Christmas Traditions We Have In Our Home

Christmas Traditions We Have In Our Home | KeatingBartlett.com

The holidays are a wonderful time of year to create Christmas traditions in your family. Growing up, we had a few traditions of our own in my household. We’d go for drives through other neighborhoods to see the Christmas lights. We’d decorate the tree together as a family with Christmas music playing in the background. We each had our own box of ornaments that was specifically our own so that we’d always have our own ornaments to add to the tree each year. Even Christmas morning was full of traditions long after we stopped believing in Santa Clause. We were never allowed to go downstairs before waking our parents first. They were the first to go downstairs to “check if Santa left yet” (aka to make themselves a pot of coffee since we typically woke them up WAY too early). We’d also take turns opening gifts so that we could all see what everyone was getting rather than it being a chaotic mess where we’re all ripping open our gifts at one time.

Traditions are so important for a family. They’re traditions that you’ll pass down to your own children as well. While we’ve only had one Christmas together in our own home in the last few years (the others were spent back home with family), we’re still in the process of creating our own traditions. I’m sure they’ll come after a few more holidays in our own home, but for now, these are the traditions we’ll have in our home.

PICKING OUT THE PERFECT TREE AT A LOCAL CHRISTMAS TREE FARM.

No offense to those of you who love fake Christmas trees, but I grew up going to our local Christmas tree farm as a family and picking one out each year. The me, it’s just not Christmas to pull a tree out of the attic, brush the dust off of it, and set it up in your living room. I will never give up my real tree and thankfully Zack feels the same way. So this will be a tradition that we keep in our home once we’re back living in New England. Right now, it’s a little more challenging being in Southern California since they’re version of a “Christmas tree farm” is a stand in the middle of the desert where they sell trees. Totally not the same! So this will be something that will be very important to us once the baby is born and we’re in our long-term home.

OPENING GIFTS ON CHRISTMAS EVE.

We never did this in my household growing up, but Zack and I tend to open the gifts that we buy each other on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day. Zack is the one who started this one simply because he was impatient that year. It was Christmas 2014, the only other Christmas we’ve spent in our own home together and it was the year he bought me my “engagement” ring. Out of nowhere, he approached me in the kitchen wanting to give me my gift so it then led to giving each other all the gifts we had purchased for one another. It’s nice because it gives us time to ourselves. Christmas Day is spent opening our gifts from family and friends over FaceTime or with them in person so Christmas Eve is more for us and our own gifts to each other.

SPENDING CHRISTMAS DAY WITH FAMILY.

Like I just mentioned, Christmas Day is spent with family whether it’s over FaceTime or it’s bouncing between all their homes, opening gifts. Whatever it may be, we’re with them that day. We do this for Thanksgiving as well. It’s just such a good way to spend time with them all even when they’re thousands of miles away. It allows us to celebrate the holidays as one big family and keeps us all connected. Once we’re back home, though, we fully plan to be physically present for these things. We’ll probably do gifts in our own home first thing in the morning with our kids and then bounce around to each side of our family that afternoon, but whatever the plan ends up being, we know we’ll be with family.

SENDING OUT CHRISTMAS CARDS.

This was something I always knew I wanted to do when I got married and so far, I’ve done it every year (okay, I missed the first one, but that’s because we had been married for all of two months and we didn’t even have a photo together yet…so that one’s understandable). I just love sending them out to friends and family and keeping them all updated on life. I typically send them all a little note as well thanking them for their continued love and support and updating them on anything new going on here. Sometimes I add extra photos too for them to frame and keep in their homes. It’s fun and I know they appreciate it as well.

CHRISTMAS LIGHT SIGHT-SEEING.

We used to do this all the time growing up. We’d get into our comfy clothes (bundled up with jackets of course) and we’d spend an hour or two just driving through the neighborhoods, looking at Christmas lights. I remember our surrounding neighborhoods in Vermont being FULL of gorgeous decorations. Burlington is always super pretty this time of year too. We were super little back then, yet I remember it like it was yesterday. I’d love to do this with our kids someday.

What Christmas traditions do you have in your home?

Follow:
  • Grace Lipscomb

    One of my all time favorite traditions is making all the Christmas cookies growing up we made bunches of all sorts of cookies!

    • My mom was also a huge baker. Unfortunately, I completely suck at baking haha and I hate cooking in general so I haven’t been willing to improve. Maybe once we have kids, I’ll get more into it.

      • Grace Lipscomb

        Just buy the pre-made cookies and decorate them with the kids! Decorating them is the best part!

  • Jen

    Christmas cards is my big thing! I always send them out and it’s what I look forward to all year.

    • I love Christmas cards! They’re so much work and I’m ALWAYs behind with them every year, but I really love doing them.

  • Elizabeth Johnson

    These are great traditions! We always decorate the inside of the house and tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. And we also have the best overnight french toast for breakfast Christmas morning. We only make it that day so it is extra special!

    • Thanks Elizabeth! I want to get into the habit of doing our tree and decorations the weekend after Thanksgiving. My MIL does that every year. But for some reason, we just don’t get around to it yet haha and it’s harder to keep a tree alive that long as well. The french toast sounds amazing! My dad used to make us a big pancake breakfast and it was absolutely delicious.

  • We do presents on Christmas Eve too. I am the impatient one in our house so I want to see my gifts and see my hubs open his! We also love light seeing!

    • Haha I’m the same way. Our presents from my grandparents came today and now they’re just sitting under the tree, screaming to be opened. It’s so tempting lol

  • I love opening gifts on Christmas eve! It feels like it extends to holidays!

  • Luna C. Lupus

    These traditions are so heartwarming! We also do presents on Christmas Eve, because half of the family are early risers and the other half are late sleepers! 😉 So it’s nice that we’re all together for the gifts, after the feast!

    • Thanks Luna! I like that we split ours between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It extends the holiday an extra day haha plus Zack typically works Christmas as well when we’re in our own home so I take advantage of it and sleep in and then we do the rest of the gifts when he gets home.

  • Jasmine Anderson

    We decorate on Thanksgiving, start gift shopping on Black Friday, Christmas Eve is spent cooking and Christmas Day opening gifts and eating left overs

    • I miss Black Friday Shopping! I used to go every year with my grandparents. Zack and I have only had two Thanksgivings together out of four and one of those was spent Black Friday shopping while the other one was spent waiting for him to get them from work haha the military really makes it so much more challenging to create stable traditions. But we’re working on it lol

  • Love all of these! My family usually opens presents on Christmas morning, but my fiance grew up opening presents on Christmas Eve at midnight (technically Christmas morning lol). Now that we are starting our own family we are thinking about how we will form our own traditions. <3

    • I would hate to open all my presents at midnight! haha to me, that totally ruins the fun of waking up on Christmas morning. I like how we have it where we open a couple on Christmas Eve and then the rest when we wake up. Zack typically works Christmas whenever we’re in our own home so our Christmas actually doesn’t start until that afternoon. But it works for us 🙂

  • We do a few of these, too! We’ve always opened presents on Christmas Eve after we’ve gone to church and eaten a big dinner. The last few years, we’ve had the luxury of staying home on Christmas morning, which is a huge improvement from traveling on the holiday EVERY year when I was a kid. 🙂

    • I can only remember one Christmas where we actually traveled ON Christmas. We always celebrated at home. We weren’t close to my mom’s side of the family and we did Christmas with my dad’s parents the weekend after so always had the luxury of just relaxing at home in our pjs. It made it so much more relaxing. Nowadays, our family has grown a bit with being married and adding a new step family to the mix as well so it’s essential to see everyone haha

  • These are great traditions! With my parents, we open one gift on Christmas Eve and the next the very next day. I can’t wait to start making traditions with my hubby.

    • Making traditions is so much fun! I really wish we had more at this point, but it’s harder when we’re constantly moving around and aren’t always in the same place for the holidays. I’m hoping once he’s out of the military and we’re in our long-term home, we’ll be able to really settle and make those traditions 🙂

  • Dylan

    I love hearing about your traditions. My family has the same tradition of getting our tree from a christmas tree farm. It has become one of my favorite traditions that I even often travel home for that weekend alone just to participate now!

    • I wish I lived close enough to family to continue that tradition. My husband and I buy real trees as well, but we’re currently stuck living in San Diego and they just don’t have real Christmas tree farms here haha so that tradition was kind of ruined for me this year.

      • emily mees

        Florida is the same. However, many farms ship trees down here and sell them in big tents in various parts of town.

        • That’s pretty much how San Diego is. It’s sad lol we lived in Florida for a year back when I was in high school and I remember being so disappointed by the tree tents haha I think we got ours from a tent in the middle of a Home Depot parking lot that year.

  • Joscelyn | Wifemamafoodie

    So sweet! We have a lot of the same traditions as you! We weren’t allowed to go downstairs without waking our parents up either, and I definitely think it was so they could have a moment with their cup of coffee before all the chaos started, haha!

    • Haha it used to drive me insane considering it went well into my teen years. Even now, as adults, we wake them first before doing anything. Now that I’m married and about to have our own baby, I’m starting to see why they made that tradition. It’ll definitely continue in this house haha that morning cup of coffee is crucial.

  • I’m glad you like it! I’m hating Christmas here in San Diego haha Southern California completely ruins the holidays. I don’t necessarily feel like I need to be in my home state, but I’d love to be in the area.