On our recent drive back from California, Bubba turned to me and said, “so…what do we want our Christmas traditions to be?”. I was a little taken back by this because we've been doing Christmas with kids for almost 7 years, and figured we already HAD traditions.
…but it got me thinking.
I realized we had never really consciously thought about it before; planned for it. Sure, over the years a few things had crept in that we like doing each year, but we hadn't formally considered them traditions yet.
We live in Utah, and all the other members of our families live in Arizona, California, and Oregon. As a result, we find ourselves traveling to see family for the holidays, so our kids can at least have some memories with their cousins. We've stopped traveling for Christmas (hauling the presents was…a nightmare.) but since our kids are the only grandchildren on my side of the family so far, my family tends to come to Utah to spend Christmas with us.
We love it. We really do. We love spending as much time with family as possible.
Riding in that car, I came to the realization that almost all of our traditions have come as a result of 1) participating in the traditions of the family members we were spending time with, or 2) doing what we've done since we were kids.
While we've been satisfied with the things we've been doing at Christmastime (for the most part), I realized in that conversation with Bubba that…
They weren't OURS.
Are those the traditions we wanted to do for the rest of our lives? Are those the traditions we wanted our kids to grow up with? What memories do we want to create for our kids?
We started with the Christmas season in general. What did we want to accomplish?
We got excited about it, and made a list.
…because I'm a list freak. And a list just feels good.
Some of the things on our list include:
- We want to cut down our own tree from now on, and do it the day after Thanksgiving, or as soon as we get back from traveling for Thanksgiving.
- Start decorating for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving, or the Sunday after Thanksgiving if we are traveling.
- Do a Secret Santa project every year on my blog
- Do our own family Secret Santa service/donation
- Do an advent activity calendar, starting Dec 1
- Breakfast for dinner on Christmas eve, including Aebleskivers.
- Open new Christmas PJ's from Mimi.
- Pile in the car in new PJ's and go through the lights at Thanksgiving Point.
- Opening gifts on Christmas day one at a time, youngest child first.
And our newest, and favorite tradition…
- Christmas 3ve Tradition
Back-story: When talking with Bubba about our favorite childhood traditions, we both had the same memory of getting together with the same 3 families every Christmas eve, eating dinner, doing a talent show, and acting out the Nativity. We both grew up out of state from any extended family. We decided we wanted to start that tradition with our own kids, but on Christmas Eve, Eve, Eve…or, Christmas 3ve as I've started calling it.
We did it last night for the first time, adding our own twists to the tradition, of course. Christmas 3ve was – hands down – the most fun I've ever had at Christmas time, as an adult. Ever.
We invited our best family friends over and:
Took treats to the hardworking firemen in our area:
Then we came back to our house and had an amazing Taco Bar. (I didn't get pictures, but took lots of video so check my YouTube channel on Tuesday!)
After dinner…the most epic talent show known to man.
You'll just have to wait for the Vlog, but let's just say it involves magic, SNL Cheerleaders, 2 year olds breakdancing, and a swing-dancing Spider-Man. I'm just gunna let that settle for a sec.
We ended the night with all 14 kids acting out the Nativity, in as many rowdy, silly, sweet, and touching moments as expected.
It's the greatest tradition in the world, in my eyes, and the best part is…it's OURS.
I encourage you to make a list. Plan out YOUR traditions. Make a list. What do you want Christmas to look like, feel like, taste like at your house?
We planned Christmas 3ve only 2 days before it happened! Little to no thought went into it. It was a text invite. A potluck dinner. Impromptu talents. It doesn't have to be stressful or a “big deal”…just do it.
I encourage us all to think about gifts less, and traditions more. Let's keep the TRUE meaning of Christmas in mind, and find a way to introduce the birth of Christ into our traditions.
…and Spider-Man, of course.
Wishing you and yours a traditions-filled, happy Holiday from our crazy crew to yours!