This is my favorite time of year! It can be stressful, super busy and sometimes a little crazy, but I just love it. There's nothing better than pulling out the Christmas decorations, listening to holiday tunes and lighting the Christmas tree. It's a time to gather with family, be a little more generous and people are just a bit more jolly.
Traditions, particularly holiday traditions, are an incredible way to tie your family together and is a custom that you share with loved ones. I recently heard someone describe family traditions as "a family's love language". Isn't that the sweetest?
Well, I'm here today to share a few of my family's Christmas traditions with you. I'd also enjoy hearing what your family does year after year. Please share them with me in the comments. Don't be surprised if we like them so much, we incorporate them into ours!
The Christmas traditions start for the Santschis as soon as Thanksgiving is over! It is, by far, my brother's absolute favorite day of the year. On Black Friday, we climb into the attic to retrieve all the boxes loaded with holiday decorations and lights. It's a day dedicated to decorating the Christmas tree, drinking hot cocoa and eggnog by a roaring fire and, of course, watching Home Alone.
I swear, I think our family can quote the entire movie beginning to end. It is one of our all time favorites and is an absolute must every Christmas. The best part is that my dad laughs so hard, like abs hurt the next day hard, that it makes all of us crack up even more!
Christmas Eve Church & Dinner
Another one of my favorite traditions is how we spend Christmas Eve. We get all dressed up, pile into the car and go to church. As a family, we worship our Lord and Savior and celebrate the birth of Jesus. It's always a beautiful service and after church, we head over to Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen (one of our favorite restaurants in Dallas). They don't have a location in the KC area, so when I go home, it is such a treat and one of our favorite meals! Afterwards, we drive around a few neighborhoods and enjoy the beauty of the Christmas lights.
There is a house near our old neighborhood that we still go back to see year after year because it is always phenomenal! They go all out and even turn their garage into a winter wonderland. As kids, it was our all-time favorite house to see and when we go back to visit, it's like we're five years old oohhing and aahhing over it!
Once we're back from our Christmas Eve extravaganza, it's time for one present. Dad starts a fire in the fireplace, mom and I make hot cocoa for everyone, and my brother turns on the holiday music. Finally, my brother and I were allowed to open one gift, but not just any gift. We could only open the present we got for each other. We never had any other gifts under the tree until Santa had visited and when we got up on Christmas morning, we were always amazed. As young kids, it was the most spectacular sight to see how the family room was transformed between the time we went to bed and the time we got up. Kudos to my mom and dad for always making this special.
Now that we're married, we save all of our gifts for Christmas day, but as kids, we loved this tradition! Plus, I'm sure it was a way that my mom could get us to stop constantly asking about our presents.
This one is probably a more common tradition. Each year, on Christmas Eve, mom gives us all matching pajamas! Now that we're both married, our spouses get in on the fun as well. :)
Christmas morning is a big to-do at the Santschi home. The holiday music is on, we each have our spots in the living room and we dig into our stockings first, then move to the wrapped gifts. As kids, it was, of course, all about the presents that we got. Now, it's so much more fun watching each family member's reaction to the special gifts we choose for them.
Once all the gifts are opened and the wrapping paper is cleaned up, we're all starving, so dad starts cooking. He makes a huge Christmas morning spread, which always includes his famous breakfast burritos. Yum! We gather around the table and chow down, sip mimosas and share lots of laughs.
After the kitchen is cleaned, we flip on some football or maybe a movie and enjoy the rest of the day together. There's usually a nap somewhere in the day along with snacking, rooting for our favorite team, playing card games and, if the weather is nice, there's some backyard football too. That evening though we'll all gather 'round the table again for a big dinner. We eat, we drink, we laugh and we love. Always a very special day with my favorite people.
The holidays are just the best time of year! I love this time with my family and now sharing it with my husband's family too. This year, we'll be starting some of our own traditions as a newly married couple. Any suggestions on traditions we should start? I'm excited and I'd love to hear what your family traditions are.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
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