Similar to our “Thanksgiving Eve” post, we thought it would be fun to share some of our Christmas traditions! We’d love to hear how your family celebrates Christmas too! Tell us in the comments or on Facebook.
Also, the Orlando Mom’s Blog team will be taking some time off over the holidays — check back with us in January! We’re excited to see all that 2014 has in store for us!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Carolyn: One of my favorite Christmas memories has become a year-round family tradition. When my daughter very young, she was terrible at keeping secrets. Everyone knew it. One Christmas, I wanted a fancy new “cordless” phone for the house. (They were all the rage in the mid-1990s.) My husband took the kids Christmas shopping and they bought me the phone. Allison’s dad and brother were relentless, reminding her daily not to spill the beans. Christmas morning, Allison could hardly contain herself. I had to open my gift first. As I started peeling away the wrapping, she shouted out, “It’s not a phone!” Her brother yelled at her. Allison started crying. The rest of the family burst into uncontrollable laughter which only made her cry more. To this day, whenever we open gifts – from birthdays to graduations to Christmas – someone in the room will say, “It’s not a phone!”
Dawn: Every Christmas my family and I pile into a car, go get doughnuts and hot chocolate and drive around with the holiday music blasting to look at lights and Christmas decorations. This has been one of my favorite traditions since childhood — and every year the lights make you feel something magical. I am so excited to do this with our daughter this year!
Elisabeth: When I was a little girl, I always woke up insanely early on Christmas Day. In an effort to get more sleep, my parents instituted a rule — I could open all the presents in my stocking before they woke up, but under no circumstance could I wake them before 7 a.m. I loved creeping out of my room early and seeing what fun little things were stashed in my stocking, playing with those small new toys and trinkets before my parents woke, and then as soon as the clock hit 7 a.m., heading to wake up my mom and dad. This is definitely a tradition I’m planning to pass along to my daughter just as soon as she learns how to tell time…
Kristen B.: I grew up in the midwest where a white Christmas was almost guaranteed. The snow would drift so high that it became hard to see over beyond the sparkling mountain of white on the other side of our windows! No matter how low the thermometer read or how high that snow piled, Santa made a magical appearance in my grandmother’s living room every Christmas Eve. It always happened at about the same time, a rapping at the door, and when we opened it — it was Santa at the door — and every time, we were speechless. He’d confirm that he got our letter, thank us in advance for the cookies we’d leave him, and be on his way before we even realized what had happened.
Kristen S.: We have a lot of ornaments and each one means something special. It started when I was younger. I get an ornament each year from my family and they either wrote the year on the box or the bottom of the ornament. Once I was out on my own, I was able to take my ornaments with me. They still give me one each year, but now it’s a family gift. I enjoy taking each one out of the box and hanging on the tree as I have done for many years and reminiscing about all the Christmas holidays my family and I have spent together. It’s so hard now to get all the siblings and relatives together in one place nowadays. We plan on getting Aria an ornament every year as well and add that to the ornaments I’m sure both sets of grandparents will give her, she’ll be set for her first Christmas tree.
Meghan: Our family’s Christmas Eve party is at our house this year–yikes! We’re doing it early and finishing up with communion at Grace Pointe Church and then driving around to look at Christmas lights. Christmas morning, my parents and sister come over to watch the kids open presents and then have breakfast. Then my husband and I lounge with the kids for a while before open house with lots of friends and family at my parents’ house. The day is nice and easy with only one rule: pajamas all day, everywhere we go!
Natalie: As a child, we must have woken my parents waaaay too early a few times, because from as far back as I can remember we had to wait until 7 a.m. to wake them on Christmas morning. When my brother and I were little, we would excitedly open our gifts and then my mother would make our breakfast while we played with our new toys. As we grew older, we started all eating breakfast together before opening our gifts. Now that we have a family of our own, I still like the tradition of spending the morning together, opening gifts, making and sharing breakfast and spending a laid back day together as a family.
Sarah: It’s hard to get in the Christmas spirit in Florida. It’s just not normal to climb the ladder to put up the lights…in flip flops. It makes me feel like a Scrooge to complain about how hot the attic is when we have to haul the tree down, and it leaves us with a conundrum…the missing chimney. How ever will the fat man get inside with no chimney?! Why, he’ll use his magic key, of course! We have an ornate and whimsical key, with a large and glittery tag, that we hang outside the door on Christmas Eve for Santa to use. It would be unwise to leave the door unlocked so that any old Grinch walking by could stop in and swipe our gifts! This way, Santa gets in and the bah humbugs stay out! In the morning, we know he’s been there, because the milk, cookies and carrots are gone…but the key is hanging on the inside handle. Just like magic.
Shelley: We celebrate my family’s Italian heritage on Christmas Eve with The Feast of Seven Fishes (Festa dei Sette Pesci), which, according to legend, originated from the Roman Catholic tradition of abstaining from meat and dairy on Fridays and holy days. When I was a child, this meant gathering with extended family in New Jersey to enjoy countless Italian delicacies including smelts (tiny fish that are fried and eaten whole) along with handmade ravioli and tables full of homemade desserts. Today, we enjoy this bounty of seafood in various forms and, whether served over pasta or baked into a casserole, it is always a highlight of the holiday season.
Vanessa: Our family Christmas traditions have always included watching “The Night They Saved Christmas” — the 1984 classic staring Jaclyn Smith. It is my sister and I’s favorite Christmas movie and one that few other people even know about! We also try to make a trip to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas event at the Magic Kingdom — we’ve done this as a family since I was a little girl. Now that I am starting my own little family, I look forward to new family traditions we will make for our girls. This Christmas, we will welcome baby girl #2 and spend Christmas a little differently. We may have to watch “The Night They Saved Christmas” in our hospital room this year! To keep some things traditional on this very unique year, our whole family, including our 17-month-old, visited Disney’s Very Merry Christmas Event in early December!