I recently realized I have written blog posts detailing my Thanksgiving traditions and New Year’s Day traditions. However, much to my surprise, I haven’t written about my Christmas traditions. Hmmm, I guess I should probably do that tonight, right? Well, sort of. This evening I want to identify some of my Christmas season traditions, not Christmas day traditions (a whole different ballgame). So, without further ado, let me offer up seven December traditions that I practice on an annual basis.
Christmas Light Neighborhood Tour – Every year, typically the weekend before Christmas, we get in the car and drive around a couple neighborhoods looking at Christmas light displays. We tune the radio to a Christmas station and listen to carols as we cruise. My parents did this with us as kids and I have continued it with Sidney. It is always so peaceful and beautiful!
Christmas Vacation Viewing Party – By party I mean two people…me and my wife! We extended this tradition for a fourth year recently as we tuned in to AMC for one of the station’s many airings of the movie. As usual we laughed excessively at the embarrassing antics of Clark Griswold and Cousin Eddie. Although we don’t necessarily sit for the entire film (we take care of chores and tend to other holiday preparations), we do watch the majority of it together. Just wouldn’t be Christmas without the Griswolds.
Hot Chocolate and Carols – Another tradition that originated with my parents was a special hot coco session. Back in the day on a mid-December evening, my parents would make a big batch of hot chocolate. They would serve it to us in mugs and allow us to top it with marshmallows and whipped cream (but not with Bailey’s and Amaretto that they liberally helped themselves to). My mom and dad would dim the lights in the living room, turn on Christmas carols, and illuminate the tree. With the fireplace crackling and the aroma of the tree swirling around the space, we would enjoy fellowship and Christmas magic anticipation. Sid and I have adopted this tradition and we actually did it last night! My creative wife brought a new element to the tradition by making delicious s’mores.
Christmas Cards – I geek out over Christmas cards! It is not like we do anything elaborate, but I get all warm and fuzzy with sending loved ones and friends a holiday greeting through the mail. Our process is probably the same as yours: we get our photo taken, choose a card layout, place an order, buy stamps, address the cards, and send them off. I love it! Sidney allows me to address and write inside of each card and I just really enjoy it. Our 2018 supply was taken to the post office this weekend so make sure to check your mailboxes this week!
Holiday Parties – The holiday party circuit is a time to eat, drink, and be merry! Sidney and I have a couple annual gatherings that we try our best to attend every year. I embrace the opportunity to celebrate the season with others while making sure to always be grateful and behave.
Confession – There is no better way to prepare for the true meaning of Christmas than with a pure heart. Many churches will hold communal reconciliation services in December, meaning that priests from all over the diocese will come to hear confessions at individual parishes. It is special to take advantage of the sacrament during Christmas time with your fellow brothers and sisters right there with you. When you leave the church that night, you feel rejuvenated and ready to celebrate Christ’s birth.
Christmas Eve Gift Exchange – Usually late at night on Christmas Eve, Sid and I sit down in the living room and exchange gifts. No matter how hectic the Christmas season has been, we always feel absolutely at peace during that moment. In addition to the presents we exchange, Sid drinks out of a special Santa mug that was passed down to her. The Christmas spirit, full of festiveness and love, is always in the air during that hour.
We hope to develop more traditions in the ensuing years, especially ones that pay homage to the true reason for the season. But we got a good start as our little family works toward putting our own unique stamp on this very special time of the year. Don’t Blink.