I am not going to lie...the holiday season is my FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR!!! There is nothing better than putting up the Christmas tree, spending time with loved ones and listening to Christmas music (even if you start before Halloween...this is a judgment-free zone).
Of all of the aspects of this magical time of year, family traditions are by far my favorite part. It has dawned on me recently that my family and I have a bit of an abundance of traditions, but hey, we are Christmas people..what can I say?
So, I have decided to share some of my favorites with you all! Whether you are looking to replace some of your less favored family traditions, or simply want to get more into the spirit, take a gander down Bridget's holiday tradition lane and see what you like!
1. Advent Calendars: The Candy Countdown
No, my last name is not Anderson...BUT this is a cool, modern version of the type of advent calendar I grew up with. Snowman and all!
Growing up, my room and my sister's rooms were separated by a hall closet, and every December, my mom would pull out the advent calendar and hang it on the closet door to start our countdown to Christmas. Much like this advent calendar above, ours had pockets and every day, we would wake up to two small pieces of candy in that day's pocket.
This was such a fun way to get us excited for Christmas as kids. To this day, I love advent calendars and think they are such a fun way to get into the Christmas mood. There are so many options of both pre-made and DIY advent calendars, so it is just a matter of choosing what appeals the most to you!
2. Community Activities
There is a park in my hometown that does holiday train rides, and although I am a sucker for the Halloween train, the Christmas Express really rings in the holiday season for me every year. I have been going since I was little, and it is such a great way to get out in my community and spread some holiday cheer!
Communities all over put on tons of different holiday events, so check out your local watering hole to see where the holiday action is!
3. Fun and New Decorations!
Here is our Christmas Snowman, Abraham! Feat. the Jingle Ball!
As many of you surely know, I am from Florida. That means that our Christmases are usually nice and toasty. Therefore, one of my family's favorite ways to decorate is with a festive pool float!
I understand that many of you may not have the weather for this type of decoration, but switching up Christmas lights and other decorations every couple of years can really make a difference when the season rolls around.
4. Secret Santachristmas background
Since coming to college, my roommates and I have set up the tradition of doing apartment-style Secret Santa. That way, we are able to split up the purchasing load and participate in a fun gift exchange before finals!
I would so recommend this for any group of friends, co-workers, or even family members that are looking to be a bit more financially conscious this year. It is a great way to connect with people and show your care for them without breaking the bank!
5. DIY Stockings
All original photographs were taken by my wonderful little sister!!
Now, stockings are certainly a timeless holiday tradition, but I think custom, DIY stockings are such a fun way to represent your loved ones during the holidays! Our family loves to personalize our stockings to the extreme with inside jokes and other homages to our family members, and its so to us sentimental because my mom started this tradition before I was born.
Now while I know you all won't understand our unique references, please take ours as inspiration for how you can customize your own family stockings!
6. Gift on Christmas Eve
Every Christmas Eve, we open up a small gift from one of our family members. I honestly don't exactly know what started this tradition...maybe my impatience as a small child?? Either way, this is a fun little way of kicking off Christmas morning a few hours early!
Last year's sister jammies!!
So after we open that one gift under the tree, our mom makes us hide in the living room while she lays out our matching sister pajamas for our night before Christmas slumber. Finding the jammies on our beds is so much fun for my sister and me, and I don't know about you but I will wear Christmas jammies all year long.
8. National Lampoon...
Alright, I am really taking you all through our Christmas Eve routine. So, for review, we open a gift, get our new jammies, and then (per Mom's request) we all snuggle up and watch our (her) favorite Christmas movie, "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation."
If you have not seen this holiday classic, you are sincerely missing out, but if you have your own favorite Christmas movie, adding it to your night before Christmas routine is a great way to bring the whole family together. Don't forget the eggnog or hot cocoa!
Mom's favorite Santa trivia
When we got older and my mom was not ready to give up playing Santa, she needed to find a way to make the process of opening presents slow down. That need was met with her now famous Christmas trivia.
Here's how it works: in order to open a gift, you must answer Mom's trivia question correctly. If you cannot answer the question, you can't open a gift. Now, my mom is anything but cruel, so there is the ever so helpful hint, and phone a friend option. Once you answer correctly and open your gift, it is the next person's turn until all the presents are opened!
These trivia questions have been such a fun way to continue the fun and excitement of Christmas morning even as we have gotten older, and it's just a few Google searches away!
10. The Pickle
The infamous pickle
Alright, everyone, I know this is the moment you have all been waiting for...THE PICKLE!
Alright, so the pickle ornament is a tale's old tradition that originated in Germany where a pickle would be hidden in the Christmas tree, and in our family at least, whoever finds it first gets an extra gift.
Now, as I said before, my mother is anything but cruel so she always has an additional extra gift for whichever one of us doesn't find the pickle...but still the competition is exciting, and the pickle ornament is just so cute.
These ornaments are more common than you think, and you can easily get them online for a nice addition to your tree!
Alright, everyone, that wraps up my list of adoptable holiday traditions. I hope you all found something in this article that you would like to add to your own list of traditions this month, and I sincerely hope you all have a wonderful holiday surrounded by friends and family. Happy holidays!