Our Favorite Holiday Traditions!

November 25, 2014

We take traditions seriously in our house and hold them to a high standard, especially holiday traditions, which only come around once a year. In fact, I think that's one of the reasons I love October through December so much, because of the special traditions. 

Growing up, my parents had certain holiday traditions that I looked forward to with great anticipation. And I think that's why I feel so strongly about them now. Because they make the holidays extra magical and spread that much more cheer. As a married gal now, husband and I have been figuring out the new traditions we want to start and those from our childhoods that we want to incorporate. Both of us feel that we want to get these traditions solidified before we have children, and we also know that we'll be starting new ones as children come along. It gets me super excited just thinking about it! 

Since the holidays are officially upon us, I'm going to share our favorite holiday traditions, some of which have already taken place and some that will happen later this week!


In late October we visit our local Christmas tree farm with my parents and sister to tag our Christmas trees. I've been doing this tradition since I was a little girl and I couldn't imagine this time of year without it. The only requirements involved: a special drink for the ride to and from the farm; find the perfect tree.

We have decided that we will start to decorate our home with Christmas décor the weekend before Thanksgiving. We started this because we currently spend Christmases with my parents, which means we don't get to enjoy our festive decorations as long. Since I love a fresh Christmas tree, I couldn't bear to not enjoy it at least a month long. So that's how this new tradition began. I'll be sharing our holiday décor next Tuesday!

That same weekend we head back to the Christmas tree farm to cut down the tree we tagged ourselves. This time there are a few additional requirements: You still must have a special drink for the ride to and from the farm, you must listen to Christmas music, you must buy Cherry Butter, you must cut the tree down yourself, and you must buy an ornament from their gift shop. This year we bought a laser-cut wooden snowflake. It's the sweetest. 

For a festive get together, we hosted a Pie Party last year. This year we ran out of time and weekends in November so we have decided to do some type of dessert party and maybe include some ugly Christmas sweaters one weekend in December.

Last year, our first year of marriage, we decided that we want to celebrate some holidays at our home instead of traveling everyone for them. Because we have no littles yet, we thought spending Christmas with parents would still be great. But, Thanksgiving was fair game to take on ourselves. So we now host Thanksgiving Day festivities at our home. However, growing up we always had our immediate family Thanksgiving the Sunday before. That tradition still lasts. So for our Thanksgiving feast we switch it up a bit and turn the more traditional dishes my mom makes, into something new and different. 

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was a favorite of mine growing up. It was the best to stay in pajamas and watch all the floats and people make their way through New York City while the aroma of the food cooking was wafting about. It's a tradition we now have as Hills. And I'm looking forward to it this year! The only difference is, we've added a specific Thanksgiving breakfast menu to this tradition. Now we have homemade quiche while we watch the festivities on television. And coffee is included too (of course)!

Husband grew up watching Christmas Vacation after stuffing yourself with all the delicacies of Turkey Day. And this is one of those traditions that we both agree we want to incorporate. Last year, after the meal had been eaten, we settled in to watch the movie (and also make room for dessert). This year, we're adding a little extra bit to this tradition. Pajamas! We will have new Christmas-inspired pj's to pull out and put on. Because who doesn't love a stretchy waistband after feasting?!

Christmas music was always saved until December started when I was growing up. But, now it's fair game as soon as November starts. The more Christmas music the merrier! Isn't that how the saying goes?! As a little girl my very favorite song was "Nuttin' For Christmas", a hit Christmas song from 1955. My grandmother still has the vinyl record that my mom would pop on the record player during the holidays at Grandmom's house. Other favorites were cassette tapes of Burl Ives and Patty Page Christmas songs. Their voices are classic and timeless, and I know that my babies will one day be listening to them this time of year.

Every year, my parents would bundle my sister and I up in pajamas and drive around to look at all the Christmas lights strung about our small town. We would have hot chocolate in little thermoses and Christmas music playing on the radio. We still do this, but this year husband and I decided to do it with our friends too and incorporate Starbucks! Mix and Match Mama named this perfectly, Jammie Cocoa Christmas, and because I love that name, we're calling it that too!

A new Hill family tradition is to celebrate Christmas the first weekend of December in a cabin. Because husband is one of four children, sometimes it's hard to coordinate schedules, so to ensure we are all together to celebrate the holiday, we have decided to go this route. This year will make the second Annual Hill Christmas Cabin!

The Christmas cantata at church. I just love listening to live Christmas carols. It's beautiful and really brings the cheer to life. It's special to share this time at church, remembering the true reason for the season.

We tried to do something special throughout the entire month of December last year. It was our 12 Dates of Christmas. This year, husband and I can't decide if we'll stick to it or not because of time, but we might try and I'll let you know next year if it's a tradition that stuck!

Last year we sent out our very first Christmas card and we'll be doing that this year and for the years to come. I have always loved receiving snail mail, especially Christmas cards! And from now on I will be making our Christmas cards and yours too if you like (see HERE)!

Holiday films. I'm going to try hard to always put together a short video of our holiday festivities. I hope it becomes a tradition and that I remember to do it every year! Here we are decorating our first Christmas tree as a married couple!

Baking Christmas goodies is a huge part of the holidays in my family, and it has been since I was a tiny tot. I remember sitting on the kitchen counter tops with my little sister helping Mama add the ingredients to the bowl for all of our cherished, once-a-year Christmas treats. We always make muddy buddies, chex mix, fudge puddles, peanut butter balls, sausage balls, and vanilla bark-dipped pretzel piles. My Aunt Donna's molasses cookies became an absolute favorite of mine as a teen and she passed the recipe down to me. Now I make them every time this year.

My mom is a Christmas Day baby, and her name is Merry (no coincidence). Every year we celebrate her birthday the night of Christmas and then a couple of days later to make it special for her.

And last but not least, Christmas movies will be playing in our home the entire month long (plus some of November). From the classics like White Christmas all the way to the cheesy Hallmark movies. I just don't get enough of them. In fact, sometimes I'll even DVR the holiday movies that come on television and watch them in July :)


So here you have it! A whole list of all of our holiday traditions! You're turn...you tell me what you your traditions are this time of year!!