This never happens… I got into the holiday spirit early this year and I think it has everything to do with being a mom. It was taking all I had not to start playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving. And then John did it. And now it’s just free reign at our house and we’re walking in a winter wonderland… in the fall.
It’s not Desi’s first Christmas — he was two months old last year. But, he’s so much more aware this year that I’m excited to see the season through his little, new eyes. Of course at one he’s still too young to understand Jesus’ birthday, gift giving, or the magic of Santa, but I look forward to his reaction to some of the things he will enjoy like the smell of the Christmas tree, the twinkle of lights in our neighborhood, or shaking his little baby booty to our favorite Christmas jams.
I think my early excitement comes with the possibility of creating new traditions. Here are some of my favorites of the past and of today.
A Christmas Carol While Tree Trimming
We always had the most beautiful trees growing up, thanks to my mom. She put together themed trees, which made it different and so fun every year to open up the new ornaments. My favorite is the sugar plum tree, with candy, cookie, and sugary sweet ornaments. Some of her other bests include the winter wonderland tree, the fruit tree, and the Santa tree. No matter the theme, we’d watch “A Christmas Carol” while decorating. And don’t bother putting on some weird version because it had to be the George C. Scott one, or it’d be a bust. Ebeneeeezer Scrooooooge! Oooo, that Jacob Marley still gets me shaking in my Christmas stockings!
Christmas PJs and Chinese Food on Christmas Eve
I can still feel the excitement of being allowed to open that one gift the night before Christmas and knowing it was our new comfy pajamas our mom made us. From matching gowns when we were smaller to fleece pants as we got older, we knew we’d be sleeping in style every Christmas Eve. There was usually some quality to them that pointed to the fact that they were homemade: a tight waste band, maybe sleeves that were a little too long, or even the token pin still hiding in the fabric. Even as a kid, I knew that it was these things that made them extra special, they were made with love by my mother and came with a dance when you put them on. They were magical.
In addition to opening the PJs, it was also a tradition to order Chinese food on Christmas Eve, which is a treat any day of the year, really.
It’s a Wonderful Life Date
Of all the dates we go on (even though dates are a bit sparse these days…) seeing “It’s a Wonderful Life” with John is my absolute favorite. We bundle up, pay too much for parking, walk the festive streets of Cambridge, and settle into the coziest of old theaters with a big popcorn to watch only the best movie of all time. We haven’t missed this tradition for one single year since we met. Without fail, our cheeks are red and stained with happy tears when the lights come back on. “Remember, George: no man is a failure who has friends.” Oh Clarence! You get me EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
The Advent Project
My mom has been making her grandchildren an advent craft that helps them count down the days until Christmas in a fun and Nana-inspired way for the past five or so years. The kids open a new handmade ornament every day, or 25 hand-stitched birds one day at a time, or a felt element that makes up a winter scene, piece by piece. I’m so excited that Desmond will be getting his very own advent project made by his Nana this year. She’ll hand them out on Thanksgiving so it won’t be long now…
The Fabi Swap
John’s birthday is the day after Christmas and when he turned 30 a couple years ago, I threw him a surprise party with a yankee swap twist. We had a blast and did it again the next year, this time in our new home. It looks like we’ll be doing it this year too, and once something is done THREE times, it’s officially a tradition. Look it up in the rule book of traditions. You’ll see.
What are some of your favorite traditions? Did having kids awaken your Christmas excitement again?
A note about the icons I used in my design:
- Christmas Tree designed by Mister Pixel from the Noun Project
- Sweatpants designed by Akasha Elizabeth Kasper from the Noun Project
- Fortune Cookie designed by Ben Hantoot from the Noun Project
- Bell designed by Randall Barriga from the Noun Project
- Calendar designed by Laurent Patain from the Noun Project