The holidays are made of traditions, cultivated over years through celebrations with family and friends. Traditions seem to be made in two ways. They're either rooted in the spontaneous times found between the plans and the expectations. Those little moments you can't possibly anticipate but you remember for a lifetime and you emulate year after year. Then there are the intentional traditions: Grandpa blessing the food before dinner, opening a gift on Christmas Eve, tracking Santa and his reindeer and midnight mass.
My husband and I are planning our first Christmas as parents and we've spent some time determining what intentional traditions we want to start in our home. We reminisced on traditions we had as children and thought about things we'd like for our kids.
Here are some of our ideas:
- Santa will wrap his presents in special Santa paper, so as not to be confused with presents from Mom and Dad. My parents were always good about making Santa's presents special. Santa and his elves would wrap our gifts in Santa paper and to be extra kind, they'd leave that paper for us to use next year.
- Too often the real meaning of the Christmas is lost somewhere between the presents and stockings and the talk of Santa Claus and baking Christmas cookies. To make sure we don't forget why we really celebrate the holiday we'll have a special birthday cake for Baby Jesus on Christmas day.
- For Christmas morning I'd like to prepare a large breakfast that we can munch on all morning and afternoon. My mom always prepped special holiday breakfast dishes and they'd warm up in the oven while we open presence. By the end of the gift giving the house smells incredible and it's a great way to unwind after a busy morning.
- On Christmas Eve we'll leave out cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for his reindeer. It's such a simple tradition but I always loved waking up on Christmas morning to see if Santa ate his cookies.