Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Traditions: Past & Present

Fond memories flood my mind when I think of Christmas as a child and even now as an adult.  I have been extremely fortunate to always have felt blessed and even spoiled around the holidays.  The love that my family has for one another and the pure joy that embodies us when we give that perfect gift to someone is extremely special!  I am one lucky lady to be part of such an outstanding family!  This year, I vow to soak in the moments a bit more, hug a little tighter, smile a little brighter, and be more present. 

Every family has traditions and I’d like to share some of mine as a child and ones I am creating with my little family here in Virginia.

{Christmas Tree}
Growing up, we always hiked out back on either the 23rd or 24th of December and topped a tree!  Yes, we never killed a tree, we always climbed a tree and cut off the top.  Needless to say, there are a lot of flat-topped pine trees around our house!  One year we dug a tree up and then replanted it because we couldn’t find a tree to top.  Over the years, the pickings have gotten slim, so we have been tying two trees together!  When it comes to decorating, the more the merrier!  Our Christmas trees are special and I love them!
While I don’t live in an area that allows me to top a tree at the moment, we do get a real tree and decorate it with the same passion!  If we own it, it goes on the tree!  Who cares if half the pretzels from little man’s 3rd grade handmade Christmas ornament are gone?  His face is still adorable and the ornament is going on the tree! Mama has spoken!

{Bubble Lights}
These sweet little things are a tradition that comes from my mom’s side of the family and has been continued and passed on for generations!

{Christmas Eve Pollyanna}
We do a Pollyanna…it’s like a Secret Santa…between the adults in my family.  Once you are out of high school, you are considered an adult whether your maturity level matches or not!  Gramma picks the pollyannas and calls you up to let you know who you have this year.  You then go out and find the best possible gift in the $25 range for that person, wrap it and bring it on Christmas Eve.  Christmas Eve is our big holiday party!  We don’t do much of anything on Christmas, but Christmas Eve is a whole different animal…14 grandkids, 20+ adults, some great grandkids, lots of animals, tons of fun!

{Christmas Eve Sleeping}
Every Christmas Eve growing up, we kiddos would all sleep in the same room…generally the large kid’s room.  The big kids would sleep on the ground in front of the door, while the little kids snuggled in the bed.  We felt so special to all be in the same room in our jammies!  Mom & Dad are smarty pants, that’s for sure!  To this day, all the kids sleep in the same room.  It’s tradition after all and I love me some traditions!

{Christmas Morning}
On Christmas morning the kids would wake up and wait until the hour struck.  What hour you ask?  The hour that Dad gave us the night before informing us of the earliest possible second we could wake him and my mom.  It was generally 7am, but sometimes we could whittle him down to 6 or 6:30 if we were lucky.  Without fail, the hour struck and the knocking began.  Mom and Dad are REALLY good at sleeping through knocks and saying “5 more minutes.”  Once they emerge from their slumber…of a few hours if they were lucky…my dad would tell us to wait in the hall while he went under the sheet and out to the living room to make sure Santa actually came…and to make coffee.  The entire time he’d make comments about who would be happy, who might be disappointed, and then constant sound effects!  It was torture as a kid and absolutely hilarious as a parent!  My dad rocks! A few minutes later he’d return to the hallway where we were all gather and we would all sing Happy Birthday Baby Jesus!!  This still happens and it makes me soo happy!

{The Sheet}
The sheet in the hallway mentioned above was hung by Santa every year because he didn’t want us running to the living room to see what he brought us without our parents there to witness our joyous faces!  I grew up in a rancher and from the hallway where the kids bedrooms were, there was a clear view of the living room…tree, presents, couches with Santa gifts, everything.

{Christmas Day}
All are welcome to come over, but don’t expect a clean house or properly dressed individuals!  We generally lounge among torn paper and piles of presents in jammies and some special new clothing that we were trying on for size and just never took off while Christmas music is playing and the TV is on…glorious chaos!  This year, I will be heading to visit my gramma at her nursing home because she isn’t well enough to leave, but I’ll be sure to show up looking special so she feels like she’s there!  Heck, I might even toss some torn paper on the floor, turn on some Christmas tunes and crawl into bed with her for our annual mid-day Christmas nap!

{Advent Calendar}
We have the traditional advent calendar with the Christmas verse and a piece of chocolate inside and then we generally have a special advent calendar.  This year, it’s a lego calendar and little man and his friends are in hog heaven!  Each morning before leaving for school, little man and his buddy can be found opening the advent calendars and playing with little lego pieces! 

This year I started a new tradition…{Hide the Pickle}  Little man loves this tradition.  The pickle has been hiding for a few days now because he hasn’t been able to find it.  Hubby hid it, I found it, but I will not tell little man where it is! 

These are just a few of the traditions I hold dear to my heart.  I'll try to take more pictures this year and update this post with some visuals!  I'd love to hear about your favorite Christmas tradition!
Much love.


  1. Wow, so many traditions! That's really great. You're so sweet to visit your gramma even though its a trip. I'm sure that will be so special to her.

    1. Thanks! My Gramma is actually 5 minutes from my parents house, so it's not a long trip. She used to live with us and has never missed a Christmas Eve, so it's sad that she can't come. We are all gathering at the nursing home on Christmas Eve (cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.) with appetizers and sparkling cider then heading to my mom's house for dinner. I'm just going to head up there on Christmas Day and give her a hand massage and keep her company :)


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