Some of the traditions are things that GI Joe and I each brought from our respective upbringings but most of them are things we read about, heard about, or saw on TV, and started within our family.
Here are just a few of our family Christmas traditions. Warning: Will likely cause eye rolls and shaking of heads.
*The annual Koons Christmas Light Extravaganza. My family mocks me when I say this because truthfully we've only done it the past 3 years so they don't consider it quite annual yet. Never mind that I had that big fancy name for it the very first time we went. Like I said people, everything's an event with me. The Christmas Light Extravaganza is held on either the 2nd or 3rd Friday night of December. It consists of eating at Texas Roadhouse, a stop for cappuccino and hot cocoa, and then driving thru Jolly Holiday Lights while singing along to the Christmas music station. It's quite delightful and slightly Griswold-ish. See?
*A pickle in the tree. Yes, it gets a little smelly by the end of the season but it’s a tradition. JUST KIDDING. The pickle is a glass ornament and as we decorate the tree every year it gets hidden in the branches and whoever finds it first
*Christmas PJ’s-Every Christmas Eve, we each get to open one present. That present is our Christmas PJ’s. A little corny, yes. A lot corny is that we all 5 match or coordinate. For example, one year we all had blue snowmen PJ’s, different shades of blue but all snowmen and all in the blue section of the color wheel. This year the color scheme was black, red, and gray. The kids’ PJ’s all matched, Justin’s coordinated, and mine were snow leopard (obviously) and are just all around awesome but also coordinated with everyone else’s in their own special way.
This is one of my favorite traditions and one that I plan to continue on until I die, even if that means when the kids are all married and have kids of their own that I end up buying 17 pairs of matching/coordinating PJ’s. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make and photograph. And now within a span of 2 days I've not only posted llama porn pictures on my blog but now us in our PJ's, have I no bounds? Apparently not.
*After we put on our Christmas PJ’s, we cuddle up on the couch. in front of the fireplace and read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas followed by the more biblical Christmas story out of Luke. Then we put out cookies and eggnog for Santa (FYI, that’s not in the Bible). Except this year all the cookies disappeared before Christmas Eve so we left out a plate of deer jerky instead. Santa left a note saying he rather enjoyed the deer jerky but that his sleigh staff didn't find it amusing. ;) It’s all very quaint and Norman Rockwell like. And I try to take lots of pictures because how do you think Norm painted all those pictures? He had a picture to look at obviously!
Santa. I know there are many opinions, stances, blah blah blah about the whole Santa debate. Our position on the Santa debate? WE EMBRACE SANTA and guess what? I don't think we're going to hell for it! Yay! We have so much fun with Santa. Listen, there are some out there who say that Santa is NOT real…gasp! And to those people I say, then explain the sleigh bells that jingle above our children’s heads as they sleep or the soot bootprints leading out of the fireplace all the way to the tree, or the reindeer tracks (REAL reinDEER tracks) in the yard, or the presents in 3 (one for each kid) separate types of wrapping paper never seen before in our house under the tree that say From Mr. S? You’ve got nothing. Is it weird that Dakota at age 11 tells her friends when they try to tell her that Santa isn't real that she feels sorry for them because Santa must not come to their house anymore? Maybe but oh well, it certainly makes for a magical Christmas Eve and morning and you can bet we're savoring every single minute of when they "believe", not that we'll change our game up one bit once they don't believe.
Santa makes such a mess.
A new tradition we started this year is called "Elf on the Shelf". I'd read about this on several different blogs and thought it sounded adorable, especially since we're a house that still believes. Which means I could get a lot of mileage out of the old "the elf is watching how you behave so he can report to Santa each night." There is no scare tactic quite like the Santa Tactic. We named our elf "Oogy" and it was so fun each morning as the kids tried to find where he had set up camp for the day. I'm debating whether Oogy should be a year long tradition. Surely Santa needs updates more often than just the month of December right?
A few years ago we decided that we would stay home on Christmas Day and not go anywhere. It's worked out really well because we celebrate Christmas with GI Joe's family on Christmas Eve and with my family post Christmas so we get to stay home and play with all of our gifts on actual Christmas. Every Christmas I go all out and prepare a Christmas feast. ONE year, a few years ago, I decided we need to have Christmas Goose because it sounded "proper." It was good although we preferred turkey, ham, or even prime rib that we've had the past 2 years. Anyway, this year prior to Christmas I asked the family what we should have for our Christmas feast this year and their reply? "We have to have Christmas GOOSE! It's our TRADITION!" Uh oh I've created monsters with this tradition stuff. I was really hoping to do prime rib again or even a ham but the troops rallied and made the following ultimatum, "We want Christmas Goose or LEG OF LAMB!" Who's kids are these that would make such sophisticated demands? Darn foodies. After much discussion, we decided on leg of lamb which GI Joe smoked in his smoker along with a venison roast and both turned out amazing. I think we've found our new Christmas tradition. It felt all fancy and stuff too, having leg of lamb for Christmas dinner while sipping our sparkling cider from goblets...while wearing our PJ's. That's right none of us changed out of our PJ's ALL DAY LONG. It was glorious.
I hope your Christmas was just as merry. Those are just a few of our traditions, I can't give away all of our secrets. Tell me I'm not the only one obsessed with Christmas traditions. What are some of your family's traditions?