I’m weirdly excited for the holiday season this year. My daughter is old enough to grasp the concept of Christmas and spending time together as a family. It still might be a little early but I like to think she may even remember this holiday. She remembers, after all, when the dog snatched her banana bread or when her daddy took her to a new park, both of which happened several months ago.
At almost three, she’s observant and curious. She literally jumped for joy when we tested the lights, illuminating the family room floor, before stringing them on the Christmas tree. She walks by every night stating, “My tree! It’s beautiful!” which makes my ever-loving Christmas heart explode into a million magical red and green pieces.
It reminds me of all of the holiday traditions my family and I had growing up. It makes me want to make this year even more special in my daughter’s eyes. I figured the best way to make it memorable was to make a conscious effort to continue and develop our own traditions as a family of four.
My husband and I wanted carry on a few tried and true favorites from our own childhoods. Ones that were imprinted on us as young kids; traditions that if left out or forgotten, would make Christmas feel un-Christmassy. When I think of Christmas, I think of decorating cookies, spaghetti on Christmas Eve and opening stockings first thing Christmas morning. My husband would correlate the holiday with tracking Santa through the night sky and then developing a fool-proof plan with his siblings to capture him in their living room.
On our daughter’s first Christmas, we started the tradition of opening a new pair of pajamas to wear that night. The present also consists of a new holiday-themed book to read along with a new ornament to hang on the tree. We spend Christmas Eve cozied up in our pjs reading stories by the fire. It’s my favorite thing. We make the same meal on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning while holiday tunes play in the background.
We started the Elf on the Shelf tradition this year. While some may find it silly or stressful, my oldest seems to be getting a kick out of running around the house each morning to find her little friend. Holiday traditions shouldn’t be stressful, anyway. Big or small, they should be things that bring joy and create memories.
As my kids get older and our family grows, I imagine us adding traditions along the way. I foresee sister slumber parties and kids creeping downstairs in an attempt to sneak a peek of the Big Man in Red. I long for family movie nights watching Christmas Vacation and, against my husband’s will, Love Actually. There will always be gifts from Santa under the tree, even when they’re 30, and I hope they always like spaghetti, because some things never change.
Whether we’re traveling over the holidays or having a quiet Christmas at home, these small gestures are what really make the holidays special for our family. It’s so much fun to watch the girls during this time of year and the best is yet to come.
What holiday traditions do you celebrate in your family? Are there any that I should incorporate with two small kids at home?!