We’ve been asked a few times about our family traditions over the holidays like, “do you have any family traditions you’ve carried into your family that were from your childhood?” or even “does your family have any modern holiday traditions” and my favorite yet “what in the world are you doing! this is a family tradition?!“. Clearly you’re all very excited to learn about our family’s Christmas Traditions… so let’s get right into it.
I thought now, more than ever, was a good time. The last few days here in November, before the Christmas Music hits the radio waves, before people start updating their e-mail signatures to include Merry Christmas and just before you start to feel the pressure on finding the last Fingerlings on the shelves. Some of you are interested, some of you are just curious to know why and the other half of you just think I’m crazy and likely just wanna know the reasoning behind the mouse!
Because I’m AWESOME, I will go ahead and list our Family’s Christmas Traditions right here, should you want to skip ahead to the particular tradition and enlighten yourself, scroll until you catch your desired heading in BOLD:
- Mortimer the Christmas Mouse
- Baking Cookies with Family & Friends
- Whistler Vacation
- Annual Chosen Family Christmas Dinner
- Christmas Tree Cut-Down
- Christmas Eve Box
- Family Pajamas
- Custom Christmas Crackers
- Sleepover at Nana & Papa’s
- Cookies & Carrots for Santa
- Holding onto our Stockings
- Catching Santa Red-Handed
So let’s jump right into it and chat about the mouse in the room, Mortimer the Christmas Mouse. Think Elf on the shelf but less creepy and more “let’s do fun things together through the entire month of December making mom a mad-house“. GOOD TIMES right? Mortimer the Christmas Mouse comes, sent straight from Santa himself and normally arrives December 1st. He hangs out with the girls showing them the true spirit of Christmas. Each day he brings them something to do/play/eat and shares the real meaning behind Christmas. From spreading cheer, helping those in need and overall making sure everyone feels the love over the Christmas Holidays. He lives just so, in the sweetest of mini doors within our brick fireplace. Keeping himself out of harms way (aka Oliver our cat) each night and come alive only when it’s safe. If you wanna see something cute this Holiday you gotta heck out the hashtag #mortimerthechristmasmouse on Instagram.
Who doesn’t bake cookies over the holidays, if not to eat, at least for the fact that it perfumes the house with intense Christmas JOY! I sometimes wonder if gingerbread ever wishes to be a summertime snack because in my world, the first sniff of gingerbread takes me right to Christmas morning. Over the years we’ve gotten together with my mum and sisters to bake a crazy amount of cookies (I’m talking hundreds crazy), and at the end of a extremely busy day, divide and concur. It’s a LOT OF WORK and equally a ton of mess, but worth it when company comes knocking and you’ve got every festive cookies you’ll ever need at your fingertips!
I have 3 happy places, the candy aisle, Disneyland and Whistler. Lucky for me we’ve ended up at Disneyland every other year since Sofia was 3 and Whistler twice a year (Summer and Winter) since Sammy and I started dating. The candy aisle, welllllll let’s just say I get there enough times a year to keep my sweet-tooth satisfied. Whistler is beyond magical over the holidays. The village is decorated for Christmas, the cobblestone paths blanketed with fresh snow, the ice rink all lit up, Christmas music swooning and Starbucks is ALWAYS open. What more could one want in for a Christmas Holiday vacation? Each year our family hits Whistler for some fun in the snow, from tobogganing to ice skating and skiing, boarding and curling up next to the fire (I’m best at this one). It’s one of my absolute favorite traditions. We normally stay at the Delta Hotel as they put out a amazing deal through groupon each year however we decided to spring for a house this time here’s hoping we don’t regret not being able to order room service!
We’ve managed an annual Christmas Dinner with our closest friends going on 7 years now. What started as 10 friends (5 couples) and 1 infant, has now grown to 10 adults and 10 kids (with that said infant being 7 years old now). We call it our Chosen Family Christmas Dinner and it’s something I greatly look forward to each year. On house rotation, each couple hosts a year, meaning every 5 years you host. We used to make all the food ourselves, but since ALL THE KIDS we now have it catered. This years big event happens this upcoming Sunday and it’s our year to host. Tons of work, tons plans, tons of mess, but I am SO READY for this… I’ve been planning for the last 4 years.
A tradition that has been carried on since my childhood… cutting down our family Christmas tree. Since getting married in December of 2008 we’ve carried out this festive tradition with my parents. It’s the perfect way to celebrate our wedding anniversaries together (we got married on the same day as them, we figured the day was lucky as they’ve been together since 18), get sap on our hands (because it never fails, someone does) and get an awesome photo for a last minute Christmas card (because that’s the way I roll). A triple whammy tradition, checking off the holiday to-do list like it’s no joke, it’s no wonder it’s another favorite of mine. Funny story; we left our tree up one too many days last year and when we took it out it was drier than beef jerky. You looked in it’s direction and needle would fall off. It made quite the mess when Sammy took it out, we were vacuuming that stuff up for days. Fast-forward to today and still when we use the vacuum each week, it perfumes the house of pine. I giggle a little each house cleaning. It’s awesome!
Each year on Christmas Eve we pack everything up, including the gifts under the tree and move our lives temporarily over to Nana and Papa’s house (my parents), spending the hugely anticipated evening as a family. We usually have a casual dinner (quite possibly take-out), paired with our DIY Christmas Crackers, and really just spend as much time together just soaking it all in. We open our Christmas Eve Box with the girls which contain new pajamas for the family (matching of course), a board game and our very favorite treats. The perfect way to spend a night, all jammied up, losing at “the game of life” to a 6 year, while overdoing it on our favorite snacks. When the night grows late and the girls are getting ready for bed, we set-out cookies for Santa and a carrot for the reindeer (because everyone appreciates snacks while they travel), they grab their stockings and place them at the end of their beds, should they wake in excitement at 3am, they will have something to keep them busy aka giving the parents more shut-eye. Smart move mom and dad, I like your parenting style, a tradition I will gladly carry on.
Do you wanna see your kids eyes light up light up like a Christmas tree? Then I highly suggest you download this app right here called Capture the Magic (available both in Google Play and the App Store). Get it all downloaded and ready to go for Christmas Eve because you’re about to blow some mini minds folks. A fun NEW tradition we started last year that Sofia still talks about to this day, catching Santa delivering presents on Christmas Eve. Before the girls went to sleep last year, Sofia setup an ipad in attempts to snag a picture of Santa Claus when he visited that night. The app is extremely easy to use and actually also includes options to do the same, catching the Tooth-Fairy and Easter Bunny in the act (should you wanna go all out with this in the days ahead). On Christmas morning when Sofia first woke she rushed to check the ipads camera roll and honestly I wish I had caught it on video because it was PRICELESS you guys! This is a must if your kids are still in Santa mode!
THAT’S IT GUYS, that’s our Family’s Christmas Traditions, new and old. Many carried on from my childhood and some new ones we started ourselves. I just love the Holidays, there is just something about the season that makes me feel all warm and tingly inside. Christmas is my FAVORITE!
These are a few of my favorite Family Christmas Traditions, what are yours? Do you have any that have been carried on for years, even since you were a child? I would love to hear them. Jump back to the Facebook thread and share!