Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Our holiday traditions

I just got my Christmas cards that were designed by Jamie back from Walgreens, and they look great! Thanks again, Jamie...

I am really cruising on Christmas presents this year which rocks! When the stressful stuff is done early, the season can be relaxing and more fun. I'm really looking forward to our yearly traditions.
Each year, I bake dozens and dozens of cookies with my mom and sisters on the Friday after Thanksgiving. It's a lot of fun, with just US and no kids. Makes for some really good laughs and lots of silliness. The cookies aren't half bad, either. We usually save the sugar cookies to decorate either at home with our children or invite the dads and kids to join us later on and decorate them together. The kids go crazy with the sprinkles!
I also decorate the house for the season on that weekend, except for the tree. The tree is a whole nother experience. We usually go the next week to a somewhat local tree farm. Definitely worth the drive. We've tried other tree farms in the past, but this one is perfect: tractor rides out to the different locations, beautiful, PERFECT trees everywhere you look and all for the same prices - which are waaay more reasonable than anywhere I've ever gone - regardless of their size. The people are super friendly and everything is included. Cookies and hot chocolate are donations only, so that you don't feel obligated to spend an arm or a leg, just what you feel they're worth. The kids get to help cut it down, and then we haul it home to set up.

Ahhhh!! The smell!! Lovely... I am usually the one who lights the tree, as I'm a bit particular, but not anal. After I've been scratched up and am thoroughly broken out from all of the sap and scratches, we decorate while the music is playing, the hot chocolate is drunk, and much giddiness ensues. Of course, I won't forget that this also tends to be the most stressful thing ever, as the kids really bug me with their flea-like jumping and pestering questions, "when are the lights done? Can we decorate yet? He pushed me! Wah , wah, wah..." and then there's the strings of lights that magically twist themselves into knots and burn out while carefully wrapped and stored for the year, but I know that it's worth it.

We already have the Lite FM station on which is playing all Christmas, all the time. I personally wanted to wait till after Thanksgiving, but the kids heard Alvin and the Chipmunks as I was flipping the channels, and we were hooked! This station will play on our radio until Christmas day. I LOVE the variety of Christmas songs, and that they'll play any request you can think of. Some really obscure holiday songs, too!
We've also already started the seasonal movies, with Polar Express a few nights ago. Corinne hadn't really seen it before and loved the music and train. It's very exciting to think of her reactions this year. She's such an outgoing child, that I can't imagine anything scaring or upsetting her, so I'm looking forward to many squeals of delight...

Of course, we do the Christmas cookies and notes to Santa every Christmas Eve. Justin has been writing his own notes since he was 4, and I have saved them all. They are ADORABLE. I may have to scan them so that you can see how sweet they are. Evan gets to help write it this year! How exciting for him!
Christmas 2003
Reads: I want Lady, Santa. Justin
(He loved Thomas the Tank Engine and wanted a Lady Train)

Another tradition is that on Christmas morning, the kids are allowed to tear into their stockings before breakfast, and don't have to wait turns. Just rip into it! Patrick and I will be getting some food set out (usually pancakes, or other finger foods that reheat well) for the kids while we enjoy an egg and ham casserole (GOOOOOOD) that I only make once a year, for some reason...


When opening the presents we all take turns and watch each other. I never knew that there was any other way, until I grew up and saw families that just tear into all of their presents, without relishing each and every present. I really enjoy the slow, polite Christmas morning. We get to watch everyone's faces, and if someone really wants to play with a new toy for a bit, we can take a break and try them out before continuing. Much more relaxed.


doesn't that cookie look, um, yummy?

Every Christmas Eve is with Patrick's Mom and family and every Christmas Day (afternoon) is spent with my family. It works out so well this way. No leaving in the middle of a party, no organizing and worrying over hurt feelings.

So. I know our traditions aren't totally unusual or wild, but they're OURS and we love them. What are your holiday traditions? Anything fun that I can incorporate in my own family?

(also, what is UP with Blogger and the spacing? I can't get the paragraphs or spacing correct...)
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