Oh, this time of year has me feeling so nostalgic! I’m not sure if it’s the fluffy white snow, the holiday tunes, the incredibly cheesy but addicting Hallmark movies or the forever lingering scent of sugar cookies, but there is just something about the holiday season that has me feeling so giddy. Add a sweet little baby girl to share all the excitement with & I’m totally hooked.
It’s not uncommon for families to have LOTS of traditions around the holidays & growing up my family participated in a few. However, we did have a rather strange one…Kentucky Fried Chicken for Christmas Eve dinner! Yup, you read that right…we ONLY ever ate KFC but once a year, always after Christmas Eve church service in our nice church clothes, but dang it I always looked forward to it. If you’ve ever had their mac & cheese, you know what I’m talking about.
While we have LOTS of Christmas traditions in my family, I’m going to share my favorite four!
Every single year we were allowed to open up one gift before Christmas morning – our Christmas jammies! We would always sleep in them Christmas Eve night, so come Christmas morning we’d wake up in our new loungewear. I always loved this tradition, it made everything feel so much more festive.
While we’ve since forgone this tradition for us “adults”, because the number of sweatpants I accumulated was redonkulous, my sister & I have decided to pass the tradition down to our kiddos. And because we’re extra like that, we’ve taken it one step further. MATCHING jammies for the cousins! Because what is freaking cuter than little babes running around in matching Christmas jammies? Pretty much nothing…
Theo & Quincy matching in their Christmas jammies in Colorado last year! I honestly can’t believe how much these babes have grown! (insert bawling emoji)
And I can’t wait to see the babes in their buffalo plaid jams this year, with the newest addition to our family – my niece, Georgia Grace! (Make sure to follow me on Instagram so you don’t miss out on all the cuteness). I’ve contemplated getting matching pajamas for Jordan and me next year too, but we’ll see…he can be a bit of a Grinch sometimes.
Christmas Gift Tags
I’ve never heard of any other family doing this and I think that speaks volumes to our level of quirkiness! This tradition started way back when…my parents would be wrapping Christmas gifts & either because they were wrapping into the wee hours of the mornings or because they’re legitimately just that weird, they would label our gift tags with other people’s names. But not just ANY names…names of our favorite TV or movie characters. You could always tell how late they were up wrapping by how obscure the names were.
For example, I labeled one of my husbands gift “To Harry, From Ginny”. If you don’t know who these people are, please move out from the rock you’ve been living under & immediately unfriend me from all social media platforms. KIDDING! But seriously, educate yourself on Harry Potter, you won’t regret it!
I will be totally honest, when I was younger, I DREADED participating in this tradition! Mostly because I’m a HYPER emotional person & I always felt like a loser for balling my eyes out every Christmas morning. But the older I got, the more and more I LOVED this. I can’t remember when we stopped doing this, maybe once my siblings and I were in high school or college, but eventually this one sort of faded away.
Each year, about 2-3 weeks before Christmas, my family would draw names out of a hat. Whoever’s name we drew, we would write them a card or a letter, or in my brother’s case a few nice comments written in chicken scratch on a yellow memo pad, & read it to them on Christmas morning. I know what you’re thinking…CUE the tears!
Growing up as kids, we weren’t ALWAYS the nicest to each other (I know…crazy, right?!) so when it would come to these letters, it was nice to hear, and honestly remind ourselves, how important family really is. Without them, I don’t know where I would be. And I absolutely LOVE that my dad “made” us continue this tradition for many years, even when we all complained about it. It’s so fun to look back on the cards & letters & read the words of love, encouragement & gratefulness & on many occasions, LOTS of sarcasm!
I can’t wait to implement this tradition with my own family in the future!
This tradition I’ve saved for last because it is so bittersweet & honestly makes me really emotional. Each year since I can remember, my Grammy would gift all of us grandkids a Hallmark ornament. After a while, we could spot the ornament gifts under the tree within a second or two.
Looking back, the consistency was sort of comforting. Always knowing that no matter what, Grammy would get us a new ornament to hang on our trees at home. Within a few years, our Christmas tree would be filled with our Grammy ornaments, a special memory tied to each one.
There was only one year she skipped gifting the ornaments because she thought we’d all outgrown the tradition, when in reality all the cousins were SO sad we didn’t have an ornament to open. Thank the good Lord she resumed the tradition the following year! And I honestly never occurred to me there would be a day where this tradition would end. I never realized there would be a Christmas celebration where I wouldn’t unwrap an ornament in the red Hallmark packaging.
She passed away in November & that Christmas we were all still grieving so deeply. Little did we know, being the planner she was, she had purchased enough ornaments to last a few years after she passed. So for 2-3 years even after she was gone, we were still able to open up our Grammy ornaments on Christmas.
I honestly can’t think about this without tearing up, those ornaments are so very special to me & one day I’ll pass them on to my kiddos. But in the meantime, Jordan and I have agreed to gift our nieces, nephews & and now daughter an ornament every single year. To carry on the tradition and to carry on her beautiful memory.
Guys, it is SO easy to get caught up in all of the gifts, parties and sparkly aspects of the holidays, but there is just SO much more than that! It’s about creating special memories with your family and friends. It’s about taking the time to SLOOW down & enjoy the conversations, laughs, and even tears between you and yours.
So I challenge you this Christmas to either continue a tradition or start a new one! Something where you can look back in 50 years and cherish those moments, be it silly like eating KFC in your church clothes or writing notes to those you love.
I’d love to hear what some of your traditions are, so drop a note below in the comments & share! You never know, you might not be the only weirdo whose family loads up on fried chicken, biscuits & mac & cheese the night before Christmas morning!