When Nathan and I first got married, we spent every single holiday with his family. They had their own traditions, and we were always included – but I couldn’t help wondering how we were supposed to create our traditions.
Five years later, we still spend almost every single holiday with his family. I love his family – they’re my family too, after all! – but I love that we have some Christmas traditions just for our little family, too. Here are a few that I look forward to every December:
- Christmas Baking Day: My mother-in-law, grandmother-in-law, sister-in-law, and I get together on a Saturday at the end of November every year and do some serious Christmas baking. Since Topher doesn’t get to take part in the ladies baking day apart from taste testing, I pick another day in early December and bake with him. This year we’re making chocolate macaroons, sugar cookies, peanut butter cups, candy cane oreo bars, and my personal favourite: Toblerone Fudge.
- We make Christmas crafts. Well, Nathan doesn’t, but the rest of us do! This year we’re making decorations, cutting out snowflakes (Topher got his first pair of safety scissors. He’s so excited!), and painting – and we’ll do other crafts if I can convince Topher to participate. He’s not really big on crafting.
- I make photo books. I started making them when Topher was born and every year he gets a new book filled with pictures from the previous year. This year I also made books filled with pictures of the kids for the grandparents and great-grandparents. I use Blurb – quick, easy, great quality, and affordable!
- We read Christmas books before bed. Eventually we’ll have one book for each day in December, but I’m still creating my stockpile (the only store I go to on Boxing Day is Chapters!) so for now we read the same handful of books over and over and over. Topher’s current favourites: The Christmas Story (Brick Bible for Kids) and The Bear Stays Up for Christmas. Ellie likes to chew on whatever book we’re reading.
- We tour Bethlehem: Our church turns into Bethlehem for one week every year and we reserve Saturday afternoon for a family walk-through. Nathan’s involved in the production the rest of the time, so it’s nice to be able to go through it once as a family. Topher loves the flying angels and the animals in the market, and I love the horses they always have standing at the entrance. Forget Bethlehem, I’ll stand outside in -30 temperatures and warm my hands on their furry noses!
- We drive around the neighbourhood and admire the Christmas lights. When I was growing up this was a Christmas Eve tradition, but now it’s become part of the Birthday Festivities, since my birthday is on December 20th. Topher points at every single house and exclaims “LOOK, MOMMY! LOOK!” with breathless excitement. I think this year I might give him a candy cane when he gets in the car! Ellie loves to look at the lights on our tree so I’m sure she’ll love looking at the lights as we drive. Well, if she can see any of them from her carseat …
- We spend a day – usually Christmas Eve, but it depends on everybody’s schedules – with Nathan’s family. We designate that day “Christmas Day” and open gifts, play board games, watch movies, and eat lots and lots of turkey. We spend Christmas Day at our house, in our pyjamas, and I think last year we had Kraft Dinner for supper. It was fantastic.
- We attend the Christmas Eve service at our church. They have two services, one at 4 o’ clock and one at 6 o’ clock, and we usually go to the earlier one, depending on whether or not Nathan’s boss lets him leave early, and depending on whether or not Nathan is involved in the service.
- We have cinnamon buns for breakfast on Christmas morning. Last year was a total flop … We had to leave Nathan’s parents’ house early on Christmas Eve because I was having contractions but I still wanted to make cinnamon buns, so there I was, at 10 o’ clock at night, waiting for the dough to rise. Nathan took pity on me and finished them so I could lie down but they didn’t exactly turn out. We had cardboard and frosting for Christmas morning breakfast last year! At least Topher enjoyed it!
What are some of your favourite Christmas traditions?
For the past few months I’ve felt overwhelmed with all of the things I want to do , especially considering all the things I already need to do. I want to write. I want spend time making memories with my little family. I want to do web design. I want to make our tiny little condo feel like a home.
Something had to give, and ultimately it was what takes the most time away from the others. I love learning about web design and coding, I love figuring out the intricacies of different wordpress themes and graphic design – but right now is not the time to focus on it. It’s just an added item on my to-do list.
So I bought a custom pre-made design from the awesome team at Squeesome Design Studio - and I love it! I highly recommend Squeesome for any of your design needs: They’re very professional, super fast, and best of all for this soon-to-be-solely-self-employed mama: affordable! I’ll be tweaking a few things as time allows over the next few days, but click through! Let me know what you think!