Five Family December Holiday Traditions
I found out last week that a close friend of ours didn’t actually know what an advent calendar was. I now feel the intense urge to share with all of you the super fun (super cliche) Boone family traditions that we’ve started in our household (aside from opening presents early… which is not actually a tradition but definitely happens every year… I’ll let you be the judge of that). I’ve always felt like every family wants to bring more closeness to their home and family members around the holidays, couples without kids included! For 4-8 years, Nik and I have done these traditions together (some older than others), and enjoyed them thoroughly.
I share this post with hopes that you’ll take these ideas, and shape them to be your very own, to suit you and your family this holiday season!
#5 Post Thanksgiving Decorating - When I was little, my family had a pretty strict day dedicated to decorating the house, tree, outside with lights, and setting up our Lemax Christmas Village on the Friday following Thanksgiving. If we had leftover ham and potato casserole from Thanksgiving we’d have that with eggs for breakfast, or cinnamon rolls, or something else suuuuper delish. Then my grandma religiously made turkey salad for lunch and fed us while we (my younger cousin and I) crouched underneath her village set to plug in her light up village pieces, and to my amazement, never blew a fuse. We’d go get a tree, decorate it (leaving the final touches to my mom or grandma, because OCD is a real issue with tree decor, and genetic apparently). Nowadays, I’ve carried the same tradition into our house. We scour the town looking for somewhere setting up trees for sale, we decorate the house, inside and out until we literally can’t move, and we eat leftovers like nobody’s business. We don’t always get it done in one day, but we usually finish over the weekend, and just like it had never happened, Thanksgiving and the fall season are laid to rest, and Christmas takes over like a weed!
#4 Event Advent Calendar - This one is a little bit newer to my family. I don’t remember getting an advent calendar when we were little, though that doesn’t mean much. I have the memory of a goldfish. BUT- I remember seeing advent calendars in movies and thinking how pointless little gifts or candies were leading up to Christmas, the day of the BIG gifts and candy. In our house, we instead adopted the Event Advent Calendar. Each year in the days leading up to December 1st, Nik and I decide who will be even days, and who will be responsible for odd days. Separately, we consult our calendars, upcoming events, etc to decide what days would be best for what events. Some are as simple as “watch a holiday movie” or “drink hot cocoa” and some are a little more effort like “bake cookies together” or “drive around and look at lights”. We even plan them around community events like Christmastown, The Holiday Lights At CALM, or the Downtown Christmas Parade. The advent calendar is something you can make so personal, and that’s what I’ve always loved about it. Every year, it’s not a material thing that we give each other leading up to Christmas, but rather our time to one another, dedicated to being festive and together. That’s always been a little more special than gifts to us!
#3 The Friends Baking Palooza - We used to do this in my family when I was young, though it didn’t involve booze, or as far as I can remember it didn’t! My aunt, little cousin, sister, nieces, mom, grandma, great grandma, and myself (depending on the year) would all get together at one of our houses and bake and decorate cookies ALL. DAY. LONG. Pretty sure we only ate cookies for meals too, because who needs real food on cookie day?! Nowadays, my family has gotten a little busier, and some have moved away from our hometown, but I still try to have a baking day with my mom, sister, and her kids, and another with friends! For the friends one, we usually attempt brand new cookie or sweets recipes, and we make festive, boozy drinks to ease our failures when they inevitably happen. Some of my very favorite recipes have come from these bake days, and some of the best recipes we’ve found have been tweaked and remade time and time again to perfection! Plus, by the end of it, you’re probably rather liquored up so your feet don’t hurt too much from standing all day. Win, win.
#2 Annual Ornaments - In my family, my mom started buying me ballerina ornaments literally as early as I have memories of Christmas. She still buys me an ornament yearly, to this very day. My little cousin bought or made Elvis themed ornaments, and when my sister had her kids, my mom started buying Ava’s Angels, Bella’s Snowmen, and Reindeer for my sister and her husband. Nik and I get Santas, and Remi will start getting elves. As you can likely imagine, there were a lot of trees in our house at Christmas time… and still are in mine and Nik’s house (Nik’s favorite joke to say is that I wanted a tree in every room, and he wanted one single tree, so we compromised and have a tree in every room)! Aside from my mom being the cutest mom ever and continually buying yearly family ornaments for our various trees, Nik and I buy one ornament for me that symbolizes the year, one for him, and one or two for us both. These are super fun to pick out at places like Hobby Lobby, because they have SO many options. We will even pick up ornaments on special trips or at events we want to remember each holiday season. We spend a pretty good amount of time at the store, carefully selecting the ornaments we want, and we usually have dinner afterwards. It’s a fun little tradition that we will definitely carry over every year!
#1 Matching Pajamas for Christmas Morning - One last tradition I picked up from my family as a child were Christmas PJs. You don’t necessarily have to sleep in them, but before you open gifts and snap photos Christmas morning, the whole family changes into our matching PJs! Cliche? Yep. Extra? You betcha. Doing it forever? YAAAAAAS! You can never have too many sets of cute family PJs!
I hope you enjoyed my little list of holiday traditions, and feel free to adopt and adapt them to your own family! What traditions does your family have that you could not IMAGINE the holidays without?!