Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas in Retrospect

Christmas morning and ready to open gifts

I have had the most spectacular holiday season.  This year I really wanted to focus on tradition - our new family holiday traditions.  For Sam and I this was our fourth Christmas together and our second as a married couple.  Last year Atticus had colic and I was breastfeeding every two hours and I didn't get to do a great deal of holiday preparation and celebration.  I've been cobbling together wonderful memories from our childhood Christmases and pairing it with traditions that match our personalities and beliefs.  It has been a wonderful experience to identify all those little things that make the season very special to our family.

Instead of doing a spiel of every Christmas detail I thought I'd list our family Christmas traditions (some old and some new) and add captioned holiday pics at the end.  Let's jaunt through Roper Christmas land.

The Tree:  The tree goes up the Sunday before Thanksgiving, so I have a full week to enjoy it before I go back to work.  Our ornaments are very personal and folksy; we have some of my grandparents' ornaments, ornaments my parents painted their first Christmas together, crafted things, and loads of wooden/painted ornaments from thrift stores and yard sales.  We have a little party for tree decorating.  Christmas music is on for the first time, I make loads of finger foods for dinner and we decorate.  When we are done we turn out the lights and gaze at our tree.  The tree stays up until January 1st.

Baking:  I start baking right after Thanksgiving.  I bake a few different items a week and then freeze them.  This keeps me from over-indulging and it makes assembling cookie trays and gift baskets a snap.  A few recipes get made EVERY year:  sausage cheese balls, toll house squares, molasses cookies, and fudge.

Cards:  I used to purchase my cards at the end of the previous Christmas season (and I still have quite a stash), but this year we made our cards.  Sam drew an awesome picture of a snowman throwing coffee at another snowman and, obviously, melting ensues.  We sent these cards to people who would appreciate our weirdness and sent more traditional cards to some relatives, the land-lady, and other people who might think we were weirdos.  Expect zombies, robots, dinosaurs, and talking coffee cups in the future.  I try to get the cards out the first week of December, but I was late this year.

Stockings and Kid Gifts:  Mom, erm, Santa stuffs stockings on Christmas Eve.  Santa also wraps everything possible in paper-scraps to make the stocking opening last.  The kids each get 7 gifts (in addition we have a budgeted amount).  Two gifts are from mom and dad -- those are usually clothing/books/etc..., one gift is from the cat, one gift is from their favorite "lovey", and three gifts are from Santa.  We open gifts one at a time from youngest to oldest.

Christmas Eve:  Next year we are planning on doing cookie decorating with the kids on Christmas Eve day.  That didn't happen this year because my oven broke four days before Christmas and I was out of my freezer stash.  On Christmas Eve my in-laws come over for a holiday dinner and we open gifts from them.  It is a fun tradition.  When the kids go to bed.  Sam and I watch a B-movie.  Last year it was Santa Conquers the Martians  and this year we watched Rubber (a movie about a self-aware tire who kills humans).  Then we usually try to, ahem, go to bed early.

Christmas Day:  We usually try to wait until 7am to open gifts -- this year Atticus was up at 5 and we were opening gifts by 6:15am!  After gift opening we hang out and then meet my family at the local IHOP for pancakes.  After eating we all hang out at my house for a bit, then my parents leave, the kids play, and I take a Christmas Nap.  My mom took a Christmas nap every year and I couldn't figure out why.  Then I realized that the holidays are so busy, joyful, but busy that by Christmas day I'm pooped.  So it is off to bed for an indulgent 2-3 hour nap.  Christmas Day dinner is usually leftovers or a crock pot soup.  The last tradition is a personal one; I always put together a Lego set.  This year my mom bought and let me borrow the Diagon Ally Harry Potter Lego set.  Yay!

Next Year?  I don't think I'll change much for next year.  I managed to make some homemade gifts for teachers, the landlady and friends.  I really like putting together gift baskets.  In addition to homemade food, I buy tons of oranges from Hope's band fundraiser in early December, and I buy Harney Holiday Tea to include in the basket.  Next year I plan to start my holiday gift planning/making October 1st so I don't feel so rushed and I can give out even more homemade gifts to friends and family.

No touch means NO TOUCH

My in-laws rock

OMG! Selena Gomez!

Rupert the Bear gets in the holiday spirit

post-Christmas lethargy 

My sweet parents

My sweetie


Amanda said...

I love that we gave our Christmas posts the same title. We have several of the same traditions too. I love those sausage cheese balls. My aunts always make them and they always disappear quickly at parties!

Catherine said...

i like the tradition of a b-movie after dark. i may talk to spencer about that one. he'd probably like your other christmas eve tradition too. ahem.

Anonymous said...

next year we will have to go b-movie, too. this year, we watched super 8 (which was pretty awesome).

Allie said...

I love all the traditions! I love seeing that other families do the same things we do. :)

And I love the little guy all passed out after opening presents-so sweet.

Andi said...

I love identifying the traditions. It's so much fun to build those with the little ones, too. Greyson "got" it a lot more this year, and it was so much fun to watch.

AJJ said...

So honored to have received a "cool card." I would be hopeless with anxiety otherwise. I need to see you and your minis very soon. It's been too long.