Oh the magic of Christmas! I’ve always loved the Christmas season: the lights, the carols, the treats, the decorations!
And then there’s the shopping, the planning, the cleaning, the wrapping, the money, the stress, the guilt. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed this time of year. I know I feel the pressure of having to do Christmas right. For my kids, myself, society.
Do you ever feel that way?
It’s so important to stop, to breathe, and to remember that there is no ‘right’ way or perfect way to do Christmas. Every family does it a little differently, and we can even do it differently year to year. And that’s ok.
Last year you got professional photos for your Christmas card, but this year you don’t have the money or the time? Totally fine.
Your sister makes 15 different kinds of cookies and gives cookie platters to everyone? Good for her. (And yum!)
You wish you could decorate your house from top to bottom, but your kids are babies/toddlers and it’s a disaster/nuisance/safety hazard? Don’t worry!
Do what you have time for, what you can afford, and what makes you happy.
These traditions make me happy, and so I keep doing them, year after year. They aren’t fancy, or expensive, or elaborate, but they bring the magic of Christmas to my family.
Some of these traditions I did with my family growing up, some my husband did with his family, and some we started when we got married and had our kids. Each one of these traditions is simple, and some I’ve altered to fit better in this season of our lives. Each one brings me joy, so I’ll keep doing them as long as they do!
Cutting Down a Christmas Tree
This was a tradition that I did with my family growing up. Here in New Hampshire, and next door in Vermont, there are a ton of amazing farms that have Christmas tree cutting in December. I have such fond memories of getting all bundled up with my siblings and trudging through the snow to pick out the perfect tree. My dad would cut it down, we’d strap it on the car, and we’d all head home to set it up and decorate.
With my husband and kids, we’ve been going to this great Christmas tree farm in Vermont for a couple of years. They have hot cider or cocoa and Christmas cookies in the farm store, and the kids have fun running through the trees in the field. It’s just a beautiful spot and a fun day.
Decorating the Inside of the House
We always cut down the tree and decorate the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We get the tree, bring down the bins of decorations, play Christmas music, and get festive! I decorate the main spaces of the house: the living room, dining room, and kitchen. It’s fun to put away all of the pumpkins and fall decorations and spread a little Christmas cheer throughout the house!
I store the Christmas childrens books in with our Christmas decorations. This way, when we bring everything down Thanksgiving weekend to decorate, we rediscover our favorite Christmas books! I leave them out mixed in with all the kids’ books for the season, and then pack them away with the decorations after the New Year.
I use the same advent calendar with my kids as I used as a kid growing up. My mom generously gave it to me when I had my twins, and it’s one of my favorite Christmas items! It is a cloth advent calendar with little pockets for each day. There is a Christmas scene on the top part of the calendar and a little mouse that you move into the pockets to count down the days. Because my kids are 3, the mouse is almost never on the right day, but just seeing it hanging in my house reminds me of my childhood Christmases and brings me so much joy.
Christmas Cookies and Treats
During the Christmas season, I try to bake as many cookies and treats as I have time for. Some of my favorites are sugar cookies with icing, peanut butter kiss cookies, chocolate crinkle cookies, fudge, and pretzel turtles. I bake one treat on a Saturday or Sunday and am able to indulge in the yummy festive desserts of the season without too much time or energy spent.
Eggnog in Coffee
I start buying eggnog after Thanksgiving, and use it as creamer in my coffee until New Years. Is that weird? Who knows, but it’s yummy! It’s such an easy thing, but really make me feel festive and Christmas-y!
Cinnamon Rolls on Christmas Morning
This is a tradition from my husband’s side of the family. His grandparents, then mother, would bake homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast every Christmas morning. I admit I don’t make them homemade, but I do continue this tradition with store bought cinnamon rolls (the kind that come in a can and you bake). It’s an easy breakfast and makes the whole house smell amazing!
An Orange in your Stocking
This is something I got growing up, and I know of a lot of families do this as well. Everyone gets and orange in the bottom of their stocking. It always made me feel like I was in the book Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Does anyone remember? An orange and a peppermint stick? It’s such a simple tradition, and it’s also a great addition to breakfast!
What are some of your Christmas traditions?