Do you believe in the magic of Christmas? At 52 I still believe thanks to Christmas traditions that have been passed down through the years and the new traditions that we started when we had our own little family.
I was invited to participate in the Fabulous Fifties Blog Hop. A very active, extremely creative and incredibly talented bunch of ladies over 50 who are sharing our stories, recipes, experiences or creative endeavors. I am excited to be sharing over 50 years of our families Christmas traditions with you today. Plus I have included a couple of printables to help you share in one our favorite family traditions!
Christmas really is a magical time of year for us. I swear I am married to Mr. Christmas!! He starts thinking about the holiday season right after Labor Day.
This is about the same time that I start getting my daily Christmas Countdown texts from him! They always go something like this…..
By mid-October he is checking all the local radio stations to see who is playing Christmas music even though he knows very well that it won’t be until the middle of November until he hears any!
The excitement, joy and hope he feels for the season makes it very hard not to be in the Christmas Spirit. He loves it all. The music, the shopping, the Christmas baking, the decorations, the church services and carol sings! Most of all he loves the togetherness.
Not that I want to lay blame for having such a jolly husband, but I think my family is to responsible for his over-the-top love for the holidays!
Being with family, the celebration of the birth of Jesus, and years of traditions are all things I grew up with, and since I started dating Tim when we were just 16, things were bound to rub off on him. Growing up in his own family, Christmas a bit less low key. Not to say that he didn’t love Christmas with is own family, but he had never attended a Christmas Eve church service or had a stocking to open Christmas morning until he met my family!!
I don’t need to have a single gift under the tree, but a stocking is a must! My mom still fills a stocking for my sister, brother and I. Would you believe me if I told you as a kid my favorite find in my stocking every year as a jar of dill pickles!
Even at 52 I still remember vividly Christmas’ from my childhood. My dad would always make a big deal of making sure we didn’t “shake” our Christmas gifts to try and guess what was inside. Yet, after we were all in bed, he would get under the tree and give things a good shake himself!
I remember performing at Christmas concerts at school. Our little gymnasium stage seemed so big back then.
My Poppa had an amazing voice and I remember being quiet so I could listen to him sing carols and hymns in Church. Christmas Eve was often Church service, followed by treats at my Nan and Pop’s while we watched the Norad Santa tracker on television!
On Christmas morning my Nana and Poppa would come over to our house to open Christmas gifts with us. After we had finished, we all got bundled up and trekked across the street to their house where more gifts were waiting to be unwrapped! My Aunt was the best Christmas present wrapper. All the packages were colorful with artfully placed matching ribbons and bows. I still don’t know how she managed to get the corners so tight!
My Poppa would pass out one gift at a time and even though we patiently waited our turn to open our gifts, I have no doubt it must of made my aunt wince just a little to see us take seconds to destroy the pretty packaging!
They had the most amazing shiny silver tree that rotated around, while colorful spot lights lit up the entire tree from either side. Each branch of that tree was wrapped in a wax paper sleeve. My sister still has that tree and each branch is still carefully packaged.
When all the gifts had been opened and the living room was reduced to a pile wrapping paper, we would eat yummy muffins and homemade hot chocolate before heading home to play with our toys.
Sometimes Christmas dinner was served on Christmas Eve and other years it was Christmas Day. It was my Poppa’s job to carve the turkey and he took it very seriously, sharpening his knife right before the turkey was ready.
I don’t think tablescape was even a word back then, but the best china and silver set made an appearance, so we knew it was a special occasion!
After both my sister and I were married. Her in 1985 and me in 1986, we continued the tradition of heading to my parents house on Christmas morning after we had opened our own gifts at home. When our children came along, my mom and dad took turns coming to either our house first, or my sisters (thank goodness we all lived in the same neighbourhood!). Then when we were done at our own homes, we would head to our parents house to open gifts together, and finally went to my Nana and Poppa’s for breakfast.
When we all pack into Mom’s living room on Christmas morning these days, there is not much room to move!
As a child I couldn’t wait to open our gifts, but as time went on what I anticipated and looked forward to the most was being with family and the memories we were creating.
Even though we don’t all live in the neighborhood anymore, our Christmas morning traditions continues as we gather at my mom’s house. My Dad, Nana and Poppa are no longer with us, but every single Christmas morning I can fondly remember all those Christmas Eve’s and mornings together.
I know in my heart the reason I still feel the magic of the season is because of family!
Tim and I have created a few Christmas traditions that over the years have become important to our own little family.
Traditions like our annual Christmas Eve brunch. Even though our home is tiny, we fill it with family and friends invited to enjoy everything from bacon to breakfast casseroles. Yes, it is noisy and a bit chaotic at times, but we wouldn’t change a thing.
Ever since our girls were young they always had the traditional Lindt Christmas Advent Calendar taped to the fridge door. They look forward to finding a different foil wrapped chocolate behind the little paper door each morning.
A tradition that started when they were just into their teens was the Christmas Activity Countdown. During the month of November Tim and I would sit down and plan our December Calendar. We would choose a different activity for every day from December 1st through the 24th. I would write each activity on a little piece of paper for the girls to reveal each day. Sometimes I folded them and taped them inside a homemade paper chain. Other years I just put each one into a little Christmas box to be opened every morning.
We always started by filling in the dates for activities such as Church carol sings, Christmas Concerts, and then added in fun activities that kept them anticipating each and every day.
Admittedly some years things didn’t always go according to plan and we would have to switch out different activities. Like scheduling outdoor snow activities, but we never got the forecasted snow!
Since we both worked full time, some of the weekend activities were as simple as making homemade hot chocolate together and serving it up in big Christmas mugs. I would buy a can of whipped cream, shave some chocolate and have mint candy canes as stir sticks.
A couple of nights during the month would be movie nights, where the whole family would “stay up late” to watch a holiday movie.
On a Saturday or Sunday activities would include baking with mom, wrapping gifts, or shopping for donations to our local community care toy drive.
We always included free activities such as a walk through the neighborhood to see the Christmas lights, reading a story, attending the Victorian Candlelight Stroll or decorating the Christmas tree.
I have included a few of our favorites on a printable pdf and I have also included a printable pdf with blank tags so you can fill in with you own activities!
Click here to open and print!
Click here to open and print
Plans for our brunch are in full swing and Tim is plotting the outdoor Christmas decorations. I am sure our red Christmas truck will have a place front and center.
We have to find a new Church to attend Christmas Eve services since our Church closed last year, and we haven’t yet settled on a new Church home. My nephew has a new baby boy with family on both sides wanting to spoil him. Even though things may not look exactly like they do every year, in the end our family will come together to celebrate and create memories!
I am so happy that Tim had the chance to participate in many of those earlier Christmas’ with my family because he is doing an amazing job of keeping the magic alive for our girls and generations to come!
Until next time…..