Christmas is much more than opening beautifully wrapped presents on Christmas morning. Holiday traditions are, in our opinion, what make the Christmas season so very special. Whether you gather with your friends and family on Christmas Eve, make a decadent dessert every year or watch your favorite holiday movie while piled on the couch, personal traditions are what we carry with us into adulthood.
These annual celebrations offer us the opportunity to share Christmas cheer in unique ways and are there when we grow up, move to a new town and start families of our own. They’re a way to preserve childhood and bring joy and laughter to our lives. Today, we’re featuring our very own La Mesa RV employees favorite holiday traditions. From horse drawn carriage rides to a Santa spotting, we know you’ll enjoy the interviews below!
When I was a little kid in Chicago, we always went to my Aunt’s house for a big Christmas Eve party. All of our extended family would come. There were so many of my cousins, Aunts, Uncles and their friends and neighbors would show up. There would be upwards of 100 people in attendance every year! We would run around and play, listen to the grown ups tell stories… It would go until past midnight. When the party was over, we’d have to drive an hour home and go right to bed so Santa could come. We were always up at 6 am anyway, excited Christmas day was finally here! Of course, it was Chicago, so a White Christmas was a forgone conclusion.
One tradition we had when my children where younger, up until they were eight or ten years old, was on Christmas morning my husband would get up around 5-5:30, put on the full Santa suit, ajar the fireplace screen and lay a Santa hat on the fireplace. He’d eat the cookies and drink the milk our children had left out for Santa and then with reindeer bells go into the kids bedrooms and wake them up with the “Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas!” While I would get the sleepy kids out of bed and take them to the window to see if we could see Santa flying off, my husband would run upstairs and quickly get out of his Santa suit, then come down and say, “Did you see him?” I video taped a couple of those mornings and I sure do miss it. My kids are high school and college aged now, but, they fondly remember those mornings, even after they caught on that it was their dad.
I have a couple favorite family traditions. As a child growing up in Maine, we would gather friends and family at our house for hot cocoa and cookies. My folks knew a local man with a horse and carriage. They would have him come to the house and we would all take turns in the carriage. Everyone would walk the neighborhood singing Christmas carols. It really was a magical time. As I’ve gotten older, some of the young neighborhood kids still bring it up when I make a trip back home.
Once I began to have children, I started my own tradition. Each year, I buy one special ornament for each child. It is always something that represents their year and what they have done or accomplished. As they have gotten older, they have their own home and trees now. They have memories from the ornaments from when they were into Spiderman or Ballerina things that they now adorn on their own tree. My children have each told me they plan to continue this one with their own kids too!
Growing up every year, we celebrate Jesus’s birth and attend church on the 24th. After the service, we would go home and gather with family and enjoy delicious homemade tamales. All the kids were allowed to stay up until midnight and then we’d start opening gifts. Now that I have children of my own, we have continued this tradition but I’ve added a few elements of my own. The night after Thanksgiving I read the story of The Elf on the Shelf. Every morning, my daughter wakes up early to see what kind of trouble the elf may have gotten into. My teenage boys help her look for the elf and it’s made for an unforgettable experience for her every year. Right before Christmas, when we’re on our way to my childhood home to celebrate the holidays, we stop in Flagstaff to ski. It’s a great family tradition that my kids look forward to every year.
Our family Christmas tradition has always been to decorate our Christmas tree with our two girls with all their hand made ornaments over the years. Now that they are all grown up and have their own trees to decorate, we still leave our tree naked until we can get them both over to decorate it with us, handmade ornaments and all!
My favorite Christmas tradition is putting up the tree and the lights the day after Thanksgiving with my five children. They get so excited to set up all the decorations. My childhood Christmases were pretty rough and it was difficult to get through the holiday seasons. It brings me so much joy to give my kids everything that I didn’t have. I love when they unwrap their presents on Christmas morning. I love all the amazing food my wife cooks and the wonderful home that we live in!
One of the more recent Christmas traditions my family has started happens on Christmas Eve. I make a brownie cake served with vanilla ice cream for the kids and myself. We eat the dessert while watching the movie Elf. After the movie we each get to pick one present to open.
Looking for new Christmas traditions to start? Check out our recent post on how to create your own DIY Christmas cards! Do you have a favorite Christmas tradition? Leave us a comment in the section below and let us know how you celebrate the holiday season every year!