Thursday, December 02, 2010

holiday traditions part 2 . . .

Well, since we're officially into December and the Christmas season, I guess it's time to post my Christmas holiday traditions. I posted my Thanksgiving holiday traditions here, and I do like to keep the two separate!

December 1 marks the beginning of the 25 Days of Christmas movies/shows and jewelry! I have enough dvd's that I can pretty much watch a Christmas themed one every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas! I also love to wear themed earrings, pins, and necklaces during this time. Especially pins/brooches. As you can see in the picture below, it's been a trend of mine from waaaay back!

I'm the one of the far left, in the bells. During the week prior to Christmas, I'll get out all my Christmas sweaters and tops and wear those, too!

Our family, though big on Christmas cards, has never really been ones to send out the photo cards. But at two different times, when all four of us adult sisters and our children were able to gather in one place (and when we had a suitable candidate to play the part of baby Jesus), we've done a Nativity scene photo and sent it out with our Christmas wishes.

This first one we did in 2000, with baby Alison.

This second photo was done in 2006, with baby Lucy playing the star role.

I love Christmas lights -- the more the merrier! We love to get in the car and travel through the decked neighborhoods. One neighborhood in SE Huntsville (and really, one street) goes ALL out and has lights, blow ups, a moving train, and one year even had Santa and reindeer! We visit there *every* year!

We also like to take a yearly trip through Huntsville's Botanical Gardens, Galaxy of Lights. It gets bigger and better every year.

Christmas cookies are always a favorite! There are several different kinds that I really look forward to eating ... err, making. Candy cane cookies, peanut butter kiss cookies, no-bake cookies, almond thumbprints, chocolate chips and sugar cookies!

The sugar cookies were more fun when we still had kids at home that wanted to decorate them. These days, to make life easier for me, I stick to stars, holly leaves, and stockings! One of the things I really enjoy doing is making a plate of cookies for each of the guys in the shop. I think it may be one of their favorite things, too!

Last year, Kim and I took a cupcake decorating class! I blogged about our experience here.

I may try to make a couple this year, just to make it worth the time we spent on it last year! Anyway, the tradition behind it is spending time together with my kids (and in the future, grandkids) doing something to kick off the Christmas season, whether it's make holiday cupcakes, go see the Grinch in ballet , or to see the Nutcracker!

Then there's the gingerbread houses! I think gingerbread houses are so much fun. I've got two Pampered Chef gingerbread house molds, and we'd make and decorate at least one of these a year. Sometimes we kept them, sometimes we gave them away, like this gingerbread Lighthouse!

I've now passed one of those molds to each of my girls, so that they can continue, if they want, the tradition in their own families.

As far back as I can remember, I've always enjoyed a live tree in the house for Christmas! We used to go out as a group and pick out a tree and bring it home to decorate. For many years, we saved the piece of trunk that was cut off the end, and each of us would sign it and we'd put the year on it. It was just one of those quirky things we did!

I loved a big, fluffy tree! The more lights, the better!

Last year, sadly, was our first year to have an artificial tree.

And just a miniature one, at that! But this is what fits in the RV; I'm just glad one *does* fit in the RV!!

We don't do anything 'formal' for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day -- instead, we tend to have a party-like atmosphere on Christmas Eve, with fun finger foods, cookies, eggnog, and the like.

For as long as we've been married, Todd has always put a ham on before going to bed Christmas Eve, and it's tantalized us all night long with its yummy aroma!

Christmas morning, mom & dad always had to be up first, and get that first cup of coffee going. We opened stockings together and Santa has always left an orange in the toe. Everyone's oranges had to be eaten before any presents under the tree could be opened! When I was a kid, we always got navel oranges (which took a long time to peel)! As an adult, I always tried to make sure it was clementines or tangelos in the toe!

There's so much more; music, caroling, friends, parties, gift-giving, crafting, shopping . . .

And I haven't even begun to touch on how central Christ is to Christmas for us. I love the season of Advent, and I never want to get so caught up in the commercial trappings of Christmas, that I forget that Jesus truly is the reason for this season!

Don't forget to stop by the Charming Chatter blog and check out lots of other fun Holiday Traditions!

Feliz Navidad!


4 expressed . . .:

Jocelyn said...

I think you should find a nice big tree outside the RV and decorate it! :)

Paula and Mel said...

I love the singing photo. Made me smile and laugh also.
Thank you for sharing!

Pat said...

Your nativity cards were beautiful. I really enjoyed reading this post and look forward to others during this special season of preparation for Christmas.

Carol Gipson said...

Here's a link that I found interesting, although we don't really have big trees in our yard:

-carol gipson :)