Christmas Traditions


This Christmas season is exceptionally special for Steven and I because it will be the first Christmas we spend together as a married couple. Sure, we woke up in our home together last Christmas, but there is something special about spending the holidays together, married at last. With a new marriage comes new family traditions, but that doesn't mean that our old traditions will ever disappear. Here are just a few of my favorite holiday traditions that have stuck around for as long as I can remember and will hopefully last a lifetime.

1 | Christmas shopping with my dad. Every year on Christmas Eve my dad and I venture out to mall for last minute Christmas shopping. The trip is mostly focused on purchasing my mom's Christmas presents from my dad. The day usually starts with brunch and mimosas/ bloody marys followed by a few hours of searching for all the items on my mom's Christmas list. I don't remember exactly when my dad and I started this tradition. I know it was years ago (way before I was old enough to indulge in the mimosa part of the adventure!), and I hope that it is something we can continue for years to come. 
2 | Christmas Eve night. For my family, Christmas always began the night of Christmas Eve. The whole family would gather together for a delicious dinner, prep for the next day's Christmas meal, indulge in one too many Christmas treats, and open one gift from under the Christmas tree. The tradition of opening one gift on Christmas Eve began when my mom was growing up and has continued for all of these years. The Christmas Eve gift usually centers around pajamas or something that can be worn/used the following day. 

3 | Christmas morning. Growing up, I remember waking up bright and early Christmas morning and running downstairs to see what Santa brought. All of our toys would be laid out perfectly on each side of our living room couch. Afterwords, the whole family would sit around the living room as we passed out the presents that were under the tree. We would then go around the room as one person opened a present at a time. Now that we are older, Santa wraps our presents and puts them underneath the tree with all the other presents. On Christmas morning, we pass out all the presents and go around opening one at a time. It's a process, but it's more about spending time together Christmas morning, talking and sipping on coffee, than it is about the presents. 
4 | Elf. This is a brand new tradition and one that has such a special and significant meaning. Steven proposed to me the year before last on December 20th after watching ELF at the Alabama Theatre. When the movie was over we followed the crowd out of the theater. There, written in lights on the marquee, Steven asked me to marry him. Steven later admitted that he had been so nervous throughout the move that he wasn't able to concentrate on watching it. So last year, after spending Christmas Eve with my family, Steven and I came home to cuddle up on the couch and watch ELF together. I love that movie, and I now love the significance behind the movie. This will be a tradition that I hope to continue forever.
Last year was the first year that Steven and I spent Christmas together. We both come from a very close knit family, and it was important that we were able to split the holiday between our two families. Thankfully, we were able to come up with a system that allowed us to do just that while also keeping our favorite Christmas traditions in tact. Our new routine went so well last year that we plan on repeating it just the same way this year. Christmas Eve and Christmas morning will be spent at my mom and dad's house with my family, and Christmas afternoon and night will be spent at our house with Steven's family. We will continue the Christmas celebration throughout the weekend because the day after Christmas we are traveling to Arkansas to spend a couple of day's with Steven's extended family. 

Before Steven and I got married I worried how we would manage holidays and new traditions. I've never been one to easily adapt to change, so I was fearful that once we married all of my favorite holiday traditions would disappear. However, that hasn't been the case at all. The holidays have only become better since we started spending them together. We have incorporated each other into our favorite childhood traditions and we have also started our own family traditions that we hope to continue with children of our own. 

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions? 

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  1. I love all of your traditions!!! We used to open on gift on Christmas Eve as well, usually it was the gifts my sister and I got for each other. Now I spend Christmas Eve with Chris's family, they usually bake all day and open presents that evening.

    My mom always buys a box of mixed chocolates for Christmas day and cooks mine and my sister's favorite meal (pierogies, a northern dish) and she still does that and my sister and I bring our families to her house Christmas night for dinner and gift exchanging.

    Chris's sister also usually has everyone over for breakfast Christmas morning at her house.

    As you can see that is a lot of house to house to house for us. I hope that Chris and I pick up a few traditions of our own, we usually get thrown between our families since we are the only ones without kids but I really want a few traditions to call our own!

  2. I love all of these traditions, especially the shopping with your dad part. I truly treasure some of the traditions my dad and I share together, and shopping on christmas eve with him sounds like so much fun! and I mean, who can turn down mimosas :)

  3. The Elf proposal story is so sweet! What a wonderful new tradition :) My family does the same on Christmas morning, one present at a time. Makes it last longer and gives everyone a chance to fully appreciate the gifts!

  4. These are so much fun. Love the sweet element of Elf into your tradition!!

  5. I think our parents had a harder time adjusting to the fact that we had to split up Christmas' rather than us. Both of our parents wanted to spend the whole Christmas Eve and Christmas day with us, but eventually (after 2 years of trying) we got it together and have a successful plan of attack.

  6. Oh, I love all your traditions. There are a few that I really want to get started in our family, but part of our traditions might be traveling every other year. So we'll have to figure it out. For now, it's Christmas decorations on Black Friday, It's a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve, and Christmas Eve candlelight service.

  7. Oh my gosh what a sweet proposal!! And I love how now Elf is such a special part of your traditions!

  8. Elf being a part of your proposal is the best, what a great addition to your tradition. I am nervous about next year once my Fiancé and I are married. His family always travels to Buffalo, NY to see his grandparents and my family always spends the day at my parents with the rest of our family. I have always been so close with my family that it would be so upsetting if I didn't see them at all Christmas day.

  9. Gah your proposal story is sooo sweet!!! I love that it's now included in your new traditions.