Holiday Traditions

Since I was little traditions have been very important to me. I would force my sisters to uphold our traditions (ex. sleeping in the same bed before vacations, holidays, etc. or anything else) whether they wanted to or not.

I got lucky marrying someone who is almost as into traditions as I am.

Joel totally gets on board with all of my crazy little things - and so we've been trying to start a few of our own Christmas traditions that we can start now and then continue when we have kids of our own. 

Sleighbells ring...

::: Christmas Eve Pajamas ::: 
This was my mom's tradition and it's one I will always keep. On Christmas Eve the only gift we could all open as kids were a new pair of pajamas that you could wear that night and into Christmas morning. It was always a fun gift, and I seriously appreciate a good pair of pjs, so it's a nice excuse! 

::: Christmas Cookies ::
I think by calling it a "tradition" I'm just more likely to make a big fuss of it. I like to try new recipes every year and then get them out of my house as quickly as possible. This year we are making a Friday night out of it and then bringing our loot down to San Diego on Saturday morning when we have our 2nd annual Christmas Pizza Off with the San Diego Shields fam. 

::: Holiday Light Tour :::


In Chicago, we didn't need a car, we would just make a night at the Lincoln Park Zoo Lights, but in LA, we've made it into a little date night. This year we went and had a drink and appetizers at Mastro's and then drove through some pretty fantastic neighborhoods to take in the lights.

::: "Take me to...." Church :::
Our church is literally 2 minutes from our house so it's really easy to make it over to the family mass on Christmas Eve. Seeing all the kids sing in the choir and get dressed up puts me in the Christmas spirit more than anything else. 

::: Christmas Eve Lobster :::
Who knows if we will always be home and Christmas Eve, or if we will always host it, but we had so much fun indulging in lobster last year and we're doing it again this year. It's such a decadent dinner and makes Christmas Eve the event that it should be. 

::: Christmas Movies ::: 

We try to get through all of our favorite holiday movies the whole month of December. I watch all of the Hallmark movies too, but Joel's new rule is that if the movie wasn't in the movie theater, he won't watch it. Thankfully that still leaves most of my favorites - Elf, Fred Claus, The Santa Claus, 4 Christmases, Miracle on 34th street....

:::Cinnamon Rolls:::
  a small, but must-have tradition. My mom started this off as kids, and I can't have Christmas morning without them! Now that I'm older, mimosas are served bright and early too.

::: Giving Acts of Kindness ::: 
This year we didn't get a chance to shop for a child in need. For the last 4 years I worked at a company that gave you the opportunity to adopt an angel and shop for his/her needs. I changed jobs in March and never found an outside organization with enough time. I feel really bad about it, so Joel and I decided to do a few random acts of kindness between now and Christmas. Leaving treats for our FedEx guys, paying for someone behind us at line, and tipping generously for great service are the things to do this time of year.

I think traditions are part of what make this time of year special. I'd love to add a few small ones to our list, and I think with kids we will find other special things, but what are your favorite things to do year after year?  


  1. I love Christmas traditions too. We always got pj's from the "elves" on Christmas eve when we got back from church and got to open one gift before bed. Theo and I always go see the Christmas lights every year for 9 years!! I hope to continue all these traditions once we our family gets bigger too!

  2. I try to keep our traditions simple... I've been known to kind of blow everything out of proportion and experience some serious feelings of being let-down if they aren't as perfect as I'd imagined. (So ridiculous, I know!)

    We always grab Starbucks and drive around to look at Christmas lights, Christmas Eve candlelight service at church, PJ's on Christmas Eve (and my girls exchange their gifts to each other, as well).

  3. Love love love this! Especially that your husband gets into the fun with you! We always do Christmas Eve church service and cinnamon rolls the next morning :) I'm totally stealing your lobster idea one year!

  4. I love love all these Christmas tradition ideas. I'm big into traditions too and have done a few of these on your list. Now I'm interested in adding some of yours to my list now :) I think it's important to instill traditions in our kids too!