This has ALWAYS been a really hard category for me. I LOVE Christmas! There is nothing about this season I don’t like, short of crowds of rude people and Black Friday, but this year with virtually no shopping even available solves some of that. Being a military family on a tight budget I’ve always started shopping early (like in January) to work everything we want to do into our tight budget.
If I had to pick just one tradition though, it would be putting up the tree as a family (usually the weekend after Thanksgiving) while eating leftover turkey sandwiches. When I was a kid we usually put our tree up the day after Thanksgiving and left it until Kings Day, the Epiphany on January 6th. Hubby and I still do that and for that reason we like to go cut our own tree so it’s fresh and lasts the entire time. I use an apple cider/sugar mix that keeps the sap from forming on the cut area and keep the water cool and full. BUT, this year we used our artificial tree, the one I bought the last time hubby was deployed. Honestly it looks REAL!! But, we also decided it has finally served its last year.
When I was a kid one of my favorite traditions was that we did a BIG family get together with a buffet of food and opening our family presents on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, after my dad passed, this tradition fell by the wayside.
Thankfully, I’m not in the botom picture because I remember what I was wearing! But I love my brother’s plaid pants and Monica’s floral blouse. If you don’t hear from me for a few days I’m sure it’s because one them found me and made me pay for sharing this picture again LOL.
Then on Christmas Day we did Christmas morning at our respective homes with “Santa” gifts and just the immediate family and then we would do a BIG turkey with all the trimmings including my dad’s old fashioned stuffing and giblet gravy with the entire family as well as extended family and friends, which included crazy Aunt Louise and Uncle Herb. I replicated dad’s stuffing recipe a few years ago (Oatnut Sourdough Herb Dressing) and that is now a MUST TRADITION for the Christmas meal no matter what the protein is.
Christmases for us now are MUCH MUCH smaller and our newest tradition in the last several years is watching our favorite traditional Christmas movies like It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street as well as Hallmark Christmas movies and dreaming about moving to every small town depicted in them, kind of like Stars Hollow from the Gilmore Girls. We loved that show!