Now that Thanksgiving is over, we can move on to Christmas. I'm one of those people who wholly believe that we should celebrate Thanksgiving as it's own holiday and that Christmas doesn't start at midnight on November 1st. Before this gets into an entire rant post about how Thanksgiving get ignored even though it is the best holiday, let's move on. You can one of the earliest post to this blog all about the greatness that is Thanksgiving here. Today we're talking about Christmas traditions.
Ever since James was born, we've been having Christmas at home in Delaware. We used to travel back to NY and while it was nice doing that, I hated travelling during that time with little kids. I wanted them to wake up on Christmas morning at home, not in a hotel room. Since we've made the switch, we have started some of our own traditions and plan to add a couple more this year. While it isn't my favorite holiday by any means, I'm a scrooge you know, some of my favorite things happen around Christmas time.
These are the traditions we've been doing since deciding to stay home or were even doing before we had kids.
Ever since Christine and I started living together, we've been making cookies to share during Christmas. Her family has been doing this for generations and it's one of my favorite traditions for a bunch of reasons. The biggest reason being that we get to eat a crap ton of cookies. Every year each family makes a few different types (or in her mom's case, a few dozen types) and then everyone shares. You bring your types and get to take a few of everyone else's home. Not every kind is a winner, but it's a fun, sugar filled tradition that I look forward to every year. I'm almost done finalizing my list for this year and a few of my all time favorites will definitely be making an appearance in some form.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas
Dr. Suess' How The Grinch Stole Christmas is my all time favorite Christmas movie. I'm not talking about the Jim Carrey full-length feature film or the animated The Grinch movie, I mean the 1966 television special that's about 30 minutes long. I've watched it every year since I was a small child and every year I take it out and watch it at least once. I know the entire thing by heart and sing all of the songs (much to Christine's dismay). Now the kids have taken to enjoying it, I think this is a tradition that they might continue when they get older.
Chinese Food on Christmas Eve
Because I make a rather involved meal on Christmas day, I decided that I didn't feel like cooking the night before. We ordered Chinese takeout a couple years ago and then did it again last year. Knowing that one of our meals is already planned WAY in advance is really nice. Everyone gets to order whatever they want and then we get a bunch of sides to share. There's always leftovers so between those and Christmas dinner leftovers, we have plenty to eat over the following days. With COVID shutting down some of our favorite restaurants this year, I feel like we have to keep this tradition going so we don't lose another one. The family that runs our favorite place in town has always been great to us, so we'll definitely be placing a large order this year.
Pajamas and a Movie on Christmas Eve
A couple years ago, Christine's step mom started putting together a box of pajamas for each of the kids and a new movie. They get to open it on Christmas Eve, get changed into their new pajamas, and watch their new movie. It's a really cute tradition that the kids really enjoy. It helps distract them from all of the excitement they have building up to their favorite day of the year.
These are two traditions that we want to start this year. One of them we've already started in a way.
Reverse Advent Calendar
I saw one of these images posted on Facebook earlier in the year and shared it. As the holidays approached, it came up again and it reminded me that we should do it. If you look at that image, you can see that the idea is adding one food item to a box for each of the 24 days before Christmas, instead of receiving a small gift or trinket each day. When Christmas Eve comes, you put the last item in and then donate the box to a local food bank or church. While I like the idea of doing this daily, we don't have convenient space to keep all of this stuff, so I just piled it all on the counter until I was ready to explain to our kids what we were doing. After I explained the purpose, I let each kid take turns adding something to the box. In the days after, we continued to talk about why were donating this food and that we need to be thankful that we're in a position to do so. We plan to do this every year, both as a reminder to the kids for how fortunate they are and because it's just a good thing to do.
I don't know how I had never heard of this Icelandic Christmas tradition before this year, but I am all in on it. If you're not familiar with Jólabókaflóð a.k.a. Yule Book Flood, it's an Icelandic tradition where people give the gift of books on Christmas Eve and then spend the night reading those new books in bed with a hot chocolate. Isn't that the most wholesome tradition you've ever heard of? In an age of screens, COVID, and the dumpster fire that is our political state right now, we could all benefit from Jólabókaflóð. Some people buy books for each person and others do a swap exchange where everyone buys a book that others might enjoy and everyone gets to pick one they haven't read. It's a great way to encourage reading and get to read something you may not have chosen otherwise.
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