Since we just started our little family, we decided that it was time to start some new traditions. Growing up, my family always did a few and I remember those things and I’ll cherish that excitement forever. We always got to pick one gift and open it on Christmas Eve. I tried every dang year to get my parents to let me open the biggest one, but it never flew with them. After a few years, they figured us out so we got designated “Christmas Eve” gifts so we’d stop trying to get the biggest gift early. Laaaaaammmeeee, Mom and Dad. But it was always so exciting! I remember that we’d always put out cookies and milk for Santa, because duh, he’s gotta be hungry from all that flying around and delivering gifts and getting stuck in chimneys business. But what about the poor reindeer?! We’d always leave hay outside so the reindeer could have a snack. I even remember hearing a huge thud on our roof one year and I swear that to this very day, I have no idea what it was. I’ve asked my dad for years and he still won’t tell me, like, does he even know? Maybe Santa really is real? You don’t believe, you don’t receive.
My mom always made those ginormous cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. You know, the Pillsbury ones that are so big that they only come four to a can?! Shoot, I have my own family and my own home and now I am the mom, but I kid you not, I still ask my mom to come make us those cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, and she does. Iloveyouforthat,mom.
So while those memories will stay with me forever, we wanted to start new ones for our little family. My husband has weekends off, so we decided on weekend traditions in case they keep us up late, he wouldn’t have to be up super early the next day. Really, we just want to start making memories as a family and give our babies something to look forward to each year. We want to instill in them just how important family is, how important socialization (not social media) is and how we need to communicate and spend time together instead of separately in our own little social media bubbles.
So starting the weekend after Thanksgiving, we do one activity each weekend. The first weekend, we choose a puzzle (or two) to do as a family. Sure, it’s just Shalin and I right now but K sits in his little chair on the dining room table with us and just takes it allllllll in. He loves looking at all the colored pieces! Also, another thing that really stood out to me while we were doing our puzzle was how easy it is to be encouraging and compliment each other. My husband is the kindest person I know (I’m dead serious, I wish I was more like him) and throughout the entire puzzle, every time one of us figured some of the challenging pieces out, a “good job, babe!” was thrown out there by one or the other. It was unintentional, but it really made an impact on me because it made me feel good and it felt good to be encouraging to him, too. Okay, stepping down from my completely unrelated soapbox now.
The second weekend, the LEGO train. Background on my husband: total nerd. Love him to death. More than blue bell ice cream and fried pickles. Not together, but separate, so double the love. Triple the love.. makes my heart explode kinda love. However, he’s got a thing for Star Wars and LEGOs. Star Wars LEGOs. I’ll never forget the first time I walked into this boy’s apartment: Star Wars LEGO Interglactic Spaceships. Everywhere. Is that even a thing? Yoda. Ewoks. Princess Leia. Lightsabers. Darth Vader. Luke, I am your father.
Okay, I’m done. I’m kidding, I just felt like I should share every single thing I know about Star Wars - that was it. I’ve never seen a Star Wars movie in my life. Waaaait, yes I have, with him. BUT - I didn’t pay attention. Sorry for that wasted movie ticket, babe. *soft smiles*
The dude had some seriously impressive LEGO sets set up... everywhere. I was.. impressed. More so that one would spend that much money on those things, but also the effort.
Alllllll of that being said, he’s always wanted to put a LEGO Christmas train around the base of our tree and I think it’s the cutest thing ever. So the second weekend we spend putting up the LEGO train and each year, we’ll add to the little city around it. (This will eventually go around the kid’s tree upstairs in the game room because I imagine it’ll get excessive after years of adding to it, so I don’t want it covered up by presents downstairs!)
The third weekend: The Polar Express in Palestine, Texas. This one though, we do with my parents. Kohen’s Grammie and Papaw. My dad and I would make it a point to watch The Polar Express every single year, it still is our favorite Christmas movie. That being said, it’s something so special that we can enjoy in real life! Check it out here.
For the fourth weekend, gingerbread houses! Psssst: I do not like gingerbread anything. Or anything pumpkin, for that matter, but that’s a subject for another day, maybe next October. So, I opt out of eating these when we’re done. But seriously, we just go to Target and buy a $10 gingerbread house set and have fun getting messy and putting it together. This year, we got this one, which has four little houses. Stinking cute.
And finally, for the fifth weekend, we make Christmas cookies. I’ve always seen families do this and it always looked so fun! I honestly hate baking, y’all. It’s a dang science.. and an art. I can handle the artsy fartsy decorating part, but when it comes to making cookies from scratch? I’ll pass. Give me the pre-made sugar cookie dough. I’ll flatten them babies out with my handy dandy rolling pin and cut out my own shapes with my handy dandy cookie cutters. (I have a t-Rex and a unicorn, but if you put Santa hats on them, they become Christmas T-rexes and unicorns) Coolest. Christmas. Cookies. Ever.
Disclaimer: this method does not work. Making cookie dough from scratch is an absolute must, pre-made cookie dough just blows up and the t-Rex arms become nonexistent. Just throwing that out there.. next year I’ll make dough from scratch, I guess. *rolls eyes*
And because I loved opening one gift on Christmas Eve growing up, I’m definitely continuing that tradition with my family. Except, I’ll go ahead and outsmart the future kids now: we’re getting designated gifts to open, wrapped in special Christmas Eve wrapping paper. I’m way ahead of them. So this special hand-lettered wrap is for Christmas Eve gifts only (because I cannot possibly do that for all the gifts, ha)!
Thanks for letting me share some of our fun traditions! Maybe you’ll choose to try some of these, or if you have special traditions that you cherish, please share! I love to hear what you guys come up with! Happy Traditioning and Merry Christmas!