Good morning! I hope that your week has started off well. Mine is great, today I will be getting my HVAC . After a week with no heat downstairs I will be toasty and warm and more importantly I will be able to start baking. It has been a bit of a challenge to use room temperature butter when room temperature has been 50-55.
|Me(on the left) and my siblings.|
I love Christmas and it has nothing to do with presents. Christmas is all about time spent with family, friends and of course the memories of all of our family traditions.
Typically at my mom’s the Christmas trees go up on Thanksgiving day, that way we have time over the weekend to relax and decorate it slowly. In the living room we have a “formal tree” with an ever evolving look, some years gold and white ornaments, other years all white and one year we had a tree that was decorated with just hundreds of white lights and snow.
The family room tree is the tree that is decorated with all of the ornaments that we made over the years, the ones that we give each other each year and some funny little ones made of clay that depict the kids and grand kids. They began with just the four of us, my siblings and I, and then as the grand kids and grand pups came along they were added as well. As we unwrap each ornament we recall to one another exactly where we lived and the circumstances of making or buying the ornament. It is one of my favorite parts of the holiday.
Sitting under the family room tree in a place of honor are stuffed animals from our childhood, my brothers raggedly little dog Ralph wearing a blue sweater made from a sock, my sisters Big Bird, a little faded but still smiling, my Raggedy Ann. There are a few others but these were our favorites.
On Christmas Eve day we have a sugar cookie decorating contest. My brother or I make tons of cookies, frostings and of course we have bowls and bowls of jimmies, sprinkles and every other thing needed to make a beautiful cookie. Then we have a family gathering for whomever would like to come over, just like my grandparents did when I was growing up. Unlike my grandmothers gathering which started just before midnight mass and continued well after the walk home from mass ours starts around 6:00 just after the early Christmas Eve mass for kids. We have an Italian buffet and lots of desserts and cookies. We always open one gift, typically our Christmas pj’s and slippers and then we spend the rest of the evening doing puzzles(this is one of our favorites), playing games or visiting with the relatives.
Then it is off to Midnight mass, some years at the very same church my grandparents attended, other years we go to the Cathedral to celebrate mass with the Archbishop. Then it is home for a cocoa and bed.
In the morning when we wake up we always follow the trail of Santa’s footprints and the candy that fell out of his pack to the gifts under the tree. We eat cinnamon rolls, which my mom makes using my grandmothers’ recipe, have cocoa and coffee as we open presents and enjoy the laughter, smiles and shouts of joy from my niece and nephew as they open their gifts from Santa.
Then we spend the day watching our favorite Christmas movies, eating, and reading. Once it gets dark we go caroling with the kids and have a Christmas parade around the neighborhood. Then more of our relatives come over and we play dominos, do puzzles, eat again and visit with the cousins who have come from near and far for family Christmas. I am blessed because I have lots and lots of cousins as my mom is from a family of 10 kids and Christmas is when almost all of us are home for the year so it is a wonderful time to catch up with one another.
|Cinnamon Roll Muffins Recipe HERE|
These are just a few of our traditions, we also go sledding or ice skating over Christmas week. My mom takes the grandkids on a few adventures so that my siblings and I can go shopping, out to some of our favorite restaurants, to the museums or to see some of our old friends.
My favorite off all of our traditions is when we go to see the Christmas lights, a tradition that my grandfather started and we continue to this day. When we were little, on Christmas Eve my grandfather would take us before midnight mass to see the lights and then drop us off for mass. Nowadays my mom and I go almost every night that I am home. We make our respective drinks, a cocoa for me and a coffee for her and we drive along looking at the lights, talking laughing and reminiscing about times past.
What are your favorite family traditions? Are they ones from your childhood or new ones that you have made since you had your own family.
Have a great day!