How do traditions become traditions in our families? In the world of Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook, we see ideas for traditions that we can start all the time. Just a quick Pinterest search of "Christmas Traditions" gives me 12 Fun Christmas Eve Traditions, 24 Meaningful Christmas Traditions, 29+ Memorable Christmas Traditions, and the list goes on. I don't know about you, but I want to actually enjoy my Christmas Eve with my family without the stress of implementing 12 new, fun traditions. However, I love the traditions that we do have as a family and look forward to them each year.
I should give a disclaimer that I rarely get on Pinterest, and I am not really sure the crafty side of my brain works. I cannot cut in a straight line or write neatly, and I sure cannot turn a pancake into a Nativity scene. Many Moms can do all of those things easily, so starting and continuing traditions that involve glue, glitter, and toilet paper rolls comes easy for you. I wish that was me! It is probably a good thing I have boys, but I digress.
Our holiday traditions are fairly simple and many of you probably have taken part in the same things. I know I sound like a Hallmark card when I say that the best part about the holiday for me is just being with my family, but it is true. My workplace closes for 7 business days starting with Christmas Eve, and I just love being home with my boys during that time. Plus, we get to see all of our immediate family throughout the holidays, and we have fun spreading out our celebrations over several days.
Here are some traditions that we enjoy in our home and around Memphis throughout the holidays:
- Looking at Christmas Lights: Riding through town looking at lights is one of my favorite things to do. I am a sucker for traditional decorations, and I can also appreciate the time and effort that goes into the elaborate displays set to music with their own radio stations (how do they even do that?). My boys are both at ages where they enjoy looking at the decorations and having competitions to see who can spot light displays first, and this gives us several nights of free entertainment during the holiday season. Here are a few of my favorite displays:
- Favorite traditional decorations: 9279 Forrest Downs, Germantown- it took my breath away last year it was so beautiful. They have a very large front yard and had light blue snow flakes everywhere among other lighted decor. I plan to drive by this weekend, and I really hope they have decorated again this year!
- Favorite lights synced to music: Both of our favorites are in Bartlett, and we visited these last weekend- Magic of the Holidays at 6928 Briarhill Drive (visit this one first- 30,000 lights) and The Vorwerk Family Christmas Lights at 6451 Daybreak (visit this one next- 80,000 lights). The two houses are less than 5 minutes apart.
- Enjoying the city's activities: I took a couple of days off of work, and we went back this year to SunTrust Zoo Lights, Starry Nights at Shelby Farms, and the Enchanted Forest at the Pink Palace. Last year we went to Snowy Nights in My Big Backyard and really enjoyed it as well!
- Visiting Santa Claus: Bass Pro Shop has the best deal where you can visit Santa and get a free picture! Since waiting in line is an issue for our energetic, impatient kiddos, we have loved visiting Santa at Carriage Crossing the past couple of years. I think the 5x7 photo was around $15. This year we visited Santa at the Enchanted Forest, and the photographer was the best ever. He had an Elmo puppet and talked like Elmo. Who wouldn't laugh at that? The Santa was great, and the picture was $10.
- Making Christmas Cookies: This is about as crafty as I get! I make sugar cookies and then make bowls of green and red icing and get a big container of red and green sprinkles. I strip the boys down to their underwear (or diaper) and let them paint cookies with pastry brushes and use sprinkles until their hearts are content. They love it!
- Moving Jingle the Elf: Yes, we have one. No, it does not do fun stuff. It basically just moves around the den and kitchen if we can remember. The most exciting thing it has done this year was get the cereal and breakfast bars out of the cabinet and have them waiting on the boys when they woke up. But, the boys get really excited to see where it is each morning so it makes it (a little) less annoying.
- Singing Christmas Carols: We always have dinner at my Aunt's house on Christmas Eve, and my favorite tradition is singing carols. My Mom plays the piano, I sing soprano, my sister alternates between second soprano and alto, and my aunt songs alto. We sing classics like Silent Night, O Holy Night, and Rudolph.
- Reading of the Christmas Story: On Christmas Eve before bed we read Luke 2:1-20 to hear the story of Jesus's birth.
Having traditions are about creating those warm and fuzzy moments with our families, and I hope my kiddos have sweet memories of these magical years when they really believed that Santa Claus could bring them anything- even an inflatable football field (If you see one somewhere, will you let me know?). Happy Holidays to you, and enjoy making memories this season!