Holiday traditions

Have I ever told you guys just how much I love Christmas time?  I love all the usual stuff like presents and decorations, but what I love most about it is all the traditions.

(Yes, my husband is carrying a tripod…because the Grinch is good that way)

When I married into Jon’s family, I married into the motherland of holiday traditions.  There is progressive dinner, Christmas eve party, Christmas day gift opening at Grandma’s house.  And the fun doesn’t end at Christmas.  Once Christmas winds down, we get to celebrate my family’s traditions – New Year’s party, Russian Christmas.  It’s like a never-ending holiday with a ton of food, a ton of family, and a ton of presents (pretty much 3 of my favorite things).

Now that we have a little family of our own, we’ve started to form our own traditions.   Some were on purpose, while others just happened.

It’s become tradition that on the first week of December we pack up the kid and the dog and head over to Winterberry Farm to get a Christmas Tree (you can read previous posts here, here, and here).  We absolutely love this tree farm, not just because it has beautiful trees, but because it actually feels homey (as homey as a farm full of spiky trees can feel that is).  There are trees, wonderful people, a warm-up shed with music and hot cocoa and owners that are starting to get used to seeing us every year.

As amazing and cozy as it was when it was just Jon and I, it’s even more fun now that a little toddler has joined our gang.

Something else became part of our tradition too – taking about one and a half hours to pick out a darn tree.  We always start optimistic and picky and after over an hour of walking up and down the entire freakin’ farm (which is actually rather large), we end up “settling” and picking up the perfect tree.  By this point the tot is usually either crying or at least whining.  But this never stops Jon and I from checking out just a couple more trees to make sure we got the one we want.  Any-who.  This story has a happy ending – one where we Jon cuts down the tree and drags it home.  Then we pick out a wreath and settle in the warm cabin to get a cup of hot cocoa and watch the kids run around.

Another family tradition is buying most of our presents on amazon.com.  You may think I’m kidding but it’s a tradition at our house.  In fact, another tradition is to avoid the stores during Christmas season at all cost.  Since amazon.com is usually cheaper and we have yet another free month with Prime, the cost is rather nice.

The only exception that we make to our “avoid stores at all cost” is one Saturday during the Christmas shopping season – the Saturday when Kisses From Katie does a “stuff a cruise” event.  That day we take a deep breath, pack the kid up in the car, and head over to Target (do not pass H&M, avoid Express).  We say hello to our friends, dilly dally through Target, choosing 1 toy each, and then donate to this wonderful cause.  A lot of our friends usually work this event so we hang out for a bunch of minutes and chit chat while Peanut runs around us in circles.  Then we head home.

Decorating our Christmas tree is a whole other ordeal.  When I was a kid it involved a lot of, well, let’s call it disagreements.  In our house most comments are just mumbled under our breath, at least 1 person usually steps in dog poop, and there is an unspoken rule where I don’t talk to Jon while he puts the lights up around the outside of the house unless I would like my head bitten off while he grumps under his breath.  There is also at least 1 trip to WalMart and Home Depot, often it’s more like 2-3 because (a) a string of lights isn’t working (2) timer is broken (iii) we just need to get away before Jon loses it on the lights.

Once the whole disaster is over, we settle in to watch Christmas Vacation by the light of our beautiful tree.

A new tradition as of last year is that we’re staying home for Christmas morning.  We just love watching the tot wake up and run over to the Christmas tree , all excited to open her presents.  It’s even more exciting than opening my presents (which, just so you know, is a lot).  Here we are last year – I can’t wait to see her this year!

Do you have holiday traditions?