“It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. The Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, he thought, means a little bit more.” -The Grinch (How the Grinch Stole Christmas)

My family has always been one for traditions, especially around the Holiday season. I have always loved knowing that even though things change from year to year, and our lives may be entirely different, we still do certain things to remind us of the joy of Christmas and what really matters. These are just some of the traditions I love to follow every year, even though I’m sure I'll forget some of them.

  1. Putting Up the Decorations. Now, this is one that I will probably miss this year since I am at college. My mom has nine totes that are filled to the brim with nativity sets, snowmen, and of course the infamous Christmas Village. It is definitely a day of heavy lifting, but seeing all of the festive decorations and garland around our house at the end of it all is so worth it.
  2. Adorning the Tree with Ornaments. We have so many ornaments in our house it isn’t healthy. From Winnie the Pooh and Baby’s first Christmas to Taylor Swift, there has to be a strategic way to place all of these on the tree so it won’t fall over. My sisters and parents and I all take turns placing ornaments on the freshly cut pine tree, all while listening to classic holiday carols. It really is a great night in the Fisher household, and even Cynnamon the dog gets in on the fun.
  3. Going to See the Christmas Lights. This has to be my favorite tradition of all time. We will all pile into the car, stocked with pillows and blankets, and go out to dinner. After it gets dark, we drive through the Capital Holiday Lights in Albany. The displays are always so big and bright, and spending time with my family makes it so worth it. We usually top the night off with some Dunkin Hot Cocoa as we make the journey home.
  4. Christmas Eve Church Service. I love getting dressed up to go to church on Christmas Eve. It always reminds me of the real reason we celebrate Christmas, and puts the focus back on Him and not the materialistic things. My favorite part is when the whole church goes dark, and we light candles in honor of our Lord while singing softly of His birth.
  5. Pajamas on Christmas Eve. We always get to open one gift on the night before Christmas, and it is usually a new pair of pajamas for us to wear. This is such a great tradition, and it is always incredible to go to sleep wearing soft and cozy pajamas before Santa makes his way into town.
  6. Christmas Movies and Hot Chocolate. This isn’t so much a clear-cut tradition, but just something that we do every year. As a family we usually watch Christmas movies such as Home Alone, The Polar Express, Rudolph, and Elf religiously throughout the holiday season, complete with either hot cocoa or sometimes ice cream.

While this one is no longer in practice, this was one of my favorite traditions growing up. So without further ado -

Bonus: Christmas Eve Party. By far one of my most detailed Christmas memories, and always the most interesting. My Nan and Pop used to throw great parties on Christmas Eve, with all of our cousins and a lot of relatives. We would eat food and then go play in the office, while the adults would go into the hot tub or on the back porch and indulge in some beverages. Every year, Santa would make an appearance toward the end of the night, and hand out early presents to all the kids.