The holidays are my absolute favorite time of year and have been for as long as I can remember. There’s something about this time of the year that truly is magical. Like many families, we had our holiday traditions growing up that we looked forward to each year.
When I met my husband and we began to celebrate the holidays together, it was important for us to maintain those old traditions, but also find a way to create new ones of our own. Now we’ve got our own little family and have found ways to mesh old and new traditions to help keep the magic of the holidays alive.
Here’s list of our favorite traditions beginning in November and continuing on through Christmas:
Friendsgiving- I can’t take credit for this tradition, as it was started by my husband’s cousin; however, it is one of our favorites and has become an annual event. Friendsgiving is typically celebrated a week or two before Thanksgiving which allows us time to get together with great friends before the hustle and bustle of the holiday season begins. Is there anything better than great company, delicious food, tasty drinks and crisp fall air?
Black Friday Decorating Day- While most people are out hitting up sales, we are at home getting our house fully decked in Christmas decor. We make homemade eggnog using a family recipe that has been passed down through generations, blast Christmas music, stay in our pajamas all day and bust out all the garland and lights!
Holiday Movies– One night each weekend, extending from Thanksgiving to Christmas, we snuggle up on the couch with eggnog or hot chocolate and watch our favorite holiday movies. Some of our go-to movies include: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Elf, The Polar Express, Home Alone, The Ref, and Christmas with the Kranks.
Sugar Cookie Decorating- This isn’t anything out of the ordinary…homemade sugar cookies, tons of icing, an abundance of sprinkles and some good old friendly competition between husband and wife over who decorates the best cookie. The difference this year, we’ve got a cute little toddler as a sous-chef!
Tamale Making- Since I was a little girl, one of the biggest holiday traditions I looked forward to each year was Tamale Day. One weekend, approximately two weeks before Christmas, our entire family: aunts, uncles, cousins, spouses, all cram into my grandmother’s kitchen (full assembly line style) for hours and make dozens of homemade tamales. Over the years, the family has grown and now there are great grandchildren who get to join in on the fun. Since we don’t get to see each other often, it’s great to get everyone together for a day full of reminiscing and tons of laughter. We then get to enjoy our hours of labor and indulge in a feast of tamales, Spanish rice and refried beans as our big Christmas Eve dinner at my grandmother’s house.
Christmas Lights- What’s the holiday season without looking at Christmas lights?! Bundle up, sip on hot cocoa and cruise the town admiring the twinkle and magic of the holiday lights. Two of our must-see stops: Cherry Lane in Mesa and Christmas on Comstock in Gilbert.
Christmas Eve Box- Last year was the first Christmas season with our daughter here and it truly made the holiday season that much more special. We decided that a tradition we want to start with her is a Christmas Eve Box. This is a gift box with Christmas jammies, a yummy treat (i.e., hot cocoa, candy cane, etc.), and a new Christmas book to read before bed that night.
I’m sure that as years come and go and our family grows, some of these traditions will evolve, but what makes them special is that it gives us all quality time with those that mean the most.
What holiday traditions does your family have?