Holiday traditions have always been something I love and have become even more important to me know that I have a daughter. Though she’s still so young this year, I can’t wait to instill family traditions that we will celebrate together for years to come and I always love to hear about how other people celebrate this special time of year and the memories they create. My sister-in-law makes different soups every Christmas Eve, and her kids each get to pick a box of cereal for breakfast Christmas morning. My sister and I always buy matchingPJs and wear them Christmas Eve while we eat sugar cookies & drink cocktails…. Scroll down to see how some of my favorite & inspiring mamas celebrate Christmas with their children!
Katie McDonough, floral designer Petal & Print
I love Christmas, and as a mom of two little kids, I find even more wonder in a season I have always loved.
I think my favorite tradition is using the Advent calendar I made for my kids. I sewed pockets that we can refill each year, and the best part about it is that, while some days it includes treats like candy, or dried fruit snacks, it is also stuffed with stickers, ornaments, and little cards that include family activities, such as going to the Christmas Parade, Family Movie Night, seeing the trains on display, driving around looking at Christmas lights, baking cookies, wreath making, decorating Christmas cards, etc. As the kids get older I plan on adding in some cards with historical facts and details about Christmas traditions and the story of the Nativity as well. It is something they look forward to doing each morning and is an opportunity to learn and discover and have fun!
We get and decorate our tree the day after Thanksgiving every year, and now that Afton is big enough to decorate one, she has her own little tree to care for. It is so special to have a tree of her own (she waters it and turns the lights on and off) and I can’t wait till next year when Tippett is old enough to have a tiny one too! Our home is filled with Christmas lights, music, fresh evergreen wreathes and all the sights and sounds of the season all month long. I also find it really special to make most of our gifts, so it is also a little bit like Santa’s workshop. Last year I did stuffed animals and dolls, and this year, I am working on some paper dolls and some other stuffed animals and wearable accessories. Ben is a skilled baker and we are usually also baking loaves of fresh sourdough to gift as well.
My mama and I own a little Christmas Stocking business as well, so I love that we are in a flurry of making and mailing those out too. Stockings are so exciting and I think where you can really add some fun to Christmas. Our extended family is known to fill stockings so full that there is always an overflow pile behind each one. We save these for last, after all the presents have been opened and brunch has been eaten.
Now that I’m a mother myself, I’m thinking about traditions in a totally different way! We’re still forming ours with our little family, but there are two from my childhood that I hope to continue with my own family. The first is attending the Christmas Eve service at church, because for our family, our faith is really what we’re celebrating this time of year. The second—which is much less serious than the first, haha—is leaving cookies and milk, carrots and a note to Santa by the fireplace, and then leaving “evidence” of Santa for the morning—taking bites out of the food, emptying the milk glass, and leaving out a handwritten note from Santa. It was so silly, but as a kid I really delighted in it.
Jamie Burton, co-founder of Oh Mama
There are several family traditions I hold near and dear. When my grandma was living we would all sing Silent Night together before having Christmas dinner. Now that she has passed I hope to keep the tradition alive with my immediate family. The other tradition I love and hope to keep alive with my kids is to deliver family holiday meals to the less fortunate. We do it together as a family and it’s one of my most favorite parts of the holiday. Delivering holiday meals to those in need always puts things in perspective and makes you feel grateful for all that you have. The last and most fun tradition we have is putting all the ornaments on the tree together. Ironically, my mom and my husbands mom each bought us an ornament every Christmas since we were born. Now we have all of them from when we were growing up and purchase one for both of our kids each Christmas. With a little holiday music and a lot of chocolate chip cookies it makes for the perfect decorating day.
Lynzy Coughlin, blogger behind Sparkling Footsteps
Every year my family would go out into the woods to find our perfect christmas tree with our favorite holiday songs playing in the background. My father would chop down our tree and we would all help drag it back. I hope to instill the same tradition with our growing family. There is just something magical about chopping down your own tree and dragging it back to your car with it on your roof!
Abby Larson, founder of Style Me Pretty
With three kids in tow, traditions are such an important part of our holiday experience. Traditions help to pace the kids so that they have something to look forward to every few days rather than simply going stir crazy waiting for the big day! Our favorites are the day we spend pulling out all of the decorations and getting our whole house ready with sparkle, hot chocolate and some really cheesy Christmas music. The kids also get an advent calendar that we often make together so that they have a little something pretty or sweet every day. The week before we make a big batch of Cinnamon Rolls and deliver some to our family members around town. We also put together little grab bag gifts (muslin bags filled with chocolates) to hand out to anyone that stops by. Lastly, the kids get Christmas PJS and slippers on Christmas Eve and we make a big yummy spread for Santa.
Christina Han, founder of the lifestyle blog- Proper Hunt
One of our favorite traditions as a family (even before Cora was born) is we would get a Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving and decorate it while listening to Christmas songs and enjoying hot chocolate. Over the years, we’ve collected Christmas ornaments, whether they’ve been gifts or picked up from our travels, and it’s so fun to remember when and where we got them while we decorate the tree. Now that Cora’s a little older, we’ve been able to share the stories behind these ornaments with her and cannot wait to share them with Vivienne.
Sarah Culver, Photographer
We make sure that everyone has one book wrapped under the tree, and that is the gift we open on Christmas Eve. There is nothing cozier than curling up by the tree and fire with a new book you’re excited about before all the commotion of Christmas Day. This year the baby is getting the classic The Little Red Hen , husband will be reading the social critique The Great Degeneration and I hope I’ll be unwrapping the memoir Hold Still by my favorite photographer Sally Mann.
Whitney Curtis, of The Curtis Casa
When I was growing up, it wasn’t really Christmas until the Celine Dion Christmas CD was on repeat. I think I rolled my eyes every time I heard it click on as a teenager, but now I’m completely teary-eyed and nostalgic when it’s finally time to turn on Celine Dion for our growing family. The line “…Another year has gone by…” gets me every singe time.
Alexandra Rose, co-founder of Oh Mama
Our Christmas traditions involve a lot of family visits! Both my husband and I grew up in the area, and we have tons of family close by. This means that we party hop for the days leading up to Christmas, right through Boxing Day! We absolutely love seeing all of our extended family, but it makes the time that we have at home with the 2 of us and our 3 kids even more special. We relish Christmas Eve night, when we arrive home, and that’s when our little family traditions begin. We get the kids dressed in their matching Hannah Andersson pajamas (my mom buys them a new pair every year – another tradition!), and we put out the milk and cookies for Santa, and wind down (if that’s possible!). We then do the same thing that my family did when I grew up, and we read The Night Before Christmas. This is something we have done for the past 3 years, since my daughter was 1, and we will continue to do every year. It is a time when we can all sit quietly and be together, and truly take in what Christmas means. It is a short – lived annual tradition, but one that I look forward to every year. Maybe we will read the book 3xs this year just to prolong the happiness!