I'm late to the game with all the events of the past couple days, but this is a Kelly's Korner Show Us Your Life that I'm excited about. My family has many traditions. This being my first Christmas as a married lady, I'm excited to begin new traditions with my husband that we'll hopefully make memorably for our own future family.
One of my favorite traditions is that my family always has a fresh cut tree. To me, there's nothing more Christmassy than the smell of a Christmas tree. We always pick out the tree together. One year in New York, we cut our own. Another year, we rented a cabin in the mountain and made a "tree" with branches. But picking one out at Home Depot is my favorite. My sister will point one out, tell my dad to pull it off the pile, and Dad will spin it and tap it on the ground to get the boughs to fall while we judge the shape and symmetry. My sister is probably the pickiest when it comes to the tree. When we get it home, we put lights on and usually begin with the ornaments, though we haven't done that yet this year (we chose our tree last night). My mom has boxes and boxes of ornaments - many of them made by my grandmother from New York, who will be spending Christmas with us this year. Sometimes, we put tons of our special memorable ornaments on - baby's 1st Christmas, gift and keepsakes ornaments, the infamous Mrs. Peach. Other years, we go for a simple silver and angel theme. One year it was angels and red bows. No matter what, it's always beautiful.
We also usually go to Winter Haven at some point during the Christmas season. Winter Haven is a Tucson neighborhood where all residents are required to dress up the homes with lights. Last year, we went with Mr. Kingston on Christmas Day. It was where we really first told each other we wanted to spend forever together, so it's even more special to me now. You can walk or drive through, depending on the night, and there are also horse-drawn hay rides. It's just a really fun time, because everyone is in the Christmas spirit.
In my family, we have a sort of Christmas "routine" that has become a tradition. Christmas Eve is generally spent at my cousin's home - his wife's family is also there, along with (usually) my grandparents, and my aunt and uncle. The years that we do a gift drawing, we open those gifts. However, my little family unit has decided that this year, we'll start a new tradition and do something fun like Winter Haven on Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve at my cousins' home is hectic and crowded and has turned into somewhat of a long, drawn-out gift-opening show for their son. We've decided it's time for something new.
Christmas morning has always been my favorite. I'm like a 6-year-old, I get so excited. I can't wake my sister up until the time she tells me the night before. If I do, she'll stay in bed even longer. Some years, my dad has to work Christmas day and I have to wait until early afternoon. Before we do gifts, my parents have to have their coffee. My mom will start a fire and turn on Christmas music. We start with stockings, then move on to gifts. The big meal on Christmas day for us is usually breakfast. Last year, we went for a walk with the dogs after breakfast. Christmas is the day for just our little family to spend together, though sometimes my grandparents join us for a small dinner in the afternoon.
There are many other Christmas memories that are special to me like baking and decorating cookies with my mom and sister and decorating the house. I have a large collection of snowmen, my sister collects reindeer, and my grandmother has given my mom countless decorations. It's always fun to see them come out of the box and talk about our memories of Boris Claus (a Russian Santa my aunt brought from a trip), my mom's creepy carollers (sorry, Mom, they are), and the stockings my sister and I have had since our first Christmases. Within a couple of hours, our house goes from homey to festive with little touches of Christmas in every corner. I give my mom crap about some of our older, weirder decorations, but I do love the comfort that the sight of our house decorated for the holidays brings.
As far as traditions with Mr. Kingston go, I'm adamant about never having a fake tree. To my relief, he's agreed to get a small pine that we'll keep on our dining table away from the dogs. I hope that decorating, baking, shopping for gifts and spending time with family will be as important to us and our children as they have been to me growing up. I look forward to what new traditions we come up with for our own kids, and I hope they enjoy the traditions my family carries on to them.