27 November 2015

Our Family's Favorite Christmas Traditions

With Thanksgiving over, it’s time to celebrate all things Christmas! 

Growing up, I have so many great memories of Christmas that my parents gave me and my sisters through family traditions. Now that I have a child of my own, it’s super important that she has the same wonderful memories.

Today I’d like to share a few of our favorite family Christmas traditions. There’s nothing new or earth-shattering on this list but it will give you a glimpse into how we celebrate the Christmas holiday and maybe give you an idea or two on things you can do with your own family to give your children a memorable Christmas.

Leading Up to Christmas

Decorate the home. This is the official kick-off to the holiday season for our family. We turn on Christmas movies or Christmas music, pour some drinks for the adults, pull out all three trees and home decorations and deck the halls and laugh for a few good hours.

Family Picture with Santa. Nothing says Christmas Spirit better than a picture with the jolly old fat man. Instead of making the picture all about Maddy, Michael and I also jump in and it’s so much fun to have a family portrait with Santa.

Donations to Charities. It’s important to me that Maddy understands the true meaning of the season and while visits with Santa and gifts are fun, it’s not the focal point. The Christmas season is the perfect opportunity to do a little cleaning out of some gently used toys and donating them to organizations for children. We also usually donate a toy to the Toys for Tots program and always try to give our spare change to the Salvation Army bell ringers. While we don’t always have a lot to give, it’s important that Maddy understands we give what we can. That’s the true meaning and spirit of the season.

Trips to Christmas-Themed Activities. This is the perfect way to get in the Christmas spirit! A few weeks ago, we took a day trip to Cleveland to see the ‘A Christmas Story’ house and it was so much fun.

Christmas Movies. If our TV is on during Christmas, then there’s a 99.9% chance we’re watching a Christmas movie; Elf, Home Alone, It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, Love Actually, The Family Stone, A Charlie Brown Christmas – all. the. Christmas. movies.

Baking. There’s nothing better than getting in the kitchen with Maddy to make Christmas goodies together. We bake for ourselves, for friends and now that her day care is involved with a senior facility, we will make treats to take to the seniors this year.

Drawing Names. Our family draws names for each other to keep spending at a minimum. This is a really great way to keep spending in check and focus on what really matters during the season.

The Night Before Christmas

Family picture in front of the tree. It’s fun to see how our family has changed through the years.

Reading ‘The Night Before Christmas’ Growing up, my PaPa would do this every Christmas Eve. Now that he’s passed, it’s important to me to keep this tradition going. We sit in front of the tree while the book is read and it’s so much fun to see Maddy’s reactions. So precious!

Letter from Santa. Michael had this idea last year and it’s definitely something we will keep doing every year moving forward. After Santa eats all his cookies and drink his milk, he leaves a letter behind for Maddy. Seeing her face and the magic in her eyes from thinking Santa left a letter especially for her is priceless.

Games. After Maddy goes to bed and after all of Santa’s gifts are left under the tree, the adults usually pour a drink or two and play some games.

These are just a few of our favorite family Christmas traditions that we do every year. What traditions do you have to share? I’d love to hear! 
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup

Courtney is a published author, mom, taco enthusiast, and a Star Wars and Tennessee Volunteers fanatic. She's never met a piece of sushi she didn’t like and enjoys an amazing glass of wine and a great cut of meat. You can read more of her wine-induced, sleep-deprived adventures on The Huffington Post and Scary Mommy.

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