Growing up, Christmas was always a big deal. My mom has always decorated the house like a magazine, we spent an entire evening decorating the family tree together and certainly had more than our fair share of “traditions”.
We still do.
But now I have my own family. Nate and I have been married for three years, but we really haven’t established our own family traditions. Our first year of married life? We celebrated at about 5am in our apartment in St Petersburg (no one told me I had to go back to bed and wait to open presents!) and then drove to Venice to celebrate with my family. We got there just as they finished opening the gifts in their stockings. Second year of married life? We went to Texas and celebrated with his family – his brother’s family lives in Dallas and so the rest of us made the trek out there to spend Christmas morning with them.
So here we are, in the third year of married life. We now own a home and we have two children – 18 months and 3 weeks. Sure, it’s a little early for them to really care about any “traditions” we establish, but I’m considering this year a “dry run” – to figure out just how we want things to go when they do start to care.
There are so many Christmas traditions, but I’m going to focus first on the “Christmas morning” traditions – specifically about gifts. Here’s what we did growing up:
We each got one “big” gift from Santa, and the gifts in our stocking were from Santa. Santa’s gifts were wrapped in a “Santa” paper, if they were wrapped at all. (Things like a trampoline and a sailboat couldn’t really be wrapped!) Santa was never a big focus in our house – opening those gifts, and leaving a snack out for him the night before, was about as far as we took it.
All of the other gifts were from our parents or our siblings (I have three sisters). I never realized it at the time, but my mom always got each of us a set number of gifts – four I think? In addition to our big gift from Santa. I have to tell you, it always felt like more!
(Christmas morning 2007!)
Part of that is because we all took turns opening gifts. I know some people just like to tear into their gifts. We would take our time, watching each person open their gift in order. I loved that.
So…what Christmas gift traditions will we have? I’m still figuring that out.
We have stockings and for the past three years have given eachother books in our stockings. That has worked well…until this year, when the books I got for both of the kids don’t fit in their stockings. Whoops. Should we keep the stocking to just a book? Maybe go a more traditional route with “stocking stuffers”? Should the gifts in the stockings be from us? Or from Santa?
My husband really isn’t into Santa and wouldn’t mind if we excluded him from the gift giving all together. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Anyone out there have a Santa-less Christmas morning?
I got each of the kids a “big” gift and three other gifts…and one from each of the kids to their sibling. It’s starting to look pretty full under the tree!
Oh, that’s another thing I grew up with – none of our gifts were under the tree until Christmas morning. I love the look of the gifts under the tree right now, but I have to admit that as a kid, there’s nothing like coming out on Christmas morning and seeing the HUGE pile of gifts!!! Definitely makes your eyes light up.
So should I put the presents away until Christmas morning? Or leave them out?
The taking turns part of opening Christmas gifts is a non-negotiable for me. I love savoring the moment as each gift is open!
I’ve been on Pinterest-overload lately (it’s easy to scroll through on the phone while nursing!) and there are SO many ideas about Christmas traditions. I’m trying to decide which ones to add/incorporate into our Christmas mornings. Decisions decisions!
So tell me…what Christmas traditions did you grow up with when it comes to gifts? Which ones were your favorites? Which will you be keeping for your own family?