This time of year is truly my favorite! I love the decorations, parties, family time, and most of all the magic of Christmas! I have the best childhood memories of Christmas time! It was a magical season full of Christmas traditions. The house was always decorated inside and out, and the sweet scent of apples and cinnamon greeted you as soon as you walked through the door. My brother and I were always so excited to send letters to Santa before visiting him to sit on his lap. We took trips to the city to see the big tree in Union Square, do some shopping, and go ice skating.
Our family Christmas traditions always created a wonderful holiday celebration. Now as a mother, I’m so excited to continue them and add a few of my own. If you’re looking for new Christmas traditions to add to your holiday this year, here are a few of my favorites!
I love baking anytime, but Christmas cookies are my favorite and we make a ton! We spend an entire day making Rum Balls, Lemon Squares, Magic Cookie Bars, and so many more. With Christmas music playing, we make a giant mess and have the best time.
Since merging families, we now also have a traditional cookie baking gathering with my in-laws. We make sugar cookies and decorate them during our annual Thanksgiving visit. We use a recipe that has been passed down for several generations, which is so very special to me. I’ve even gotten a few other family recipes from my in-laws so that I can keep this tradition going as our son grows up. The best part of baking so many cookies (besides eating them) is packaging them up to deliver to friends. Who doesn’t love getting a surprise plate full of delicious treats!?
Christmas Day is the main event, but Christmas Eve has always been my favorite. There’s so much excitement and anticipation of all the fun to be had on Christmas Day. For as long as I can remember, we have had the same dinner on Christmas Eve – Beef Stew and Cornbread. You can smell the stew all day as it cooks slowly, until it’s just right.
After dinner comes one of my favorite Christmas traditions! We snack on cookies and sit around the Christmas tree to each open one gift. The gift is always the same – new pajamas and a new ornament. The pajamas are always fun to get, but the ornament has the most meaning. My mother gave us each a new ornament (and continues to do so) every year as we grew up. When we moved out and each put up our own trees, she gave them to us. This way, we could continue the same magic in our own homes and have something to get started with. I love crafting, so I make my son’s ornament each year. This year I’m hand-sewing a darling miniature Christmas train, which I can’t wait to see hanging on the tree.
Stockings on Christmas Morning
The excitement of Christmas morning always begins as soon as the children open their eyes. In our home, Santa filled our stockings and left them on our beds. Depending on who woke up first, my brother or I would race to the other’s room and open our stockings together.
You may be wondering why Santa would leave a stocking full of gifts on our bed. Well, this was our parents’ clever way of getting just a little more sleep before the mayhem set it! Instead of waking them up as soon as we were awake (which on Christmas morning is insanely early), we were busy opening our stockings. This year, I’m adding a new Christmas tradition to aid in the Santa magic for our son. I have a special sack from the North Pole that will have our son’s gifts from Santa in it each year.
What are some favorite Christmas traditions in your family? Let us know in the comments. Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas!