We started some of our holiday traditions when I was pregnant with Dude 1.
I remember thinking about what I wanted his first Christmas to look like as I anxiously awaited his late arrival. I wanted to celebrate at home, because that’s where Santa stops. DudeDad threw in that he wanted to always have a real tree (I agreed against my better judgment) and our Christmas traditions were born with the birth of our son 5 days before Thanksgiving, 2001. We knew it wouldn’t matter so much that first year, because one month olds don’t care about anything other than food, sleep, clean diapers, and cuddles, but we wanted to establish them for our family early.
Since then our family Christmas traditions have expanded –we dabbled in opening a Christmas Eve gift, we had an advent calendar one year, a couple of years ago, in response to peer pressure, we adopted an elf. Strangely, he has turned into one of Dude 3’s most cherished holiday traditions. As much as I was against the little creep in the beginning, his ability to encourage wonder and joy in my kid makes him not so horrible after all.
This year we are celebrating with a teen and a tween whose belief in Santa has gone the way of the dinosaur. They don’t care about the magic mailbox that whisks their letter to the North Pole, they don’t want to go to bed early on Christmas Eve, they refuse to wear Christmas PJs, and the only reason they want to bake cookies for Santa is because it means they get to eat some, preferably in dough form. We continue these traditions only for the sake of the faithful 7 year old whose belief in all things Christmas and magical remains steadfast.
Fortunately, there are some family Christmas traditions that have withstood the test of time and I anticipate that even in the next couple of years, when Dude 3 has joined the crew of cynics in this house, these will continue to define our holiday celebration.
Because I say so.
5 Family Christmas Traditions That Will Last
1. Christmas morning photo. Before seeing the booty Santa and his elves delivered, the Dudes have always posed at the bottom of the stairs for a holiday pre-Christmas celebration photo. Last year they had the camera ready for me and were all lined up when I came down. They know
no gift will be unwrapped until I get my pic how much this means to me and I anticipate they will joyfully do it until they are with their own families on Christmas morning, maybe even still then.
2. Christmas cookie baking. Only those that help get to taste test. It is a law in my house and it ensures I always have willing helpers in the kitchen when Santa cookies are being made.
3. Cutting down the Christmas tree. This is one we didn’t fully adopt until Dude 2 was about three. We wanted everyone to be able to walk before going to do our own tree cut down thing. But, ever since we started, it has been one of our favorite traditions. Everyone loves going to the tree farm, taking photos, and picking out our perfect tree.
4. Tree trimming with holiday music. They aren’t super excited about spending an evening trimming the tree. In fact, we had the tree a full week before a single ornament was hung. But, when I finally said THIS IS HAPPENING and was able to get everyone in the same room at the same time with the ornaments, they were into it. Dude 2 made sure the tunes were on point, Dude 3 was in charge of headwear and custom ornament placement, and Dude 1 made sure everyone moved expeditiously so he could get back to his video-gaming-music-listening marathon.
5. Christmas eve movie. As a family of movie buffs, making this one happen is pretty easy for us. This year, instead of doing our usual Netflix holiday movie night, we are all going to see Star Wars!