I’ve been making my list, and checking it twice. Yep, it’s my traditions list. There are just certain rituals that I cannot escape every single December – in fact, I look forward to them all year.
It’s just not Christmas in our family unless we . . .
1. Pay a visit to Santa.
I refuse to stand in those long lines at department stores or malls and pay money for pictures with Santa. Honestly, that’s my definition of hell. I prefer take the kids to the free Santa at the local tree farm. That’s where I eavesdrop and get a hysterical earful.
Here’s last year’s snapshot. My four year old knew her window was short so she’s wasn’t wasting a second. The two year old never got a word in.
“Santa, make sure the puppy carrier you bring me has the spotted dog, not the one with the plain brown dog, no I want the spotted puppy in the purple doggie carrier. Make sure ! And I want the Polly Pockets with the puppies in the orange box. The orange box, okay? And I want the Dalmations movie, not the first one with the mean Cruella, the other one. I want number two. Number two ! Dalmations number two! You got that Santa ?
Oh. And I think my brother wants a train.”
2. Pick the perfect tree from a local farm.
We make several trips to the local Christmas tree farm because I’ll use any excuse to get out of the house, and they’re just so gosh darn friendly out there. Fresh air, free candy canes and popcorn, a great petting zoo, that free Santa on the weekends, and plenty of gorgeous trees and garlands to choose from. Bonus points cause we get to buy local. Last year, a dozen of us went to pick just one tree and we had a crazy good time.
How cute is my Mom in the red ?
3. Write a letter to Santa.
There’s just nothing cuter than an authentic letter written by a true believer.
4. Consume eggnog.
In my morning coffee, in a weekly splurge on a latte from Starbucks or Peets, or even spiked with brandy at a party. I heart eggnog.
5. Watch our favorite Christmas movies.
These three I savor every year. They’re my favorites.
“To my big brother George, the richest man in town!”
Of course, my kids prefer these classics:
6. Listen to our favorite Christmas music and sing along.
We love anything by Bing, Frank, Harry, Ella or Michael Bublé. I never correct the kids when they sing the wrong words. After all these years of the same old tunes, I prefer their versions.
“…then one froggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say…”
7. Bake cookies with my girls.
Here are my three favorite cookie recipes from Bon Appétit.
Pistachio and Cherry Mexican Wedding Cakes
8. Use the force, Luke.
Forcing bulbs is one of the things I look forward to most at Christmastime ! Paper whites and amaryllis always brighten the wintriest day. Even after the holidays, I simply cannot wait for daffodils and hyacinth in January and February.
9. Throw a Christmas party for friends and family.
Last year we had almost a hundred people in our home – I decorated the entire house top to bottom and cooked for all of those guests. No caterer, no kidding ! I’m still recovering from last year’s party so this year, we’re having a much smaller New Year’s Eve gathering instead.
There’s been only one year in the last ten years that we’ve skipped our Christmas party, and that was 2006, the winter we were mid construction on our remodel. In lieu of a party, I sent this sentiment in our holiday card.
‘Twas the June before Christmas, so I said to my spouse
“The time has come to add on to the house”
The approval of plans meant more space in our home
All we could think was “Brushed nickel, or chrome?”
“Wait a minute” we heard, “You just had a baby,
Don’t take on this project, you’re both certainly crazy.”
“Nonsense” we replied “We both have a brain”
We paid no attention to the claims “You’re insane.”
July was the month that we poured the foundation
Funds paid for concrete, but no Hawaiian vacation.
Choosing cabinets and tile and a new kitchen sink
Include sleepless nights, it all drove us to drink
Through summer and fall as we lived in a rental
We knew they were right, we were certainly mental
Here’s December, our pocketbook and spirits diminished,
We still wonder if ever our house will be finished.
And so this strange year we must say with dismay,
Unfortunately at our house there’s no Christmas soiree
We wish all of you peace, and blessings from above
Merry Christmas to all, and we send all our love.
. . . and my tenth and final tradition . . .
10. Open gifts on Christmas morning and cook a prime rib feast for dinner.
What about you ? What’s your December tradition ? C’mon and fill in the blank.
“It’s not Christmas unless . . .”