-down Christmas tree, and then share your favorite one in the comment section. That’s it! The winner will be chosen December 8th with plenty of time to stock up on some last minute decor or presents 🙂
**GIVEAWAY CLOSED** Congratulations Anne!
What are your holiday traditions? What is your favorite upside down tree?