Fun, Festive Christmas Traditions

Luke2 It’s the most wonderful time of the year – no, it’s not back to school time, it’s Christmas time!  Christmas is special for many reasons, mainly the amount of wine that is consumed just so you can be in the same room as {insert relative’s name here.}  Just kidding, my family is awesome! Christmas is special for many reasons, yes wine, but mainly tradition.  My favorite tradition growing up was making candy with my mom and sisters.

My mom had done the same with her mom and sister, and she passed the tradition down to us.  Needless to say, the two particular candies we made, Tablet and Coconut Ice, were nothing but sugar.  So, when sugar was all of a sudden evil, the candy making stopped.  Or we just got to be teenagers and cared about more important things than tradition.

“Nothing but sugar” candy was replaced with sugar cookies and frosting.  These aren’t Pinterest perfect cookies, these are “Wow that’s Santa?  Okay, if you say so” type of cookies.  My daughter loves to make them and decorate them herself {and I let her.  You should, too.}  And we’ve recently started a new tradition of making gingerbread reindeer cookies. Then there’s the tree.

Just like our cookies, our tree is not perfect.  It’s been carefully crafted over ten years, collecting different ornaments and letting some go.  We all have our favorites, my husband has his Cincinnati Reds Santa, my daughter has her Beauty and the Beast, and I have an Eiffel Tower.  Decorating the tree was magical when I was a kid, as it is for my daughter. Reds Santa2 What’s missing is the family heirloom ornament.  It was a hollowed out, round ornament made of sugar with a small viewing window in the front.  When you looked inside, you saw the Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph.  It was handmade by my mom’s friend, and we fought over who got to hang it on the tree every year.  We loved the Baby Jesus.

Then one year we were out, only to return home to find our cat, Mittens, had climbed the tree and it toppled over smashing half the ornaments, including our beloved ball of sugar. You know in “A Christmas Story” when the dad’s leg lamp ends up in pieces on the floor?  That’s exactly what it was like.  There was yelling, there were tears, but there was no more baby in a manger.

Traditions change over the years, and now that we all have our own families, we each have our own traditions.  As times change, traditions change.  I remember caroling, going tubing on Christmas Eve and then watching for Santa out the window.  Now we have ugly sweater parties, we live in the desert and we watch Santa on the Internet. I never had my own Elf, but my daughter does {if you want to know what I think of him, click here}.  We never made gingerbread houses growing up and now we love it.

Movies have always been a big part of Christmas in our house.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen “A Christmas Story” or “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  Now, my favorite is “The Family Stone” which I watch every Christmas Eve with a cold beer in hand, by the warm fire, yielding a roll of paper and some Scotch tape {nothing like saving your wrapping until the last minute.} 2013 Gingerbread House2 Then there are the Christmas specials on television.  “The Year Without Santa Claus” and “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” are my favorites and I’m trying really hard to make them my daughter’s, too.  The Heat Miser, come on?  It doesn’t get any better than that! While it can be easy to get caught up in the commercialization of Christmas, don’t forget what it’s really about.  It’s about friends, family, and traditions, keeping the old ones and starting new ones.  What are your favorite Christmas traditions?

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  1. Holly Marie says

    Hooray for letting our kids ACTUALLY make the cookies and crafts! Love your take on traditions. We watch White Christmas while decorating the tree and make gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free(taste free) cookies and drive around the neighborhood looking at lights. Great memories!

  2. Tricia says

    I love all of your family traditions. We have many of the same ones. We also had an incident where the entire tree fell down because my youngest brother knocked it over. Thank God he was okay! A lot of ornaments were smashed though. This will be the second Christmas with our son, so it has been fun thinking of what special traditions we can do as our own family.

    • Angela says

      Thank you Tricia! It’s definitely so fun enjoying Christmas through our children’s eyes! Let’s hope neither of us has a down tree in our future!

    • Angela says

      It doesn’t go well, Christine! Haha! It’s a big, gloopy mess, but you kind of have to go with it. My daughter gets frustrated because she doesn’t like sticky messes, but she always wants to make them again. It’s really not that bad:)

    • Angela says

      It’s so true! Although, I will admit, he ended up in her room last night because she wrote a note to Santa and requested the note be returned to her desk. So far, no incidents to report:)

  3. Goldi says

    Oh my gosh, great post!! We had one of those hollowed out things with Baby Jesus inside, too! I have no idea where it ended up though. I loved your very first sentence! Cracked me up! Ps. You have some camera skills, girl! THose images are amazing!

  4. Traci@tracesoffaith says

    Your pictures were amazing! Your writing style was good too. I took my own trip down memory lane as I read your thoughts. My favorite part about Christmas these days is seeing it through the eyes of my daughter. She wants tradition. She loves decorating her own tree. She cannot wait to do Advent. Thank God for kids!

    • Angela says

      Thank you Traci! I have a photographer friend who is a good teacher:) We are doing an Advent calendar this year for the first time as well. So far, my daughter loves it!

  5. JoAnn says

    I really need to check out The Family Stone. My favorite Christmas tradition now is dreaming up the predicaments that my daughter’s elf gets into. Also, I love watching Love Actually each year.

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