There are countless wonderful things to look forward to in the holiday season, and family traditions make up so many of them. Every family has their own set – sweet, sentimental, fun, quirky – and these traditions make each family’s celebrations unique and special. Here are a few favorite traditions from the Richard Creative team…what are some of your family’s favorite traditions?
My favorite holiday tradition as a child was Christmas Eve. We always did Christmas Eve at my grandparents’ house with all of our cousins (11 total grandkids!), and it was the most fun event of the holidays. We did a potluck with lots of kid-friendly foods, exchanged gifts with the cousins, and after dark we would shoot fireworks. By the time we got home, we were always sleepy and ready for bed…and ready for Santa to come work his magic!
My family always gets together on Christmas Eve for drinks & appetizers and we watch Christmas movies. “Christmas Vacation” is a staple in our house – there’s just something weirdly comforting about the craziness of that family and their shenanigans! We also love hot chocolate, cozy PJ’s, and sitting in front of my parents’ fireplace just enjoying time with loved ones.
When my husband and I were first married, we were too poor to buy Christmas ornaments (let alone a tree – I remember stringing lights on an ivy the first year), so when the kids were little we started giving them one or two special ornaments to open every Christmas Eve. The ornaments always had something to do with what they were involved in or liked that year, so we have SpongeBob, a Jeff Gordon helmet, a guitar and drums, and many soccer, LSU, and hunting-themed treasures. Now, the kids give them to us! It’s so fun to go through all of their early memories each year as we hang them on the tree. I’ve been storing each kid’s ornaments in their own box, so that when it comes time for them to have their own family tree, I can hand them their own ornaments to start their collection.
When my brother and I were kids, we set at least 4 different alarm clocks for 5AM one Christmas morning. Later that morning, I asked my brother, “Wasn’t that crazy when all of those alarm clocks went off at the same time?” Mom glared, “alarm clocks?!” She was none too happy. A tradition I could have done without was that we had to wait until everybody was ready to go see what Santa brought. Man, did I do some squirming waiting on everybody to get in gear! You can fix coffee later!
I remember the Christmas that Santa’s magic started to run out…I was a teenager, and on Christmas Eve my parents handed me tools and instructed me to assemble my younger siblings’ bikes and toys, while my parents sipped wine and cooked for the next day. To be fair, Christmas was still pretty good to me that year.
Each year we take the kids to pick a new ornament for our tree. We started this tradition when our daughter was 3 and it has continued since, resulting in 3 different Elsa ornaments, a pink cell phone, a yoga hippo, and a load of superhero and Star Wars ornaments! We have quite an eclectic tree, and it suits us perfectly!
We also pick a giving opportunity where we buy clothes or essentials for a local family. Last year we bought clothes for a dad, mom, and 2 kids. My kids weren’t too keen on this at first (they wanted to pick things for themselves!), but once we explained that this family wouldn’t have any presents for Christmas, they came around. My daughter liked picking out clothes for another little girl who might like the same stuff as her. It’s something we look forward to continuing together.
Growing up overseas, Christmas was extra-special because it was often the only time we got to travel home to visit our grandparents and cousins. There was a magic to the whole trip – the anticipation on the plane ride, the excitement of seeing family, the novelty of everything American. That magic has stuck with me, even after I returned to the States permanently and see our family all the time. Now that we’ve added a couple of kids to the mix, the magic has multiplied. We’ve enjoyed adding our own traditions to the season, like the Christmas Eve service at our church, giving back our time and resources to some great organizations in our city, and encouraging our kids to make and choose thoughtful gifts for those they love.