Maybe it’s just me, but the holidays always bring about this urge inside me to make special memories. Does anyone else feel this way? Growing up, I have the best memories of my parents hosting dinner parties, building gingerbread houses, driving through neighborhoods with twinkling lights and hte list goes on and on…The entire season was special based on traditions they started xwhen we were little kids and things they had gotten from their parents, grandparents, etc.
Today I thought I would share some of the fun traditions we have in our family during the holiday season!
1. Christmas Pajamas. This might be my all-time favorite tradition and we were doing it long before the popular XMAS JAMMIES skit by The Holderness Family! Every year, our entire family got Christmas pajamas to wear on Christmas Eve. My mom always had one box for everyone underneath the tree and by the time we were a little older, we already knew what was inside! When Dane joined the family, he wasn’t forgotten!
|Christmas 2012 in Pennsylvania
2. Baking. My mom instilled a love of baking into my soul probably before I could even walk. The holidays meant countless hours in the kitchen baking up hundreds of dozens of cookies. We have a pretty big family, so it seemed like we were always going to an event that required a festive cookie platter. We would break out the old, worn recipe cards (some just on tattered pieces of paper) that have been passed down generations within our family and get down to work! This year it’s only a couple dozen for our big Christmas party, but I love it just the same!
3. Gingerbread Houses. Oh boy, this is a fun one! Every year growing up, my parents would buy tons of bulk candy from a local candy store or farmer’s market and put it all out on the counter with gingerbread houses, royal icing and lots of hot chocolate to go around. We would get busy on our houses and at the end, everyone voted on a “winner”. Honestly – they were all always awesome! We carried this tradition on when I met Dane and his family and now it’s inevitable that we will get a barrage of gingerbread house photos from across the country of various family members with their houses. It’s fun – plus, my sweet tooth loves diving into all that sugary goodness!
One year I even sent out custom invitations with cutouts of our previous year’s houses. Yes, I know – I’m as intense as it sounds about all this 😉
4. Stockings. Stockings are a BFD in our family. Arguably, they were always more exciting than the opening of the presents. Stockings just held so much wonder! We always gift wrap everything in the stocking and pack it full of treats! I make it my goal every year to see how much I can cram into Dane’s, Judy’s and Bill’s without it falling off the stocking holder. So far – so good! Stockings are also the only part of the morning that’s a free-for-all with wrapping paper flying! We took our time opening actual presents, so we could enjoy what everyone else got and also savor the morning longer!
5. Christmas Brunch. Now let’s talk about the food, because the food is WHERE IT’S AT, am I right? Right. My mom always cooked a huge spread Christmas morning (I’m not entirely sure how she did it) and had our entire family over. That means a lot of people, laughter and presents all piling into my parent’s kitchen, living room, family room and dining room. The best part was that it was totally casual and everyone showed up in their pajamas! It’s been hard to be away from that fun event since we’ve moved to Hawaii, but Dane and I have hosted either a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day party since we’ve lived here. It’s SO FUN! We love surrounding ourselves with the friends who have become family and hosting an all-you-can-eat-and-drink fiesta for the holidays. On the menu this year is cookie butter stuffed french toast, pulled pork sliders with bacon jam, regular & dairy free mac-and-cheese, roasted veggie & quinoa salad, and some really fun dips!
Now, just because I’m totally nosy and hoping you’ll tell me – what’s your favorite family tradition?