I can’t believe this is Tim and I’s last year spending Christmas just the two of us with the pups! We were talking the other night, and I mentioned how our family unit will never just be us again. Of course we’ll be empty nesters at some point in our life, but we will always have other family members in the immediate family. Also, the thought of our immediate family changing and meaning something different now is also wild. Does that make sense? This is what keeps me up at night and what I think about, ha!
Last year was our first married Christmas and we attempted to start some holiday traditions. If I’m being honest though, last year was hard for multiple reasons. First off, it was my first Christmas without my dad. He passed earlier that year and Christmas without him hit way harder than I expected it too. Something else that happened was my last Christmas in my childhood home. I’ve mentioned this before on stories but if you’re a new reader, I lived in the same house my whole life. That one, to mine and Tim’s apartment to now our first home together. My sold it this year and now lives somewhere else. It was important to me to spend my last holiday there last year, so I actually spent the night and Tim stayed at the apartment with Chip & Nilla. On top of those two things, we were also in the process of our house starting to be built, so things were just chaotic. I wasn’t very present last holiday season or really in the mood to do much celebrating or decorating. This year though, it feels much different and I’m very happy about that. I’ll forever have a hole in my heart where my daddy-o is, but this year constantly reminded me how blessed I am.
With that being said, this year I am adding a few more traditions since I am much more in the holiday spirit and ready to celebrate. Our list is still pretty tiny and I’d like to add a few more, so if you have any ideas, be sure to let me know!
1. Christmas Lights | I did this with my family growing up and I always knew it was something I wanted to continue with my own family. We would go and get Starbucks and drive through nearby neighborhoods that had crazy good Christmas displays. Way back in the day before social media, we would actually just look in the newspaper and map directions to houses. Wow, saying that makes me feel old ha! This is our first Christmas in our new house, and we’ve already heard of one neighborhood in particular that has a spectacular Christmas lights display. I was reading in a Facebook group that their opening night it was a 2.5 hour wait in the car to get through the whole thing–nuts!
2. Christmas Movies | We’ve already started this one and it is one of my favorites! Tim and I both make a list of the Christmas movies we want to watch and we just slowly cross them off through the month of December. Once we have kids that are old enough to watch movies, we’ll do this with them! I’m thinking we will each let one kid pick a movie and it’ll be a Friday night thing for us. Tim and I will probably continue it ourselves though as well since (some) of the ones we watch are a little more mature or just don’t peak kids interest haha.
3. Bake a Birthday Cake | Christmas Eve this year will be our first time doing this. I heard of this from a friend of mine who did it growing up with her family, and I loved the idea of it. We’ll be baking a cake to celebrate Jesus’s birthday and the true meaning of Christmas! As our kids get older, it will be something we do with them that will help strike up conversation. “Why are we baking a birthday cake?” “Whose birthday is it?” It’s important to Tim and I that our children know the true meaning of Christmas and that it isn’t all about the gifts. This is a fun way to get them involved and a fun tradition to start! Since our Christmas Day is busy, we’ll be doing this on Christmas Eve for the years to come.
4. Christmas Card Prayers | This one I can’t take credit for, as one of you shared this with me! As we start to get Christmas cards rolling in from family and friends, I keep them in an area on our kitchen counter. Each night we pick a Christmas card (usually going in order of when we receive them) and say a prayer over that family. If we know something happened to them during the year, or something positive that’s coming, we’ll pray over specific things for them. We always say grace before we eat, so we just add them in to our nightly prayer!
5. Operation Christmas Child | Tim and I started this one last year. On a Friday night we found a store that carried the Operation Christmas Child boxes and then we went together and filled our shoe boxes full of goodies for the kids! We’ll be doing that again this year. Hopefully it can be a family affair in the future where we each get a shoe box and can drop them off together! I think it is so important for kids to be aware again that Christmas isn’t about the presents, but they’re also such a blessing if you do get gifts. Not everyone does and it’s also important to give back!