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  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 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?


  1. Y’all are making such sweet holiday memories for yourselves, P, and soon to be #2!

  2. We have tons of traditions, but we share the “avoid the husband putting up the lights” one! I am SOOOO glad Chris is fussy about the outside and I’m not really “allowed” to help. :D I love that Christmas is at our house, and people travel to us. I love that we do lasagna, formerly midnight mass (doesn’t work for the kid), rice pudding with a nut, 1 present Christmas eve, day of: breakfast casserole, stockings… Ah, wonderful. I did most of the shopping this year online, too, though I did make sure to go to a local non-chain bookstore. I wanted to do mostly local and American made…and then I got busy. Best intentions…

  3. I’m in total love with your tree this year. I tried my best to get one just like it but the place I went had all sheered ones which doesn’t give as much of that free form shape that I’m lusting over. We decided next year that while there’s still no babies in the family (probably the only year if my sister in law has her way) we’re all going to drive upstate to a tree farm and get trees together like we used to when we were kids. I’m already looking forward to that :)

  4. I love the holidays too! We have lots of traditions, some old from when Jared and I were kids, and some new! I agree, it’s what makes the holidays extra special :)

  5. Christmas Eve is with my parents and my sister, BIL & niece. Although since Christmas falls on a week day this year we are celebrating on the 23rd. Christmas morning, the hubs and I wake up and do stockings (yes, we do stocking stuffers for each other) and I make breakfast and wait for his parents to show up. We do Christmas morning with his parents at our house and then take them with us to my cousin’s house for lunch and spending time with my mom’s/our family. I usually decorate the house the first weekend in December and we put the lights up outside. Also, it’s just not Christmas until I watch Little Women (among other Christmas movies) at least once.

  6. Alright, my South Floridian self is freaking out over the awesomeness of this post! REAL TREES! IN A TREE FARM! I’m totally jealous. Sounds like a wonderful tradition!

    We do Christmas Eve gifts at my mom’s house, though we did it at my house last year. Just a big dinner event with the family, close friends. Opening gifts, eating good food, enjoying good company. Christmas morning means gifts from Santa and going to Grandma’s house to munch on leftovers all day!

  7. I actually grew up in the “Christmas Tree Capital of the World”. Apparently we have a lot of Christmas tree farms. My parents are horrified, but we went with a fake tree because of my allergies and I think my dogs would pee on a real one. My husband hates decorating, so I did it all myself and surprised him when he got home. This is our first year spending Christmas at our house (my Jewish mother will be joining us), so we are trying to decide what our traditions will be.

  8. I just came back from Russia and thought how interesting that the Christmas celebrations really start for New Years! :)

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