Our Family Christmas Traditions
Hello, hello and happy Friday! It is already December 7th, which is just insanity. I mean, where did the year go? 2018 was a pretty solid year for us, but we hope to make 2019 even better!
Today’s post is all about Christmas traditions, specifically our family Christmas traditions. Since this is our first Christmas married, Jarrett and I hope to start a few of our own traditions. Plus we will implement things that we grew up with! Jarrett and I will be spending this Christmas without family… but we will be partying it up in Charleston, SC, for my sister’s wedding starting 12/27. So family time will be just around the corner!
I’m going to talk about the family Christmas traditions I grew up with, and then throw around a few traditions Jarrett and I may start this year and/or things we plan on doing in the future. Let me know your family Christmas traditions!
Christmas Traditions From Growing Up
Preparing for Christmas
The main tradition in my family for “Christmas prep” is putting up the Christmas tree the day or two after Thanksgiving. We have always had a large, artificial tree, bursting with ornaments. Particularly homemade ornaments from elementary school or somewhat tragic middle school pictures. Ha!
My dad is also a very last-minute shopper when it comes to Christmas, and I have so many fond memories of shopping with him on December 23rd, maybe even the 24th. It was mostly just the two of us going out, which now looking back, was amazing to get that one-on-one time in such a big family.
Christmas Eve always starts off with attending church and is followed by a big party! My aunt and uncle hosted it for years, but my parents have taken over that tradition, and probably did so about 4 years ago. This party is mostly my mom’s side of the family and always noisy and festive!
There is also a Yankee Swap, but you have to be 21+ to participate. Gifts can get a bit crazy, but Jarrett and I have gotten really lucky the past couple years. This is one of the big things I am going to miss not being home for Christmas this year.
Additionally, we always left out cookies and milk for Santa, plus carrots for the reindeer. Kudos to my dad for gnawing on those carrots. Ha!
Pictures on the Stairs
Every single Christmas morning, once we are allowed to go downstairs, we first have to stop and take a collective group picture on the staircase. I’m assuming that it was my dad’s idea at one point, probably to slow us down from careening into the living room. But he lives for it and I love it! The pictures are never that attractive because we’ve just rolled out of bed, maybe brushed our hair, hopefully brushed our teeth. Ha! But I definitely want to do this with any future Navedo children. 🙂
Order of Events
My family always starts Christmas with the stockings! I think typically, people have one stocking, maybe with their name on it, that is theirs for life. Not the case in my family. We have so many mismatched and crazy stockings, and who knows which one you will get year to year. But, our parents always set up gift “stations.” So, you were instructed to sit somewhere and the majority of your presents, along with your stocking, were in that spot.
Additionally, for as long as I can remember/for as long as we have been mature enough to do so, my family goes in a circle by age-order. For example, my youngest brother, Devan, will open a wrapped item from his stocking, followed by my sister, other brother, etc. We do this until the stocking gifts run out and then its time for breakfast!
Christmas breakfast is a really big meal. Mostly consisting of gigantic pancakes! My mother has no sense of serving size or portion control, haha, so the pancake usually takes up an entire dinner plate! Not that I’m complaining. We may also have bacon, eggs, muffins, donuts, fruit, etc. We almost always have clementines, and those are also usually in our stockings.
Once we all have full bellies, my family gets back into present-mode and we do the same “around the circle”/age-order opening sequence until gifts are all unwrapped.
When we were younger, my grandparents on my Dad’s side used to make the rounds on Christmas morning and visit all of their local children and grandchildren. I remember being so excited to show them a new present and just thinking back on those times is so special. Their visit would be followed by playing with our gifts, eventually getting dressed, and then heading their way for Christmas dinner. This might be my favorite memory/Christmas tradition!
New Family Christmas Traditions
Jarrett and I have lived together for 3 years, so this is our third Christmas together! Jarrett grew up with a real, live Christmas tree, so that is the biggest family tradition we have currently! Although, we have yet to cut one down ourselves. When we lived in Massachusetts, we went to a tree farm where we could have cut it down, but I fell in love with a pre-cut one… after a lot of time walking around. Ha! Since living in Virginia, we have continued to purchase live Fraser Fir trees from local vendors.
I think I have talked about this on a previous blog post, but when Jarrett and I travel, we purchase a Christmas ornament as our souvenir. This year, we got a couple from our honeymoon, in Belize and Guatemala. Last year, I think we purchased one in the Outer Banks, and within the last couple years, I added one from my girl’s trip to Spain. This is 100% a tradition we plan on continuing in the future.
I’m pretty sure we have made a gingerbread house every year since we started dating, so this would be season number 5! If somehow we missed a year, we definitely made and decorated sugar cookies instead. Again, this will be a tradition that sticks around. I hope to have decorating contests once we have a larger family!
Future Family Christmas Traditions (aka when we have kids)
This may be the family Christmas tradition I am most excited about for when we eventually have children. I just imagine little kids running around in holiday footie pajamas! Do you do this with your family? I think this is a pretty mainstream tradition.
Reading “Twas The Night Before Christmas”
I love Christmas books and reading in general, and can’t wait to read this book eventually!
Special “Santa” Wrapping Paper
Okay, so I grew up with Santa having very specific handwriting, but he never used the same wrapping paper year to year and/or he used the same as my parents. My mom used to claim that Santa ran out and had to borrow her wrapping paper if we caught on. Ha!
We may try to get specific wrapping paper for the special gift from Santa and maybe just horde a bunch of rolls somewhere.
Tell me your family’s Christmas traditions. Do you plan on starting any new ones this year?