We love the holidays. We love the entire month of December. Heck, I start listening to Christmas carols and sneaking in decorations in mid November. Both my wife and I come from Christmas-celebrating families, and we carried some of our favourite traditions forward into the family we made together. Here are some of our favourites:
- Mark the first snowfall on the bottom of our cookie jar
- Put up a Christmas tree. I grew up on a farm, and in the winter we made ends meet by selling Christmas trees (it meant lots of pruning in the summer months, but daily horse drawn wagon rides in December!) This year will be our last year using a fake tree as a family. Next year we will bring back my childhood tradition of cutting our own live tree. Live trees are a lot better for the environment, too.
- No limits on sugar consumption… Hot chocolate with marshmallows, candy canes off the tree, Christmas cookies, and chocolate bark. Tis the season for sugar to become a food group.
- Eggnog. My wife doesn’t like it, but I drink it daily in December. Sometimes I add brandy or rum, sometimes I put it in my coffee, and sometimes I just chug a glass full of it. (it’s no coincidence that my clothes get tighter this time of year).
- Tobagoning. Whether it’s a sleigh ride through the pine forest at grandma’s (my mom’s farm) or tobagoning down the hills at the cottage (my wife’s family tradition), Avery will never have a holiday season without gliding along the snow. I wonder if she’ll prefer “cross-country” style like me, or if she’ll be a speed demon and run for the biggest hills like her Mo…
- Singing Christmas carols. We listen to carols from our extensive Christmas music playlist in iTunes, we sing while we bake cookies, and we even gather around my mom’s piano and sing together as a family on Christmas day. When my wife first experienced this I think she was slightly embarrassed for us because it’s so cliché, but it’s a tradition I think Avery will enjoy.
- Stockings and presents. We save all of our presents for Christmas morning, but we’re thinking of instating a Christmas pajamas tradition where Avery will get a new set of pajamas to open every Christmas eve.
- Santa. I’m conflicted about Santa, but we’ve decided to go with it because it’s a magical tradition for pretty much every kid in our culture, and I’d hate for Avery to miss out just because her mom is obsessed with critical thinking 😉 Santa gives Avery the gifts in her stocking plus one big gift. Her moms also give her some smaller gifts. She’s spoiled. Is that a tradition – getting spoiled with gifts?
- Making a Christmas home movie. I started this one last year for Avery’s first Christmas and it turned out great. I filmed video clips from all of our Christmas festivities, with just the three of us at home on Christmas morning, and at our family gatherings. I gave it a quick edit in IMovie and added Christmas music and now we have a keepsake home movie. I’m going to do it again this year, and hopefully every year after.
- Baking Christmas cookies. We have 5 that we make every year, and most come from my wife’s mom’s recipe book. Her mom passed away a few years ago, and it’s important to us to keep the cookie traditions alive.
- New year’s day ollibollen. This is a Dutch tradition I’ve kept from my family. Although we haven’t made them in a few years, now that we have Avery it’s one I want to bring back. I have such fond memories of my Oma frying up these deep fried oil balls (literal translation of ollibollen 😁) and then I’d roll them in icing sugar.
I’d love to hear how and what you celebrate during the holiday season!