I love the holidays because they always leave me feeling nostalgic. Around this time of year I can always faintly hear the Christmas albums we played on repeat humming in my head (Muppets Christmas anyone?), smell the chocolate chip cookies my dad makes for us every year (his secret recipe, of course), and, admittedly, still get a little giddy any time I see a strand of twinkling lights.
Most everyone has their own little traditions, and they vary from family to family. Sometimes these traditions are ones you’ve held on to since you were a kid, and some are new traditions that you pick up over time as your family and life evolve. Getting married this year has meant starting new traditions along with keeping the old, so today I’m sharing with you some of my favorite old and new holiday traditions.
- Baking Cookies – I’m convinced my dad makes the most delicious ‘from scratch’ chocolate chip cookies in the world. They are the absolute best when they’re fresh out of the oven and still gooey and warm…oh, I’m salivating right now just thinking about them! He uses a tasty combination of ingredients that you can’t buy in the store. Since I don’t have his recipe and no longer live at home where I had access to them 24/7, we picked up a pack of Pillsbury sugar cookies instead. Much easier to make and still delicious, but nothing will top my dad’s homemade cookies.
- Christmas Music – This one is pretty universal, but for me it means the same three albums we would play every year around this time. We had the classic John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together, a beautiful instrumental album, and one of those collaboration albums that featured a different artist for every song. These tunes would always be playing in the background during the weeks leading up to Christmas, and hearing them always sparks some very fond memories.
- Dinner with the Family – Again, another universal Christmas tradition, but it’s definitely a fool-proof way to get all of the family together in one place at the same time. It helps that my mom makes an amazing prime rib roast that no one can turn down.
- Gift Shopping – Sometimes this part can be stressful, but I rather enjoy picking out gifts for my loved ones! Especially now that I have a sweet niece in my life, I get to rummage around in the kids section, which is something I haven’t done in ages! Getting my husband to NOT open his gifts before Christmas is definitely the most challenging part of this whole ordeal since 99% of the time, he already knows what I got him. We’ve made an agreement to pick out at least one small gift for each other that’s a surprise, and this helps keep it a little more fun the day of.
- Going to the Black Friday sales and not actually buying anything – This is a new tradition, and a very interesting one at that. It’s crazy seeing all of the full parking lots, stores looking much more crowded than usual, and retail employees directing line traffic. The sales are never really THAT great, but it’s a sight to see when there are a fleet of police cars outside of your local Target that are normally not there. Not sure how long we’ll keep this one up, but it’s definitely something to experience at least once!
- The Christmas Pickle – This one may seem kind of strange, but it’s actually quite fun! This is a relatively new tradition that my sister introduced us to a few years back. Basically, you take a pickle ornament (like this one from Target) and hide it inside of the Christmas tree. Whoever is the first to find it receives an extra gift! It’s lightly competitive and it’s something to laugh about.
They don’t seem like much, but these traditions hold so many delightful memories and I know that they’ll continue to make more. I look forward to Christmas every year because of these annual activities even though they may change over time. Whether old or new, tradition is still tradition and it’s what makes holidays so special.
What are your favorite holiday traditions? Any new traditions you’ve started recently? Let me know in the comments!