Dec 17, 2008

Christmas At My Place.

Do you know what I'm the most excited about this Christmas?

It's not the days spent lounging in my pajamas - though that's nice, I will admit.
It's not the excuse I have, every Christmas, to watch While You Were Sleeping and cry like it's the first time I've ever seen it.
And it's not the fact that my mom always gets me that "oh, it's just a little something" that dad has no idea she spent the money on. And it's just from her to me. And it is usually something I crave...that being shoes, jewelry , handbags or anything she gets off of QVC. Go mom!

Nope, it's none of those things.

It's the fact that this year Christmas - is at my house.

This year Remi Hope will walk down her stairs to see what Santa left beneath her tree.

This year the fire will be burning in my fire place.

This year Rocco will lay between the AG and I, in our bed, with little Remi squeezed in for good measure.

And even more importantly, this year will be the first year that we begin our very own Christmas traditions.

And I cannot wait.

Oh yes, I will miss my family. Don't get me wrong on that. I will miss staying up well past midnight and watching my dad unload all of Santa's "goodies" for my little sister. (Though I will not miss being the one to wrap 85 last minute gifts he found for my mom. I HATE WRAPPING GIFTS. It's totally overrated.) I will miss Margaret's sausage bread every Christmas morning. And I will miss all the naps. (Though I plan on upholding that tradition with my own family; I feel it's only right.)

* Note to readers: Now, I know that you all read 60 million blogs at this time of year that probably all deal with the same topic, so please don't hit the ESCAPE button just yet. I have been excited about writing this post for some time now, so I really need you to play along.

Here's what I want to know. What are your traditions? What are the things - the sweet, special, we do it every year and it just gets better and better - traditions that you and your family have?

I've been asking around and have really heard of some great things that families do together every year, and granted, making holiday memories with a 2 year old is probably not going to be everything I bargained for, but nonetheless it's my first Christmas with my little family and I want to make a memory.

C'mon! Help a girl out.

Tell me what your traditions are.

And don't be surprised if I make some of them my own.

And don't be surprised if I don't make some of them my own. (As much as I love you MaryBeth, I am not eating sugar free jello and listening to John Denver. There just has to be more to life that that!)


Jenn said...

My all time favorite Christmas tradition is PJs! Every Christmas Eve when the boys are *begging* to open "just ooone gift...puhlease" I oblige them. Every year it is pajamas with whatever character they are currently lovin'. (This is super important to them because they wear uniforms to school and I hate screen print character type shirts.) This year it is Spiderman. I love this for two makes cute pictures for Christmas morning *and* I can look back through my pictures and see their 'thing' for that year. (trains, monster trucks, Lightning McQueen, and now Spiderman) I love it...I get excited just thinking about it!

Merry Tradition Making!

monica said...

oh, I can't wait to read all the traditions. We're doing a new thing this year and are in desperate need of traditions to make our own!

Key West Conch said...

I get cinnamon babka from Zabar's (order it online) and heat it up just a little--goes great with a mugful of strong black coffee for Christmas breakfast.

Shelley said...

You know, my husband is a firefighter and most of the time, he is not home on Christmas morning, but this year, he will be. We are like you, we have kind of been bandied about between families and not really having our "own" time. Always worrying and stressing about offending a mother or mIL by not being at their house at this time or other. NO MORE, I tell you. My husband and I decided that this Christmas, and for the rest to come, my parents are welcome to come to my house and his mother is welcome to come to our house, but Christmas is going to be us here at home, together. Enjoying the children opening their gifts and just snacking all day and napping. Wish us luck.

Petts Allowed said...

We do the pajama thing too on Christmas eve, after we go to church and drive around and look at christmas lights.Then after opening presents on Christmas am, we set up the video, aimed at the living room and we have a wrapping paper fight, it's fun (unless someone gets hurt!--but thats only since they've become teenagers!) Now we lay out rules before we start. Have fun! Kathi

StitchinByTheLake said...

This is not something we ever did but since I have a friend who does it with her children I'm sharing with you. Every year on Christmas Eve their family bakes a birthday cake for Jesus. They all help put the icing on it and put on a candle and sing Happy Birthday to Him. It's messy with small children but what a great tradition. blessings, marlene

Denise said...

My grandfather has always spent Christmas morning with us. He always loved watching the boys open presents and then eating the Egg Casserole that Hubby makes. But this year he is in a Nursing Home and not well enough to come I am really sad about that. But I do have something to be happy about...My parents are going to be here for Christmas. It is their first Christmas with us in 14 years. So I am thrilled about that....even if it isnt a tradition. We will still have our Egg Casserole after the boys open their presents....but I will be missing Poppop :-(

Lynda said...

Ah, this will be great. I am 50, so I will tell you some from my family past and present - we always opened gifts from each other on Christmas Eve (Christmas morning was Santa's time). Kids all got new PJs on Christmas Eve (makes the photos of Christmas morning look great!).

One thing we did was set up the nativity set with Mary & Joseph and the animals in the stable, but the wise men would be somewhere else in the house. Each day, they would get a little closer. Christmas morning, Baby Jesus would be in the manger and the wise me would've made there.

When we got older, there was no getting up on Christmas morning until we heard the Christmas music - mom and dad would play a Christmas "record" really loudly and then we knew!

Tracy P. said...

We don't put gifts under the tree until the kids are in bed on Christmas eve. It just makes the excitement too hard to bear as far as we're concerned. But we do have one little gift box with a bow on top that has a nativity scene that can be played with, and then put back in the box under the tree. The gift of Jesus is always available!

When my kids were small, I would cut Christmas cards into a few pieces (more as they got older) and stash them in a plastic bag on top of my Christmas decorations. That way the kids could use them as puzzles while I figured out what in the world I was gonna do with all that stuff. Now the kids actually decide where to put it all! It does happen.

We do the birthday cake for Jesus. (I usually let Dairy Queen make it.) Some friends of ours use the trick candles to remind everyone that His light still shines.

Sheri said...

Part of why I struggle with loving "Christmas" is that I have no family around on for Christmas Day. But, the traditions from my family that I love and look forward to sharing with future families are: Mom's cinnamon rolls. They are SOOOO good! And, the family opens one present at a time, going around the room so everyone gets to see everyone's gifts. It also makes present opening last almost all day!

We also take time through the day to listen to "The Forgotten Carols". It's one of the best Christmas stories I've ever heard.

And, as much as I hate to admit it, we go Christmas caroling in the week before Christmas to various families and deliver goodies. I love the delivering part - not so much on the singing! But, that's just because I can't sing!

Enjoy your day - I can't wait to read about it!

Amy said...

I think the Pjs are a great idea mainly because the mom can look back and remember what they were into that year...cause lets face it, we ARE gonna forget!
Angie Smith (bring the rain) wrote about a great one and one I would totally do if I were you with 2 tiny ones. Its a book called Elf On A Shelf. It comes with a little elf. Barnes and Noble didnt have it and couldnt order it but Amazon has it. She puts the elf out one night while the kids are sleeping. The elf spies on the kids for Santa so the kids better be on their best behavior! Her and her husband Todd have a litte competition going to see who can find the most clever spot for Scout, their elf. (they named him!) So everynight they move him to a new location in the house. So cute! ORDER IT NOW!

happymcfamily said...

Well, we are just starting what will hopefully become a tradition this year. So I can't let you know if it has gone well yet. But we are baking cookies and delivering them to folks at a rehabilitation hospital on Christmas Day. Most people there have been in accidents or suffered strokes... something totally unexpected that has stopped them from being able to function normally and I'm sure that's not where they were expecting to be on Christmas. My mother-in-law stayed there a couple years ago when she was recovering from Guillain-Barre, so that is why we chose the place we did.

Melissa said...

I am a lurker and I am coming out...LOL! I have to say this post hit home with me because me and my dh have divorced parents which makes 4 sets of parents, and holidays were always a nightmare. We would have to go here and there and since we can't be at 20 different places at once, feelings were always hurt. So when I was pregnant with my ds in 2005, we decided then that Christmas is the one holiday that we wanted at our house. Our family has fought this every year, but I think now that this is the 4th year it is getting a little easier and will get easier each year. So in holding to our word our tradition is that we have a big, family dinner on Christmas Eve, I bake goodies before that day with my ds to send home with all the family members that attend the dinner, my son has special Christmas pjs as well and on Christmas morning I make everyone's favorite for breakfast. Then the rest of the day is made for napping, snacking and playing.

Melissa said...

When our third child came along I decided right then and there that no longer would we be trapsing all over creation to see everyone. They can come to us. We stay at home and everyone else aquieceses(I have no bloody idea how that word is spelled).

A few traditions that have held since the beginning of time (since the beginning of my family) are appetizers on Christmas eve. We always go church for candlelight service and then come home and open one gift each. We take turns so we can all see what each other is getting and to stretch it out as long as possible. After the kids go to bed my mom and I sit down to "It's a Wonderful Life" cuz it just ain't Christmas until we've watched it.
Then Christmas Day we get up and have a big breakfast. Biscuits and sausage gravy and my MIL's Swedish Tosca Cake which has at least 2 sticks of butter in it (not kidding). And we just let the kids play all day. We never get out of our pj's.
Well, that's probably more info that you wanted and there's really nothing too unique, but it's our idea of fun.....
Enjoy your Christmas at home this year.

Kat said...

We have lots of Christmas traditions, but one that I love ever so much and will continue to do with my own family is singing Christmas carols at midnight on Christmas Eve.

After the parties and food, we all lounge around, with only the Christmas tree lit up and maybe a candle or two. Each person gets to pick one carol and we sing a cappella until everyone has gotten a choice. Then, to finish, we sing "Silent Night" as a reflection of what the true meaning of Christmas really is! Then, of course, we go to bed and sweetly dream of sugarplums! =)

And, just for kicks, I'll add this little tradition- as kids we of course got up at the butt crack of dawn, but we weren't allowed to open presents until Mom had gotten up at a decent hour and had at least gotten a cup of coffee. To sooth our impatience (and noisiness), we were allowed to open our stockings when we got up.

Finding Normal said...

We read Christmas stories every night, snuggled in my bed. Last year I wrapped them and the kids got to take turns picking one and unwrapping, but this year Addison is too into slobbering on everything.
They'll get new PJs on Christmas Eve. Some night we'll drive around in jammies to look at lights and listen to music, then come home for cookies and hot chocolate.
We have an Advent calendar. We make cookies together. This year we'll be trying a gingerbread house. We listen to carols every time we're in the car. The lights are on if we're home. We watch all the Christmas shows on ABC family.
And we talk a lot about giving. We shop for a family who needs a blessing way more than we do.
You're so right--staying home is the best! I bet you'll never turn back! Or at least not until they're older!

Amber said...

We have a lot of traditions, so I'll just mention a few. When my dad was little, they didn't have much, so his parents always blew up balloons and put them all around the tree and the living room. When they got up, it seemed like there was so much more than they really had. They did this when I was little too, and now we do it with my kids. Its funny--they play with the balloons so much more than their own toys! It also adds to the "WOW" effect on Christmas morning!

This year, we are putting our presents out after the kids go to bed on Christmas eve so they will be surprised Christmas morning.

Randy also reads the Christmas story from Luke before we open anything. It sort of grounds us for the day.

Happy traditioning!

Teri from Indiana said...

Candy. Lots and lots of homemade goodies. My mom makes these to die for caramels. My one sister always makes up a cheese & meat tray. My other sister and I try to out do each other with new recipes each year. You walk out of there on a major sugar rush.
But what sticks out most in my mind are the things that can't be anymore. We always gathered at my parents home on Christmas Eve. Mom would have chili on the stove and we would just mingle and enjoy each other. The house was lost in a flood several years ago, so we can't gather in that tacky basement anymore. Then the biggest change. Daddy went home to be with Jesus 19 months ago. It's just not the same.
Here at our house it's the same thing. Candy. I try to make each kid's favorite but with 8 kids I sometime run out of time. Thank heavens they aren't picky about the sweets. Just like their daddy.

Jan said...

I too loved Angie's ( Bring the Rain) tradition of The Elf on the Shelf. I set out to find them for my grandbabies houses. Well I traveled 225 miles round trip and 4 1/2 hours later I had them in my possession. I delivered them to the kids and they are loving the little guy. BTW, check out your local Hallmark Card store. Had I been a little more patient I could have saved a lot of time. The day after my journey, an ad came from Hallmark and lo an behold this item was in their Christmas flyer. The kicker is that the Hallmark store is less than a mile away and had oodles of them in travels makes for a better story though.

Anita J. said...

Okay, I could tell you about myself (which is always fun), but I would be doing you a disservice if I didn't send you to for holidays ideas via the ATL's sweetest southern belle. Enjoy!

Ask her for a link to her family's COSTUMED Thanksgiving photos. I'm talking the ADULTS here, woman! It is fantastic. Robin's blog is a must for seasonal reading.

Lacey said...

Every year my grandma has gotten me an ornament for the tree, oftentimes relating to something I liked or did that year. That was always the gift I got to open on Christmas Eve, so it would be hanging on the tree in the morning! While the redundancy of getting an ornament every year didn't mean much to me as a kid, it meant EVERYTHING to me my first Christmas on my own. And it's meant everything to me every year since, when I get to dig through all the decorations and think back. Now, that's the gift I look forward to getting most each year!

Every year my grandma and I also made a giant gingerbread house. And painted ornaments. And made noodle wreaths. And homeade peanut brittle. Now that I'm thinking back, that lady was the Christmas tradition QUEEN!

One last thing she did one year when I was little was hide next to the tree until I woke up. I wandered out into the living room, where everything was dark, and just as I got close to the tree she flipped a switch and ALL the lights came on. It was MAGICAL. I can't wait to do that to my own kids one day. :D

Ashley said...

Oh, I'm so excited you get to experience Christmas from your own home. My mom has always been very adamant about this and we had Christmas at our house every year. Our family tradition is that we each get to open one present on Christmas Eve.... and it is always pajamas. So we have nice new pjs on when Santa comes to visit and mom and dad are snapping photos left and right. I love it! Now my husband and I buy pjs for each other. We are going to visit his family in South America this year and we are taking everyone pajamas for Christmas Eve!!

Tyanne said...

Like any good Southern family our traditions center around food!My oldest is almost 3 and this year we are going to make cookies for Santa (the slice and bake kind of course, let's not get crazy-- with some sprinkles because sprinkles make life better). Christmas morning we have breakfast casserole and cheese grits. This year I asked Sam if he wanted something special to eat when Santa comes and my very southern boy wants "pig meat"AKA bacon, so we add that to the mix as well. We also do the Christmas PJ's for Christmas Eve, they make really cute pics.

The Hultman's said...

Every single Christmas since I can remember, I would wake up to Christmas music playing and hot cinnamon rolls (with raisins) in the oven. We would open our presents while eating cinnamon rolls. One year, after my brother and I were both married, we went home and my mom didn't make the cinnamon rolls. We COULD NOT believe it. My mom said she never realized that we noticed she made them every year! Now, she never forgets them!

Soliloquy said...

Everyone opens one gift on Christmas Eve (new jammies - even for mom and dad). We stay in them ALL DAY on Christmas.

Stockings are last as they are the favorite part. I wrap each item individually (sorry - I know you hate wrapping) but to have a pile of 25 little things all wrapped up is my kids most very favorite part of it all.

Soliloquy said...

One more thing. The first present we unwrap on Christmas morning is Baby Jesus, as a visual the kids will always have of Christ as a gift. We read the Christmas story from the Bible and reflect on the Savior that started it all.

I use the Baby Jesus from our nativity scene.

Snappy Sassy said...

On Christmas eve, my boys like to track Santa's delivery route on Norad.

Snappy Sassy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristen said...

One of my favorite things we do is, the week before Christmas, we all (adults too) put on our pj's, and I pop popcorn. Then we drive around town looking at Christmas lights, eat our popcorn from brown paper bags, and drink bottles of IBC root beer. My kids love this!

Rhonda said...

Our Christmases are a lot of running around keeping our parents happy. I know my mother reads your blog and devours all the comments, and this will hurt her. Or maybe she's getting used to it. Who knows?

Anyway, my favorite Christmas we actually went over to a friend's house and ate home made crepes and just visited. It was WONDERFUL! It was the only thing that I have done, by choice, for a long time.

The other thing we do has helped to make me the black sheep of Leon's family. We go to a different church than everyone else, to see their drama club put on a Christmas play. To me, we can go to the regular church and hear the same old same old, BUT this way the kids are entertained, the adults have fun, AND it's a way to stand up and tell everyone that I've got my own family and am choosing to make some holiday memories of our own.

Some people I know go and look at Christmas lights, go skating, go to a movie.

Good luck!!

Kacey said...

On Christmas Eve, after all the other activities (dinner, gifts, reading the Christmas Story, etc..) we would all sit in a circle in our living room by the tree and turn off all the lights in the house except for the Christmas tree. We would light a candle and share favorite Christmas memories. Only the person holding the candle was allowed to take turns passing the candle around. We loved this so much we all do it with our own families now. This has kept so many Christmas stories alive in our family and when other family members/friends/guests are's fun to hear their stories too.

Tassie said...

At our house, we let our daughter buy one new ornament a year. I'm hoping she'll take them when she's grown. Something tells me that she may not like My Little Ponies, Barbie, and Hannah Montana then. We also got Christmas jammies and wore them on Christmas morning. My mom makes an egg strata casserole for breakfast that is divine. I've read about Elf on the Shelf, but a friend told me about another elf that she enjoys can find info on it

Many blessings to you!

Adelaine said...

We do the birthday cake for Jesus thing too. We usually bake the cake during the day on Christmas Eve and then the kids decorate it how ever they want. Then we ask the kids how old Jesus is...which is year Jesus 2. Then after breakfast on Christmas morning (after the present opening), we put candles on the cake and sing happy birthday to Jesus!

A tradition I'm starting this year is blogged about here -

And another one that did this year was to write imaginary names on the gifts from us to the kids. That way they won't get too snoopy!

The Coach's family always reads the story of Jesus' birth before we are allowed to open presents.

Good luck starting your own!!

Genie Marie said...

We have a birthday party for Jesus...with cake and everything. I want my kids to remember why we celebrate the holiday, that it is just not all about Santa and gifts. We usually do it on Christmas Eve with friends and family and this year we are starting a new tradition with our friends of letting our kids exchange Christmas books on Christmas eve at our party.

Ruby Red Slippers said...

All month I have been posting about our Christmas traditions...but my favorite is going home with my whole family to spend Christmas Eve with my parents...I just love that!

katy said...

Well, the kids get to decorate the tree...which is great because as much as I love Christmas, I hate decorating the tree! I TRY my best not to rearrange it when they are done :-) We put candy canes on with the ornaments and between then and Christmas we walk past and grab one and eat it if we want (or if your name is Isabel, you take a lick and put it back on the tree). We get up Christmas morning and my hubby usually cooks breakfast. Then we open gifts. I know...we need some traditions ourselves, I'll be stealin' yours along with the orginazation tips I'm watching for :-) I have seen a lot of folks talking about "Elf on the Shelf" which is new to me...I want to do that next year! Merry Christmas!!!!!

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite Chrismas traditions is that each year, we buy the kids a new Christmas book. On Christmas Eve, right before bed, they unwrap the book and we read it together on the couch. Here's the catch, each year, my husband and I alternate writing in the book. One year, he writes to our children a long page about what he is seeing God do in their lives and about little things he has noticed during the year. The next year, I write in the books. The plan is for my kids to have their own collection of amazing Christmas books when they leave...for their own children. and...they will also have the handwritten journey through their childhood Christmases.It is almost impossible to get through the handwritten notes in the book without crying!I just imagine that when my kids are grown and my husband and I are with Jesus, these books will be a treasure to our own grandchildren.

My kids are both teens now and I asked if they wanted to stop getting children's Christmas books this year. Our 16 year old daughter said, "No Momma, we HAVE to have our Chrristmas book!" I pray that it is a tradition that will be enjoyed for generations!

Kate W.

Anonymous said...

We live overseas, and most of our Christmases are more simple than when in the U.S., and we really like it that way. But our very first Christmas "just us"--like for you this year, I wasn't sure what to do. So I asked dh what he would like for Christmas Eve dinner and gave him a few choices, throwing in lasagna for an extra. So lasagna it has been every Christmas Eve for years--with homemade bread, salad, and ice cream for dessert (sometimes with special sauce for it). We eat by candlelight with Christmas music quietly in the background, and read Luke 2 afterwards. It is our quiet night before the ruckus the next day. And now, when there are singles from the U.S. in town, we invite them over to share it with us.

Christmas morning, I take monkey bread I've made ahead of time out of the freezer to thaw for 30 min. or so, then put it in the oven for fresh sweet bread for breakfast. It's on the table after gifts for breakfast snacking whenever everybody likes. Christmas Day we have lasagna leftovers, so no big work day for me. Very relaxing day, sometimes ending with friends over for games that night.

Other traditions come and go and come back again--reading of special books, etc., but these basics stay the same. We usually don't put gifts out until Christmas Eve, for various reasons, the first years because our children were toddlers! But we find that even now it helps keep us from focusing too much on the gifts.

When we are in the U.S., we still do this with just us and our kids before we head to the grandparents homes, because it is our special time together.


Mama Lou said...

My father has a voice like James Earl Jones (no exaggeration) so I make him read the kids The Night Before Christmas every Christmas Eve. He usually messes up the words so it is particularly enjoyable.
My mom's family always made Fried Mush on Christmas morning. It is basically fried cornmeal, great with syrup, jam, butter and powdered sugar..all at once of course.
I also make pumpkin bread for my youngest brother who is now 16 and still delights over the IDEA of the bread.

Hairline Fracture said...

I just realized that we have a LOT of traditions that I grew up with! Some of my favorites are the PJs on Christmas Eve, reading the Christmas story before we open gifts, and opening gifts one at a time starting with the youngest person. Also, my mom always bought each of us an ornament every year. As we got older, we picked it out to reflect our interests and tastes. When I got married, she gave them to me--which was nice, or we would have had a bare tree.

This year I have read a Christmas story every night of December. It's been fun.

Anonymous said...

Hey Melissa! I don't think I've left a comment in a very long while. I've turned into a lurker. (Yeah, I know. I suck.)

I've fought from the very beginning to have Christmas Eve and Christmas morning at my own house, cause I knew when I had children we WEREN'T going to play the Santa-will-find-you-at-grandma's-house game. It's good to just set the precedent the first year of marriage and get it over with.

My traditions all have to deal with food. Christmas Eve dinner must include homemade French Onion Soup and Duck a l'orange. (Why? Cause every year I pick up a frozen duck on sale at Wal-Mart, and onions are pretty cheap!) Christmas morning, I make a yummy egg casserole dish that takes an hour to cook in the oven. I shove it in the oven, and by the time the presents are unwrapped--voila!--breakfast is ready!

Karen said...

We found "Elf on a Shelf" this year and it has benn FABULOUS!!! The kids come rushing down every morning to see who finds him first. And just one little reminder that "Speedy Red" is watching, (I know, WEIRD name, but my daughter is 5 so we let her have it), and they straighten up! Amazing. FYI The Hallmark stores are carrying the whole set with the book and all!!

Lara Harris said...

We eat cookies, hot cocoa, and watch Charlie Brown Christmas as we decorate the tree.
We watch It's a Wonderful Life (our oldest Daughter is named Bailey)
We open new pj's on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Eve right before bed, we read the Christmas story from Luke 2 and the Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado.
Our girls all camp out together in the same bedroom on C. Eve.
We have the same overnight cinnamon rolls for breakfast on Christmas morning and we always make Jesus a birthday cake. Whew: Tradition much! Lara Harris Sp. Hill TN

Jenn said...

Let me preface this by saying that I AM NOT a parent yet. But here's something my parents started when I was about 6. They let me open all of my presents on Christmas Eve. I think they did it so that they didn't have to be woken up at 4AM on Christmas to open presents. I think they were brilliant.