Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Party Friday: Christmas Traditions

 I'm loving Christy's Christmas Blog Fridays and this week we're posting about Christmas Traditions.


To be honest, traditions are one of my favorite parts of the Christmas celebration.  I like consistency and I take comfort in knowing that to expect so Christmas traditions help make Christmas one of my favorite holidays.

I just married a wonderful man (in fact, December 25th will be our six-month anniversary), and so we are definitely in the process of learning and developing our Christmas traditions.  Even in marriage, however, I'm learning that many traditions remain:

I always decorate a REAL Christmas tree in the house.  The size can fluctuate and the amount I pay is a big variable, but I ALWAYS decorate a real Christmas tree.  Furthermore, it doesn't matter how long I am going to be out of town traveling for the holidays.  I always decorate a tree at my house even I am only able to enjoy it for a few weeks before I head home for the holidays.  A real evergreen tree is a must.  I love hanging the same ornaments every year and remembering where they came from.  Several new ornaments adorned our tree this year as Chris and I begin our married ornament collection.

Chris' baseball ornament from my mom and
"1st Christmas Together 2010" after we were engaged
Penguins in love, Santa playing the harp and Our Cat
Michigan "M", and Mr. and Mrs. with chalkboard
Beautiful Lenox Holy Family from my mom
I love our Africa Adoption ornament that helped bring Elijah home,
and a camping tent I gave Chris the Christmas we met
I have many beautiful harp ornaments given to me over the years
Chris and I, always travel for Christmas -- at least, as of now, we always travel Home for Christmas to his parents and my parents.  We alternate each year between which family we visit for Christmas Eve and Christmas and which family we visit for New Years.

On Christmas Eve, with the Sandens, my parents always serve French Onion Soup and we attend a Christmas Eve service at church -- either the evening service or the midnight service depending on the year.

On Christmas Eve, with the Millers, we always gather with the entire extended family at his grandparents' home and the family has a white elephant gift exchange.  There is much laughter, love and chaos.  :-D

I always burn a scented candle at Christmas time; and, I ONLY burn a scented candle at Christmas time.  Generally, I cannot STAND anything scented -- air fresheners, candles, plug-ins, perfumes... I have a very strong aversion to strong scents.  Almost ALL strong scents trigger migraines for me.  The only exception is Balsam & Cedar scent at Christmas time.  I LOVE this Christmas Tree scent and burn it throughout the Christmas season.

I really like this picture
In my family, a picture Christmas card was sent out EVERY YEAR.

Therefore, I always send out Christmas cards.  It does not matter how busy my Christmas season (even my last semester of graduate school), I love to send out Christmas cards!  My cards always include a letter of life's events from the past year... and this year, for the first time, it is a picture Christmas card.

*~Our Picture Christmas Card and our Christmas newsletter will be posted on our blog closer to Christmas~*

I'm so excited about our Christmas cards this year, because it really feels like we're a family, sending cards to OUR family and friends, sending out a picture Christmas card of our year's highlights.  The cards arrived Tuesday afternoon, and I had them in the mail Thursday morning, which tells you how excited I was to send them.

140 Christmas Cards Signed, Sealed, Delivered
This is the first year I printed labels instead of writing all the addresses
Both animals loved to try helping me with Christmas cards
They had a unique way of helping
I guess the cards really are from the whole family
Speaking of Christmas cards, growing up, my family always opened the Christmas cards we received together, read them out loud and passed them around for everyone to see.  This year, Chris and I started this as well.

As Christmas draws nearer, and I am on vacation from work, I always love to watch the movies White Christmas and Its A Wonderful Life with my parents.  I'm not sure how much Chris will enjoy this tradition every year... maybe if I rub his back during the movies?

"Do you think I pay you to be a canary?"
"Miss Haynes, if you're ever under a falling building and someone offers to pick you up and carry you to safety, don't think, don't pause, don't hesitate for a moment, just spit in his eye."
In the past, a tradition of mine was to always enjoy my mom's delicious Christmas cookies!  This year, I made some of those delicious cookies!

Peanut Butter Blossoms and White Chocolate Drops
Our sun porch is a great place for cookies to cool
Another Christmas tradition, I enjoy is playing my harp in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  Christmas seems to be the only time that I MAKE time to consistently practice my harp.  I LOVE playing Christmas music, playing totally gets me into the Christmas Spirit, and I know my parents enjoying hearing me play when I go home.  This year, things have been a little different because I enjoy playing, and my hubby enjoys listening to me play!  :-D  Below is a video I shot three years ago (notice the very short hair) for my Aunt Marlene for Christmas.  I am playing one of my favorite songs to play on the harp.  I hope you enjoy.

Here are some pictures that did not make our Christmas card...

Siblings, Lloyd and Lexie
Siblings, Lloyd and Lexie
Siblings, Lloyd and Lexie
Siblings, Lloyd and Lexie
Siblings, Lloyd and Lexie

What are your Christmas Traditions?

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  1. Brooke what a lovely Christmas you have! I adore all of your traditions and the beauty of a live tree :)

    The out takes of the Christmas card are hilarious...still not getting along exactly are they?

    Christmas movies are one of my favorite things about Christmas... so fun and at times cheesy but still delightful.

    That Beautiful. The harp is such a lovely instrument and I am so glad you shared it with us!

  2. I love all your traditions. I shared about ornaments today too. I love the stories behind each ornament.

  3. Brooke~ What a lovely gift of music God has given to you! my husband plays many instruments himeself. I love to sit and listen to our son play his flute. He chose the flute and it is the hardest of the air instruments and now plays a picolo. I may have spelled that wrong. You look very happy. I too have many ornaments that we enjoy hanging on the tree and now wish I would have bought the first gift I picked out for you. Maybe it may still come. Many blessings through the holidays to you and your husband!

  4. I bet your tree smells heavenly!! Does Lexi every try to get in it? Our first Christmas Pumpkin (our first cat who was only 6 months old) would climb up our tree and take naps in it! haha

    I love that chalkboard ornament too - and the Africa one of course! ;)

  5. Oh, we have so many. On Christmas Eve, we have recently started the tradition of wearing our tackiest Christmas sweaters/shirts. We always eat Estonian blood sausage and Polish perogies to honour both of our heritages. We also use the Catholic host that we used to get from my cousin, and we go around the table and break off pieces and kiss. On Christmas day, we start off with a shot of vodka (Eastern European tradition) to "clean the pipes" and then proceed with a large brunch. No on goes anywhere, and that's the only big meal we have. Usually at the end of the day we eat meats and cheeses and breads and wine smorgasbord style and relax. It is absolutely wonderful. :)

  6. I'm so glad you shared your traditions, baking, cards (loved that idea to read them aloud), "siblings" :) and MUSIC... what a blessing to hear O, Holy Night played so beautifully... it made me enjoy Christmas even more than I already do!


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