Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas Traditions

Happy Christmas Eve Eve!  It boggles my mind that Christmas is this weekend. When I was a kid, it seemed liked it took forever for Christmas Eve to arrive.  These days it seems like Christmas should still be weeks away!  Such is the life of an adult, I guess!

I grew up in a household full of holiday traditions, such as lighting candles of the advent wreath, saying our prayers together as a family, and singing Christmas carols.  Now that I'm an adult, I've established some new traditions.  I'm sure they will grow and change through the years, but here are some of the traditions we honor each year.

First off, we decorate the Christmas tree after Thanksgiving!  We usually decorate it the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but we had to push it back this year since I was in Spain that weekend.  I did try to talk Phil into making an exception and decorating it before Christmas, but he refused! We have a fake tree that is pre-lit. I'd love to have a real tree some day, but from what I've heard, they sound kind of pricey!

I'm team "white lights" when it comes to Christmas trees!  Most of the ornaments were bought during a post-Christmas sale the first year after college, but I add 1-2 ornaments each year.
Phil and I always do our own little Christmas together before celebrating with family. We make a special meal together (this year we made a Mediterranean Shrimp Skillet) and pop open a bottle of wine or prosecco.

After dinner, we bake something together. This year we made sugar cookies from America's Test Kitchen's gluten free cookbook. I don't own this cookbook, but my mom does so she sent me the recipe. They were soooo good!  If you can't have gluten, I highly recommend this cookbook! I need to put it on my birthday wishlist.

We split a cookie that night (... and I had salted caramel gelato for dessert), but the rest were reserved for the cookie decorating party that I host each year for my college friends and their kids.  They all came over on Sunday night and we had such a fun night!  I served tacos for dinner and then we got busy decorating. I've hosted a decorating party each year since 2009, except the year I lived in Charlotte. It's one of my favorite holiday traditions.

I heart these kids so much! 
What are some of your holiday traditions?  Do you get a real tree or a fake tree? 


Vanessa Meads said...

I can't believe how quickly Christmas snuck up on us. The holidays seem to fly by a little faster each year.

My favorite tradition is brunch with J's family. His mom used to host it every year, but now that she's moved out of the province we've taken it on ourselves. It's so much fun and feels less stressful to me than hosting a dinner.

We have a fake tree, both because our building doesn't allow real trees (fire hazard), but also because I don't want to have to clean up after a real one - haha.

Happy holidays!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

Merry Christmas to you and Phil! Have a wonderful time with both of your families!!

Jeanie said...

Boy, those holidays come FAST! Almost here!

I love the traditions you share. The shrimp looks good and the kids look like they're having such a good time.

Our biggest tradition is the Christmas Eve (whichever day we make it) cookie decorating with the kids. We also go to our friend's church on Christmas Eve. Those are the biggies!

Merriest to you, my friend. What a new year you will have!

Shoshanah said...

We have a fake tree too. Our old tree got misplaced I all th craziness this year so on Black Friday the boy went out and bought a new one. It worked out though because we used to have a tiny tiny one, but with our new house having a 2-story living room we upgraded to a 10 foot one!

Stephany said...

I was always Team Real Tree until I realized how much EASIER fake trees are. I can't say anything about the price, but I never thought they were outrageously expensive (then again, it was always my mom buying it, so what do I know?). The annoying thing about real trees is all the upkeep! Fitting it into the base, watering it, finding a place to dump it, all the pine needles. It's just not worth it to me.

Merry Christmas, Lisa!

Gracie said...

I've never had a real tree - growing up or now. My favorite tradition is our Commander's Palace lunch: we take a day off work (usually a Monday) and go to Commander's for a fancy Christmas lunch. When we were kids, my favorite tradition was our stocking buttons: our stocking were these gray wool work socks with red toes and heels, and every year we would sew a new novelty button on. The reveal of what the button was was always exciting! Now that I look back, I'm amazed that we looked forward to that event more than the gifts we would received: which just proves that kids really just want joyful experiences, not things.

Abby said...

Looks so fun and I love the holiday traditions you are creating!!! You split a cookie?! What willpower you have!! I wish I could have that kind of willpower ;)

The season really does go way too fast!!!

I feel like we haven't really established a tradition since for many years I worked on Christmas, and now he works holidays - so it's always spur of the moment. But I will say we always do lots of seafood and do an "appetizer" meal. When we do get Christmas Eve together- we do the 7 fishes. This year we got to sample the olives we have been working on since August, pickled herring, and shrimp cocktail.

And we try to do our presents on Christmas Eve and usually buy a "family" gift together during December - and do smaller gifts on Christmas Eve.

I can't believe it's already over!!

Charbelle said...

Those cookies look so yummy!!! Sugar cookies are my favorite!!! I had such a wonderful time this year decorating sugar cookies with Charlotte! I used the lofthouse sugar cookies recipe and we decorate before they bake, they turned out really well this year! I think this year was the first of a few new traditions for me and I'm really thankful!!!

Marlys said...

Christmas traditions are great to start and they will change and grow over the years. I think yours are great!

San said...

I can't believe how quickly Christmas snuck up on us this year.... I wish the holiday season lasted a little longer ;)

I love your Christmas traditions... we had many at my parents' house, but I also try to compromise with J and incorporate some of the American traditions. We're trying to get the best of both worlds.

In Germany, we usually get the tree and decorate it on Christmas Eve morning. The big meal and exchanging presents happen on Christmas Eve, after the "Christkind" has brought the presents.

Amber said...

You have established some awesome holiday traditions!! We honestly don't really have any 'set in stone' traditions around the holiday. If we are with my family we each open one gift on Christmas Eve. I we are in FSJ all of my extended family also has a huge dinner on Christmas Eve. Eric's family also tends to open presents / celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve which led to a few very hectic Christmas Eve's for us over the years! My family and Eric's family are both very low-key on Christmas Day and we usually spend all day in our PJ's and just lay around reading, watching movies or playing board games.

This year we didn't even decorate. We literally just took a break from everything related to Christmas since we were going away and it was quite nice! Last year we had a real tree and it wasn't too pricey. It was a bit messy as it dropped pine needles all over our living room, but it smelled SO GOOD and made our whole house smell amazing!!