Christmas makes me giddy (like little school girl giddy). Everything about Christmas fills my soul with joy. The music. The food. The lights. The parties. The people. The candlelight service at church. Everything. I’m guessing this is because I grew up in a family that knows how to make Christmas special. Some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around my family’s Christmas traditions, and I still enjoy them to this day.
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is the talent show we have with my dad’s side of the family before we open presents. Every member of the family performs some kind of talent in order to open their presents, including the adults. The talents include everything from musical performances, skits, and interesting skills like opening a wine bottle blindfolded.
Some of the performances are silly and have us laughing so hard. And some of the performances are more serious and beautiful.
One year in particular, my grandmother taught all my girl cousins and I a Jewish dance. My grandmother had recently been to Israel and learned a Jewish dance that was simply beautiful. She dressed us in traditional Jewish dance attire and lined us all up for the choreography. At the time, I was about 12 years old and felt silly doing the dance. But I think back on it now as a fond memory of spending quality time with my grandmother and cousins.
Some other traditions include having clam chowder instead of turkey or ham for Christmas dinner. My extended family LOVES seafood. We sometimes play a game of “Apples to Apples” after dinner and end up laughing some more. At home, my dad would sometimes send my brother and me on a scavenger hunt to find our presents on Christmas morning. We loved the challenge and adventure of having to find our presents along with getting to open them.
Starting Our Own Traditions
Couples often start a marriage with their own family’s Christmas traditions running through their veins.
It is sometimes hard to compromise and figure out which traditions to keep and which to let go. Being the creative types, my husband and I definitely wanted to create our own. Our first Christmas as newlyweds, we pulled our mattress out into the living room on Christmas Eve and watched Christmas movies. Then we fell asleep to Christmas music and the twinkling Christmas tree lights. We haven’t done this with our littles yet because we would get no sleep, but we hope to someday!
Driving around and looking at Christmas lights is another tradition we started as newlyweds. Dressed in our pajamas, we hop in the car, get hot chocolate at the Starbucks drive-thru and find the best musical Christmas light shows in Colorado Springs. Our daughter is old enough to thoroughly enjoy it now. She loves the lights, music and, of course, the hot chocolate.
There is one tradition that is just for my husband and me: a special Christmas date. This usually includes a nice dinner out and some kind of Christmas concert or show. In past years, we have seen the Nutcracker Ballet, “White Christmas” on Broadway, and a local choir Christmas concert. It’s a treat to get all dressed up and enjoy a memorable evening together around the holidays.
A Few More Ideas
Every year as Christmas approaches, we get our creative juices flowing. Traditions that happen only once a year give us great joy as we anticipate making fun memories with our kids. The following are other traditions we have done in past years or plan on adding this year:
- an Advent calendar
- reading a Christmas book every day in December
- buying gifts for children in need
- a cookie decorating party with friends
- a white elephant gift party
- Secret Santa with friends
- making homemade gifts for grandparents
- Christmas Bible study
Someday we hope to include our kids in thinking up new Christmas traditions. Who knows what their creative little minds will conjure up? I certainly can’t wait to find out! I hope you enjoy thinking of some fun and meaningful Christmas traditions this year with your family. Feel free to share your ideas in the comments!