There are so, so, so many things I love about the holiday season. I have so many wonderful memories of this time of year, many of which are centered around traditions. Although our Christmases look at lot different now that we are grown and some of my sisters are married and have kids, we have still hung on to a few of our traditions. Huge shoutout to my mom who is to be credited for most, if not all, of these traditions.
I wanted to share some of my favorite holiday traditions with you. Some of these were more prevalent in our childhood and some are more recent additions. Either way, these are the things I think of when I think of Christmastime.
Watching favorite Christmas movies
How The Grinch Stole Christmas, White Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, The Santa Clause, and Elf are a few that come to mind! Usually a couple of times between Thanksgiving and Christmas, some of us try to gather at my parents' house and watch a classic Christmas movie while working on Christmas cards or gifts. It's a great way to spend time together and also get some things crossed off our holiday to-do lists!
Baking peanut butter blossom cookies with Dad
We used to do this every year on the day after Thanksgiving. We'd all sit on the counter tops in the kitchen (yes, all 6 of us, not sure how we fit and/or it didn’t collapse). One at a time, my dad let us put in an ingredient. And every time we got to the brown sugar, we would get a little spoonful of it. And then we would have a contest to see which team of 3 sisters could unwrap a bag of Hershey kisses the fastest.
Decorating sugar cookies
I will admit this is something we often did (and still do) slightly begrudgingly. Not that we don't enjoy it, but my mom makes SO MANY cookies and it takes forever. Also none of us are very artistically/creatively gifted. Towards the end, we start to do just one color frosting with sprinkles and call it a day. But we always have a good time making fun of each other's failed attempts at creative decorating!
Picking out a Christmas tree
I'll preface this by saying that my parents have somewhere around 9 or 10 artificial trees they put up (it's a Christmas wonderland, y'all). Additionally, they put up a real one as the main tree that the gifts go under. I love going with them to pick out the tree. They've gone to the same lot for twenty-some years run by the sweetest family and it's just one of those moments that feels quintessentially Christmas to me.
Hosting the annual Rasmussen Christmas Open House
My family has hosted a Christmas Open House for 12 years running now. We usually host 75-100 people. Honestly, I really enjoy the preparation leading up to the party, as it entails hanging out with my family and baking a lot! We all kind of have our usual "assignments"- I am in charge of designing the invites and dropping off/picking up the dogs from day care, as well as certain hors d'oeuvre I always make.
Reading Luke 2 on Christmas morning
This tradition serves as an important reminder of what Christmas is actually about. As kids, we would all pile into my parents' bed to hear my dad read aloud from the Bible before we could even think about going downstairs to sneak a peek at the presents. We still read the Christmas story every year (just not all piled in one bed…). We typically go to church on Christmas Eve, so this is a good way to make sure Christmas Day also starts out on the right foot.
Brown Sugar Coffee Cake
A wonderful Christmas morning tradition! My dad bakes his signature Brown Sugar Coffee Cake (which we usually only get a couple times a year) and we eat post-stocking/pre-gift opening.
Staying in PJs all day
There is nothing better than spending Christmas day in your PJs. At the end of the evening, you can just slip right back into bed without changing!
Drinking hot chocolate (all. the. time.)
I consume an unhealthy amount of hot chocolate during the holiday season. It probably makes up about half of my calorie intake. Always complete with whipped cream and sometimes marshmallows or sprinkles. You know, for a well-balanced diet.
Watching The Holiday by myself with popcorn and hot chocolate
This is my own little tradition that I started doing in college. After my last exam of the semester, I would go home, put on The Holiday, with only the tree lights glowing. I'd light a candle, pop some popcorn, and of course make hot chocolate. Although most of the holiday season is about spending it with people you love, as an introvert, I treasure this little me-time. I've continued to do this, though no longer as a reward for completing my exams. I simply find a night near Christmas to hunker down by myself and watch one of my favorite movies!
Wow, that was a lot! And I’ll admit there’s more, but I had to stop somewhere :) What are your favorite holiday traditions?