Thursday, December 10, 2015

Holiday Traditions

part of what makes this time of year so much fun are all of the holiday traditions that start to form. christmas is king when it comes to traditions in my family, and i thought i'd take some time to share a few of ours (new and old) with you.

christmas cookies. i don't know anyone who doesn't enjoy baking this time of year. christmas cookies are an absolute must. every year, we start baking early (in time for thanksgiving) and make the same traditional (for our family) cookies and treats that last us from thanksgiving through christmas. although more often than not, a second batch of cookies ends up needing to be baked. each year we make my mom's peanut butter balls, frosted sugar cookies and homemade mint truffles. while we usually throw in a few experimental items each year. the above named three are always present.

christmas trees. most people put up christmas trees if you celebrate christmas. one of my favorite parts about the holidays is heading up to greenbluff so we can cut down our christmas tree. husband and i started this tradition before we were even married, but this past year was the best because lincoln could really join in the fun this year. this year we went to hansen's tree farm, which i highly recommend. after cutting down the tree, we get down to business busting out the all of the holiday decorations. we also got little man his very own mini christmas tree for his bedroom that he can re-decorate again and again throughout the season. past trips to cut down our tree our recapped here, and here .

christmas tree elegance and pictures with santa. when i was little, the best part about christmas, was dressing up and heading down to the mall to visit with santa, sit on his lap and have our picture taken. this little tradition got suspended as i got older and "too cool" for santa, but with little man's arrival last year, the tradition was brought back. we also incorporated our santa visit with christmas tree elegance, which i wrote in more detail about here. last year's santa photo can be seen here. 

holiday lights at the gaiser conservatory. we went for the very first time to the gaiser conservatory holiday lights last year and we'll definitely be going again this year. the lights are beautiful and it's a fun way to get in the holiday spirit. you can see more pictures from last year's trip here. 

christmas eve mass, christmas eve party and caroling at the park. for as long as i can remember, we've had a christmas eve party at my parents house. and on the year's we haven't, one of our neighbors usually picks up the slack ;0) in addition to the party, every christmas eve people gather at cannon hill park to sing christmas carols. santa arrives and hands out candy canes to all the little ones, and then we all walk back to my parents house to enjoy appetizers, holiday cocktails and good company. prior to this our family usually dresses up and attends the children's mass in the afternoon on christmas eve.

christmas eve box. this tradition has evolved over the past few years, and i think we've finally perfected it. when i was growing up, my family would open presents from each other on christmas eve and then santa would come in the morning. when husband and i got married, he wanted to save christmas presents for christmas day. i was more than ok with this since we still got to open presents with my family on christmas eve (and we still do) but wanted us to do something fun on christmas eve as well. so, the year we got married, we started "alexander family christmas jammies." husband and i started buying matching christmas pj's for christmas eve. when the little guy arrived last year, i wanted to take it to another level, so i created a "christmas box" that we lay out on christmas eve. after we come home from nana and pop pop's christmas eve party and present opening, we come home to our christmas box. inside the box are matching christmas jammies for the whole family (yes husband and i partake in this too), a christmas movie to watch either that evening or the next day, depending on how late it is, a christmas book to read before bedtime that evening, popcorn and hot cocoa to enjoy while watching the movie. (we also include a little kiddo approved snack so he doesn't choke on the popcorn).

christmas breakfast. i'm still working on this one and it is yet to be perfected. i am determined to perfect copy cat cinnabon cinnamon rolls for christmas morning breakfast, and i have yet to do so. i'm attempting again this year along with a "christmas" fritatta comprised of tomatoes, basil and mozzarella (red, white and green!). i'll post an update once i've got them down. ;0)

christmas day dinner. we have been having the same dinner for christmas day for as long as i can remember. there have been a few times where my mom has deviated from the menu, and needless to say we were in an uproar. every year my mom makes a beautiful prime rib, garlic mashed potatoes and an amazing caesar salad. we all arrive in our sweatpants, because being comfy is key on christmas day, and eat our delicious christmas dinner while enjoying christmas movies in my parents basement. it's amazing and the perfect way to end christmas day.

what are some of your favorite christmas traditions?

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