Holiday Traditions Old and New

With Christmas a week away it has me thinking about the unique traditions (old and new) that are practiced this time of year. Holiday traditions were pretty big in my family while I was growing up and now I get to pass them on to my girls and start making new memories that they will get to share with their children. Isn't that what this time of year is all about?

This post has me reminiscing on my Christmas childhood memories. Maybe its the balsam and cedar candle I have lit or the cookies baking in the oven but I feel extremely nostalgic writing this. For as long as I can remember we did the same thing every Christmas Eve night as kids. We got into our pajamas, loaded into the mini van to drive around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights. When we got home is was time to read The Night Before Christmas and The Polar Express. Of course left cookies out for Santa and carrots for the reindeer before crawling into bed. When Christmas morning arrived we would wait to smell the fire going downstairs in the fireplace and that was when we knew we were allowed to get up. We would run down the stairs and find my mom and dad waiting for us to start digging through the piles of presents the big fella from the North Pole brought us. There was no containing our excitement. We were in heaven.

Now as I grew a bit older and hit my teen years I ended up looking forward more to Christmas Eve than Christmas itself. For me it was the memories I got to make with my family not the presents that started to matter more. There is no way I would've been able to tell my nine year old self that though, because like most kids I was focused on what had my name on it under the tree in my living room. When Grace and Julia are older I want them to look back at their childhood holidays and cherish memories like I do.

Okay, enough rambling about me. Back to the main point of this post. Holiday traditions and what I am passing down and introducing to my girls. I think it is so important to have traditions that don't revolve around presents. A typical December 24th in the Keneally house will consist of baking cookies in the morning/afternoon, driving around to look at Christmas lights in our pajamas, leave cookies out for Santa and then (my favorite tradition of all) reading The Night Before Christmas and The Polar Express. For us, the majority of our traditions happen on Christmas Eve. We use Christmas as a day for relaxing, staying in our pajamas and exploring all the gifts we opened that morning.

Old family traditions are wonderful and there is nothing like having a family to pass them down to but now that I have a family of my own I'm excited to start new traditions! Something that I never did was go see Santa Claus every year. This is one of the new traditions we would like to start with our children. We went yesterday to see Santa and Mrs. Claus. I know Julia loved it. She has asking where I thought Santa had left his reindeer and looked all around trying to spot them on the building roofs. That little girl makes my heart smile. Grace did surprisingly well! She thought Mr. Claus was very intriguing. She tried tugging on his beard (which was real) and no tears were shed! I thought there was almost no doubt Grace was going to cry while sitting on his lap. The experience with my husband and girls was incredible. I admittedly shed a few tears myself after the girls met Santa. This time of year makes me an emotional mama. It was such a wonderful family day. Those are the days we live for as parents.

The other fun tradition I want to share with my sweet little family is matching pajamas on Christmas day. This has always been something I wanted my family to do. There is nothing cuter than a family in matching pajamas. I already have ours picked out and they are on their way for Christmas morning! (many pictures to follow)

We want the girls to have some of their fondest memories of childhood come from spending time with their family during the holidays and traditions are the best way to do that in my opinion. It gives the family something to look forward to every year.

What are some of your favorite family Christmas/holiday traditions?

See you soon, E