Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Traditions

My husband and I have always preferred a quiet Christmas, without all the hustle and bustle that can be associated with the holiday.  Our extended families live quite a distance from us, so both of us are used to a less dramatic holiday time.

Since having a child 4 years ago, though, we've tried to look for traditions that we can incorporate into our holiday celebration.  There's no question that Gemma's delight with all of the Christmas decorations and other tasks leading up to the big day has made it easier for us to enjoy celebrating the holiday.

We both grew up with slightly different holiday traditions, so it's been fun choosing the ones that work best for our family and give us the most pleasure.  We always have a tree with lights and decorations (although the past couple of years, the decorations barely made it on before Christmas!).  And we send a Christmas letter to our family and friends.

In terms of gifts, we've gotten a lot lower key in terms of what we give to each other.  I remember my parents saying so many times when I was growing up that gifts didn't really matter that much to them and never being able to understand.  But now I do.  My husband and I buy what we need throughout the year and a few things that we want.  When Christmas comes around, there may be a few things that we need/want, but the holiday is really not about gifts for us anymore.  We just love the atmosphere of a beautiful tree and music playing in the background after a nice dinner and a glass of wine.

Even our daughter, while she certainly likes presents, seems to enjoy the process of Christmas more than the gifts.  In fact, she even helped me put gift tags on her own presents earlier today because I had a few things left to wrap.  For her, the excitement was picking out the tag, putting it on the package, and finding a place for the gift under the tree.

We don't really do anything with Santa.  It wasn't a strong tradition in my house growing up and while Gemma knows Santa from movies, she doesn't believe that he is going to bring her any presents.  I know there can be some controversy about how Santa is handled, but it's just not a tradition we wanted to incorporate.  (Possibly because neither one of us wants to sacrifice any of the sleep we get to pretend to be Santa in the middle of the night!)

On Christmas Eve, we have an easy, informal dinner after going out to the barn to see Nimo.  After dinner, Gemma gets a gift from us which is always Christmas pajamas.  Then, she can choose any one gift from under the tree to unwrap.  After which she plays with whatever it is for awhile and then we spend the next 2 hours wondering why she is bouncing off the walls and wondering if she will ever go to sleep:)

On Christmas morning, Gemma opens the rest of her presents (the last 2 years, she's basically taken all day to get through them because she likes to play with them after she opens them and even take breaks).  I work on making dinner that is usually ready around 1.  It is always ham, green bean casserole, sweet potato souffle, and dinner rolls plus either pumpkin or apple pie.  Then I'll got out to the barn to see Nimo (I'm hoping to ride a little, although I think we're making it a family event this year, so at least there will be pictures!) and we'll have a quiet evening.

If you'd like to share your favorite holiday tradition, I'd love to hear it!


  1. You suddenly made me feel better about my husband and I not having much to give each other this year - like you, we just get ourselves what we need and there wasn't anything missing. His greatest gift to me this year was a downloaded copy of A Christmas Story that we watched together today because he remembers it being on TV when he was in Seattle for Christmas, and knows how important it is for me. We also watched the Yule Log, streaming, cuz that certainly also doesn't exist here. I felt so bad about the lack of gifts but I guess I don't need to. I gave him a coupon for 1 shoe de-mudding per season (he hates cleaning his shoes) and lots of chocolate but when he opened the gift from America from my parents, I knew Christmas was saved - his favorite - dark chocolate MnMs (don't exist here) and for me, my greatest wish - Ranch dressing packets and Best Foods mayo. Nothing better!

    1. It sounds like you and your husband had a lovely Christmas! And I never would have thought about the little things like ranch dressing packets and A Christmas Story that you don't have overseas. And I think the gifts you choose for each other sound lovely! I think that when you have a life together, it's. it about impressing each other with awesome or expensive gifts, it's about recognizing what makes each other comfortable and happy. Merry Christmas to you, lytha!