Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Traditions

I've noticed quite a few folks talking about their holiday traditions this year - sharing things they've always done plus a few new ideas of what traditions they want to start implementing with their families. Bryant and I are blessed to have both sets of parents living in town (although we wish we could be with all our relatives on the holidays). Here is what our Christmas traditions look like...

1. We see both sets of parents on both Christmas Eve and Day. It works out for us and I enjoy seeing everyone on both days.

2. We start Christmas Eve at Bryant's grandmother's house. His extended family has been gathering at his Grandma's house for years so this tradition has been set before I came along. Christmas Eve wouldn't be the same without going to Grandma's. We all bring a dish and this year I received requests for Strawberry Pretzel Jello Salad. A little tip, make sure the Jello cools before you pour it over the cream cheese mixture (a rather obvious step to Jello veterans).

3. Afterward we go to my parents' house and we open all of our gifts on Christmas Eve. I remember starting this tradition after we spent Christmas Eve at our dear friends' house years ago. They opened every single gift one by one and it took hours! Amanda and I knew for sure we had been missing out! Sure enough, to this day (except last year when I was sick) we have opened our gifts on Christmas Eve and we think it is so much more the merrier :)

4. Christmas Day Brunch at our house is soon becoming an annual tradition. Bryant's family comes over and we exchange our gifts. This is the second year we have drawn names among the 8 siblings and spouses and everyone has enjoyed it. Buying less presents has helped everyone enjoy the holiday season a little more and we all have more than enough anyway. This year I made Apple Cranberry French Toast which always goes over well and can be made the night before. We always have some Apple Cider simmering on the stove which is extremely easy and makes the house smell wonderful. Here's what we put in our "Reindeer Fuel": organic apple juice, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and slices of orange.

5. After brunch, Bryant and I meet my family for a matinee. Since we don't have our extended family in town, it's fun to get out a bit during the day and go to the movies together. This year we saw The Blind Side and it was excellent. I've never seen it so packed at the movies as this year. I guess other families had the same idea.

6. Now for those of you who are dismayed by #3, I must add we do open our stockings at my parents' on Christmas Day. Stockings are almost more fun than presents. I don't get to see my family open theirs Christmas morning because Bryant and I spend Christmas morning together at our house before brunch. I do miss the opening of the stockings, but when we go back to my parents' house after the movie we still get to peruse the contents of each and every stocking lying by the fireplace. My favorite stocking stuffers this year were:

Sephora Favorites LashStash Mascara Deluxe Sampler


Starbucks 20 Ounce Clear Insulated Holiday Tumbler


7. This year Bryant and I had a real Christmas tree for the first time. Not sure if this will be repeated next year. As for Bryant, he would love to add "a real tree" to the list of Langley Traditions.

Family traditions are personal and unique. They come and go as families grow and diversify. If you have a tradition that is special to you, whether unique or ordinary, I'd love to hear it.

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