I have had this post planned out for weeks and due to all the unexpected plans and family priorities that come before blogging I'm just getting around to posting it Christmas Eve (; I wanted to write a little bit about family traditions and the importance of starting traditions. Some of my fondest memories are during the holidays and remembering all of the fun traditions we did growing up.
My all time favorite tradition my family did was celebrating and doing most Christmas festivities on Christmas Eve. I have never had a Christmas where I wake up bright and early Christmas morning and open gifts. We still follow this tradition and it's definitely something I want to continue doing even when we have my parents over for Christmas (the last three years we have been married we have gone to my families for Christmas and have yet to experience our own celebrations at home).
Another family tradition I really enjoyed growing up was when my dad and "Santa" hid all the gifts around the house an hour before midnight. This was always such a fun activity to go on a scavenger hunt for gifts and was even more special when my cousin Ricky was visiting from El Salvador so we had an extra buddy to help us find gifts. My dad always thought of the most creative hiding spots and making a game out of it really made the night special.
Although this is technically Zaden's third Christmas it feels as though it is his first "real" Christmas since the last two years he was very young and didn't realize much that was going on around him. He still doesn't get the meaning behind Christmas and that it's a time of giving, spending time with family, and celebrating the Saviors birth but he is definitely much more aware of his surroundings.
I wanted to start a few Christmas traditions this year and keep adding more to the list as Zaden gets older and our family expands. I just wanted to share a few things we have done as a family, dates, and a few things I have done on my own to feel the holiday spirit.
Send out Family Christmas Cards: I totally forgot to do Christmas cards last year but knew I didn't want to forget this year. I have absolutely loved receiving Christmas cards from friends and family this holiday season and seeing all of their creative cards. I really need to make some sort of cute box or album to store all of the special cards I have received.
This year we used our family photos from our Apple Orchard Family Photoshoot with Kandice and I found the perfect layout for our Christmas cards over at Tiny Prints. These cards seriously turned out amazing and I loved all the personal touches I was able to do. I mean come on, how cute are the customized stamps? I seriously can't get enough (;
View Holiday Lights: I absolutely love holiday lights and some of my favorite ones are at the Temple Square Christmas Lights. Unfortunately we weren't able to make it this year due to all of the unexpected family business that came up but we still saw a few holiday lights at The Riverwoods.
Baking a Christmas Treat: We have baked several Christmas desserts this month and Zaden has really enjoyed helping me in the kitchen and decorating whatever creation we come up with. Pictured above is our family making M&M Oatmeal Cookies, yum!
Festive Date Nights: I mentioned here that Daryl and I are extra careful with our money during the holiday season and do more date nights in or free activities together. A few date nights we have done this month are baking and decorating festive cupcakes together, walking around the Provo Christmas Market, and doing last minute Christmas shopping together.
Wrapping Presents: Zaden loved helping me wrap gifts this year. We listened to Christmas music and I had the pleasure of watching him break down with the best dance moves. He would take short breaks whenever he got tired and tried his best to help me wrap Christmas gifts.
Serving: Whether it's someone in your neighborhood or a family who could use a little bit of help, I want Zaden to remember that serving others is what makes the holidays such a special time of year. I try to do this regardless of the time of year but I want to make it a tradition to help someone in need. Once Zaden is older I would love to help out around the homeless shelter during the holidays and make that a tradition.
Go out of your way to do something thoughtful: During the beginning of this month I made it a personal daily goal to go out of my way and do something thoughtful. It's truly made the holiday season much more special and has made me feel so much joy.
I have a dear friend who lost most of her Christmas decorations earlier this year and I wanted to give her something extra thoughtful this year. After seeing the new photo ornaments that Tiny Prints started selling this year I knew that would be the perfect gift for her this holiday season. Seeing the light in her eyes and expressing to me how much it meant to her made me feel so happy.
Being thoughtful doesn't only mean with presents but with time and your outlook on things. I have spent a majority of my time serving and helping friends, families, and even strangers in need. Most of the holiday treats we have made have gone out to another family or a friend who was having a crappy day.
To me the holidays are about giving and celebrating the Savior. Daryl and I didn't buy each other any gifts this year. We personally don't need anything but love giving and spending this time of year spreading good and cheer to those around us.
Please feel free to share some of your holiday traditions and favorite festive activities. I would love to add some of them to our list next year.
I hope you all have a happy and safe holiday season, Merry Christmas Eve!