Our holiday traditions kick off with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, watched in our matching jammies while we haul out the Christmas decorations and prepare our assigned dish for Thanksgiving Dinner. This time of year is beyond magical, our first born arrived Christmas Eve and I will forever relive the sparkle of the holidays through her curious and bright eyes.
The constant stream of holiday music, beautiful wrapping paper, holiday movies on repeat, stressed out shoppers, family drama – I take it all in stride and try to celebrate as much holiday cheer as I can. Here’s a list of what we do as a family each year; would love to know your new or old traditions!
- Matching Jammies – I get made fun of a lot for our family’s matching pajamas (usually by Hanna Andersson) but I don’t GAF. They’re cute and warm and make for fun photos. And for now, the kids love it so I’ll cherish their excitement.
- See the nutcracker – for years Jon has been taking me to the Joffrey Ballet (much to his chagrin, but he knows how much I love it and that’s sweet), however, they switched up their theme/set decor and have to say I prefer the traditional sugar plum fairy set. Last year, at the suggestion of my mom, we took Olivia to St. Alphonsus as it’s across the street. Girl was instantly hooked and for a 3 year old to sit through the entire performance is beyond impressive. Sad to say with visitors in town and endless fun birthday parties I think we might not get to it this year. Tear.
- Olivia’s Ornament Collection – Alaina Katz of The Everygirl & The Everymom shared a special ornament in her collection by Christopher Radko and I instantly fell in love. These are insanely expensive, but did I mention Olivia was born on Christmas eve? My godmother has gifted me the Hallmark houses every year since I was born and I have such an amazing collection that now Olivia adores. I’d like to recreate the same sentiment.
- Dinner with Kellogg friends – have to give props to my dear friend for jumping on the ball and planning a dinner in advance for this fun crew. It’s rare with 8 working/traveling parents to find a night to get together but when we do the conversation, food and wine are endless. I cherish these friendships beyond words, especially the group texts 😉
- Zoo Lights – nothing like bundling up for the tundra and walking around the lakefront zoo! It’s fun to get hot cocoa and check out the magic of the lights, take a ride on the carousel (which both Jon and I hate but #doitforthekids) and the ferris wheel while the kids oooh and ahh. And now extended through January 7th!
- Watch Polar Express – we’ve gotten into the habit of watching a movie with Olivia in the afternoon on the weekends while Grayson naps. She doesn’t watch TV otherwise, so I figure this isn’t that bad. More thoughts on screen time in another post, I am very opinionated about this. In addition to Polar Express we watched Home Alone one weekend which was so awesome until 3 minutes in they use “suck” and “jerk” a lot which we do our best to watch our own language, I get an eyeroll from the hubs as to how completely inappropriate this movie is for a yet-to-be-four-year-old. She did ask to watch it again though 😉
- Homemade goodies – this year they’re old enough to help with this fun and messy project. I can’t fathom spending the $90 plus on prepackaged sets, so we make our own chocolate dipped Oreo’s and pretzels and booze soaked cherries. Makes for an entertaining afternoon, fun art project and thoughtful gifts for teachers, UPS man, cleaning lady, dog walker, etc.
- Visit Santa – we always find a date with our dear friends who have kids similar ages and have been doing this for 4 years running. Always at Water Tower Place to support the company I work for and because the Food Hall there is beyond easy and fast with crazy starving kids. Olivia and Carson adore each other and I’m pretty sure this arranged marriage has been planned since utero. No tears this year and she actually talked to Santa and told him what she wanted while Gray was peaceful sitting next to him, but too weirded out to usher a word.
- Give Back – we have our go-to nonprofit organizations we donate to, clean out the kids toys and give to Salvation Army, participate in Toys for Tots and have Olivia help dad at his company’s soup kitchen event. I have lamented before that I find it very challenging to find opportunities/organizations that allow toddlers in to their programs to give back so we find our own little ways, that hopefully leave a positive impact on all.
I don’t know what else we could cram in this time frame but if it elicits holiday cheer you know I’m nuts enough to try it.
What do you do to spread the holiday cheer, for all to hear? (get my Elf reference?)